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  1. #1
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    Default Psychological test/background interview

    My husband is going out to Las Vegas for their next steps in hiring. He has to complete the "suitability" test (psychological) and a background interview. He has been on a full-time dept a long time and has worked as a contractual employee for two other depts. In doing so, he has had to pass two psych tests already. I have read what Capt Bob has to say about the psych test and we ordered the Don McNea preparation kit for the psych test. We understand that the biggest part is consistency. He has a squeaky clean record, no tickets, arrests, nothing. He has a long work history with one dept full time and two other depts on a contractual basis. I don't even know what my real question is here, just wish we knew something more concrete than we do. It has been a long year and a half of trying to get hired with Clark County Fire Dept or Las Vegas FD.

    Capt Bob (or anyone else for that matter), if you could give one piece of advice to a "veteran" going into these next two steps, what would it be. Thanks


  2. #2
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    Default Forty Percent Fail!!!!

    Ordering the Don McNea program from www.fireprep.com to prepare for the written portion of the MMPI-2 is a great start.

    I hate to get calls from candidates who have great credentials and have taken previous psych tests like your husband asking, ďWhat do I do now?Ē Because they went in thinking they were prepared and the doctorís evaluation was not favorable. The sad part is they donít know what went wrong and they canít see the results.

    The wheels start coming off the wagon of most candidates during the interview with the psychologist. This is where up to 40% fail. Yes, you can prepare. They are too often caught flat-footed because they want the job so bad they will tell the psychologist anything they want to know. The key is to only answer the questions asked. Donít toss anything out, get chatty, and think this guy is their friend. BIG ERROR!

    Donít take the bait on statements like um your IQ was low when this is not an IQ test. Statements like your wife is probably an air head, to get you to react. Or, why did you mark that you took drugs up to 50 times, have up to 5 drinks a night, etc., when you didnít just to get your reaction.

    You wrote: I have read what Capt Bob has to say about the psych test

    If you only read the information on the web site, thatís not all you need to know. Hereís more http://www.eatstress.com/psych.htm

    If I can help you further please call me at 888-238-3959

    "Nothing counts 'til you have the badge . . . Nothing!"

    Fire "Captain Bob"

    www.eatstress.com

  3. #3
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    Default More on the Psych and Background

    After you have jumped through all the flaming hoops you donít want to be caught flat-footed for the remaining steps in the hiring process. Itís 3rd down and 2 yards to go for the badge. You want to convert. You want to convert every step of this process the first time through the line, or you could be thrown for a loss, thrown in the penalty box, out of the game, and trying to fight your way back in.

    You can spin this anyway you want. But ask yourself if you would you show up without preparing for the written? Not in shape for the physical agility? Have you discovered you just canít wing the oral? Then, why doesnít it make since to prepare for the remaining portions of the hiring process, the background, psych, poly and medical?

    Donít be so naive to believe by the 4 inches between your ears you have an explanation that everything in your past will be overlooked, especially if itís something you werenít required to reveal in the first place. If you do, you might still believe in the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. Come on in said the spider to the fly. Donít take the bait! Itís not the department but the background investigators and the psychologist that could take you out. These people are not your friends. They are experts being paid to eliminate you from the process. The deck is stacked against you before you show up.

    I get the calls when the background has not gone right for too many candidates. The first words out of their mouth when I pick up the phone is usually, "What do I do now?" I ask them two questions. First, were you honest to a fault leaving not rock unturned? Did you volunteer information that you were not required to give? They usually answer yes to both. Than thatís probably why you failed. The defense rests.

    A candidate just called and said the background investigator told him a poly would be given to verify his information. My first question, ďWas it listed on the job announcement that there was going to be a poly? No. If it was not included in the job announcement and or they are going to give a poly to everyone else, thatís BS. The Las Vega process where they included in their back groud packet that a poly or voice stress analyzer could be used to verify information. Itís not uncommon for a background investigator or psychologist to say, ďWill you submit to a poly to verify your answers? Or, a poly could or will be given at the end of the process.Ē Are they lying? Yep. Wait a minute, I thought everyone was not suppose to tell the truth here? Iím not aware of any test where the candidates were held hostage with the threat of a poly being given, when it was not included with the job announcement, and they had to take one. I know of candidates who were turned down and wanted to take a poly to prove they were telling the truth and they couldnít get one because they would have to give it to everyone else.

    They often say, I didnít think what I told them was any big deal, but some of those little things that I really didnít have to talk about amounted to causing me big problems in the process. As one candidate said, "Hey, Iím not a bad guy. But I volunteered a little something here and then there. By the time they got done with me, they made me look like Charles Manson! "

    I had a chance to work with a psychologist in preparing our Conquer the Psychological Interview Special Report. I couldnít believe some of the answers candidates tossed out in their interview with the psychologist. When I asked the psychologist how did you get them to say that? He smiled and said, "We just asked them." Wouldnít you want to be prepared so you wouldnít just blurt out something you were not required to say?

