1. #1
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    Oct 2002

    Default Dear Future Firefighter.....

    Dear Future Firefighter,

    I am on my second hiring round in the last 10 months. I hired seven firefighters last April (even though I tried to hire 8)and am trying to hire 5 right now. I don't even have a fifth viable candidate. We have completed the written, CPAT, and interviews. I started with 48 and now have 4 ready to hire...no number 5.

    So here are a few questions to you,

    Why don't future firefighters know that Drug use, even casual reflects at the polygraph? ...and worse yet, when you failed to disclose you were found untruthful. (I understand about youthful indiscretions and poor life choices, just don't lie to me about it).

    Why did you wear frayed blue jeans to the interview after you were told to dress for the interview? The open plaid shirt over the undershirt didn't help either. (Maybe mom and dad can help you prepare, I’m sure they know how to prepare for interviews)

    When I asked you why you wanted to work for our proud department you said, "I like the days off." (Be honest…just not THAT honest)

    I know you chewed gum because you were nervous, but why were you blowing bubbles and popping them while I spoke to you. (That just ****ed me off, I’m human too)

    3 of the firefighters I tried to hire last May moved and changed their phone number without telling me, so I passed over you. Sorry, but the last 3 hired did want me to tell you thanks! (what can we learn from this lesson?)

    I know the word "Gay" is used commonly in High School, but you are not in High School any longer. So the next time you are asked how you feel about responding to first responder calls, please don't answer "That sucks, sick people are so gay". (Welcome yourself to the adult world with style and class)

    The only reason I have not given up all hope is because last May I hired 7 of the best recruits I have seen in many years. I am so proud of their performance. The 4 I have now are truly keepers. If I have to give up hiring until next round to find the last one, I'll be looking for you.

    I wrote this at a 5th grade level so if you need help find a truckie (just kidding).

    Stay Safe


  2. #2
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    Dec 2003


    please tell me you are joking

  3. #3
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    Jul 2003


    All very good points Jeff but I don't like the idea of my parents helping get dressed for the interview.

    Liesure suits went out a long time ago

    Good luck in your search for candidates

  4. #4
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    Oct 2002

    Angry Here's a suggestion


    You know, you probably have already found that last recruite, you just passed over him for a STUPID reason. That reason would be the dreaded POLYGRAPH TEST. I mean, what a stupid test. Over 80% of the time the test gives false results. Anybody who has to take a polygraph test is going to be stressed to some level. And that is the main thing that the man and his machine look for, STRESS. And, for a employer to justify employment through a machine; What does that say about the kind employer? So, if you want that last recruite, go back and review all those "has been" applicants and see if you don't find that even though parts of theirs past are a little shady (isn't everybodies), all and all they would make a GREAT employee. Look at there written test scores, CPAT scores, BPAT scores, and interview scores. My suggestion is this. Take everything into consideration. Don't base your decision on a man and his machine. You would be better off making your own judgment of another man and not letting a machine that a man made make it for you. Reason why, you might ask? There are plenty of good/ honest firefighters out there that get overlooked because a man with his silly machine says that they are not good enough or honest. And if you think for an instant that any of your current employees are the cream of crop when it comes to honesty. You better think again.


    a good firefighter and past victim of the machine

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    Apr 2003
    Orlando, Florida


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  6. #6
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    Oct 2002

    Default Me Again...

    Spyonline...No kidding. We are not unique. Talk to others who give Orals and they will have the same kinds of horror stories. now, THAT would be a good thread!

    JG..."You know, you probably have already found that last recruite, you just passed over him for a STUPID reason."

    FYI, 2 of the last 4 "failed" but we did use common sense with the responses given. We look at the whole exam along with the areas of concern. You should not be so quick to assume we are incompetent in our efforts.

    When I candidate admits to being repeatedly untruthful while still being hooked up, I'll take that as a good job by the examiner.

    Sooooo to end your point, NO we still have not found our last one.

    The quest continues...

    Stay Safe and Stay Clean!

    Last edited by Ashift30; 01-04-2004 at 02:53 PM.

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    Jun 2003


    Ashift30-i saw under your name that your from texas. I live i texas and was wondering what city you work in? I bought a suit just for my interviews and all the places i've tested have always been paramedic prefered and there has always been so many applicants that they get the firefighter/paramedics. I am starting classes to get my paramedic certification next month becasue i've realized that if you want to get on at a good department, most of the time you need to be a paramedic.

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    As for the reaction to the polygraph I am not sure where you get your percentages from as far as 80% inaccurate. Polygraphs have been used in the court system for a long time and with good results. In fact they have been proven to be over 80% correct. Perhaps you got your information wrong.
    Regardless, If you have ever actually taken a polygraph it is not about finding your errors in life but more of a moral test of character. If the polygrapher is worth anything, the questions are explained first, you can give all your information then, answer all the questions so there is NO surprises then the test is given 3 times. I am not going to lie to you, I was stressed as hell taking mine but I was comfortable that I told as much as I could remember and during the test I was confident I told the truth, therefore I passed the test. I doubt Jeff put all his eggs in one basket but with Fire/rescue/ems in the increasing spotlight one has to be selective in the process, some take over a year to get hired. To cast aside people who do not have the moral char to just simply tell the truth is more then understandable.

