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Over Forty Percent Fail the Psych!

A candidate passed his oral and was called in for his psych test. This is the same psychologist he went to for a psych test almost three years ago. Although the candidate is suppose to get a fresh look after 3 years, here's his original file on the desk during his interview. Although it didn't come up this time, he felt he was eliminated after a long conversation about his dad abandoning the family of five when he was age 10. His mom worked hard, all the kids went to college and are now successful. Still it was a place where the psychologist could evaluate and pass a verdict. This ain't right folks! Sure enough, he was notified that he had failed the psych (or OK, he didn't meet the profile). He contacted the department recruited and asked if he could gain a second opinion. The guy said yea, but it won't do you any good because we already have this opinion, which surprisingly he read to the candidate. And, yea it was the dad thing that nailed him. How would the psychologist have known about this situation if he had not told him? Why do so many candidates create a trail that could open a can of worms and keep them from getting the job of their dreams? Especially if the department is not giving a polygraph test. Many feel they have to be honest to a fault to get this job. Candidates tell me, "They were hammering so hard I felt I had to give them something." Please spare me this part. Think twice before creating a trail that probably no one can find. Especially if it doesn't make any difference. 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 he wants to know. Once you start down this road of total honesty, creating trails where you don't have to, 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.

Psychologists have told me what candidates have said during their interviews. I asked, "How did you get these people to say that?" The answer was, we just asked them and they volunteered the information. Before you volunteer information, think before you speak. 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.

Here is a sample questions:
Q: Describe a stressful situation that you were involved in, how it changed in levels, what you did, how you handled it & what you would do different today ? How would you feel about taking orders from & working for a woman ?
A: A simple answer would have been "I see no difference." If they ask for more, just be the broken record repeating only what you first said. Anything more would just be opening a can of worms you will never be able to close. Do not give a blue print, when just a sketch is needed. Avoid dumping a truck load of information, when they only need a trailer.

Courtesy of Capt. Bob @ Capt. Bob Smith, Speaker, Author, Publisher, Information Products. 5565 Black Ave. Pleasanton 94566

Psychological Testing
Below are some frequently asked questions and answers concerning this difficult portion of the examination. Listed below are answer formats commonly used for this type of question, in which you would circle the correct answer:
1. I am often in situations where I get frustrated very quickly with people around me.
Format 1: Strongly Agree, Agree, Neither, Disagree, Strongly Disagree Format 2: True/ False

We highly suggest that you answer this question Strongly Disagree or False. One of the key words in this question is "often." Yes, there will be times on the fire scene where you will get frustrated. The key word "often" dictates that you are constantly frustrated. You must remain calm and look at the situation in a logical manner in order to quickly and efficiently resolve the crisis. One of the key personality traits of a successful firefighter is someone who has patience and is able to look at a situation in a rational manner.

2. If both salaries were the same, I would rather be a bookkeeper than a sales manager.
Format 1: Strongly Agree, Agree, Neither, Disagree, Strongly Disagree Format 2: True/ False

Again, we highly recommend that you answer this question Strongly Disagree or False. These type questions are key in a psychological test. This question is used to determine if you would like to work with people or by yourself. As a bookkeeper, you would likely be working by yourself with limited exposure to the public. As a sales manager, you would be working with people on a regular basis. Remember that fire fighting is a people-oriented, service-oriented profession.

Courtesy of FirePrep: Don McNea Fire School, 13917 Cleveland, OH 44136 Web:

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