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  • Background Investigations

    Hey everybody. First off, for the purpose of anonymity, I am not going to disclose the name of the agencies involved. Before I begin, this is my brief background: I possess a bachelor's degree, some graduate work, I am a military veteran and retiree, and do not have so much as a parking violation, although I had a few problems as a minor (15 years ago)

    So I have been in the hiring process for several different agencies (more than a dozen in western Washington) and I thought the background interview was going to be like any other interview. Well, I was extremely nervous, just as I was in every oral board (the panel interview) that I had been to. However, I was not expecting to be treated hostilely from the moment I walked in the room. During the course of the interview, I perceived his demeanor to be teetering on the edge of belligerent and was definitely unprofessional.

    At one point, the investigator asked me about an arrest when I was a minor (a misdemeanor that was thrown out of court). I gave him all the details that I could remember, as the incident occurred nearly 15 years ago. I told him that (honestly) I didn't remember all of the details, but gave him the names and contact information (including those of both the arresting officer and the judge that presided over the case). After asking the same question several times, I once again answered, then told him that I wasn't lying about anything he asked and to please refer to the individuals I cited for him if he needed more information. He was the one who brought up contacting people in the first place. But for some reason, that just wasn't good enough. Then he told me that my written information was incomplete, because three of my references did not have email addresses... Not my fault if some people haven't evolved into the information age.

    So, I stood up and, very composed, told him that we were finished, shook his hand and asked for my documents back. He looked shocked, as if he'd never seen this before. I decided to leave, because after 45 minutes of asking me the same questions 20 times, asking me "why don't you stand up for yourself", and continuously telling me that "something is just not adding up here", I was tired of someone telling me they didn't believe me. I was telling the truth and had the proof to back it up.

    So, the following day, I contacted his lieutenant. Essentially, he told me that maybe he thought I was holding something back, just applying pressure to see how I would react, etc.... all the excuses they could produce if they didn't like someone. I told him they could just consider me permanently DQ'd because I would never think of applying to that department again.

    Although, they still haven't sent me any confirmation that they have done this. This was unfair treatment and I still have strong feelings about it. However, I'll never know, because I took myself out of the process. I later learned from the civil service examiner that, after I took myself out of the process, I was the #1-ranked candidate before I entered the background interview.

    I learned a lot (what to expect in the process) from this experience, but confused as to why the investigator acted the way he did. Not that it matters, I am moving ahead to the same stage with several other agencies. However, I'm being told by LEO's that I know that just walking out on a background itself is going to come back to impede my progress....maybe for every agency I ever apply to. I knew that they communicate between agencies and the consequences. Guess I'll have to take my chances, it's not like I have a choice.

    I welcome any feedback from other candidates, current LEO's and general public. I would like to hear what others have to say on this.

  • #2
    Well, my friend, you just DQd yourself with that agency. What you encountered is really pretty typical of many Oral Boards. It's a role play, and apparently, this guy played it to the hilt. He was trying to get you mad,and he did. It's very possible that in future interviews, the atmosphere will be more informal, almost friendly. While that's true, be prepared for some more situations such as the one you spoke of. Then, there's the "Good Guy/Bad Guy" routine. One board member is friendly. affable, relaxed. The other(s) similar to the guy you described. At the end of this all, you have two basic choices. Accept these "role plays" for what they are, and play the game, or, do as you did, and essentially take your football and go home. If you're successful in being appointed, taking some abuse comes with the territory. One of the purposes of this type interview is to get a handle on how you handle a little hostility. From what you indicate in your post, you're a fairly viable candidate. Keep walking out on interviews though, and an agency will never get to know how good an Officer you could be.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by PhilipCal View Post
      Well, my friend, you just DQd yourself with that agency. What you encountered is really pretty typical of many Oral Boards. It's a role play, and apparently, this guy played it to the hilt. He was trying to get you mad,and he did. It's very possible that in future interviews, the atmosphere will be more informal, almost friendly. While that's true, be prepared for some more situations such as the one you spoke of. Then, there's the "Good Guy/Bad Guy" routine. One board member is friendly. affable, relaxed. The other(s) similar to the guy you described. At the end of this all, you have two basic choices. Accept these "role plays" for what they are, and play the game, or, do as you did, and essentially take your football and go home. If you're successful in being appointed, taking some abuse comes with the territory. One of the purposes of this type interview is to get a handle on how you handle a little hostility. From what you indicate in your post, you're a fairly viable candidate. Keep walking out on interviews though, and an agency will never get to know how good an Officer you could be.
      + 1

      He pushed your button, and it worked.
      It's not the will to win that matters...everyone has that. It's the will to prepare to win that matters.
      Paul "Bear" Bryant

      Comment


      • #4
        I welcome any feedback from other candidates, current LEO's and general public. I would like to hear what others have to say on this.


        The above indicates you are some kind of control freak LOL
        Since I am retired and don't fall into your category...........


        Have the best day ever!
        "a band is blowing Dixie double four time You feel alright when you hear the music ring"


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        • #5
          xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
          Last edited by Nobody; 05-07-2009, 03:20 PM.

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          • #6
            If you are serious about becoming a police officer I'd highly suggest getting a better attitude. If you get huffy during an interview (and remember you're the one selling yourself to them, not the other way around) because you don't like the questions this isn't the field for you. You need better control than that.

            Comment


            • #7
              Oral interviews are chess games! When you enter the interview room and sit down, all things are equal. As you progress through the interview, one or more of the panel will try to trip you up to see if you have withheld information and intentionally lied on your application or during the interview.

              It is YOU who is in the hotseat, not them.

