Public Safety Insights Newsletter: How to Increase the Likelihood of a Good Person-Job-Agency Fit

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June 29, 2016 VOLUME 4, ISSUE 8
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How to Increase the Likelihood of a Good
Person-Job-Agency Fit
Public Safety Insight: To increase the likelihood of a good person-job-agency fit, provide candidates with a realistic job preview.

One often unrecognized fact about hiring and promotional processes is that a job interview is a two-way evaluation. That is, the candidates as well as the employer have the opportunity to assess the goodness-of-fit between themselves, the job, and the agency. In order for both sides to make informed decisions, however, the employer must provide all relevant information, both positive and negative. To do otherwise would be a disservice to all stakeholders, including the community.

If asked why they decline to mention the down sides to a given job, most employers say they don’t want to scare off good candidates.

I’ve got news for them: they’re going to lose new hires who discover their expectations will not be met. On the other hand, new hires who are poor fits are likely to stay, causing negative repercussions throughout the agency. Acknowledging the lack of fit earlier in the selection process rather than later will save you money and time, as well as avoid the costs associated with reduced productivity and employee morale, and a tarnished image.

Here are twelve actions you can take to provide candidates for hire and/or promotion with a realistic job preview:

Before the interview:

  1. In the job posting and recruitment materials, be very clear about the percent of medical calls vs. fire calls.
  2. Offer candidates ride-along opportunities.
  3. Encourage candidates to visit stations and speak with floor personnel.
  4. When feasible, offer a job shadow opportunity.
  5. Formulate interview questions that assess the alignment between candidates’ personal values and the agency’s values.

During the interview:

  1. Provide candidates with information about available career paths and realistic time frames for promotion.
  2. Ask candidates about their job expectations. When there are unrealistic perceptions, re-set them by explaining why they are improbable or unlikely.
  3. Ask recruit candidates why they want to work for your agency. If there are misconceptions, correct them on the spot.
  4. Provide interviewers with a list of job and agency positives and negatives to communicate clearly to each candidate.

After the interview:

  1. Review the interviewers’ notes carefully, noting any potential red flags that could indicate a candidate might not be a good fit – e.g., unacceptable behaviors, personal values that are at odds with those of the agency.
  2. Call candidates’ references. If any red flags were raised during the interview, ask questions to elicit information about whether they are well-founded.
  3. Speak with candidates before an offer is made to assess the accuracy of their understanding of the job and the agency. Correct any misperceptions.

While no one likes to lose otherwise good job candidates, hiring or promoting someone who is a poor fit for the job and/or the agency does a disservice to everyone. Who would you rather have on your crew: people who went into the job with realistic expectations or those who are disillusioned because their expectations were not met?

To find other articles and resources that may be of value to you, I invite you to visit my web site at

Public Safety Insights is a concise, bi-weekly newsletter written specifically to help first responders maximize their performance. Your e-mail address is never shared with anyone for any reason. You may unsubscribe by clicking the link on the bottom of this e-mail.


©2016 Pat Lynch | Public Safety Insights

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