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  1. #1
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    Default Is this going to be you?

    You have to pass the psych test first time out!

    Most candidates are more than surprised when I tell them up to 40% fail the psychological test given by many departments.

    I received one phone call and two e-mails from relatives of a firefighter/medic candidate who failed a psych test before the candidate called asking ďWhat can I do now?Ē He had been testing for 5 years and this was the first job offer. I asked him if he knew who we were? Yes. Did you know we had a preparation program for the psych? Yes. Why didnít you get it? I wish I had a dollar for every time Iíve heard this, ďThings were going so great I didnít think I needed it.Ē

    Imagine after all the education, experience and time preparing to get this job like the above candidate . . . and you're eliminated. Then no one will talk to you to find out what happened. I've talked to too many candidates who were devastated and didn't know what to do next. This is a critical part of the testing process you need to prepare for and pass the first time out.

    Youíve jumped through all the flaming hoops and made it through the background check. Then, youíre conditionally offered the job pending the medical, which includes a psychological test. You take the test, no big deal right? Then the phone stops ringing.

    You are out of the hiring process. You are told that you didnít meet the profile. What profile?

    What do you mean I didnít meet the profile? Iíve got training, experience, education, every degree, certificate, merit badge, and a paramedic certification. Iíve been a volunteer, paid member of another department for 10 years, and lived and breathed this job. And, I donít meet the profile?

    Whatís included in the psych test? There is a written test that sets up a profile of you. Then, there is an evaluation by a psychologist.

    Written Test: The most common written portion of the psychological evaluation is the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory interview test of up to 1000 questions. The aim here is not to pass the test but to go into the job fully prepared. Put your pride and natural defensiveness aside. They ask a few questions in several different ways. You want to answer questions ďstrongly forĒ or ďstrongly againstĒ instead of being in the middle undecided. Answer questions to present yourself as a more social, interactive, team playing type of person, i.e., you would rather be in a conversation with others than reading a book alone.

    You can get some insight on how the written test is scored here: http://www.bigdeadplace.com/psyche_eval.html

    Here is a link to a book with the entire MMPI 2 exam in the appendix and most of the relevant scales.
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/081...lance&n=283155

    Some written tests include an Ink Blot Test. You can find out more about this test here: http://www.deltabravo.net/custody/rorschach.php

    The Evaluation: This is where the wheels start coming off the wagon for too many candidates.

    Before the interview, the psychologist will often have you take a separate personality test, fill out a personal family history, a biography and additional information forms.

    The biggest error candidates make during the psychological evaluation is thinking there is a patient/doctor confidentiality even when the doctor has them sign a release that there is not. This is not your family doctor. Guess whoís paying the bill?

    What gets candidates in trouble here is they want this job so bad that they will say and do almost anything to get it.

    Although I donít encourage candidates to be less than truthful, those candidates who are honest to a fault diminish their chances of passing the psychological interview! That's right. You folks want this job so bad you will tell the psychologist anything they want to know. Even stuff they didnít ask you. Once you start down this road of total honesty, creating trails where you don't have to, tossing out more information than was asked for thinking this guy is your friend is where you get into big trouble. Especially when the psychologist says, "Everyone has skeletons in their closet, this interview is not designed to eliminate you from the processĒ, or ďyou don't want to be too squeaky clean." So you open up. Then the phone stops ringing and no one will talk to you. You are out of the process Mcfly. And, you don't know why.

    So what should you do?

    Only answer the question youíre being asked. Before you volunteer information, think before you speak. If they want to know more they will ask. Donít appear to be closed but warm and cordial. Present your ideas clearly. Donít ramble or chat. Be articulate. This is how youíre going to be in the field. Believe it or not this is part of the job interview. You are making an impression of who you are going to be as a firefighter.

    Make sure you dress up and donít slouch. Be prepared to audition for the part of being a firefighter. Know your strong points. Be prepared to demonstrate you are a team player.

    A large city fire department called in twelve candidates for the psychological interview. Only three passed. They sent in six more, only two passed. Another six more were tested. Again, only two passed. All those who passed were our candidates. They prepared in advance with our special report that took us over a year to compile to let them know where the land mines were before they went in. Ask them if it was worth knowing what was a coming?

    This from a new firefighter:

    I want to comment on your psych test information and report. I had to take one for two departments. Well all I know is that I went into the test and followed your advice. I tried to answer the questions as honestly as I could, while presenting myself as a very positive social person. Some of the "experts" out there say that you should be brutally honest on the test. Well 3 good guys I know did just that, and they did not pass either test. We lost 10 out of 25 guys on one test! In all honesty I might not have passed either if I hadn't followed your advice. I feel that is a very dangerous test, and some of the advice these people are giving out is costing great candidates a job. I wanted to let you know that your advice worked, and I owe you much thanks! Steve.