    I want candidates to be prepared for each step of the hiring process, where the land mines are and understand the ramifications of the information they present in the process.

    You have spent all this time gaining education, experience and training to get this job. You finally get a shot at the badge. You get a conditional job offer. Youíre ecstatic. You call family and friends. You meet with the background investigator. You think heís your pal. You go for your psych. No big deal right? Then a letter arrives from the department withdrawing their job offer. Youíre stunned! There has to be a mistake. You want to talk to someone. You had the explanation you knew they would accept. No one will talk to you. Youíre out of the process. The reason? You walked in flat-footed not prepared for the remaining segments of the hiring process.

    As one candidate wrote: As for Backgrounds; they tell you to be honest. But sometimes being honest can bite you in the ***. When a Background is being conducted the only obvious things they could find out are things like your driving, criminal and credit history. Don't be stupid and write down references that hate you. I've know some good people that should be fireman/cops but get disqualified for being to honest.

    Youíre a free agent. Make sure you prepare for the hiring process in a way that will best put you in a position for a badge.


    ďNothing counts Ďtil you have the badge . . . Nothing!Ē

    Fire "Captain Bob"

    www.eatstress.com

    888-238-3959
    Last edited by CaptBob; 06-27-2004 at 11:06 AM.

  4. #4
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    Default background/psych

    Capt. Bob,
    In the background packet it says that a lie detector/voice analyzer could be used. Also, my husband had taken a psych test for his contractual job and the psychologist told him that he has never seen someone do so well, except maybe a priest. Is that good or bad?

    Second, do most candidates answer honestly or the way they know they should answer. I have read some sample questions and, to me, it seems pretty easy to see what answers would be acceptable for job of firefighter.

    So basically you're saying to keep oral answers short and sweet, don't offer up any more than what they are asking and don't get rattled by a psychologist's games.

    Here is the info we know: 140 candidates have made it this far. LVFD looking to hire 15-20 for this first class. I guess I am looking for what would put him at the top of this 140 (depending on how many make it through these next two steps)that is in his control. The guy we know that works for LVFD says that my husband's 13 years of medic experience will be looked highly upon, but his 14 years of firefighter experience may not be, he might not want to learn new ways. In his defense, he works for three depts that all do things differently and has never had a problem with adjusting. Should he bring that up if the question arises? Do you see the 14 years of ff experience a detriment?

    Lastly, who does the background interview? FF personnel or someone else? Sorry for all of the questions...just getting pretty nervous for him!
    Thanks

  5. #5
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    Default Focus

    Sorry for all of the questions...just getting pretty nervous for him!

    This is normal when you get into the hiring process. All kinds of sea monsters are created. I often get calls from the ladies in the candidates lives. When what you have posted so far I believe your husband is going to do just fine.

    In the background packet it says that a lie detector/voice analyzer could be used.

    Yea, I know what it says. But Iím not aware of any test where the candidates were held hostage with the threat of a poly being given and they had to take one. I know of candidates who were turned down and wanted to take a poly to prove they were telling the truth and they couldnít get one because they would have to give it to everyone else.

    Also, my husband had taken a psych test for his contractual job and the psychologist told him that he has never seen someone do so well, except maybe a priest. Is that good or bad?

    Well, I know this has happened. A candidate was told in his interview that he was too perfect; that no one is this perfect. They let him take the written again with the same results. His results were determined inconclusive and was turned down. He has since been hired by another department.

    Second, do most candidates answer honestly or the way they know they should answer. I have read some sample questions and, to me, it seems pretty easy to see what answers would be acceptable for job of firefighter.

    Yes, Good observation.

    So basically you're saying to keep oral answers short and sweet, don't offer up any more than what they are asking and don't get rattled by a psychologist's games.

    Thatís correct.

    Here is the info we know: 140 candidates have made it this far. LVFD looking to hire 15-20 for this first class. I guess I am looking for what would put him at the top of this 140 (depending on how many make it through these next two steps) that is in his control.

    Heís already there! The last steps in the hiring process are pass/fail. He wouldn't be going forward unless that were interested in him.

    The guy we know that works for LVFD says that my husband's 13 years of medic experience will be looked highly upon

    Sure.

    but his 14 years of firefighter experience may not be, he might not want to learn new ways.

    Yea, everyone becomes an expert here.

    In his defense, he works for three depts that all do things differently and has never had a problem with adjusting. Should he bring that up if the question arises?

    Yes, only if it is brought up. Then give this brief condensed answer.

    Do you see the 14 years of ff experience a detriment?

    No, as long as he leaves his time and rank in the locker of his old department and understands how it is to be a snott nose rookie again.

    Lastly, who does the background interview? FF personnel or someone else?

    Depends on the agency. I would think the PD would conduct the background. If I were to bet, my money would be on your husband. Have you checked out housing yet?

    Call me if you have more questions.

    ďNothing counts Ďtil you have the badge . . . Nothing!Ē

    Fire "Captain Bob"

    www.eatstress.com

    888-238-3959

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