Experience seems to be something of a determining factor in hiring. Ask any fresh faced college graduate with a liberal arts degree and mountain of debt about how many jobs these days seem to require 3-5 years experience to get in the door.
This might be becoming more and more of a problem because a fair amount of job applications these days are done online, and they are high-graded by a computer before a human being even gets to see them (See this Click-Bait Fluff Article I pulled from the Google)
Unless you are working for a fairly large municipal service or a hospital, we in EMS are lucky to avoid a fair amount of those systems.
But that doesn't preclude EMS folks from having to deal with specific absurdities when it comes to getting a job, the single biggest hurdle that I think exists is that nebulous idea of Experience.
Earlier in my life in EMS, I made the mistake of assuming that since I had an EMT card, I would be able to get a job.
I am lucky enough to have come into EMS from the outside. I wasn't a fire fighter, I wasn't a volunteer, my dad, mom, uncle Jon Jon...whoever, wasn't involved in our little corner of public service.
Given my previous work history, I made the mistake to assume that EMS was a job, that I should get paid to do, so the idea of just showing up and volunteering until someone decided I had enough experience to be given a paycheck didn't occur to me either. And that isn't something I think should happen anyway. We are professionals and should be treated as such.
So I soon figured out that the only place that would hire me is probably a place I didn't want to work, but to get into paramedic school I needed experience so I took a full time job at a For-Profit transfer company.
I worked there for 4 months before I applied for Paramedic school, I had my 50 "calls" on the record and I passed the application process and started Paramedic school probably 7 months after I got a job trucking dialysis patients 0.3 miles back and forth 3 times a week (we did other stuff too).
Surprisingly, I did just fine in Paramedic school having never been on a 911 call prior to starting.
Eventually I got another job at a service that actually does EMS, and surprisingly, I did just fine.
Oftentimes, administrators and managers and supervisors seem to put a premium on experience when hiring, when they should probably weight other factors nearly as much as it.
Things such as affect and professionalism. Trying to quantify such things is much more difficult than filling in the ____ years experience someone has.
The truth is when we say experience, what we really want is Wisdom...I've always like the saying:
Knowledge x Experience = Wisdom
So if you have a provider without appropriate knowledge, it doesn't matter if they have 20 years experience. From what I have seen, years experience oftentimes in inversely proportionally with quality of provider...something something one year experience repeated...blah,blah,blah. It seems to me that the best providers we have tend to cycle out to other careers in 5-10 years because EMS isn't a place people make careers in when they have a passion for medicine, but that's a whole other problem, and is central to the issue of relying on experience as a measure of a decent provider.
I can carry on about this for another thousand words, but we all know it's about who you know anyway. So if you want a job, go call your Uncle Jon Jon down at the Fire Station.