Recruiting emergency responders requires a plan and effort. As I work with fire and EMS departments across the Midwest, a few things that may hamper their recruitment success stand out. Here are a few simple changes I recommend to improve your hiring plan.
1. Remove VOLUNTEER from your hiring materials.
The term "volunteer" describes the rate you intend to pay the candidate. In most cases, there is some compensation for their time working with you. The pay could be in the form of free training, experience, and job skills. We don't want to talk about pay in our advertising. Leave that for the one-on-one meetings.
In Minnesota, State Law defines the firefighter as full-time or volunteer. A full-time firefighter is not a volunteer, and a volunteer is not full-time. Within the definition of a volunteer, however, there is part-time, paid-on-call, paid on-premises, duty crew, and more. The "pay" is rarely the same from one city to the next.
2. Do not call your recruitment events Open Houses.
When the community hears of an open house at the fire station, they think of bring