    This from an in service firefighter: During the last hiring process 2 years ago the psychologist passed 10 people. Of those 10, 2 have quit, 2 have been fired, and 1 committed suicide. I wonder if he is worth what the city pays him to evaluate prospects? Have a nice weekend.

    More on the psych here: http://eatstress.com/psych.htm
    ______________________________ _______________

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

    Fire "Captain Bob"

    www.eatstress.com


  2. #2
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    I have my psych interview coming up and i have already heard of a few canidates that have been eliminated at this interview. I know one of the questions is about alcohol. They ask something along the lines of "can/could you drink six beers" i know to definetly answer NO, but do you know what they are looking for here????

  3. #3
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    Default How Much????

    Here's where this question could go:

    If you occasionally drink alcohol and get drunk on your birthday and at a barbeque last summer, that is one thing. But if youíre getting hammered a couple nights a week and on weekends, this will raise some questions. Please think first if the doctor asks the question how many drinks would you have at a party and still drive home. Anyone who might answer maybe two could send a message that they will drink and drive. No department wants their firefighters being nailed on drunk driving charges. Responsible people arrange for a designated driver.
    ______________________________ _______________

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

    Fire "Captain Bob"

    www.eatstress.com

  4. #4
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    Default Psych

    I just had a psych test and the question they asked was "When was the last time you had more than one drink in the same hour and drove home" I replied, do you mean two drinks between five and six and drove home at midnight or two drinks between five and six and drove home that same hour. She had no answer, So I told her I don't know maybe 7 or 8 years ago. Don't have a clue what the right answer would have been but I'm still in the process for now.

    Jamin

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamin969 View Post
    I just had a psych test and the question they asked was "When was the last time you had more than one drink in the same hour and drove home" I replied, do you mean two drinks between five and six and drove home at midnight or two drinks between five and six and drove home that same hour. She had no answer, So I told her I don't know maybe 7 or 8 years ago. Don't have a clue what the right answer would have been but I'm still in the process for now.

    Jamin
    Your job in the psych interview is to not attempt to establish banter with the doc. Is that how you're going to be as a rookie? Might have been why she didn't have an answer for you.

    How do you know that you're still in the process?
    ______________________________ _______________

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

    Fire "Captain Bob"

    www.eatstress.com

  6. #6
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    Default

    It doesn't seem unfair to ask for clarification about a question. If my captain asks me a question and I'm not sure what he means, I ask for clarification so I can give him my honest answer. I hope that doesn't come off as banter...

  7. #7
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    Default Psych

    I was offered a conditional based on my medical which is this week. I didn't think it came off as banter but I see how it could be taken that way. Good point for future thanks

    Jamin

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamin969 View Post
    I was offered a conditional based on my medical which is this week. I didn't think it came off as banter but I see how it could be taken that way. Good point for future thanks

    Jamin
    Good work. They wouldn't be sending you to the medical if you had not passed the psych.

    Do you have any concerns about the medical?
    Last edited by CaptBob; 02-11-2007 at 06:56 PM.

  9. #9
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    CaptBob i know in the passed you have mentioned that in califonia you can appeal your psych test if you fail due to it being part of you medical exam. Do you know if this holds true for Minnesota or who i could contact to find out? I guess i really shouldnt worry about it and just go an pass my psych!

  10. #10
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    I think the psych tests aren't exactly fair. I don't think for one second they are to "find" the best candidate but rather weed out those they already don't want. Sure, it costs the department a lot of money and they are "serious" about you if your taking a psych, but when the rest of the hiring process is pass or fail (and you know your results quickly), they have no choice, you keep advancing until this comes along. Then it is up to the doctor to determine your mindset. In the 3 years of me finding a full time FF job, I've taken 4 psych tests. On one test, the first one, I answered honestly on everything. Nope, didn't pass. On the second one I answered how THEY wanted it, Nope, didn't pass either. On the third try I just mixed it up. Still nothing. Got hired on without even taking one.

  11. #11
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    Default Psych

    No real concerns about the medical right now. Treadmill stress test blood draw, vision, chest x-rat that sort of thing. You came to Vail, Co. in 1999 I think and spoke to a group of us that were resident firefighters with Avon Fire Department now Eagle River Fire Protection District. I thought that was one of the most benificial trainings I had ever gone to in regards to getting a job. I just wanted to say thanks for what you do. There aren't many people willing to answer all those questions and coach you throught the process.

    Jamin

  12. #12
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    Thank you for your gracious words. That was a fun group at Avon Fire Department. I've heard from many in the group that day who have gone on to receive their badges like you're doing.
    ______________________________ _______________

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

    Fire "Captain Bob"

    www.eatstress.com

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