Beware of the Firefighter Questionnaire!

19 August 2021
Capt. Bob Smith


When you take the written portion of the psychological test, it sets up a profile.  The interview with the psychologist is to verify the profile and match it to the desired profile to be a firefighter.  The wheels can start coming off your wagon during this interview.

Before the interview, the psychologist will often have you fill out a personal family history and additional information form.  He can use this information as ammunition to shoot you with.  Ironically, the psychologist doesn't always have your background information, or because of time doesn't look at all the information.  He relies on the form you fill out.  This is why it is so critical that, although you want this job so bad, you not create trails where you don't have to.

Unfortunately, if you have a DUI or other mark that can be found, you have to put it down.  At that point, you want to work on a reasonable explanation of what happened, what changed your behavior and who you are now.  Practice this explanation with a tape recorder until you have it condensed.

If you have a DUI, it will be a challenge but not impossible to get a fire job.  Many psychologists look at any possible addiction to interfere with the pressures of the job.  One of our candidates went through drug rehab 5 years ago.  Using the above paragraph formula, he passed both the psychological, poly and was hired in Colorado.

If you occasionally drink alcohol and got drunk on your birthday and at a barbecue last summer, that's one thing.  But if you're getting hammered a couple nights a week and on weekends, that 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.