I just received the letter in the mail saying that I passed the written National Fire Fighter Selection Inventory (NFSI) test but failed the Personal History Questionnaire (PHQ). There has to be some mistake. I've been clean all my life. Never had any credit, drinking, drugs, smoking problems. In fact, I have never even touched drugs, alcohol, or smokes. I'm extremely upset right now as I don't know what to do now. Could you please write back as soon as possible at your convenience. Thanks. Jim

Reply: You would be surprised what percentages of candidates are being disqualified from this process.
So you take a written or on-line Preliminary Background Questionnaire (PBQ) that many agencies are starting to use and when you try to continue it flashes PERMANENT DISQUALIFICATION! or, There Could Be a Delay in Your Background. What happened?
Well, you probably answered correctly or incorrectly yes to a question that had a threshold that was an automatic disqualification. You still might not be out of the woods on some of your answers. They could come back to haunt you later in the process. Make sure you go back and double-check your answers. The Preliminary Background Questionnaire is designed to eliminate candidates early on in the hiring process before they spend lots of time and money on those who they would tank later.

So whereís the threshold? Did you answer yes to a question on drug use? How many times? Answer yes to a question on how many times you had drank more than the legal limit and drive? Driving or criminal record? Bad credit?

You can find more on this PHQ process here: http://www.eatstress.com/pbq1.htm

You can take an on-line PHQ for LA City here to see how you fair even if you donít want to continue on with their process: https://personline.lacity.org/job_app/index.cfm

If you donít already know LA City is testing monthly. Thatís right, monthly. If you want to get involved in taking this test check it out here: http://www.eatstress.com/la_city_test.htm