With a comprehensive screening process in place, word has spread that job candidates have to be “stellar” to work at Northwest Fire District. Discovering disqualifying activities before an individual is hired saves the department $35,000 in firefighter training.
TUCSON, Arizona – July 16, 2020 – Northwest Fire District’s (NWFD) hiring events used to draw thousands of applicants. Even after NWFD capped hiring events at 1,000 applicants, and then later at 500 applicants, it would still max out the organization’s ability to effectively identify the best candidates.
Fire Chief Norman K. “Brad” Bradley III quickly implemented a solution upon becoming fire chief in 2018. He concluded applicants would self-select out if they learn that credibility testing is part of the selection process. He learned about a new credibility assessment technology called EyeDetect from Margo Darris, an authorized Converus Service Partner. Bradley initially required EyeDetect as part of the backend screening process, but then found it was more effective at the beginning.
“An applicant who has previously participated in disqualifying activities, such as illegal drug use, looks at the screening technology we’re using and thinks, ‘I’m not going to pass. So, I’m not going to even apply’,” said Bradley. “Word has gotten out that if you want to work for Northwest Fire, you have to be stellar.”
EyeDetect is currently used by more than 50 public safety and other government agencies nationwide. It detects deception in 15-30 minutes by monitoring involuntary eye behavior during an automated, computer-based true/false test. Research shows it’s 86 to 90% accurate. Instead of an examiner, computer algorithms determine whether and examinee is being truthful or deceptive.
Bradley says the unbiased objectivity of EyeDetect sold him.
“EyeDetect is probably one of the single best advancements we’ve made as it relates to the vetting of personnel and shoring up our hiring processes,” said Bradley. “Because fire service is very well respected and trusted by the public, we must do everything we can to ensure employees are trustworthy.”
Prior to EyeDetect, it was later discovered that one candidate NWFD hired had previously engaged in disqualifying activities — despite having passed the mandatory criminal background check and drug test. Due to insufficient time and resources, NWFD seldom checks professional references.
In another case, an applicant made it to a final interview with Bradley. Even though the applicant did extremely well up to that point, something just didn’t feel right to Bradley. So, he called the applicant’s prior supervisor — who strongly recommended not hiring that person. Bradley learned the applicant was a paramedic who had stolen and used drugs from the agency’s drug box.
“That drug use would not have been discovered in a criminal background check,” said Bradley. “It was then I realized we needed a way to prevent such people from applying in the first place and to verify who they really are.”
Bradley says by discovering disqualifying activities upfront before an individual is hired saves his department the initial investment of $35,000 to train a firefighter for 16 weeks. It would also save the hundreds of thousands of dollars eventually invested in an employee through pay, benefits, additional training and education over the course of a 10- to 20-year career.
NWFD is Arizona’s largest fire district. Established in the early 1980s, it has 11 fire stations serving over 122,000 residents and 3,500 businesses in a 151-square-mile area. NWFD has nearly 270 employees, of which 220 are uniformed firefighters. For more information visit: northwestfire.org
For more information about EyeDetect and Converus, visit: converus.com
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Converus provides scientifically validated credibility assessment technologies. EyeDetect® detects deception at 86-90% accuracy in 15-30 minutes by analyzing eye and other behaviors. IdentityDetect® detects falsified identities at 91% accuracy in about 1-3 minutes by analyzing subtle variations in the motor nervous system responses. These technologies help protect countries, corporations and communities from corruption, crime and threats. Converus is headquartered in Lehi, Utah, USA. Visit: www.converus.com
Converus Press Contact: Jeff Pizzino, APR /+1 480-606-8292