1. #1
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    Default What to expect in Backgrounds

    Hey everyone. Looking for some insight to the background process. I was placed on the list for background investigations for a local department here in CA. What can I expect for this process? I know I will be doing a polygraph test also. I know the general: credit, criminal, driving, and work history. How detailed do they go into each of these categories? I have no criminal history, one traffic ticket 6 or 7 years ago, great credit, and only worked at a handful of jobs. How detailed do they go into your work history? Do they contact all of these places? I only ask because I had a job I worked at when I was 16, now 23, would they contact them, they wont even remember me? I don't want any little thing to knock me out, and be fully prepared.

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    Quote Originally Posted by needlesrat View Post
    Hey everyone. Looking for some insight to the background process. I was placed on the list for background investigations for a local department here in CA. What can I expect for this process? I know I will be doing a polygraph test also. I know the general: credit, criminal, driving, and work history. How detailed do they go into each of these categories? I have no criminal history, one traffic ticket 6 or 7 years ago, great credit, and only worked at a handful of jobs. How detailed do they go into your work history? Do they contact all of these places? I only ask because I had a job I worked at when I was 16, now 23, would they contact them, they wont even remember me? I don't want any little thing to knock me out, and be fully prepared.
    depends on the dept. My boss likes everyone to be contacted. I kind of look at how long ago, how long did they work there, and what kind of job. Now we do ask why you quit, and if the reply needs looking at we will go.
    A lot of employers now a days will only say yes they worked here, but we do ask for co workers and will contact them

    I like to go to city, and county police agencies to see if there has been any contact with the person good or bad, sometimes we find some interesting things, even though the person was not charged.

    we run DL, in and out of state, becasue some peopl forget they had gotten a ticket

    I read one thread recently where they came to your house, now that is maybe going to far, this not the cia


    We do have have a "complete release" that a person signs which says I can look at anything and everything, so sometimes I do get to see complete folders employers have on people.


    If you have nothing in your background and no contact what so ever with PD, and have not been fired, let go, asked to leave you should be ok

    have you run your own driver's license to see what comes up, or visited your local pd to see if your name pops up?

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    Quote Originally Posted by fire49 View Post
    depends on the dept. My boss likes everyone to be contacted. I kind of look at how long ago, how long did they work there, and what kind of job. Now we do ask why you quit, and if the reply needs looking at we will go.
    A lot of employers now a days will only say yes they worked here, but we do ask for co workers and will contact them

    I like to go to city, and county police agencies to see if there has been any contact with the person good or bad, sometimes we find some interesting things, even though the person was not charged.

    we run DL, in and out of state, becasue some peopl forget they had gotten a ticket

    I read one thread recently where they came to your house, now that is maybe going to far, this not the cia


    We do have have a "complete release" that a person signs which says I can look at anything and everything, so sometimes I do get to see complete folders employers have on people.


    If you have nothing in your background and no contact what so ever with PD, and have not been fired, let go, asked to leave you should be ok

    have you run your own driver's license to see what comes up, or visited your local pd to see if your name pops up?
    I have never run my own DL, that's a good idea though. Would they go as far back to talk to an employer that I worked at for a month when I was 16, or look at the other three jobs I have had, related to ems, and all of them I worked at were for 2 years?

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    Quote Originally Posted by needlesrat View Post
    I have never run my own DL, that's a good idea though. Would they go as far back to talk to an employer that I worked at for a month when I was 16, or look at the other three jobs I have had, related to ems, and all of them I worked at were for 2 years?
    It depends on the departments normal policy

    We may go all the way back to your first job, not normal, just depends on a few factors

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    This is my latest experience with a background. When I found out I made it that far they sent me one form that was 27 pages long that they wanted everything to do with your job history, driving record, law enforcement run ins for the past 10 years. They asked for every single address I have ever lived at, they asked me my ex girlfriends last known address and phone number and if any of my friend knew of any way to get a hold of them. They then had a 13 page yes or no question packet. After that I had to go to the city and take a 437 question yes or no psych test and then do a psych interview with a psychologist. I then had to go take a polygraph test all in the same day. After all that I had my background investigator come to my house with another investigator to interview me and go over my background. They asked me if I have ever been a part of a dating website (I met my now g/f of 3 years online) so I said yes. They then pulled out a screen shot of some random website and asked if I knew anything about that and I said no because I had never heard of that website. They had me log on to my facebook and my twitter so they could go through it. It was the most nerve racking process I had ever been through. I ended up getting the thanks but no thanks and was banned from applying to that place for a total of 2 years.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Armyfire245 View Post
    This is my latest experience with a background. When I found out I made it that far they sent me one form that was 27 pages long that they wanted everything to do with your job history, driving record, law enforcement run ins for the past 10 years. They asked for every single address I have ever lived at, they asked me my ex girlfriends last known address and phone number and if any of my friend knew of any way to get a hold of them. They then had a 13 page yes or no question packet. After that I had to go to the city and take a 437 question yes or no psych test and then do a psych interview with a psychologist. I then had to go take a polygraph test all in the same day. After all that I had my background investigator come to my house with another investigator to interview me and go over my background. They asked me if I have ever been a part of a dating website (I met my now g/f of 3 years online) so I said yes. They then pulled out a screen shot of some random website and asked if I knew anything about that and I said no because I had never heard of that website. They had me log on to my facebook and my twitter so they could go through it. It was the most nerve racking process I had ever been through. I ended up getting the thanks but no thanks and was banned from applying to that place for a total of 2 years.
    Now that seems a little to much

