Hiring Process Overview

The Springfield Fire Department is committed to hiring a quality workforce. In order to accomplish this, there are multiple components to the hiring process. The process is not intended to be overly difficult, nor secretive, but it is a lengthy process, often taking 6 months or more from the time of application until the time of hiring. Our goal is to hire highly qualified candidates. This is an entry level position, so it does not require previous firefighting experience. Here is an overview of the process:

Step 1 - Application
An application is submitted to Human Resources within the posted application period. The goal of this segment is to ensure applicants meet the minimum requirements of the job. Those that do not submit all of the required information to demonstrate they meet the minimum requirements are not allowed to proceed to the next step of the process.

Requirements
All required information must be submitted by the posted deadline in order to be considered.
  • Age 18 or older
  • High School graduation or G.E.D.
  • Vision requirements: Correctable to 20/30
  • Excellent physical condition
  • Due to the public safety nature of the Firefighter position any felony and misdemeanor convictions will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis to determine eligibility of the applicant.  Review includes such factors as the nature, type, and recency of conviction as well as other job related factors.
Candidates must submit copies of supporting documentation for one of the following qualifications:
  • EMT-B (license) or
  • Firefighter I & II (certificate) or
  • 36 hours accredited college hours (transcript) or
  • Two years active military service with honorable discharge (DD214)
Step 2 - Written Examination
Those that meet the minimum requirements will be notified of the time and date of the written exam which is usually about 4-8 weeks after the closing date of the applications.

This is not an all inclusive list, but the written exam tests several broad categories such as:
  • Listening Comprehension
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Mathematics / Mechanics
  • Spatial Orientation
Many candidates find the tests are somewhat difficult and candidates may desire to take time to prepare. There are several books written about Firefighter Entry Examinations. Candidates who are interested in finding a book can generally find them via a search of the web or at your local bookstore by searching for “firefighter entry level written exam”. A Written Exam Prep Resource also contains various types of sample questions that may be asked. Candidates with passing written scores will be invited to participate in first round interviews. 
 
Step 3 - Oral Interview (First Interview)
  • This is typically 1-3 weeks after the written exam.
  • Interviews take approximately 30 minutes.
  • Employment interviews with the City of Springfield can be different than interviews with other employers.  The City uses a panel interview format instead of conducting one-on-one interviews.  Candidates present their qualifications to a panel.  The panel usually consists of representatives from Human Resources and the Springfield Fire Department.  The interviews are structured and utilize a behavior based interview method.  Candidates are required to give examples of previous work related experiences to demonstrate they possess the knowledge, skills and abilities to be a firefighter.  All questions are related to essential functions and qualifications outlined in the job description.
  •  There are a wide variety of web sites that provide an overview of behavior based interviewing.  Candidates should be prepared to discuss specific examples of job experience, training, education, skills, and abilities they possess prior to the interview.  
  • Candidates are scored based on their interview, and once all interviews are completed, an “eligibility list” is created based upon interview scores.
  • The eligibility list will be provided to the department for review. Eligibility lists are generally valid for one year, or until a new list is established, whichever comes first.
  • If not selected during the time-frame the eligibility list is valid, candidates must reapply and test again if they remain interested in the position. Firefighter Testing typically takes place once per year.
  • Top scores (the number depends on the number of Firefighter vacancies) will be provided to the department and those candidates will be invited back to a second interview and to participate in the Physical Agility Test.

Step 4 - Second Interview

  • The time frame between first and second interviews can vary widely depending on the timing of vacancies in the department.
  • The department will interview the highest scoring candidates on the eligibility list. The number of vacancies and the City’s Merit Rules will dictate the number of candidate names that will be invited to the second interview phase.
  • Second interviews are conducted with the Department’s Chief Officers and the style of questions may also include behaviorally based questions.
  • Selected candidates will be identified for background investigations.

Step 5 - Physical Agility Test (PAT)


Those who successfully pass the oral interview phase will be scheduled for Physical Agility Testing.  Please keep in mind that the physical demands of firefighting are very difficult and require a high level of physical fitness.  Candidates must possess high levels of cardiovascular fitness, muscular strength, muscular endurance, and flexibility.  Physical ability is critical to the success of firefighters.  Candidates must begin preparing early or ensure they maintain a high level of physical fitness for adequate physical training required to pass the Physical Agility Test and the Fire Academy.

There are three components to the testing including: 
 
1.    Working at heights - Candidates will be required to climb a ladder, step off at a height and return to the ground.
2.    Skills simulation test -This includes a variety of skills used by firefighters. Candidates have 6 minutes to complete the simulation stations. All stations must be successfully completed within the 6 minute time period. A facilitator walks with the candidate throughout their testing cycle.

Video samples of each station are available online on the Springfield MO Fire Department Facebook page.

The following segments of the sequential course must be completed in 6 minutes or less:
  • Climbing
  • Descending stairs with a weighted pack
  • Using a sledge hammer to move a weight (simulates chopping a hole)
  • Dragging an uncharged 100-foot section of 5-inch hose
  • Extending a 35-foot ladder
  • Dragging an 1 and 3/4-inch hose (simulates a charged line)
  • Lifting one end of a 35-foot ladder to its brackets
  • Dragging a 180-pound dummy 100 feet

It is important for candidates to pace the completion of this course in a timely and safe manner. Faster times have no bearing on the overall consideration of each candidate as a potential Firefighter. This is considered a pass / fail test.

3.    One mile run - The last component of the PAT is a 1 mile run. This is a timed exercise.  The candidate has 10 minutes to complete the run.

Step 6 - Background Investigation

  • Background investigations are initiated after the second interview and take several weeks to complete.
  • The Department will conduct background investigations on more candidates than there are vacancies, because it is common that background investigation results will eliminate some candidates from consideration for hire.
  • The background investigation is very extensive and requires the candidates to sign an authorization form. It will include previous work references, criminal and civil records checks, personal references, and checks with landlords, neighbors, etc. among other things.
  • Candidates will not be considered without multiple reference checks from previous employment.
  • Contingent job offers will be made to candidates who are selected by the department.
Step 7 - Job Offer
  • The Human Resources Department will make conditional job offers to those the department plans to hire.
  • The offer is conditional on passing the physical examination and drug screen.
Step 8 - Physical & Drug Screen
Generally, this will be conducted within two weeks of the job offer. The candidates will be sent to be evaluated by a department selected physician who will evaluate them on whether the candidate has any medical conditions that will prevent them from doing the essential functions of the job and a drug screen will be given. Those that are cleared will move to Step 9.

Step 9 - Notification of When to Begin Work
Those that move to this phase will be given the exact date they will begin their employment with the Fire Department. Candidate will be given at least two week’s notice in order to notify their current employer.