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What is the most important thing that you learned in this class?

  June 4th, 2024

Throughout this class, testing and measuring has been one of the most interesting parts of the class to me because of how I am in the middle of this process right now as I test and interview to get into a fire job. Many of the questions fellow recruits and I have, have been answered through this course! Many of us have been confused and frustrated with the tests. We question the validity and relevance of the tests, and how on earth this could actually help me as a firefighter. Having gone through the class, I realize a cognitive abilities test is actually one of the top predictors of job performance. Furthermore, tests which don’t seem relevant may have strong predictors as well, for instance personality tests, and while it felt silly at the time; it makes sense now. They are extremely careful about making sure we do not discuss the questions on these tests; I see now this is because it takes a lot of time to create these tests in a way that actually predict job performance because they have to sample new hires and wait to see their job performance over a course of time to see if the test is a good predictor. We have this physical ability test, which is somewhat difficult, even if you’re in shape; and I can see how it imitates general movements that might be made in the job.

It’s really interesting because fire interviews and tests actually follow a lot of what this class advises to a “t”. It seems like they take these attributes very seriously. I’m sure for reasons like we have learned in class, to try to be as unbiased as possible; to avoid adverse impact.

It was also really interesting to learn about interviews. Fire interviews are extremely structured and very formal. They had specific score cards for every question. While it is historically typical for fire interviews to try to unnerve you and make you feel stressed, I have noticed the most successful stations are leaning towards making you feel relaxed. They are avoiding “gotcha” tactics and are leaning in to try to get the biased picture of who you are.

Fire interviews use almost every test brought up in this class. From jerk tests to polygraph tests, we have to do them all. I think taking this test was perfect timing as I’ve been going through the interview process. It has allowed me to look at these tests more objectively and without resentment because I have a better understanding for what the organization is attempting to do.

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  May 31st, 2024

1. What am I good at?

I remember last term I had a class where I was required to reach out to a wide variety of people in life to ask what my strengths were. I asked coworkers, friends, family, mentors, and the results were astonishing to me. Across the board, almost to the exact percent, I had an even split of everyone saying I was good at working with people, and that I am good in stressful situations. This tells me I do well when working interpersonally or with a team, and then I do well in high intensity jobs.

2. What do I value?

I value people and connection. If I have a good group and we are all working together, sometimes it doesn’t matter to me how dry our difficult the job is; I just want to be able to bond with a team. I find in firefighting that being able to connect and help the community by working with a team is extremely rewarding. Being able to drill and get excellent as a group and be able to tackle the job like a sports team is extremely fulfilling.

3. How did I get here?

A lot of my choices weren’t very intentional in life. I went to Oregon State because my brothers were, and I started a painting company because I saw some of my friends did that to help pay for college. On the other hand, I started pursuing music purely based of inspiration. I started pursuing firefighting because I was seeking a job that would be more fulfilling. Thankfully, I would say where I am now is mostly shaped based on what inspired me and what I valued most.

4. Where am I going?

In my current trajectory, I am going to get a job in the fire service and have a hobby of music on the side. I am motivated, so I might pick up a side job that would do well alongside firefighting. This might be an online sales, marketing, or insurance job. Also, I expect whatever job I am working on the side, along with firefighting, will eventually be what I switch over to in about 10 to 15 years which will take most of my focus, and I would probably retire from the fire industry around that time.

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IPIP Results and Reactions

  May 14th, 2024

First off what I learned from the test, and how I could have guessed, is that I am high in extraversion. My biggest scores in this dimension were in friendliness and cheerfulness. Honestly, I think my friends and family could attest to this as being pretty accurate. Also, in these categories I had some high scores in gregariousness and general extraversion.

Agreeableness was pretty strong as well; some of my highest scores in this one were trust, cooperation, and sympathy. I’m definitely very easy to get along with, and I think it’s very uncommon for people to have a problem with me in the workplace or in social groups– at least that I know about!

Conscientiousness was my highest scoring section, and this was a surprise to me because I’ve not thought about myself on this end of things as much as extraversion and other qualities. That said, I’ve done a lot of growing over the past two years as far as being more organized and making sure I am creating an environment of order around myself. I scored the highest in these sections with self-discipline and dutifulness.

Neuroticism was my lowest score, thank goodness; I would imagine it is most people’s lowest score because people probably don’t want to see themselves as neurotic. I did have a spike in one category in this section on immoderation; this is something I should be mindful of because even with my order and discipline I know I can struggle with this.

I scored moderately high in openness to experiences. I did have artistic interests and adventurism higher in this section, and that definitely coincides with me. I am a musician and love worship music at church so much; so I think this is where my artistic appreciation comes from.