              Just be upfront, honest and maintain your composure. Assure them that you are being honest and truthful and maintain a level course of responses.

              If you start to show any discomfort at all, they will increase the pressure to see if you break. In your case, you did!

              A calm, assertive personality, without being overbearing, will overcome their attack and maintain everything on an even keel.
              Last edited by SgtCHP; 07-29-2009, 11:00 AM.
              Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence!

              [George Washington (1732 - 1799)]

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              • #8
                Personally, I think you did the right thing. I wouldn't allow an interview to go 45 minutes if "THEY" got stuck on one of my answers. If you want me to clarify it, fine, but then move on. I'm not the BG. I'm there to work for you. If you want to treat me like crap, ok, then let's move on. If after I answer the question twice, and you think I lied, then put your stupid little mark on the paper and move on with the interview. It should never get adversarial. That shows a lack of training on the interviewer part, and is certainly unprofessional. All the crap about they are trying to trip you up is BS. That's what a Poly will do. You did right by ending the interview. It's wasn't going to get any better, and at least you let him know what you thought of his character. There is no unwritten rule that a LEO applicant has to be drug through the dirt like some people seem to think.

                It's not true that agencies communicate BG's between each other, and as a matter of fact, if you're in an area with a great demand, agencies try to steal employees from one another all the time. There are Human Resource laws established to protect you from negative information from one company/employer to another. Since you were never hired, they actually can't release any information concerning your application to anyone else. That's a lawsuit just waiting to happen.

                Now I will challenge you on one thing. You say you're a retiree. Was that a medical retirement? Because you couldn't possibly be retired from the military and still had been a minor 15 years ago. The earliest you could have joined the military was 17, which means you would retire at 37 if you went the straight 20. 15 years ago would put you at least 22 years old.

                Comment


                • #9
                  My question is more along the lines of why you've been applying with a dozen agencies and no one will touch you yet.

                  I've re-read what you posted several times. I see a lot of excuses on your part, minimizing your own personal actions while painting the other person in a negative light. I think what you wrote might actually be a reflection of how you act in person which would explain not only the BG investigators hesitation but also why you're in the hiring process with so many agencies.

                  BTW, agencies do talk to one another, especially when the candidate is...I'm struggling to find the word...haughty? Holier than thou...I dunno. In effect, you can get blackballed.
                  sigpic

                  I don't agree with your opinion, but I respect its straightforwardness in terms of wrongness.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Had that happen to me once. Caught me totally off guard. Like Phil said it was 2 bad guys and 1 good guy. I didn't get mad because I knew it was a game. I did however slip up and lead me into answers that I didn't want to say that actually weren't even true. I post to ask a follow-up. Does this show them how you will do on the stand against the DA?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      ------------------
                      Last edited by Xihaobo; 07-29-2009, 03:35 PM.
                      "The only easy day was yesterday"

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I think you will have a difficult time finding a job. Like others have said, word travels fast in the LE community about people wanting to get hired.

                        Just imagine if a defense attorney started hammering you in court, would you just walk out of the court room?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Hey guys, thank you for the input. I greatly appreciate it. To field a few questions: 1 - This was a one-on-one with the background
                          investigator, not the 3- or 5-person interview panel;
                          with the panels its pretty much hit or miss for me, but
                          this was the first one-on-one with a "backgrounder"
                          2 - I realize that my composure is something I definitely
                          have to work on, but I take full responsibility for my
                          actions even though "the game" is to be treated with
                          some level of adversity and would never attempt to
                          minimize or compartmentalize my own actions, although
                          I feel everyone is entitled to a miniscule ammount of griping
                          3 - ARMY medical retirement after 8 years
                          4 - As I said, I realize how it looks, but would NEVER
                          do that on the witness stand
                          5 - I would also never go in there expecting to be treated
                          like "one of the guys"
                          6 - I'm trying to be an LEO and I'm not selective of where
                          I work. I want to do THAT job, not just "get A job". I have applied and tested for more than a dozen
                          agencies, but only participated in 4 boards and one
                          background so far - more to come, I'll keep you posted
                          7 - I don't believe any of my superiors or subordinates in the
                          military or any other job that I have worked ever
                          characterized me as a "control freak" and I make sure to
                          always keep the lines of communications open between
                          myself and anyone I work with; an open-door policy, if
                          you will.

                          By the way (and all of my fellow enlisted military vets out there will identify with this), I think this guy was a military vet as well; because as soon as he saw that I had been through the ARMY's Officer Candidacy School, he made a few snide remarks under his breath and I am positive that I heard a few, let's just say, derogatory remarks in there.

                          It definitely wasn't my best day, but I think I learned more in there, that day, than I did in any semester of graduate schooling that I ever attending. Now I know much more of what to expect at this stage of the process and am much better equipped to "play the game".

                          To tell you the truth, though, the same thing happened with the testing (several years ago, when I applied to 2 agencies), then the oral 3- and 5-person panels and now with the background investigations. I have been getting better and better, steadily gaining confidence and I WILL have a job in law enforcement by end of summer/fall.

                          If anyone ever asked me what they could do to give them a sense of failure, success, frustration, an insight into human behavior, motivation, self-worth, accomplishment and purpose in life; I would tell them to apply to and go through the hiring process in law enforcement.

                          Thanks guys. Talk to you later.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            If you are getting "the same thing" at each agency you apply to, it is something YOU are doing, not them. You seem to have some issues regarding your OCS/Military service and other little flags that come out in your posts.

                            Perhaps you might want to consider something else.
                            Free Deke O'Mally!!!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Must be the "roids" - hemorrhoids!
                              Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence!

                              [George Washington (1732 - 1799)]

                              Comment

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