1. #1
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    Default Advice from a background investigator

    I found this posted on the emtbravo forums and thought it would be beneficial to repost it here:
    http://www.emtbravowest.com/index.ph...indpost&p=5419

    Quote Originally Posted by a background investigator
    I worked 18 months in backgrounds and may be able to shed some light on this subject. Your chances of becoming a firefighter appear good, however, many factors come into play. First, and foremost is the department's needs at any particular time and the budgetted money available for training. The Training Division likes to have a full class before starting due to a historical attrition rate of about 40%. Therefore, a class scheduled for June may not start until September when a greater number of candidates is available. I also found that with large agencies such as LAFD and LACoFD the less experience you have the better chances you have to get on the job. That seems funny, but look at the comparison to police work. The LAPD would rather hire a person who works at In-N-Out Burger than some goofy mall security guard who is just dying to become a police officer.

    The same holds true for the fire department. Just for grins and giggles one day I asked 6 LACoFD firefighters on a call (4 on the engine 2 on the squad) if any of them worked for a private ambulance service prior to getting on the job. None of them did. 2 were straight out of the military, 1 drove a forklift, 1 worked at a market, 1 just got out of college with only limited work experience and 1 worked as a seasonal hand crew member. For those who have no prior experience, the training is all new to them and they do it exactly as directed. They have no pre-concieved notions about the job. For most, the closest they every got to a fire engine was pulling over for one when it passed them by on a call. One of the things we liked to do was hang out at the physical agility tests (in plain clothes) and listen to people talk among themselves. There was alway one clown we referred to as the "Local Rescue Expert" who tried to impress all the other candidates with his "vast" knowledge of the department and how he was a "shoo-in" to get on. Needless to say, we tried to single that knucklehead out and find a way to fail him.

    My advise to you is to be truthful to your background investigator because many times I already knew the answer to the question I was asking. There's always one ex-girlfriend(boyfriend) who couldn't wait to tell us what a j*rk you were. But more often then not, there were alot of people who wanted to say nothing but good things about you and who were very supportive of your career choice. One of my more memorable comments was from an older man who said, "That little bastard used to put dog s**t in a bag and light it on fire then ring my doorbell and run." After I stopped laughing, I couldn't put this guy's paperwork through fast enough to get him hired. He's still on the job!

    Good luck and Godspeed. Keep in contact with personnel and don't let them forget you. Remember, they already have their fat city job with the associated benefits so they're not in any hurry to get you employed there. We often asked, "Why does it take 4-6 weeks to score a scantron test form that the computer reads in seconds?" They don't want to work too hard or they might be found out for being lazy and the city might lay a few of them off.

    My other piece of advice...Don't do anything stupid that you might get a ticket for or have to explain to the paramedics. Stay out of trouble and away from your partying friends for awhile. And, God forbid, if you're at a party and the cops show up, leave quietly out the back door and get out of there. I used to like to call the local police agency where you lived and asked if they ever had any contacts with you. If you're listed anywhere as a "possible suspect" you can probably kiss your fire job goodbye.

    I looked at these things first: Criminal Record - Driving Record - Credit Report. Next came job history. If you've been fired from your last six jobs, I usually didn't continue with the process. And one final piece of advice...Don't ever refer to your backgound investigator as "Dude!"

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    Take all advice you get such as above with a grain of salt. It is often specific to a certain area and does not apply elsewhere. My FD in the Midwest has not hired anyone off the street w/o experience in 10 years. FF II and Paramedic are required to even take the written test, and we had 125 applicants on the last app period.

    There's some good advice in the first post, but the "no experience" claim isn't always true.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gunnyv View Post
    Take all advice you get such as above with a grain of salt. It is often specific to a certain area and does not apply elsewhere. My FD in the Midwest has not hired anyone off the street w/o experience in 10 years. FF II and Paramedic are required to even take the written test, and we had 125 applicants on the last app period.

    There's some good advice in the first post, but the "no experience" claim isn't always true.
    Good point. This was specific advice for LAFD and LACoFD, so those bits about no experience don't apply everywhere.

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    I work for a major department that neighbors LA County and LA City. While I agree with some of this post, I think this is one man's opinion. Randomly sampling four people on an engine does not show a hiring pattern. For those of you who are seeking a career in the fire service, continue your fire science education and strive to complete a basic fire academy. You will be glad you did.

    I do agree with checking with the local PD as well as credit and employment checks. I also completely agree with observing candidates when they have let their guard down. You get a chance to see the real person. After all, isn't that what the background process is all about?
    Paul Lepore
    Battalion Chief
    www.aspiringfirefighters.com
    Paul Lepore
    Battalion Chief
    www.aspiringfirefighters.com

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    Nor does 18 months equal a lifetime of experience.

    About the only tow pieces of advice that ring true in that post are ones that you guys have read here from most of us for a long time.

    1. Tell the truth
    2. Stay out of trouble.

    The rest of it is one person's (apparently extremely jaded) opinion.
    PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

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    I am sure it is different for every fire dept no matter what the region. I know a well respected dept that hired a former police officer who was fired because he ran into a vehicle and left the scene...while on duty. Crazy I know. There are some depts that do in-depth checks, while others just do a cursory check. As GWCFI can probably confirm though, keeping out of trouble and being honest are paramount.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TurkishFF View Post
    I am sure it is different for every fire dept no matter what the region. I know a well respected dept that hired a former police officer who was fired because he ran into a vehicle and left the scene...while on duty. Crazy I know. There are some depts that do in-depth checks, while others just do a cursory check. As GWCFI can probably confirm though, keeping out of trouble and being honest are paramount.
    George Wendt's seven step program to getting a career FD job. Presented to you here, completely free of charge with no email blasts, no books, no tapes and no websites.

    1. Keep yourself in tip top physical condition.
    2. Do not commit any illegal acts
    3. Tell the truth at all times
    4. Get as much education as possible
    5. Do your research
    6. Act professional
    7. Shut the hell up

    I guarantee that you will get hired.
    PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeWendtCFI View Post
    1. Keep yourself in tip top physical condition.
    2. Do not commit any illegal acts
    3. Tell the truth at all times
    4. Get as much education as possible
    5. Do your research
    6. Act professional
    7. Shut the hell up

    I guarantee that you will get hired.
    You should put that in a book and sell it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JLam77 View Post
    You should put that in a book and sell it.
    Or at least spam it here constantly. That seems to be OK if your name begins with a 'B' or an 'R' and rhymes with 'knob.'
    Last edited by Jwarne2001; 05-02-2008 at 01:18 PM.

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    This reminds me of a candidate I had spoken with................

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    Quote Originally Posted by edge1317 View Post
    This reminds me of a candidate I had spoken with................
    .........at Starbucks, then I invited him home.
    Co 11
    Virginia Beach FD

    Amateurs practice until they get it right; professionals practice until they cannot get it wrong. Which one are you?

    'The fire went out and nobody got hurt' is a poor excuse for a fireground critique.

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