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Pre-Employment Polygraph-Read before you ask!

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Th_detective_max50

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Posted about 3 years ago

 

This thread is designed to give prospective LEO candidates a General Idea, in layman's terms, of what to expect when taking a pre-employment Polygraph Examination.  Hopefully it will enlighten you about the Polygraph Examination process and alleviate some of your fears and concerns about taking the test. I have been conducting LE Polygraphs since 1993 and offer this thread as a way of disseminating information to those of you in the hiring process who might be subject to a Polygraph Examination as a part of that hiring process.


The Polygraph is NOT a LIE DETECTOR.  It measures three physiological changes in your body that have been determined, through much research and testing, to be indicative of an individual's fear of being caught being deceptive.  The three things that the test measures are as follows.


1). Changes in breathing patterns.


2). Changes in blood pressure.


3). Changes in Galvanic Skin Response (GSR).  This involves tiny electronic impulses produced by the individual cells as a defense mechanism.  If you have ever felt that RUSH when you almost fall off your bike, or almost get his by a car, then that is GSR occurring. It happens on a lesser scale in the Polygraph Examination setting, but that is what is being measured.


These three physiological changes have been determined to be involuntary reponses to the stimuli presented by the Polygraph Examination process and are therefore far less likely to be subject to attempts at countermeasures during the testing process.


The entire Polygraph Examination process usually takes between 2-4 hours, depending upon the Examiner.  It has two general parts.  First comes the Pre-Interview. This is the longest part of the process. The Examiner has usually already reviewed your initial application and background investigation reports prior to meeting with you.  The examiner takes this time to speak with you about your general history, including any criminal actions, deviate sexual acts (not necessarily Kinky stuff, more along the lines of criminal sexaul activity) and/or deceptive practices that you might have, or can recall. 


Examiners understand that ALL people have done some things in their past that the individual might be ashamed of or concerned about.  The Examiner is not looking for these minor issues or indiscretions (this may include limited experimental use of Marijuana depending upon the agency conducting the Polygraph Examination) during the actual Polygraph Test so he will ask you about them during the Pre-Test so that, as long as you are truthful, he can assure you that these are not the issues that he is asking about during the actual test.  All test questions will be reviewed with you during this phase of the process so that you will know in advance what questions are going to be asked during the actual test, and the Examiner will know your response to the questions to be asked.  There are no surprise questions asked during the actual Polygraph Test.


The actual Polygraph Test occurs when you are hooked up to the Polygraph instrument itself.  Only you and the Polygraph Examiner will be in the room.  Listen carefully to his instructions and respond to any and all questions truthfully.  The Examiner will explain the instrument and the test process to you before the test and during the actual hookup.  You will be seated in a specified Polygraph chair and will have the following attached to you for the test, a standard blood presure cuff, one (sometimes two) breathing tubes (one around your chest with a potential second around your stomach depending upon the Examiner), and two small metal "plates with wires attached that will be attached to your fingers (these measure changes in the GSR).  There are no needles or anything like that involved in the test and the only discomfort that you may have is from the blood pressure cuff but this is temporary and can be adjusted if it feels too tight to you.


The test involves a series of "Yes" or "No" response type questions.  The Examiner understands that you are nervous just taking the test and the instrument will be balanced to compensate for what is "Normal" (heart rate, breathing, GSR) at the start of the test.  The Examiner will run anywhere from two to three consecutive Polygraph Tests on you, with a short break between each test (this process takes about an hour).  During these breaks you will be able to relax a bit and ask the Examiner any questions that you might have about the test that you just took.  He will then re-balance the Polygraph to compensate for what os "Normal" for you at the start of each new test because your "Norm" will change as you progress through the test process (you will become more at ease after taking the first test and seeing how it works).


The Polygraph measures involuntary physiological reactions to specific questions.  These reactions are indicative of the test subject being deceptive in his response to that specific question, so the Examiner does have a good indication as to what the test subject is being deceptive about. 


If the Examiner spots such a problem he has two basic options.


1). Discuss the issue with you to determine if your explanation is acceptable, then re-test you.


2). Stop the test and fail you for being "Deceptive"


At the end of the test process the Examiner will examine and score the charts produced by you during the actual test.  He may, or may not immediately tell you whether you have passed or failed, but he will let you know within a reasonable time frame.   


Many people who are asked to take Polygraph Examinations try to research the process by Googling it and reading information here on the Web.  They may also speak with friends or even Police Officers about the test process.  Unless these individuals are trained in the polygraph field or have conducted specific scientific research into the process then I would warn against taking their advice.


