Objective 2: Ensure Equal Opportunity Throughout the Hiring Process


How can the city meet this objective? Among other things, it should follow best practices for ensuring fair treatment of applicants during the selection process. This includes establishing a systematic process in which all applicants are treated essentially the same. This can be accomplished by

• creating strict and concrete guidelines for interviewing, scoring, and investigating applicants

• providing training on and evaluating all administrators in their application of those guidelines

• providing all applicants with easy access to study and practice materials

• providing public access to as many details on the process as possible so applicants can prepare for it on their own

• ensuring that the process does not place unrealistic or disproportionately unfair time, scheduling, and cost burdens on applicants.

Later in this chapter, we discuss specific elements that could be changed in the current selection process to provide additional support for fairness at various stages in the process.

Objective 3: Increase the Demographic Diversity of New Firefighter Hires

How can the city meet this objective? If the firefighter selection process is valid (that is, it addresses the first objective of deciding who will and will not be a good firefighter) and it affords applicants an equal opportunity of being hired (that is, it addresses the second objective of giving all individuals fair and equal treatment during the employment process), then the best way to accomplish this objective is with better recruiting. This will require the city to target firefighter outreach and recruiting efforts specifically toward minorities and women who are most likely to successfully complete the selection process. This is discussed in greater detail below.

Objective 4: Minimize Costs for the City of Los Angeles and Its Applicants

How can the city meet this objective? The cost of the firefighter hiring process is directly linked to both the number of applicants the Personnel Department needs to process and the efficiency of the process itself. Therefore, the city can minimize costs by identifying viable applicants early in the process and reducing duplicative steps in the selection process. In our review of the 2013 firefighter selection process, we identified significant overlap in Steps 3 through 9. Consolidating some of these steps could improve the efficiency of the selection process. Additionally, we recommend automating as many of the background screening elements as possible[2] and moving those automated screening steps further up in the process. This is explained further below.

  • [1] We use the term equal opportunity here to make reference to the need to adhere to equal employment opportunity guidelines for selection practices and fair treatment in the hiring process.
  • [2] See our recommendation to establish minimums on the background qualifications, discussed later in this chapter.
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