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Seeking advice for upcoming psych and polygraph!

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  • Seeking advice for upcoming psych and polygraph!

    Hey all!

    Well, I finally have an upcoming psych interview and polygraph, any advice would be a great help. I have done a poly before but it wasn't a lifestyle polygraph and I have never done a psych interview. If those of you who have done them before can give me some pointers I would really appreciate it.

    Also, what attire should I wear to the psych and poly?

    THANKS FOR ALL THE HELP!

  • #2
    You have to pass the psych test first time out!

    Dress for success. Wear the suit to both.


    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 “What can I do now?” 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 didn’t you get it? I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard this, “Things were going so great I didn’t think I needed it.”

    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.

    You’ve jumped through all the flaming hoops and made it through the background check. Then, you’re 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 didn’t meet the profile. What profile?

    What do you mean I didn’t meet the profile? I’ve got training, experience, education, every degree, certificate, merit badge, and a paramedic certification. I’ve been a volunteer, paid member of another department for 10 years, and lived and breathed this job. And, I don’t meet the profile?

    What’s 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 “strongly for” or “strongly against” 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

    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 who’s 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 don’t 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 didn’t 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 process”, or “you 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 you’re being asked. Before you volunteer information, think before you speak. If they want to know more they will ask. Don’t appear to be closed but warm and cordial. Present your ideas clearly. Don’t ramble or chat. Be articulate. This is how you’re 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 don’t 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.
    _____________________________________________

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

    More Tips on getting hired and promoted by Firehouse Contributing Author Fire “Captain Bob” Articles here:
    http://www.firehouse.com/contact/10544410/bob-smith


    Fire "Captain Bob"

    www.eatstress.com

    Comment


    • #3
      Are Polygraphs Lying to Us?

      Being prepared for every step of the hiring process before you show up will place you in a better position to end up wearing a badge than being caught flat footed wondering what happened when the career you have been intensely pursuing evaporates before your eyes.

      The first time I ever had contact and talked to Scott was 45 minutes after he got the call that he had failed his poly. Needless to say he was devastated. When I asked him what he had done to prepare for his polygraph he said he used the free information from some of the “experts” on some of the firefighter Internet forums. Using those guidelines he said he went in and spilled his guts, just like going to confession.

      Just a few minutes into our conversation he realized that he had become too familiar with the evaluator, got chatty, volunteered too much beyond what was requested, was really nervous but thought everything was going just great.

      Scott wrote: I chose to take this test knowing I had nothing to hide and being truthful was the best route I could take. The next test I take, I assure you, I will be better prepared.

      I believe Scott is only referring to understanding the process better. I’m a firm believer in preparing for every step in the hiring process before you get there.

      According to Doug Williamson a 35-year veteran polygraph evaluator from www.polygraph.com “It is a very serious mistake to believe that you will pass your polygraph or CVSA tests just because you are telling the truth - they are not "lie detectors". Scientific research proves that simple nervousness will cause a truthful person to fail!”

      I talked to Scott after he checked out polygraph.com. He realized he had not been as prepared as he could have been before his polygraph and revealed information beyond what was required. If he had it to do over again he would have been better prepare on the process before his evaluation and could have had a better opportunity of passing without compromising his truthfulness.

      I echo what Capt. Bob says in that you need to be prepared going in. I went in
      with the attitude that I was not going to try to deceive them. Well...I was notified that there were some irregularities on a couple of portions. That was after waiting about 4 weeks for the results. Fortunately they let me go back and address the portions in question. Another nerve wracking wait, and finally word that I passed. Personally I don't think I could go through that again, I'm glad it's over. If I have any words of advice, it would be to research what a polygraph is all about, relax, and do not...DO NOT be anything less than completely truthful. In the end, what I had done was less important to them than that I was forthcoming about it. Brad

      DM: I had a poly today. There were six pages of questions asked verbally by him before he hooked up the poly. When hooked up, there where only ten questions asked 3x in different order each set. DM
      All seemed to go well until the end when the examiner asked me:
      "Anything you want to tell me about the question you had a problem with?"
      Me (puzzled) "NO"
      Again he asked as he began to take the equipment off me.
      Me (really puzzled now).."I can't think of anything"
      Then he proceeds to tell me that there was one particular question that I had elevation on.
      Should I consider or was this all a smoke screen to get a boring person to confess to something?
      CB: Quite common to use this smoke screen to get you to confess to something.

      DM: After everything I've purchased (Your program included: http://www.eatstress.com/special_offer.htm ), I didn't consider the poly. But after that past experience I looked up polys on your site and that is my next purchase. I hope my oversight did not come back to bite me in the end.

      Inconclusive????????????

      Often candidates are eliminated through the poly with inconclusive results. Not that you failed, but it’s the same as you did. Why is that? You didn’t fail and you didn’t pass? Your results were inconclusive. You still don’t go forward in the hiring process. I think the problem again is candidates need to prepare for the poly the same as with any segment of the hiring process.

      Randy had the same problem. He took the poly and the evaluator eliminated him with inconclusive results based on his use of pot within the last five years. He swore he had not. Yea, right you say, but that’s his story.