Counter Measures: There is a lot of stuff on the internet and in anti-Polygraph publications about countermeasures that can be taken to allegedly beat the Polygraph Test.  While some of the Information about Super-spies and CIA Spooks being able to beat the Polygraph on a regular basis may have limited merit, it is far more difficult for the layman to utillize counter measures to beat the Polygraph.  You should also keep in mind that the Polygraph Examiners are also reading what is out there and they are trained in the detection of counter measures too.  If you are caught trying counter measures during a Polygraph Examination the Examiner will immediately stop the test and you will be disqualified from going any further in the hiring process.


A habitual liar can beat the Polygraph:   In order for a liar to beat the Polygraph they must actually believe their own lies.  A good liar still knows that they are lying and this is their downfall during the test process.  In general, only a Clinically Diagnosed Pathelogical Liar actually believes their own lies and cannot differentiate between a lie and the truth.  A Clinically Diagnosed Pathelogical Liar would not be considered as a viable candidate for a Polygraph Examination.


I talked to friends / cops who said that the Polygraph is BS and isn't reliable:   While this may be their personal opinion about the Polygraph you must keep in mind that there are many courts around the nation (under certain conditions) that allow the Polygraph in as evidence in criminal trials and many LE agencies (even Federal) use, and trust the reliability, of the Polygraph for both criminal and pre-employment use.  It is the opinion of the LE agency giving the Polygraph Examination, and not the opinion of your "Friends/Cops", that carries the most weight when it comes to the reliability of the Polygraph.


The key in the entire process is that you be honest and truthful in your dealing with the Polygraph Examiner.  The Examiner understands that we do not recall EVERY little indiscretion or error that we have made in life but he also understands that such minor issues might be concerning or bothersome to you when you come in to take the test.  The test is designed to determine deception to specific types of questions and issues such as criminal acts, deviant sexaul acts (criminal in nature), habitual drug use and a propensity toward lying and covering up things.


I am certain that other questions will pop up as people read this thread and I will update the thread with additional information if and when it is determined to be necessary.  I hope that this information is helpful to you.  Good luck in your endeavor to join the Law Enforcement Community and with your upcoming Polygraph Examination.


Retelo  (Moderator #8)


2-20-11


 Note:  This thread was started to provide some general information to prospective LE candidate Polygraph Examination subjects.  It is not a forum to debate the merits or reliability of the Polygraph.  All posts that attempt to turn this thread in that direction will be deleted without notice.


Retleo


 


"Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren't used to an environment where excellence is expected."
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Retleo (MODERATOR #8)
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Rate This | Posted about 3 years ago

 

Great Thread Retleo.


Hello my name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die.

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Rafngreenblack_max50

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Rate This | Posted about 3 years ago

 

Bump! Thank you for a very informative post.

Bald-eagle-in-flight_860_max50

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Rate This | Posted about 3 years ago

 

Great thread Ret - learned some things myself.


Bump.

White_shirt_max50

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Rate This | Posted about 3 years ago

 

Retleo. Good info. You da man.

Surf_2014_max50

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Rate This | Posted about 3 years ago

 

bump


The Guy !
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Rate This | Posted about 3 years ago

 

bump


"Law enforcement officers are never 'off duty.' They are dedicated public servants who are sworn to protect public safety at any time and place that the peace is threatened. They need all the help that they can get."
- Barbara Boxer

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Andrea_and_i_max50

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Rate This | Posted about 3 years ago

 

Bump and another bump for posting it now since there has been an abundance of polygraph related questions as of late.

Bronzestarribbon_max50

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Rate This | Posted about 3 years ago

 

Bump.  Educational...

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Rate This | Posted about 3 years ago

 

BUMP  OUTSTANDING SUMMARY OF THE PROCESS

Wolfspirit_max50

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Rate This | Posted about 3 years ago

 

Thanks Retleo, very informative, and it does give ease to know the process...


"It's Never To Late To Be What You Could Have Been"

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Rate This | Posted about 3 years ago

 

Great post, Retleo  The internet contains a world of dis-information about the polygraphy and polygraph test and you explain things clearly and succintly.

Nintendo_max50

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Rate This | Posted about 3 years ago

 

Bump to this.  When I took my poly, they explained that if they thought I was trying to "beat" the machine, I was immediately DQd with no chance of re-applying.  Needless to say, I didn't try any funny business!!