As far as being hired in a fire department, I think my scores would be very desirable in this environment. Working in the fire department you are in close quarters with a lot of people, and if you can’t get along with people, then this job is probably not for you. You need to be likeable to some extent like to be around people. This test shows that I AM likeable, but also, I’m conscientious so I’m going to clean up after myself. This is valuable when you’re spending that much time together, you want people who are very organized and “A type” personality so that everyone can manage their own space as much as possible. Scoring low on neuroticism is huge because there are a lot of stressful situations on the fire ground and it is imperative to keep your cool and not let your choices be held by emotion. Ultimately what I scored is pretty ideal for what they are looking for, and I would feel very comfortable with my scores being seen at a fire department as part of my hiring process– I think they may even do some of these tests when you get a tentative job offer at a station.

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Typical vs. Maximal Performance

  April 30th, 2024

I would choose to hire Jaime because I would prefer consistency rather than peaks of excellence. That said, it would also depend on the job they would be hired for. Some people are motivated and find they are able to thrive in different roles, and I believe both these players will thrive in different environments. Ultimately, I am hiring for the long term in most cases, and ideally not for a crisis. While Jaime may not shine as brightly as Avery, I need a consistency in the workplace.

I would probably hire Avery in a high stress job. To me, she seems like someone who is extremely talented and needs to feel the need to push herself. I could see her succeeding in a first responder position, or in a busy stock brokerage where the need for action is present and obvious. She is probably highly intelligent and if she doesn’t feel challenged, then she probably doesn’t feel the motivation to apply herself. I could also see her excelling as a doctor or maybe a even lawyer.

Jaime I would hire for most jobs that are not high stress, where consistency is most important. I would hire her as a sales manager, or in an accounting firm. I would see her excelling here because the organization will thrive off consistency. She is not necessarily going to be the flashy hire, but like we read in the textbook this week; that leading CEO didn’t consider himself particularly smarter or more skilled than anyone else, but he remained consistent in searching for A players and that consistency made him an extremely successful manager.

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Critiquing a Recruitment Ad

  April 26th, 2024

My brand is largely defined into two parts: one, I am a people person, whether that is with a team or interpersonally; I thrive around people and community brings out the best in me. Second, I do well under pressure. Whether that is with an intense deadline or goal or a difficult environment, I thrive in adversity and find myself performing at my highest level. I always knew this about myself, but I took a class last term where I was asked to reach out to friends, peers, and past employers to ask them what some of my best strengths were. My responses were almost perfectly unanimous; half of the answers were that I am excellent with people, and I perform well in adversity.

Applying to fire departments is pretty strict in process and creativity is limited, but not impossible. Some of the most creative ways applicants sell themselves is to stand out in the interview process when they actually get face to face interactions with the employers. They see hundreds of applicants, sometimes upwards of a thousand, in hiring processes, and it is important to stand out if possible. I think a really creative way I could sell myself would be to incorporate my brand into my application packet. Largely, fire applicants will merely bring a resume, but I could also add an extra sheet with my resume that creates a visual breakdown of why I am interested in this department in particular, and why I am the best fit. This could include a data visualization of the poll that was created last term regarding my strengths. I could have quotations showing basic examples of what these strengths were and create a visually appealing data chart showing how unanimously, when asked, I was described as someone who worked well with a team and excelled in adversity. I think this would be different than other applicants, would show some additional skills of data visualization, and also show my assertiveness and how I thought these values applied to this station in particular.

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Job Descriptions

  April 18th, 2024

I took me a while to apply and get my first job that wasn’t me mowing neighbors’ lawns and running a local painting company, so my experience with a job application and job description was pretty limited for a while. I remember my first job application I had was as a waiter at a local diner. Pretty quickly I realized that a lot of the information on this application and job description was really dated, and a lot of the requirements didn’t even apply to the current state of the restaurant. On top of that, being a waiter is a specific skill that you can’t really learn from a job description; you learn by doing it, and there really isn’t a step-by-step to becoming an optimal server. Largely, success as a waiter is how you decide as an individual to run your section in the restaurant and being mentored by more experienced people in the industry.

Later I was employed by Oswego Grill, and that was really interesting because they were extremely specific in what they wanted for their waiters. It was really impressive to see how this specific code of conduct and investment into various actions created a loyal customer base. Not only did this create a consistent customer service for the guests, but it laid out clear expectations for success as an employee. It has always been my favorite waiting job prior to following my path of firefighting, and it gave me a lot of experience and knowledge on how to work in customer service and how clear communication can make for a smooth operation.

