Digging In: Your Background Check After 40 plus years in Fire Service, we have seen a thing or two. We have been asked some great questions. This is always the case when it comes to the background check. Here are a few: What exactly happens during a background investigation? What kind of information does the background investigation dig up? Who do they contact and how? Is it likely they will contact the references I give them? Do they contact family members or friends? Do they try to get the phone numbers of people through them? Here is what we know. [...]
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So far Bob Smith has created 61 blog entries.
Navigating the Background Appeal Even after working with firefighter candidates, we usually hear from them. From time to time, a candidate will call or email when things are good, and when things are not. We are happy to help. Read what situation our friend, John D., ran across. Dear Captain Rob, Once again, I need some advice. About 10 years ago, I got in trouble for having a fake ID. The result was a gross misdemeanor. Because of this, I was recently removed from a hiring process in Washington State. I received a letter from the department that stated I [...]
When the Wheels Come Off the Wagon! The firefighter hiring process includes a Psych Test with an evaluation by a psychologist. When the evaluation goes wrong, the firefighter candidate is eliminated from the hiring process. As you can imagine, the wheels start coming off the wagon. Here is how it goes down. Before the interview, the psychologist will often have you take a separate personality test, fill out a personal family history, a biography, and additional information forms. The biggest mistake firefighter candidates make during the psychological evaluation is thinking there is patient/doctor confidentiality. There isn't. The Psych Evaluator is [...]
Pass the Psych Test the First Time Out! You want to be a firefighter. You have jumped through all the flaming hoops and made it through the background check. Then, you are offered the job pending the medical, which includes a psychological test. You take the test, no problem. Right? Wrong! All of a sudden, the phone stops ringing. Let me tell you about my experience with Bill - a firefighter/medic candidate. Bill had been testing for five years before he received his first job offer. Sadly, Bill failed the Psych Test. I received a phone call from Bill asking [...]
Improving Poor Oral Board Skills If we have said it once, we have said it a thousand times, your scores on the ORAL BOARD are crucial in landing a firefighter position. And can be 100% of what gets you hired. Here is the million-dollar question. What are you doing incorrectly that is keeping you from getting hired? The bottom line is most firefighter candidates don't have the right interview skills and do not practice enough to become good at interviewing. This is true for any job interview. How are you going to impress the ORAL BOARD panel and convince them [...]
The Number One Problem in Getting Hired If your dream has always been to become a firefighter, most likely you understand that there is a process that happens to earn the badge. Chances are you have researched or talked with others about the firefighter hiring process in general. There are applications to fill out and requirements to meet. You know this. Part of this process means that there is an ORAL BOARD interview in your future. It is unavoidable. And, truthfully, this is where most firefighter candidates get hung up. Here is how it goes. You walk to the mailbox. [...]
Physical Agility: Technique, Momentum, and Grip Firefighter candidates don't realize that it's not just strength that is required in physical agility. If you are having problems in the physical, there are steps you can take to prepare. Before I go any further, I want to be clear that the NUGGETS here are technique, momentum, and grip. You do not want any surprises during the Physical Agility. I encourage firefighter candidates to take advantage of any college or academy program teaching the techniques used for pulling hoses, throwing a ladder, dragging a dummy (not you), etc. Many fire departments offer practice [...]
Eliminated on Your PBQ – Where’s the Threshold? Here is a very real situation. You took an online Preliminary Background Questionnaire (PBQ). When you tried to continue, it flashed PERMANENT DISQUALIFICATION! You wonder what the heck happened? Let’s be clear. The Preliminary Background Questionnaire is designed to eliminate candidates early in the hiring process before they spend lots of time and money on those who they would refuse later. You would be surprised at the percentages of candidates disqualified. If you have been disqualified, you may have answered correctly, or incorrectly, yes to a question that led to an automatic [...]
Five NUGGETS for A Successful Firefighter Job Interview After 40 years in Fire Service and much of that on the line, I know a thing or two about earning your badge. I know that nothing else matters to you than becoming a firefighter. Most likely, you have wanted to become a firefighter for as long as you can remember. I understand that being a firefighter is in your blood. Afterall, it is a rare breed that runs toward danger to help another. You are that breed. I talk about NUGGETS quite often. Let me tell you what I mean. Nuggets are [...]
NO! You Are Not Ready! Read my lips – or these words. No matter what you think or no matter how much you have been down this road before, you must accept one cold fact. You are not ready for the firefighter testing process that is required of all firefighter candidates. How do I know? Trust me. After 40 plus years in Fire Service and working with firefighter candidates to help them get the badge, I know a thing or two. Yes, I know your story. I have heard it before. I understand that you have been traveling all over [...]