TWO. Firefighter Recruitment and Outreach Strategies

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.

A Framework for Understanding Recruitment

Figure 2.1 summarizes the range of factors that may affect the quantity and variety of individuals considering a career as a firefighter. The factors fall into two categories. The first consists of the factors that the LAFD can directly leverage to maximize the number and diversity of recruits, such as the LAFD's firefighter recruiting resources and its management of them. The second category consists of a variety of other factors that influence a job seeker's propensity to join the LAFD. For example, propensity can be influenced by the community's views and opinions of the LAFD, individual tastes toward the firefighter profession, and demographic trends and local labor market conditions. While some environmental factors are beyond the direct control of the LAFD, the department can influence propensity to join the LAFD through

Figure 2.1

Factors Influencing the Number and Diversity of LAFD Firefighter Recruits

Factors Influencing the Number and Diversity of LAFD Firefighter Recruits

SOURCES: Adapted from Asch and Orvis (1994); Ridgeway et al. (2008); Lim et al. (2009).

RAND RR6S7-2.1

outreach and recruiting resources (Lira et al., 2009). The LAFD can also take steps to influence public opinion.

As shown in the figure, all these factors feed into the selection process: the department's screening and hiring standards, the procedures that applicants must follow during the process, and tests that applicants must take to become a firefighter. The firefighter selection process is detailed in Chapter Three.

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