      So, Randy jumps on the Internet and found www.polygraph.com and www.passapolygraph.com He educated himself on what to expect. He took a poly for another agency and passes with flying colors even that inconclusive area about pot and was hired.

      Question: I will be taking a polygraph soon (presuming I do well in the interview) and just tonight talked to a friend of mine who was hired last year at the same dept. He told me that they asked him, during the pre-qualification questions if he had received advise on how to cheat polygraphs or had researched it on the Internet. Beware of this. I am now worried about researching anything about polys on the web.

      Reply: No worries.

      FF/PM1 Wrote in this previous posting:

      Yes, I was asked if I had researched polygraphs in my pre-interview, but not in the actual polygraph exam. The examiner asked me why I researched polygraphs? Was I going to manipulate it? I said of course not, but I always study before going into a test, I knew nothing about polygraphs prior to my hiring process and wanted to know what they are about.

      While I am a big advocate of honesty in the hiring process, I am also an advocate on RESEARCH prior to entering into a new portion of the hiring process.

      This does not make you a "cheater" or "dishonest" for wanting to know what you are getting yourself into, just thorough.

      I researched every step of my hiring process. I learned everything I could about interviews, medicals, psych exams, polygraphs, backgrounds...not because I was trying to manipulate the system with deception or dishonesty, but I wanted to know what is next.

      Honesty was the foundation of everything during my hiring process. I used this formula.....

      If asked, a truthful answer was always given.

      If asked a question, I would answer the question honestly then be quiet.

      All other times I sat there with my mouth shut.

      I have had friends fail polygraphs, not because they were dishonest, but they were not educated for what they were getting into. They sat down and were honest, but when answering one of the polygrpaher's questions, they would answer the question and then ADD additional info not even asked for. This ultimately led to their demise.

      Learning about a polygraph does not mean I am trying to cheat it. Were you trying to cheat by going to fire stations and finding out what types of questions may be asked on the oral interview? No, you just wanted to be prepared.

      Be honest, be prepared and be consistent.

      More in the polygraph section here: http://www.eatstress.com/faq.htm
      _____________________________________________

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

      More Tips on getting hired and promoted by Firehouse Contributing Author Fire “Captain Bob” Articles here:
      http://www.firehouse.com/contact/10544410/bob-smith


      Fire "Captain Bob"

      www.eatstress.com

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Bkeystone6 View Post
        Hey all!

        Well, I finally have an upcoming psych interview and polygraph, any advice would be a great help. I have done a poly before but it wasn't a lifestyle polygraph and I have never done a psych interview. If those of you who have done them before can give me some pointers I would really appreciate it.

        Also, what attire should I wear to the psych and poly?

        THANKS FOR ALL THE HELP!
        I would follow what they recommend for dress attire. It will probably be dress casual. One thing I will stress is if they say dress casual wear dress casual. This is not the portion of the process you want to stand out and, try to go above and beyond by wearing a suit when it is not needed.

        The polygraph is simple, and the psych will take a while. Just relax and truthfully answer the questions. You'll be just fine.

        Good luck.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Bkeystone6 View Post
          Hey all!

          Well, I finally have an upcoming psych interview and polygraph, any advice would be a great help. I have done a poly before but it wasn't a lifestyle polygraph and I have never done a psych interview. If those of you who have done them before can give me some pointers I would really appreciate it.

          Also, what attire should I wear to the psych and poly?

          THANKS FOR ALL THE HELP!
          Our dept also does pre hire psych interview and truth verification exam. Basically we took a very lenghty psych exam and then had a psychologist go over the results and ask us questions about your personnal life and things you have done in the past (criminal, social life, family life, etc.) Tell the truth because many of the questions you do in the truth test will be brought up for a cross check to see how your stories match up.

          Dress business casual.

          Comment


          • #6
            So if you fail or get inconclusive results on the polygraph exam, are you still able to apply at other departments in different cities or will they see that you failed somewhere else and reject you?

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by braddhimself1 View Post
              So if you fail or get inconclusive results on the polygraph exam, are you still able to apply at other departments in different cities or will they see that you failed somewhere else and reject you?
              You can certainly test for other agencies.

              Often candidates are eliminated through the poly with inconclusive results. Not that you failed, but it’s the same as you did. Why is that? You didn’t fail and you didn’t pass? Your results were inconclusive. You still don’t go forward in the hiring process. I think the problem again is candidates need to prepare for the poly the same as with any segment of the hiring process.

              Randy had the same problem. He took the poly and the evaluator eliminated him with inconclusive results based on his use of pot within the last five years. He swore he had not. Yea, right you say, but that’s his story.

              So, Randy jumps on the Internet and found www.polygraph.com and www.passapolygraph.com He educated himself on what to expect. He took a poly for another agency and passes with flying colors even that inconclusive area about pot and was hired.
              _____________________________________________

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

              More Tips on getting hired and promoted by Firehouse Contributing Author Fire “Captain Bob” Articles here:
              http://www.firehouse.com/contact/10544410/bob-smith


              Fire "Captain Bob"

              www.eatstress.com

              Comment

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