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Afspa_life_member-back_max50

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Rate This | Posted about 3 years ago

 

Excellent overview


Good Job


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Surf_2014_max50

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Rate This | Posted about 3 years ago

 

bump


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O_s_max50

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Rate This | Posted about 3 years ago

 

 to keep up with the trend of bumping directly after TheSarge in this thread,


 


bump


"Law enforcement officers are never 'off duty.' They are dedicated public servants who are sworn to protect public safety at any time and place that the peace is threatened. They need all the help that they can get."
- Barbara Boxer

"My heroes are those who risk their lives every day to protect our world and make it a better place - police, firefighters and members of our armed forces."
- Sidney

Mike_pinstripe_suit_max50

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Rate This | Posted about 3 years ago

 

Great explanation! As a Polygraph Examiner...I could not have said it better....Mike"The Truth"

100_4356_max50

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Rate This | Posted about 3 years ago

 

Thank you for posting this. I take my written test in the morning. Wish me luck !

Gods_team_max50

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Rate This | Posted about 3 years ago

 

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I'd rather take the polygraph than the oral board interview anytime.


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4m_secret_squir_388_max50

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Rate This | Posted over 2 years ago

 

That answered my question of being nervous during a polygraph. My palms get sweaty just thinking about it, not because I would be deceptive, but because of the fear of a rejection throughout the entire hiring process. Great informative post. Thanks

Tlusa_max50

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Rate This | Posted over 2 years ago

 

And all this time I thought it was Voodoo magic.....Turns out it's all scientific magic that I STILL don't get.....All I know is it works!


Somewhere a true believer is training with one goal in mind...to kill you...will you be ready when you meet?

The comments in this statement in no way reflect to opinions or official standing of any agency, person, or entity other than the person who posted it. In other words mind your own business.

Image_max50

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Rate This | Posted over 2 years ago

 

Thanks for explaining this. I have my polygraph and psych evaluation on 1/17/2012 with OCSO. I feel a bit more relaxed reading this. I was just afraid I might forget something and then it shows up that Im lieing, but it's nice knowing the examiner will go over everything with me and also knowing that it's ok to be a bit nervous. Thank You!!

Th_detective_max50

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Rate This | Posted about 2 years ago

 

BUMP


 


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Steve Jobs

Retleo (MODERATOR #8)
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Rate This | Posted about 2 years ago

 

rsmith6322 says ...



And all this time I thought it was Voodoo magic.....Turns out it's all scientific magic that I STILL don't get.....All I know is it works!


 


That would be the MMPI LOL.



http://www.iamsorryivotedforobama.com/

How's that HOPE and CHANGE working out for you?

What would you do for a Klondike bar?

Photo__3__max50

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Rate This | Posted about 2 years ago

 

Wow that was very detailed and explained in the simplest terms. Thank you for taking the time to map the process out, I was extremely nervous about this part. I feel a little more at ease knowing the examiner won't be screaming in my face that I'm deceitful due to my nervousness haha

Scannedimage_sq90_max50

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Rate This | Posted about 2 years ago

 

A good polygrapher will observe you as they ask the questions.  The examiner will read your body language to the question and pretty much know if your going to try and deceive them. They will use the polygraph to verify the results. If they detects any negetive results, they will usually run a  second test, asking specific questions to find your lying point.  After talking to you , they might run a third test again asking  the negative results question in another form.  If I ask you if you ever "stole anything", you might not have ever stole anything. But if you took something and put it back, you still might feel guilt, showing a negative results.  A good operator will  ask the question again in several  forms untill they get a different results or verify with the same results.    The polygraph Test is only as good as it's operator! 

528023_102337096569592_196671668_n-1_max50

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Rate This | Posted almost 2 years ago

 

 Fascinating. This gives me a great visual for what I will be taking.


Thanks!

Photo_user_banned_big

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Rate This | Posted almost 2 years ago

 

Very interesting. We were all asked if we would be willing to submit to one at a company I worked for in the past. They never actually had any of us take one, however, it was beneficial in narrowing down the employees suspected in committing the crime, because those of us who were willing to take one were eliminated as suspects, while those who did not agree to take one were either committing the crime in question, or perhaps had other criminal activity going on that they wanted to hide. The employees who were stealing from the organization all fell into the group who were not willing to take the polygraph. It made the job of my team who was  investigating the crime much easier. Thanks.

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Rate This | Posted almost 2 years ago

 

Bump


Doc


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Army_max50

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Rate This | Posted over 1 year ago

 

Thank you for this, just like most other people i am very nerves about taking the poly test, not because i am going to lie about anything at all or that i have anything to hide, just the whle process is nerve racking, i do have have one question about it tho, is it just one time and your done of do let you retest, and also how can they tell if your heart rate is up just from being there, and you are all sweaty that you are lieing or not. if you already anwsered these questions i am sorry, i did read your post, like i said i am new to this whole process thats all.


“In honor, there is hope”

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