Reduction of Applicants in the Selection Process

Table 4.1 documents movement through the process for the 2013 applicant cohort, showing the total number of applicants at each stage and the proportion passing from the previous step, by ethnicity and gender of the applicants. A total of 13,236 applicants began the process (at Steps 1 and 2), with 187 making it through each of the ten steps. For the final step of the process–“passed medical and psychological evaluations”–we consider applicants having passed if they passed or were deferred for both exams. Deferment can be granted for cases where the applicant can receive treatment to correct a health problem as discussed in the previous chapter.

The first step in the process is to apply and to meet the minimum requirements of being at least 18 years of age and having a high school diploma or equivalent. For each subsequent step, we calculate the proportion of candidates passing based on the total number of candidates passing the previous step.

To identify steps in the process where the majority of the applicants were eliminated, we present the volume of applicants eliminated per 1,000 applicants in Figure 4.1. We calibrated the proportions to a starting applicant pool of 1,000 for ease of interpretation. The lion's share of applicants meeting the minimum eligibility requirements was

Table 4.1. Number and Percentage Moving on at Each Selection Step, 2013 Applicant Cohort

All

Applicants

White

Hispanic

Black

Asian

Native

American

Race Not Listed

Male

Female

Gender Not Listed

Steps 1 and 2: Filled out preliminary background application and met minimum requirements

13,236

5,509

4,160

1,960

869

129

609

12,391

669

176

Step 3: Took and passed written test

6,504

(49%)

3,274

(59%)

1,912

(46%)

389

(20%)

524

(60%)

75

(58%)

330

(54%)

6,133

(49%)

267

(40%)

104

(59%)

Step 4: Submitted CPAT certification within time window

966

(15%)

566

(17%)

251

(13%)

44

(11%)

64

(12%)

10

(13%)

31

(9%)

935

(15%)

21

(8%)

10

(10%)

Step 5: Scheduled and passed oral interview

622

(64%)

371

(66%)

156

(62%)

33

(75%)

47

(73%)

7

(70%)

8

(26%)

602

(64%)

19

(90%)

1

(10%)

Steps 6 and 7: Filled out PIQ and passed Initial Panel Review

446

(72%)

270

(73%)

108

(69%)

19

(58%)

40

(85%)

4

(57%)

5

(63%)

433

(72%)

12

(63%)

1

(100%)

Steps 8 and 9: Passed in- depth background check and Final Panel Review

205

(46%)

121

(45%)

55

(51%)

6

(32%)

19

(48%)

2

(50%)

2

(40%)

202

(47%)

3

(25%)

0

(0%)

Step 10: Passed medical and psychological evaluations

187

(91%)

107

(88%)

52

(95%)

6

(100%)

18

(95%)

2

(100%)

2

(100%)

184

(91%)

3

(100%)

0

(0%)

SOURCE: Los Angeles Personnel Department data on 2013 LAFD firefighter applications.

NOTES: Percentage is calculated as the number of people who passed the hurdle divided by the number who passed the prior hurdle. The two "Not Listed" columns pertain to the 609 applicants who did not report their ethnicity and 176 applicants who did not report their gender.

Figure 4.1

1,000 Hypothetical Applicants Retained and Lost Through Firefighter Evaluation and Investigation Strategies

1,000 Hypothetical Applicants Retained and Lost Through Firefighter Evaluation and Investigation Strategies

RAND RR687-4.1

eliminated by the written exam (Step 3) and the CPAT certification submission time window (Step 4). For every 1,000 eligible applicants, 491 showed up for and passed the written exam. Conversely, failing to take and pass the written exam eliminated more than half of the applicants. Of the remaining 491 per 1,000, only 73 submitted documentation of passing their CPAT within the time window. There is more of a gradual elimination of applicants across the subsequent six steps, except at Steps 8 and 9, when half of the remaining applicants are eliminated.

In addition to the CPAT data from the Personnel Department, information provided to us by the Orange County CPAT testing center indicates that about 94 percent of the people who take the CPAT pass it. Hence, the CPAT itself does not eliminate many applicants.

 
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