  9. #9
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    Aug 2002
    San Francisco Bay Area

    Default Really

    Are Polygraph Tests Lying to Us?

    This article is from the Baltimore Sun. It should give you an insight to the polygraph delimma:

    Tests: Mixed reading of Lee's nuclear secret data, federal
    employee opposition to taking lie detectors 'reignite'
    80-year-old controversy.

    By Michael Stroh
    Sun Staff
    Originally published Nov 3 2000

    When physicist Wen Ho Lee first denied
    leaking U.S. nuclear secrets to the Chinese, authorities from
    the Department of Energy in 1998 wired him to a polygraph
    to see if he was lying.

    The Los Alamos National Laboratory scientist passed.

    But when a polygraph expert from the FBI looked at the
    same test results later, he concluded that Lee had not told
    the truth.

    How could the same lie detector test lead investigators to
    exactly opposite conclusions?

    The case of Lee, who eventually pleaded guilty to one
    felony count of mishandling classified information, has left
    law enforcement experts trying to answer the same
    fundamental questions that have existed since the invention
    of the lie detector 80 years ago: Does the polygraph
    actually work? And is it fair?

    "It's reignited this smoldering controversy," says Steven
    Aftergood, a senior research analyst with the Federation of
    American Scientists in Washington. In an essay being
    published today in the journal Science, Aftergood argues
    that a new federal policy requiring nearly 20,000
    employees of the national nuclear weapons laboratories to
    take lie detector tests is having undesirable effects.

    The policy has lowered morale, Aftergood writes, and
    caused some of the nation's most gifted scientists to leave,
    and made it harder for the labs to recruit talented young
    researchers for the weapons programs. The use of the
    polygraph, he writes, "symbolizes the defeat of reason by
    the national security state."

    Despite such criticisms, the use of the polygraph test is on
    the rise.

    Congress banned private industry's use of lie detectors as a
    condition of employment in 1988, but they are routinely
    used for employee screening at the FBI, Central Intelligence
    Agency, National Security Agency and local police
    departments around the country. The percentage of law
    enforcement agencies using polygraphs for this purpose
    rose from 16 percent in 1962 to 62 percent in 1999,
    according to a survey by Michigan State University's
    School of Criminal Justice.

    There's also a growing market for polygraphs outside law
    enforcement. The American Polygraph Association, the
    largest polygraph accrediting and licensing organization in
    the country, reports that its membership has risen past 2,000
    and is continuing to grow.

    Private polygraph examiners handle everything from fishing
    tournaments to divorce cases. Winners of the annual Big
    Rock Blue Marlin Tournament in Morehead City, N.C., for
    example, must submit to a polygraph before collecting any
    prize money (to make sure they haven't stuffed rocks in the
    gut of their prize catch).

    Lie detectors aren't designed to detect lies as much as the
    subtle physical changes that may occur when a person tells
    a lie. The word "polygraph" means "many writings," and
    that is what the polygraph machine produces: lots of
    squiggly lines on a scrolling piece of paper.

    The test works like this: A subject is seated in a chair. Two
    rubber belts are wrapped around his chest and stomach to
    measure breathing patterns. A blood pressure cuff is
    wrapped around an arm. A metal plate attached to the
    fingers measures sweat gland activity.

    The polygraph examiner then asks the person a series of
    questions. Some of the queries are "control" questions
    unrelated to the matter under investigation but establish a
    base line of the person's blood pressure, respiration and
    perspiration. Other questions directly address the actions
    under scrutiny.

    The examiner interprets the person's physiological response
    to each of the questions, as recorded on scrolling paper, to
    judge whether the person is lying. And thus the uncertainty
    about polygraph results: they are a matter of judgment.
    "There's no red light or siren that comes on when the person
    lies," says Milton O. "Skip" Webb Jr., president of the
    American Polygraph Association.

    The roots of the modern lie detector stretch back to
    antiquity. Like modern methods, early techniques to ferret
    out lies often relied on the behavior exhibited by liars -
    sweaty palms, dry mouth, shifting gaze, racing pulse.

    In China, for example, suspected liars were fed a handful of
    dry rice. If they could spit it out, the thinking went, they
    were telling the truth. If the rice stuck to their tongue, they
    must have something to hide.

    The modern quest to detect liars using technology began
    with Cesare Lombroso, an Italian criminologist who in
    1895 published a book called "The Criminal Man" in which
    he described his efforts using an early instrument to
    measure changes in blood pressure to determine whether
    several criminal suspects had lied.

