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William Harvey

William Harvey

William "Bill" Harvey is currently serving as chief of police in south central Pennsylvania. He retired from the Savannah (Ga.) Police Department where he worked assignments in training, patrol, and CID. Harvey has more than 25 years of experience working with recruits, rookies, and FTOs.

How a Regional Hiring Consortium Works

Following a consortium process can open, or close, doors to multiple departments.

March 05, 2012  |  by William Harvey - Also by this author

A police hiring consortium affords opportunities for the applicant as well as the department. They're more popular in certain states, so if you have these in your area or location of interest, utilize them to the fullest.

The consortium process, which is popular here in Pennsylvania, allows candidates to apply for more than one department in a county or region. Let's look at how they work.

In most cases, candidates complete one application. It's usually a basic application rather than a fully comprehensive one required for background investigations, certification (for pre-service), or local human resources/civil service requirements.

These applications allow you to apply to all participating departments, or you can select your preferences. If you don't have a job and need a start, you'll want to check all for maximum opportunities. You will never know who's planning on hiring, and these lists are usually valid for a year.

Make sure that the facts you include on the preliminary application are also stated on the follow-up comprehensive application. Consistent portrayal of information is viewed as a positive in a background investigation. So skip the twists and turns. Background investigations should prove your suitability for the job, rather than giving the investigator a Mickey Spillane mystery to solve.

These processes may have a cost attributed to them. What I have to pay a testing fee to apply for a job? Yes, because they're pooling resources with a standardized process. Most processes will offer an entry level written test and physical agility/ability testing. You've have one big test to pass or fail, so prepare your mind as well as your body.

If you focus, this can be your lucky day with several opportunities. On the flip side, a failure could wipe out the entire county or region. Additionally, you'll only have to test once for this region. If you live or work out of the area and want to submit multiple applications, you'll spend far more on gas, time, and days away from the current job to take multiple tests. The process is a money and time saver for you.

A hiring consortium also benefits departments by pooling resources and offering testing, advertisements, and other associated costs for a fraction of the cost. These are hiring budget savers. It streamlines the process and also maximizes your opportunities.

The process also has its perils. Here's one example. If you apply to another department in a region where you already work, your chief will know you're seeking to jump ship.

In times of tighter budgets, combined hiring events grow nationwide as departments look for greater savings. As with anything else, fully understand the process and comply with the instructions. One error, omission, or mistake can multiply the risks. It's my hope that you'll have multiple departments checking you out as their next recruit. Good luck, but train hard and be prepared!

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