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Experiences with Discrimination

  April 9th, 2024

If this claim was true, it would have a definite effect of my use and view of the brand. In a lot of ways, the brands we use and invest in can be seen as an extension of ourselves. We choose real estate agents we like, we drive cars that we want to be seen in, and we wear clothing brands that we feel represent us. One example in particular would be my choice in clothes; I like to use brands that are sturdy, and also have a reputation for quality and consistency. If I read that article and found that a particular clothing brand was engaging in widespread discrimination, I would more than likely stop wearing the brand because I wouldn’t want to be associated with this behavior.

Just like the outdated “Voodoo” interviewing techniques from this week’s reading, it is human nature to make snap judgements about people, and it is easy to sum someone up based upon what they are wearing or any brand they associate with. First of all, I would not want to support a company that is partaking in discrimination because I believe that is wrong; but second of all I would not want to be associated with a brand that could harm my own reputation.

It seems pretty unfathomable to be employed by a company I can’t stand behind morally. I imagine there are a lot of people like me that would not want to work for, invest in, or purchase from a company that was committing widespread discrimination. Consequently, I believe this company would be in a world of hurt, because with so many brands to choose from these days, people have the options and flexibility to invest in who they want.

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Week 1 – The Case for Recruitment and Selection.

  April 2nd, 2024

Why might organizations decide to allocate more resources toward marketing or product design rather than using those same resources to do a really good job in employee recruitment and selection?

An organization could allocate these resources toward marketing or product design to create a better brand and product recognition in the industry to look more attractive to the workforce. As an applicant myself, looking for a job in the fire service, I take into account many factors when searching for a department to apply for. Some of which include quality of equipment, updated vehicles, even the color of the turnouts can be a factor. Due to the hazards of the job, I am very invested in up-to-date resources to protect my community, my team, and myself. If I’m going to spend the next 25 years of my life in a specific fire department, it would be nice if it was a top-of-the-line facility! Organizations in other industries I am sure have similar affects and could increase the volume of applicants by pushing resources towards brand and product. By having a heavier flow of potential new hires there is a natural, more extensive filtering process. Making these updates and investments sooner will have a compounding affect by drawing from the workforce and building up a quality team over time.

What are the potential strengths and weaknesses of an organization’s decision to not prioritize recruitment and selection in favor of a focus on other aspects of the business?

One strength would be to focus on quality training and team development over spending extensive and valuable resources finding the “right people”. It is becoming increasingly more prevalent in larger city fire departments to hire employees with less experience and certifications. They are focused more on attitude and character and prefer to rest upon their trusted training programs and specific department methods to cultivate the employees they desire to have. This helps eliminate the chance of applicants having “bad habits” from other departments, and helps the department groom the applicant into the perfect employee for their organization.

On the other hand, while focusing on brand and product over recruitment to draw more deeply from the workforce, there would be an inability to select higher quality applicants from this larger pool. This would likely result in lower quality hires who would cost the company from higher turnover, correcting mistakes, and worst of all the lowering of the team moral.

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Week 1 – My Perspective on the Last Job I Applied for.

  April 2nd, 2024

Describe your experiences from the perspective of an applicant for the last job for which you applied.

My experience was an intense one. I am currently applying to be a firefighter at various stations in the area and I have found it a daunting task. Having made it past the initial interview at my hometown fire station, Hillsboro Fire, I was moved on to the panel interview. This panel includes officers at that station, city council members, and the chief. Fire interviews are not meant to make you feel comfortable, they are supposed to feel intimidating and push you to your limit to see how you handle pressure. There is heavy competition in larger city departments due to the volume of applicants. Every applicant gets the exact same interview to keep things fair; this means the panel will say nothing to you besides reading off the questions and you are expected to spend several minutes answering each question. At one point I lost my train of thought and had to ask to start over on a question, thankfully I made a good recovery and was moved on to a final, chief’s interview.

Explain how your experiences during the job application process shaped your impression of the job you were applying for and your desire to work there (or in some cases to not work there).

As soon as the interview began, it was then I realized how much I wanted the job. I logged on to my virtual interview to see an audience of professionals who had spent years mastering their craft. It was no joke to them; they had seen plenty of applicants before me and would see many more after I left. It dawned on me how truly difficult it would be to land a job here, but it also reminded me of why the fire service is so highly regarded. Sometimes a thousand applicants apply for a single fire job. It reminds me of how critical the “who” is over the “what” in the industry, as stated in our weekly reading, and largely why the fire service has been so respected over the years. There is a heavy flow of candidates for these jobs, and there is an intense and meticulous process for narrowing down the applicants to find out who gets to work there. There is a common saying in the fire service that departments spend “25 minutes to decide if they want to spend the next 25 years with you.” It’s crucial for departments to identify good character quickly, and they are experts at this.

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Hello world!

  April 2nd, 2024

Welcome to blogs.oregonstate.edu. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

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