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Recommendations for Improving the Recruiting and Hiring of Los Angeles Firefighters

Chaitra M. Hardison
Nelson Lim
Kirsten M. Keller
Jefferson P. Marquis
Leslie Adrienne Payne
Robert Bozick
Louis T. Mariano
Jacqueline A. Mauro
Lisa Miyashiro
Gillian Oak
Lisa Saum-Manning
Copyright Date: 2015
Published by: RAND Corporation
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  • Book Info
    Recommendations for Improving the Recruiting and Hiring of Los Angeles Firefighters
    Book Description:

    Reviews the Los Angeles Fire Department’s hiring practices as of June 2014 and outlines a recommended new firefighter hiring process that is intended to increase efficiency of the hiring process, bolster the evidence supporting the validity of it, and make it more transparent and inclusive.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-8841-3
    Subjects: Business, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  4. Figures and Tables
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Summary
    (pp. xi-xx)
  6. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xxi-xxii)
  7. Abbreviations
    (pp. xxiii-xxiv)
  8. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-12)

    In 2013, after a five-year hiring freeze, the City of Los Angeles resumed hiring new firefighters for the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD). Within a year, however, the hiring effort was met with waves of criticism and calls for reform.¹ Critics charged, among other things, that the selection criteria lacked transparency and that the hiring process appeared to favor applicants with connections to current LAFD firefighters. They argued that the training class was significantly less racially diverse than the city of Los Angeles and contained only one female candidate. They also cited the fact that more than 20 percent of...

  9. CHAPTER TWO Firefighter Recruitment and Outreach Strategies
    (pp. 13-20)

    Recruiting is a key element in fostering diversity in any organization. Proactive efforts to reach out to the community and generate interest in working for the LAFD, in addition to mentoring future candidates, are among the most effective means of improving the demographic diversity of the candidate pool entering into the selection process. In this chapter, we present a model for applying these issues to the recruiting context. We then summarize the firefighter recruiting process as it existed at the start of our study, based on our informational interviews and reviews of existing documentation.

    Figure 2.1 summarizes the range of...

  10. CHAPTER THREE The 2013 Firefighter Selection Process
    (pp. 21-34)

    The firefighter selection process (as it was applied in 2013 and as it existed at the start of this study) is described below. Our description of the process is based on several interviews we conducted with the Personnel Department to understand the process as it existed at the time the interviews were conducted.¹

    The 2013 firefighter selection process consisted of ten steps, with participation from the Fire Department, the Personnel Department, and an external organization that administered the CPAT, the California Fire Fighter Joint Apprentice Committee. It took about a year for a candidate to move through the entire process...

  11. CHAPTER FOUR Statistical Analysis of the Selection Process
    (pp. 35-44)

    In this chapter, we report findings from our statistical analysis of the firefighter selection process, using the 2013 cohort of applicants. The objective of this analysis was twofold: (1) to identify steps in the process where a large proportion of the applicants were eliminated and (2) to identify steps in the process that affected the racial, ethnic, and gender representation of the applicant pool. The former can assist in identifying the steps most useful for narrowing the applicant pool, and the latter can inform which elements in the process are most likely to affect diversity. We considered these findings in...

  12. CHAPTER FIVE Recommendations
    (pp. 45-80)

    As mentioned in Chapter One, the recommendations we make here draw heavily on our knowledge and experience in personnel selection and workplace diversity. They are informed not only by the professional guidelines for personnel selection practices described in thePrinciples(2003) and theStandards(2014) but also by the vast literature of applied and scientific research on the validity of tests in employment contexts, successful approaches to increasing diversity, recruiting best-practices, and firefighter selection practices.

    Although we rely on that research literature and the professional practice guidelines, we tailor our recommendations specifically to the city’s existing selection process and needs....

  13. APPENDIX A Key Considerations in Evaluating the Selection Process
    (pp. 81-90)
  14. APPENDIX B Defining Critical Firefighter Tasks, Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, and Other Characteristics
    (pp. 91-98)
  15. APPENDIX C Outsourcing the Written Test for Entry-Level Firefighters
    (pp. 99-104)
  16. APPENDIX D The Impact of Chance Variability in Simple Random Sampling
    (pp. 105-110)
  17. APPENDIX E Mathematics and Examples of Key Considerations for Stratified Sampling
    (pp. 111-118)
  18. References
    (pp. 119-124)
  19. Back Matter
    (pp. 125-125)