1. #1
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    Default Background Test Question

    I have a couple questions on the background test. The first is whether my reputation in high school will affect my career years down the line. I smoked weed a handful of times my freshman and sophomore years in high school and never really cared for it much. When I knew for certain I wanted to be a firefighter, I made a conscious decision to stop smoking, since the risks definitely outweighed the benefits. After that I forgot about it, and never thought much of it until recently when I read about how extensive a lot of these background checks are. Throughout high school I've been known as a stoner. It's kind of ridiculous, since even when I did smoke it wasn't habitual, but I guess my being laid back combined with long hair led a lot of people to make assumptions. I never really cared or thought much of it until now, but I'm worried this will affect me during the hiring process. None of my managers or coaches will have anything bad to say, and the only thing I can think of my teachers saying is that sometimes I fell asleep in class. I'm known as a hard worker both at my job and on the football field, and I take pride in that, and I would be seriously ****ed if what amounts to high school gossip will mess up my career 4 years down the line. When I am applying to departments I plan to have achieved all my certifications as well as a college degree and served in the military. I obviously won't have this reputation in college, so I guess it's a question of how far back they go.
    The second is whether I should lie about my drug use history on the background examination. Every veteran of the military I've talked to told me to lie about my drug use history to the recruiter. Since almost everyone who grew up in this generation has probably experimented with drugs at one time or another, is "white lying" like this common in the fire service as well? I'm not morally comfortable with it, but I suppose if it's the same as the military where almost everyone lies about it I would grit my teeth and do it. I believe I have a lot to offer the fire service, and if a department is going to judge my character at 22 for some silly stuff I did at 15, I guess I'd check the no box. At the same time I would much rather be up front with the departments about my drug history, but is it an automatic DQ? Is there any leeway whatsoever? How much of a disadvantage does this put me at?

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    Denying drug use is not a "little white lie".
    The very fact that you are considering lying about anything says a lot to your character.

    If and when you make it to the background check, you'll be asked to provide names of friends and people you used to hang out with. In many that I've heard about, since most friends will have nothing but good things to say about you, those people will then be asked to provide names of other people you used to associate with. These usually give a more unbiased glimpse into your personal history.

    So yes, you do need to be forthcoming about your past. As it appears you are trying to reinvent yourself, that can only benefit you.

    Good luck!

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    A handful of times won't kill you. Lying will stop you faster than any other hinderance.
    Tell them the truth

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    Quote Originally Posted by ffbam24 View Post
    Denying drug use is not a "little white lie".
    The very fact that you are considering lying about anything says a lot to your character.
    How exactly does a joint at 15 affect my ability to the job damn near a decade later? I'm only considering lying because it's apparently the norm in the military, and I'm wondering if that's also the case in the fire service. I'm not morally okay with lying, I'm just wondering what the reality of the situation is.

    If and when you make it to the background check, you'll be asked to provide names of friends and people you used to hang out with. In many that I've heard about, since most friends will have nothing but good things to say about you, those people will then be asked to provide names of other people you used to associate with. These usually give a more unbiased glimpse into your personal history.
    How much weight do they put on gossip from people who don't know me well? Because my friends and family, as well as my managers teachers and coaches won't have anything to say about it because I was never a stoner. Will a rumor from high school really come back to bight me in the *** four years down the line?

    So yes, you do need to be forthcoming about your past. As it appears you are trying to reinvent yourself, that can only benefit you.

    Good luck!
    Okay fair enough. And honestly I'm not trying to reinvent myself, I am constantly trying to improve myself but I've been on the right track pretty much all throughout high school, like I said before the stoner thing is a rumor with pretty much no truth behind it. However is any past drug use an automatic dis qualifier? Thanks for the info.

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    Lying in the military is the norm???
    As a veteran and on the job now, I never have and never will tell you to lie in order to get away with something. It's called integrity.
    I sure as hell wouldn't want you on my job!

    Look at it this way: Many people indulged in various things when they were young. It can be written off to being just that; youth. You made the decision to quit and have made efforts to improve yourself. A BGI is going to dig into your distant and immediate past. They will determine if you have changed. Now just don't lie about it.

    In some departments, drug use is an automatic DQ. In some others it is not. You have to do some legwork and ask them. But offhand, since it was almost ten years ago, I wouldn't sweat it much.

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    So are you in the military now ?

    Are you in college now?

    Yes admit to what you did, there is a thing called a polygraph

    If you have kept every i other aspect of your life clean you should be ok

    Most applications just ask for personal references and employment history , and those are the people contacted Normaly they do not go back yo your school

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    If you lie to me as a Background Investigator...your done. If you are asked.."Have you ever..?" Then tell them you have with an exclamation. Nobody is perfect and trust me when I say this.....I have and always will fail anyone who lies during an Investigation or Background...Period. Now if you choose to lie because someone has told you it's ok.....don't.
    Respectfully,
    Jay Dudley
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    Lifetime Member CSFA
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