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    It's often not the problem, but how you write out an explanation for the background. Most candidates turn themselves inside out when a simple explanation is often all that is needed to resolve most situations.

    You're in the hiring process. Let's take it one step at a time. The badge is there. There is only one person keeping you from getting it . . . It's YOU!
    "Some times I think my mind would kill me if it didn't need me for transportation."

    It's not the items of concern, but the when and why. Like most candidates that enter the hiring process, they get hyper vigilant and the voices of panic and guilt start running around in their heads.

    When did these incidents happen? If it was a financial problem, what was your financial situation then?
    For other problems and misdemeanors, has the problem happened since?

    At first blush, the following appears to be enough to DQ a candidate:

    Capt. Bob,

    After getting your Tapes and video, I am sitting in the top 10 on my next test right know here in Arizona.

    My immediate problem is I have to fill out background forms first. I don't want to tell them anything they can't find out about me. I was convicted of DUI 12 years ago, I went to the court to look at my record and they had no record of it, but they said it could turn up on microfilm records, or police records if checked in an extensive search.

    These questions are asked: (word for word)
    1. Have you ever been convicted of a crime that has a direct relationship to serving the public as a firefighter (i.e. arson, assault, theft)?

    Should I fess up to something that they might not find? Does the wording of their question permit me to leave DUI off the answer? How far can they go back?
    They also have a question to list all traffic citations you have received ever!

    I have some other charges on my record that they will know about, (reckless driving, misdemeanor assault) but they were all dismissed by the courts entirely with no penalty because I was innocent.

    I need to turn in the questionnaire by 5:00 pm. tomorrow and I just got it yesterday!
    Can you help me Capt.? Paul

    Captain Bob's Reply:

    I had Paul call me. I asked him if he had any drinking/driving problems before or since that incident 12 years ago. He had none. If he didn't put it down and they did find it, he would be out of the process.

    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 our more on this in the "Background Expunged" section under the "Application and Resume" title off the Free "101 Inside Secrets How to Get a Badge" off our we site @ 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.

    All the background investigator is looking for is a reasonable explanation of what happened. Although a DUI is a 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

    In regards to the "reckless driving, misdemeanor assault arrest", it turns out they Paul was driving along three years ago and this guy pulls out in front of him forcing him into the other lane. The other car still hit him. The driver of the other car got out and became belligerent. Although Paul was trying to remain calm, the other driver spit in his face. Paul spit back (if you didn't know, that's assault). When the police arrived, they believed the other driver. Paul was arrested. On review of the evidence the next day, all charges were dropped.

    Now you being an investigator, wouldn't you think this was a reasonable isolated incident where nothing before or after has happened like this? But, since Paul had been arrested, there will be a record. He has to put it down, because if he doesn't and they find it, he could be DQ'd.

    Has this helped you in your pursuit for a badge? How would you like to get ahead of the curve with the cutting edge interview skills to get that badge? Then you want to sign up to receive Fire "Captain Bob's" exclusive information rich FREE e-mail FireZine Newsletter by clicking here:


    Learn how entry level and promotional candidates are improving their interview scores up to 15 points and nailing that badge from the FREE "101 Inside Secrets to Get A Badge" by clicking here:


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


    Fire "Captain Bob"


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