1. #1
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    Default How important is your past?

    Iam a firefighter in Canada who is trying to get hired by a career department. I am very worried about the interview and polygraph when they start asking me about things i have done. At 30 years old, i realize now i made some stupid mistakes growing up. A much more mature person now, i have learned from them. But will a interviewer see it this why? My mistakes include trying marijuana, fighting a bars, and drinking and driving. None of which i do any more. Do I still stand a chnce getting hired? Thanks for any opinions.

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    that all depends on how long ago you done those things. I imagine 8-10 years ago shouldnt be a problem.

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    Default Life Style Polygraph

    The unknown always causes some fear.

    I can tell you that if you are going to that test stage here, you are being sent there to be successful. The recruitment team does not test people unless they think these candidates will be successful at the polygraph.

    Some suggest we are only going to hire Angels who will not fit the job using such a tool. After using this tool for a short time the recruitment team is impressed with how it demonstrates the attitude of an individual. The fact is, a colourful past is not what will hold candidates out. If you are not accountable to that past it may cause recruiters to look to other people who own who and what they are. Does the department want to put you in a position which depends on you, to protect my brothers and sisters on the floor, if you make excuses for actions involving less threatening situations then what you will face out there. Past learning situations will not hold you out, if they are past, and you did learn from them. The public demands much of it's public servants and we expect much of our recruits, no time for excuses.

    The firefighters who hire for a department are able and willing to answer all your questions and they are the experts in their department's process so ask them.

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    well i'm in the same boat as you. i'm 34 and have some things on my record that don't reflect well on me. granted these happened 7-12 years ago, but they are still there. i think the interviewers take into account mistakes as long as you learned from them and don't do them again. some can be chalked up to youthful stupidty others just stupidty. i guess it's in the way you explain them. Capt. Bob is good at some advice. but in the long run i think owning up to it and some honesty are the best. everything we have done in the past is a tool of knowledge for the future. it's made you the person you are today. someone who wants to help people and risk your life doing it if need be. that says alot right there i think. well enough of my rambling hope it helped, if not ingnore it.

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    Thats great, thanks for all of your advice and comments. It makes me feel better that others are in the same boat.

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    Tulsa hit my thought-- I'm surprised CaptBob hasn't stopped by. His radar must be down this weekend, as he's usually involved in anything to do with hiring. A few more postings, and we'll send out the dogs in search of him!

    I don't know enough about what oral boards think, and I'm a little torn about whether full disclosure is wise. If it has a likelihood of rearing its ugly head sooner than later, it might be a good thing to bring up. If I might guess, treating the past as you do your weaknesses (how you've worked to fix something) -- you were like this then but you have taken X number of steps in changing your lifestyle since then.
    ~Kevin
    Firefighter/Paramedic
    --^v--^v--^v--^v--
    Of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong
    Dennis Miller

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    Default Yea, but

    Kevin is right I have visited this one a few times. These items don't normally come up in a structured oral. The problems you will encounter with come up in the background, poly and the dreaded psych. Yes, the longer it has been could work in your favor. The pattern of the events could paint a picture of at least who you were. It's being able to convince those making a decision to take the risk of hiring you.

    No department wants one of their firefighters cited with a DUI. If you have already had a DUI, it's difficult but not impossible to get hired. Candidates who have been cited with wet and reckless (less than a DUI) can also have problems getting hired. A candidate who seldom drinks was stopped after his wedding reception. He was cited for wet/reckless. Even though nothing happened before this incident, over one year later, he is still having problems getting hired.

    If you do a psych, the doctor could DQ you because he might feel (I have actually seen this written on a report from a psychologist) because of the pressures of the job; you could end up drinking more.

    You could try and get the record expunged. You can find out more on this in the "Background Expunged" section under the "Application and Resume" title of the Free "101 Inside Secrets How to Get a Badge" at http://www.eatstress.com/faq.htm

    You should never bring this situation up in an oral interview unless the panel does. Many candidates feel they have to do repair work. It will only bury you. The panel probably won't because this is something that is handled with the background investigator.

    The background investigator is looking for is a reasonable explanation of what happened. Although a DUI is a real, real tough one, this formula can help you overcome this hurdle:

    The simple solution is did this situation happen before or since? If not, it can be considered an isolated incident.

    Pat was in the hiring process recently with LA County. He had been testing for five years. He had not one but two DUI's. He was DQ'd in the hiring process for San Jose and Sacramento in last year. We gave him this problem solution format to let them know he was a viable candidate.

    This is who I was.

    This is what changed.

    This is who I am now.

