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Fire Service Assessment Centers

KPS's Assessment Centers are what you need to accurately and confidently select your future leaders.

Emergency Services gets tougher every day…

It isn't the fires or the other emergencies that make it tougher though. For the most part, you're equipped and trained to handle those. What makes it tougher is the changing social and legal environment in which you work.

KPS has been providing Assessment Center services to fire departments for over twenty years.  Whether it’s a driver/operator skills assessment, company officer, battalion chief or senior officer assessment center, KPS can provide you with an excellent opportunity to promote the candidate with the highest potential for success.

Our Assessment Centers are designed around your job description and job analysis.  In the absence of either we can perform a job analysis for you.  Based on this analysis we design exercises that will reveal the candidate's ability to handle the elements of the position.  See the examples below.

Assessment Centers are so valid and reliable that they are recommended by the International Association of Fire Chiefs and The International Association of Fire Fighters as the preferred method of selection.

Our assessment center concept will provide you with a 360 degree look at the candidate and help you determine which candidate will do the best job for you.

Contact KPS and let us help you with your personnel selection needs.

Cheif Officer Assessment Deputy Chief Operations Assessment



Battalion Chief Operations Assessment Lieutenant Operations Assessment

Job Analysis

The Job analysis is the first step in developing valid and fair human resource programs. KPS has conducted thorough job analyses for numerous positions in many organizations. We begin our job analysis procedures by convening select groups of subject matter experts to identify a comprehensive list of tasks performed in each job being studied. Utilizing a process called DACUM (developing a curriculum), we identify the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) needed to perform the job and consolidate the KSAs into the competencies necessary to perform each job. Job analysis is crucial to developing clear organizational structure, career development programs and plans, job descriptions, selection systems, and other assessment tools. The examples above are typical but will vary based upon the job analysis. The assessment is designed from that analysis. The chart below is an example of how the process unfolds.

Job Analysis  
Job Analysis

What types of exercises are used in Promotional exams and Assessment Centers?

Subordinate Interview

This exercise provides an opportunity for the candidate to demonstrate how he or she handles personnel issues. Whether it’s coaching, counseling or disciplining subordinates, this is a critical skill for supervisors. A typical scenario places the candidate as the new supervisor and will have to meet with a subordinate who has been having some work-related problems. The candidate’s job in this exercise is to try to get them back on track, but also to see what it is that has derailed them, and how you can help them return to an acceptable level of performance. The candidate’s communication skills, interpersonal skills, judgment, decision-making, analysis, and organizational sensitivity are all going to come into play.

In-Basket Exercise

This exercise requires the candidate to manage the in-basket, within a specific time frame, and be able to read and quickly analyze the key issues that are "hidden" in an in-basket exercise. It takes some practice. The book and workshops help you do just that. The key dimensions are discussed in this chapter. The candidate is required to focus on each element of the "in-basket," making decisions, prioritizing and delegating! This exercise is an extension of what a good supervisor or manager should be able to do on a daily basis.  The candidate’s ability to read, comprehend, perceive and organize are all going to be relevant.

Oral Presentation

In this exercise the candidate is presented with a subject of discussion either in advance or at the assessment.  There is an opportunity for the candidate to reveal KSAs in presentation by organizing his or her thoughts, examining the situation, making decisions regarding what to say and what not to say as well as the presentation itself.  The foundation of the exercise is that many positions require supervisors and managers to speak publicly either to staff or to customers.  Organization, perception, problem solving and interpersonal skills are some of the dimensions examined in this exercise.

Written Exercises

A variety of written exercises are used in our assessment centers.  Some are similar to the in-basket while others are more complicated and deal with a specific set of problems.  The written problems require the candidate to use creative thinking in order to resolve challenging real world problems.  They may be based on a scenario where the department has come into some unexpected grant money and has several options regarding how to spend it or there may be a series of related training issues that the perspective training officer must organize or resolve.

Oral Panel Reviews

KPS uses three formats for these interviews and each centers around the assessors.  One way to perform these is with all internal assessors while another way is with a mixture of internal and external assessors.  Finally, the way that we prefer is utilizing all external assessors.  Since one of the best predictors of future performance is past performance we utilize behavioral questions.  In other words, questions that provide the candidate with an opportunity to tell the assessors how they have performed in the past as it relates to the dimensions identified for the job in question. 

Tactical Exercise

The tactical exercise utilizes a tactical problem which the candidate must handle using common practices, standard operating procedures, good problem solving techniques and other skills to resolve.  A common misconception is that the tactical exercise is to test the candidate’s ability to use good tactics, hit certain benchmarks, say certain things that will be marked off by the assessors.  While it is true that there may be things that must be done according to the department’s policy this is not the purpose of the exercise.  The tactical exercise is a tool that, if properly designed, will provide the candidate with an opportunity to reveal KSAs under the high pressure environment of emergency operations.  Problem-solving, judgment, perception, leadership and interpersonal skills are all part of the scoring of this exercise.

Customer Interaction

The candidate in this exercise is obligated to deal with an internal or external customer that is angry or upset about some service provided by the candidate’s department.  Ordinarily there are competing issues of customer service, departmental mandate or liability that must be dealt with.  Interpersonal skills, judgment, perception and problem solving skills are some of the dimensions examined in this exercise.