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    Quote Originally Posted by fire49 View Post
    Now that seems a little to much
    Most CA depts are doing that these days, investigators are going down neighborhoods knocking on neighbors doors

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    Quote Originally Posted by brian2013 View Post
    Most CA depts are doing that these days, investigators are going down neighborhoods knocking on neighbors doors
    Guess they have the time to do it

    But not sure if they are gaining much info

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    Fire49,
    You seem to be skeptical of the background process as described above. I absolutely guarantee you that all of the above is factual information. I spent 25 years on a major California fire department, promoting to Battalion Chief. I was intimately involved in hiring over 300 firefighters and 100 civilian EMT's. I am very familiar with all of the background processes including the background, psych and polygraph.

    Although I never planned on leaving the department, I tested for and was awarded a position as a Division Chief on a neighboring department. I filled out the California Peace Officer background packet (as described in a post above), and yes, it's 28 pages (for those who are interested, it's posted on my website).

    The background investigator interviewed my wife, my daughter and all of my neighbors (7 different families). He went to my department as expected. I thought he would interview any of the 10 Captains or maybe even some of the 55 firefighters in my district. Instead he went to one of the stations on the other end of town and waited for a rig to come back. He spoke to a random firefighter and asked all about me. He then spoke to the rest of the 15 guys at the station. From there he went to Fire Administration. Of course he spoke to the Chief, but he spent more time speaking to the secretaries and admin analysts to find out how I treated people. And yes, he went really far back into my past.

    So, while it may be that in depth and is may seem a bit excessive to you, that's the way it's done in other parts of the country. I am speaking from personal experience.

    Do we have time to do it? Not really, but it's part of the hiring process. In the end, hopefully we avoid hiring someone who will be a problem for us down the road.

    Gordon Graham, a recognized leader in Fire and Law enforcement says about background investigations - "The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior"-
    I couldn't agree more.
    Last edited by paulLepore; 01-05-2014 at 11:58 AM.
    Paul Lepore
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    Aspiringfirefighters.com
    AspiringFireOfficers.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by paulLepore View Post
    Fire49,
    You seem to be skeptical of the background process as described above. I absolutely guarantee you that all of the above is factual information. I spent 25 years on a major California fire department, promoting to Battalion Chief. I was intimately involved in hiring over 300 firefighters and 100 civilian EMT's. I am very familiar with all of the background processes including the background, psych and polygraph.

    Although I never planned on leaving the department, I tested for and was awarded a position as a Division Chief on a neighboring department. I filled out the California Peace Officer background packet (as described in a post above), and yes, it's 28 pages (for those who are interested, it's posted on my website).

    The background investigator interviewed my wife, my daughter and all of my neighbors (7 different families). He went to my department as expected. I thought he would interview any of the 10 Captains or maybe even some of the 55 firefighters in my district. Instead he went to one of the stations on the other end of town and waited for a rig to come back. He spoke to a random firefighter and asked all about me. He then spoke to the rest of the 15 guys at the station. From there he went to Fire Administration. Of course he spoke to the Chief, but he spent more time speaking to the secretaries and admin analysts to find out how I treated people. And yes, he went really far back into my past.

    So, while it may be that in depth and is may seem a bit excessive to you, that's the way it's done in other parts of the country. I am speaking from personal experience.

    Do we have time to do it? Not really, but it's part of the hiring process. In the end, hopefully we avoid hiring someone who will be a problem for us down the road.

    Gordon Graham, a recognized leader in Fire and Law enforcement says about background investigations - "The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior"-
    I couldn't agree more.

    Agree with all your points
    We do have a book for them to fill out

    Just a matter, unless something is found out how deep a background needs to go.

    Sat through a Gordon graham talk recently, he is one of the better speakers I have ever heard.
    He was talking about safety, but his many stories could be associated with a lot of aspects of life.

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    I guess my question would be out of home visits and knocking on neighbors doors ,

    What per cent out of 100, is any negative info found?

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    You would be surprised how much information a thorough background investigation reveals. The general public has a very high standard of what they think a firefighter should be. If they feel a candidate is unworthy, they will certainly speak up. Does one negative review disqualify a candidate? Of course not, but it does give the investigator cause to look deeper.

    The punks that lived behind me told my background investigator that I was an XXXXXX. When he learned that our conflict was over them swearing and throwing cigarettes in my back yard, he quickly dismissed their review. Fortunately all of the other neighbors had nice things to say.
    Paul Lepore
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    Aspiringfirefighters.com
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