One of the things that people need to know about the testing process with PF&R is that it takes time!
Our open enrollment ended July 1st with 3,500 candidates signing up for our August 1st exam. This year we have a written exam that is similar to what we used to call the “red book” test. We have a 137 page study guide that candidates were able to download beginning April 18, 2011. Although this study guide is going to be the bulk of the written exam, the rest of the exam will be general knowledge with no study guide provided. The three general knowledge components are math, reading comprehension, and mechanical aptitude.
Candidates with the highest written exam scores are eligible for the second phase of the exam, the Physical Agility Test (PAT). The PAT is often difficult for people who have never handled firefighting equipment so we have five weekends of practice sessions available for candidates that passed the written exam. These practice sessions are highly recommended. Candidates are reminded that the PAT is a minimum requirement and training is much more physically demanding. The PAT exam is scheduled for the second and third weekends of October. The number of candidates invited to the PAT can vary depending on test scores.
Candidates that pass the PAT are invited to the last phase of the hiring process, the Chief’s Selection Interview. These panel interviews are tentatively scheduled for November and December. This is where the final hiring decisions are made. I find that many candidates put so much time and effort preparing for the first two phases of the exam that they are unprepared for the third phase, the panel interview. Candidates are encouraged to practice interviewing skills and think about how their life experiences may relate to the job of a firefighter. Candidates are given the questions for ten minutes prior to their interview. This gives them an opportunity to brainstorm and think about the questions prior to meeting the panel. Interviews are generally scheduled for between 20 and 30 minutes and have between five and seven questions. Good luck to all and remember to prepare for not only the testing, but interviewing skills also.
**These are the general steps of our hiring process. The dates for the second and third phases of the hiring process are subject to change.
Portland Fire & Rescue
We Respond: Always Ready, Always There
July 20, 2011