As you may know, Fields Consulting Group was purchased by Emergency Services Consulting International (ESCI), the consulting arm of the IAFC. In doing so, we have expanded our services extensively.
The ESCI Consulting Division still offers fire/rescue master plans, strategic plans, staffing plans and other organizational assessment services.
The Fields Human Capital Division still offers fire/rescue entry and promotional exams, compensation and classification studies, and career-development programs, including supervisory and leadership training geared for fire/rescue leaders.
Historically, both firms offered executive recruitment and selection. Now, however, we have refined the process and incorporated a competency-based model to ensure we select the most qualified person.
A competency-based approach means that the recruitment and selection process measures the knowledge, skills, abilities and other characteristics needed in the target jurisdiction. It also means that the process is customized to ensure the individual matches the exact needs of the department and the community he or she will serve.
Think about the types of fire departments that exist: career, volunteer, combination, large, small, all-EMS, suppression and EMS, serving districts, cities or counties, private entities and more.
No one knows these organizational structures better than fire chiefs who have served in them. Could any other recruiting firm know our industry better? No!
Most executive recruitment isn’t competency-based, and it’s performed by people who don’t know or haven’t worked in our business. They offer off-the-shelf products and services, and they don’t customize them to get the best individual in place.
The devil is in the details. ESCI has added trained staff to manage the day-to-day details of the executive recruitment and selection processes, such as notifying candidates and assessors, collecting resumes and ensuring they’re screened by trained subject-matter experts, and remaining in contact with all personnel during every step of the process to ensure that no detail slips through the cracks.
Our customized and validated assessment centers and interviews measure additional competencies so we can evaluate a large domain of specific department-needed competencies. An off-the-shelf product doesn’t do this.
With the IAFC’s backing, ESCI is better qualified than any other firm to recruit and select fire/rescue executives. Recently, an applicant was complaining that when he applied for a fire chief position, the recruiter literally didn’t know the difference between NFA and NFPA. Who do you want making these recruiting and selection decisions?
In the first few months of merging our two companies, our clients are happily surprised with our competency-based executive recruitment and selection programs. They’re also reassured that we know the business and we know how to identify applicants who are the right match for the community.
You hear the words reliability and validity all the time when it comes to selection and promotion. We’re the only executive recruiting firm that creates reliable and valid selection processes. And then our staff of retired fire chiefs offer career support to the newly selected chief. The new chief will have a built-in ear to rely on and brainstorm with.
Our company of industrial psychologists and retired fire chiefs, supported by an experienced administrative staff, is perfectly complementary. We have access to all executive staffs in the nation to help find the right person to fit a department’s needs.
We are the best practice when it comes to executive recruitment and selection.
Cassi L. Fields, PhD, is vice president of ESCI Human Capital Division and the former CEO of Fields Consulting Group.