    This is how he used it:

    He told the background investigator and the psychologist that he didn't think he had a drinking problem, until he got his second DUI and did some jail time (this is who he was).

    He knew this was not the person he was or wanted to be (this is what changed).

    He attended a program to educate himself. He discovered he didn't have a drinking problem, but a behavior situation. He stopped drinking. He went back to school, got his paramedic license, married with children and a model seasoned medic for 8 years. He said it's hard to believe those earlier situations ever occurred. Not once has anything like that happened again.

    Guess what? Pat got hired! He proudly wears the badge for LA County Fire Department.

    "The secret of success is to know something nobody else knows." --Aristotle Onasssis

    Absolutely nothing counts 'til you have the badge. Nothing!

    "Captain Bob"

    www.eatstress.com

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    Default Run Like Hell!

    This is from my son Rob:

    Weíve all heard the stories of people looking for jobs in the fire service, and something they considered a minor problem in their past has kept them out. Lets make sure not to add to that list.

    Nothing will get you kicked out of the background check faster than a D.U.I or a domestic violence charge. Both usually involve drugs or alcohol. Donít be stupid. If you are going to be drinking have a designated driver, get a cab, stay in a motel, hell sleep under a bridge, but donít risk throwing all of the time, education, and dreams you had for so long away over a lapse in judgment.

    If youíve been in a bad relationship, and you donít get along with that person, make it easy on everyone and just stay the hell away from him or her. It is so easy for things to get out of hand and then the police arrive. Later you have to explain it to a background investigator.

    ďBut Iím the best firefighter in the world, if they could just see how good I am theyíd take me for sureĒ. Iíll tell you right now it ainít so. Donít bet on it. If a department has 100 people to pick from, they donít need to take a chance on someone that has blown it in the past. So donít blow it.

    If by chance you end up in one of these situations you need to do everything you can to minimize the damage. Iím not talking about doing a ďBill ClintonĒ, but anything you have to do to make it right. I know one guy who told his girlfriend he wanted to break up, and she thought they were going to get married. In the scuffle that ensued she had a scratch on her face when the police arrived. Someone was going to jail and it wasnít the bride to be. He was being charged with domestic violence, and was in the hiring process for a department. He had to make up, get her to say it wasnít his fault she was scratched, and then keep her happy so she doesnít change her mind.

    With all of the preparation we all must go through to get this job, keep in mind to protect your record. Do every thing you can to not have to be explaining things to a background investigator. Prepare before you go out to have a good time, make all of the necessary arrangements before youíve been drinking, while your head is clear. If you get into any sticky situations that look like they might go bad, there is one solution thatís never failed me RUN LIKE HELL, AND DONíT LOOK BACK.

    Good Luck

    Captain ROB, nrtc@sonic.net

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    Default

    Thanks for all the advice, but maybe i made things seem worse than they were. I have no record of any kind.When i talk about drinking and driving, I mean I've had a couple of beers then drove not that i got hammered. If you take a look at Calgary Fire in Canada.( http://www.calgary.ca/docgallery/bu/..._Statement.pdf )There is a personal history statement where they ask you 51 of these type of questions. This statment is to be sent in with your application.Its this type of thing Iam worried about. I have matured though and i do believe that i am a good person and even that some of these mistake, were helpful in my personal development.

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    Randell,
    I don't think you have any reason to be worried. Calgary is just trying to ensure that the men and woman that wear the uniform and represent the fire department are honest, dependable citizens. Answer the questions truthfully - you'll do fine.
    WILD MAN
    www.whitehorsecombat.com
    "Toughest two minutes in sports!"
    If you want to be hard - you have to train hard!

  11. #11
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    this DUI thing has got me a little concerned. when I was 21 I got a DUI. here in illinois your first DUI results in court supervision meaning you stay out of trouble for 2 years and the DUI doesnt go on your record. I succesfully stayed out of trouble and my DUI is not on my record but I worry that it will come up anyway. Im about to invest alot of time and money into scooling/training to make myself the best possible candidate I can be but It would be a shame if it all went to waste because of something stupid I did 4 years ago that isnt even on my record. do you guys think this will come up for me??

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    Question DUI

    I understand your concern. What the recruitment team at any FD is interested in is proven past performance. If part of your proven performance is to try and hide things, what are they to think? Just how much are you hiding?? There are many other candidates who don't appear to be hiding anything. Who would you pick to place in a position of public trust? Yet if part of your proven past performance is to take ownership of your past........... and your future, you are on the correct track. Integrity is strong currency and should never be given away. Many have unsuccessfully tried to buy their place on a department by taking courses yet they underestimate the value placed on their reputation. Fire departments seek candidates who prove worthy of public trust.

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