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Age, Degree Inflation and Recruitment

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  • Age, Degree Inflation and Recruitment

    Two question:

    1. From a recruitment standpoint, to what extent does age play a roll? I am 34, is that an advantage, disadvantage, or neither when all other things are equal? Someone once told me many Depts. look for older candidates who (may) have more maturity and life experiences.

    Others have told me that younger applicants have an advantage. Even though age legally shouldn't be a factor, I wonder to what extent it is.

    2. My other question is degree inflation. 10 years ago a Bachelor's Degree was highly desirable. Nowadays it seems every applicant has one and a Master's Degree will give you an advantage. Thoughts on that?

  • #2
    In California, civil service testing is very structured and your "attractiveness" for lack of a better word is based on your combined test scores from your written and oral exams.

    Age is merely a qualifier. You must be of a minimum age to apply and a few (but not many) prohibit you from applying after a certain age. Beyond that, it may not be considered in your scoring - again, it is just based on your test scores. .

    Ditto with respect to education. Each agency has certain minimum education qualifications. Most require high school or GED. A few require An AA of 60 units. Very few require a Bachelors. Beyond meeting whatever the minimum requirements are, education does not count in your scoring - again, it is just based on your test scores.

    Your background investigation only looks to verify that you are who you say you are, that you possess the minimum qualifications for the position and that there is nothing in your personal history that meets the criteria for disqualification. Things like education or age have no bearing.
    Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

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    • #3
      Thank you for the reply. For some reason I was thinking (and this is pretty ignorant on my part) that if you "passed" the physical and "passed" the written test, then everything else was based on your interviewing skills, application, background, and passing the remaining phases.

      I thought there was a lot more subjectivity to the process. I gather now it's those who score highest on the written test get the advantage. Or rather they start eliminating from the top test scores and work down.

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      • #4
        Please try not to worry about age, degree, etc.

        APPLY!

        Although we are a witty, clever, and quite often breathtakingly handsome bunch, our crystal balls often fall far short in their collective visions.

        Whichever agency you're considering applying to, they have a stack of applications already on file. Submitted by applicants who may, or (chances are) may not have better qualifications than yours....but they did not hesitate worrying about selection, they got their apps in.
        Last edited by Kieth M.; 08-10-2009, 03:15 PM.
        "You're never fully dressed without a smile."

        Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.

        Three things I know for sure: (1) No bad deed goes unrewarded, (2) No good deed goes unpunished, and (3) It is entirely possible to push the most devoted, loyal and caring person beyond the point where they no longer give a 5h!t.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by 469881Q View Post
          Thank you for the reply. For some reason I was thinking (and this is pretty ignorant on my part) that if you "passed" the physical and "passed" the written test, then everything else was based on your interviewing skills, application, background, and passing the remaining phases.

          I thought there was a lot more subjectivity to the process. I gather now it's those who score highest on the written test get the advantage. Or rather they start eliminating from the top test scores and work down.
          It's fairly cut and dry with most state, county and city civil service agencies. (The feds are a little different.)

          The application is only used to determine if you possess the minimum qualifications for admission to the testing process.

          The written and oral are scored based on the number of correct answers you give to the test questions.

          The physical agility may be scored or it may be pass/fail

          The medical and psych are pass/fail. They key is do you have a medical or psych condition that meets the criteria for DQ?

          The background is also pass/fail

          There are lots of life, education and work experiences out there that may have some value to performing the duties of a cop. The problem is identifying each one and fairly assigning a value to it. There are just too many. Even then, possessing those skills and experiences doesn't indicate how well you will do the job. So instead, departments design tests that measure your actual ability to perform the job you are testing for and score you based on the test results. Every one gets measured by the same exact stabdards. It's proven to be the best selection process so far.

          It's like Kieth said - just apply. The sooner you get into the system, the sooner you get hired.
          Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

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          • #6
            L-1 hit the nail on the head. In most states it does not matter what your age is or your degree is, if it is a civil service job.

            Now, that being said, there are age limits in some places. The feds, in particular, will not let you in if you are over a certain age (37?), and some cities still have age limits. Also, some cities may require some college, but those that do usually do not require more than an Associates degree, and you would have to prove that you had it prior to taking the civil service exam.

            I would not worry about advanced degrees unless I was going for a civilian job, or I wanted to enhance my resume prior to applying for a chief's spot.

            Just take the civil service test, and be sensible for your interviews.
            Lighten up Francis!

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            • #7
              In Alabama, at state level, we call Civil Service, the "Merit System". Not a dime's worth of difference past the terminology. Your score in the written exam is what determines whether or not you'll go further in the process. The minimum passing score is 70%, but for any realistic chance of advancment in the process, a score in the mid to high nineties is generally a must. Each position in the State Service has a minimum education requirement. Most are High School Diploma, some will require a degree. In theory, there is no maximum age. As a pratical matter, there could be when you factor the need for a minimum of twenty to twenty five years service prior to retirement. At your current age, there's no problem there. Education, experience, interview skills can all be plusses, but unless you score well in the initial written exam, you won't get to use them.

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              • #8
                Thank you, this board is a great resource. I have two preliminary applications in right now and I'm at the very beginning of the process.

                I'll keep you updated.

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                • #9
                  hiring practices

                  Hiring practices vary from state to state and agency to agency.

                  The written & physical agility tests screen out a lot of potential candidates. Some agencies then subjectively evaluate the "survivors" and interview those applicants who have passed the initial stages whom the agency wants to "take a look at".

                  Depending upon where you are applying, just passing the written & physical agility tests may or may not mean that you continue on in the process.

                  I myself would be more comfortable with a process based on performance, such as written test scores. An interview can be quite subjective, as can any other sorting process like an assessment center.

                  (I live in Wisconsin, and 60 college credits are required to be certified as an LEO. Some agencies require college work to be in a criminal justice related field. Most do not.)

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