    In 1915, Harvard psychologist William Moulton Marston
    picked up on these early studies and devised a primitive lie
    detector based on blood pressure. According to
    psychologist and polygraph historian David Lykken, it was
    Marston, a colorful P.T. Barnum-like character, who was
    among the first to realize the lie detector's commercial

    In 1938, Look magazine described how Marston sometimes
    used his lie detection techniques in marital counseling. He
    also showed up in full-page ads testfying to the close shave
    offered by Gillette razors: "New Facts about Shaving
    Revealed by Lie Detector!" (Using the pen name "Charles
    Moulton," Marston would also invent the comic strip
    character Wonder Woman, whose magic lasso could force
    those held to tell the truth. )

    But John A. Larson, a Berkeley, Calif., police officer, is the
    person generally credited with inventing the modern
    polygraph machine. In 1921, Larson, who eventually
    became a doctor, devised an instrument that could
    simultaneously record blood pressure, pulse and
    respiration. Later tinkerers improved upon Larson's design
    by adding sensors to measure perspiration.

    Over the years scientists have tried to determine whether
    the polygraph actually works. But accurate studies are hard
    to do. "The science is not solid," says Aftergood, in part
    because investigators can rarely learn independently
    whether a subject who passed a polygraph test was indeed
    telling the truth.

    In some studies, volunteers are recruited to be pretend
    criminals and then subjected to a lie detector test. But the
    results of such work, critics argue, don't mimic reality. "It's
    impossible to make the stakes as high in an experiment as
    they are in real life," says Aftergood.

    Still, proponents of the polygraph argue the device is
    accurate in better than 90 percent of cases, and note that it's
    not uncommon for other types of test results to be open to

    "Your doctor can have you take a chest X-ray and say, 'I
    don't see anything.' Then he sends it over to a radiologist
    and the radiologist finds something the first doctor doesn't
    see," says Webb. "Happens all the time."

    But enough guilty people have slipped past the polygraph to
    have given law enforcement officials pause. Most federal
    and state courts do not allow polygraph results to be
    entered as evidence.

    CIA employee Aldrich Ames, for example, passed lie
    detector tests despite selling U.S. secrets to the Russians
    for more than eight years. There's also a mini-industry of
    Internet sites and books such as "Deception Detection:
    Winning the Polygraph Game" that purport to teach people
    how to beat the test.

    "College students with 15 minutes of explanation can beat
    the lie detector," says David Lykken, a retired psychologist
    from the University of Minnesota. "Anybody who is
    working as a spy has been taught how to beat the
    polygraph." The advertised techniques range from curling
    one's toes to biting one's tongue during control questions to
    mislead the examiner.

    Still, even critics of the polygraph acknowledge that it has
    led to admissions of guilt that they might not otherwise have

    "The polygraph itself functions as a prop more than anything
    else," says Aftergood. "Yet, there are cases every year in
    which the prop works."

    By Michael Stroh
    Sun Staff
    Originally published Nov 3 2000

  10. #10
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    Jan 2004


    If only I had to compete with the slobs you interviewed...I was fortunate to only have to test twice to get hired. It did require an almost perfect score on the written and here in philly there is no physical. I took my test in October of 2001 scored 99% and ranked within the top 150 with a class of 40 and a class of 80 hired before me it still took until June of 2003. But, so as not to get a bunch of your hopes up out there, it doesnt look like another test will be given for at least 1.5 years. But on the bright side, it does give people the opportunity to establish residency within the city limits for 1 yr prior to testing. 10 point veterans preference and a minority consent decree alter the straight test score so look out if you want to get hired. Good thing is the last test read like a coloring book, and the next probably wont be any different.

  11. #11
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    Oct 2003
    Big Rock, IL

    Angry Not Right

    The whole hiring process is screwed up anyway. Why base your hiring over a test and a lie detector test. Out here if you don't score good on a written test about math, english, and history; you can't even get into an interview. Oh well, I feel bad for people who live in some of these towns, not all but a few of them.

  12. #12
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    Nov 2003
    A firehouse in Illinois


    in most criminal cases the pass or fail grade off polygraphs do not stand alone. Thats why there are Many reasons why a candiate will be selected or not. its not just the test, right?

  13. #13
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    Aug 2002
    San Francisco Bay Area

    Default Caution

    Often it's what you say before and after you're hooked up on the poly that can sting you and cause problems. For more on the poly check out www.polygraph.com

    You can find more on testing secrets in the Career Article section from the Jobs drop down menu just above this posting.

    “Nothing counts ‘til you have the badge . . . Nothing!”

    Fire "Captain Bob"


  14. #14
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    Oct 2002
    NW Chicago


    I have taken more than one polygraph test. Didn't have any trouble. I found if you are completely truthful about your past and upfront with the person giving the test, you won't fail. The fact that this Eat Stress links to a website openly promoting a "system" to defeat a polygraph raises questions about it.

    I used a system my father told me about. Don't lie.
    IACOJ, Flatlander Division

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