Are Polygraphs Lying to Us?

Being prepared for every step of the hiring process before you show up will place you in a better position to end up wearing a badge than being caught flat footed wondering what happened when the career you have been intensely pursuing evaporates before you eyes.

The first time I ever had contact and talked to Scott was 45 minutes after he got the call that he had failed his poly. Needless to say he was devastated. When I asked him what he had done to prepare for his polygraph he said he used the free information from some of the experts on some of the firefighter Internet forums. Using those guidelines he said he went in and spilled his guts, just like going to confession.

Just a few minutes into our conversation he realized that he had become too familiar with the evaluator, got chatty, volunteered too much beyond what was requested and was really nervous but thought everything was going just great.

Scott wrote: "I chose to take this test knowing I had nothing to hide and being truthful was the best route I could take. The next test I take I assure you, I will be better prepared."

I believe Scott is only referring to understanding the process better. I'm a firm believer in preparing for every step in the hiring process before you get there.

According to Doug Williamson, a 35-year veteran polygraph evaluator from www.polygraph.com, "It is a very serious mistake to believe that you will pass your polygraph or CVSA tests just because you are telling the truth -- they are not 'lie detectors.' Scientific research proves that simple nervousness will cause a truthful person to fail!"

I talked to Scott after he checked out polygraph.com. He realized he had not been as prepared as he could have been before his polygraph and revealed information beyond what was required. If he had it to do over again he would have been better prepared on the process before his evaluation and could have had a better opportunity of passing without compromising his truthfulness.

Inconclusive
Often candidates are eliminated through the poly with inconclusive results. Not that you failed, but it's the same as you did. Why is that? You didn't fail and you didn't pass? Your results were inconclusive. You still don't go forward in the hiring process. I think the problem again is candidates need to prepare for the poly the same as with any segment of the hiring process.

Randy had the same problem. He took the poly and the evaluator eliminated him with inconclusive results based on his use of pot within the last five years. He swore he had not. Yea, right you say, but that's his story.

So, Randy jumps on the Internet and found www.polygraph.com and www.passapolygraph.com. He educated himself on what to expect. He took a poly for another agency and passes with flying colors even that inconclusive area about pot and was hired.

Honesty
While I am a big advocate of honesty in the hiring process, I am also an advocate on RESEARCH prior to entering into a new portion of the hiring process.

This does not make you a "cheater" or "dishonest" for wanting to know what you are getting yourself into, just thorough.

I researched every step of my hiring process. I learned everything I could about interviews, medicals, psych exams, polygraphs, backgrounds...not because I was trying to manipulate the system with deception or dishonesty, but I wanted to know what is next.

Honesty was the foundation of everything during my hiring process. I used this formula.

If asked, a truthful answer was always given.

If asked a question, I would answer the question honestly then be quiet.

All other times I sat there with my mouth shut.

I have had friends fail polygraphs, not because they were dishonest, but they were not educated for what they were getting into. They sat down and were honest, but when answering one of the polygrpaher's questions, they would answer the question and then ADD additional info not even asked for. This ultimately led to their demise.

Learning about a polygraph does not mean I am trying to cheat it. Were you trying to cheat by going to fire stations and finding out what types of questions may be asked on the oral interview? No, you just wanted to be prepared.

Be honest, be prepared and be consistent.

More in the polygraph section here. To sign up for Captain Bob's free newsletter and to receive a special bonus, go to http://www.eatstress.com/firezine_signup.htm To learn more about Oral Board Interviews, visit www.eatstress.com "Captain Bob" Smith has helped countless entry level and promotional candidates obtain their badges. He's gained experience from more than 175 oral boards, is a coach, publisher, and author. The captain uses simple tools to uncomplicated the testing process. "Captain Bob" is a retired 28-year California fire captain, speaker/author of the CD/DVD programs "Conquer the Job Interview," "It's Your Turn in the Hot Seat!," and the books, "Becoming a Firefighter--The Complete Guide to Your Badge," "Fire Up Your Communication Skills," and "Eat Stress For Breakfast," which have been translated in 24 countries and regions including South Korea, Latin America and China.


Sign up for Captain Bob's free newsletter and to receive a special bonus. Visit our site to learn more about Oral Board Interviews. "Captain Bob" Smith has helped countless entry level and promotional candidates obtain their badges. He's gained experience from more than 175 oral boards, is a coach, publisher, and author. The captain uses simple tools to uncomplicated the testing process. "Captain Bob" is a retired 28-year California fire captain, speaker/author of the CD/DVD programs "Conquer the Job Interview," "It's Your Turn in the Hot Seat!," and the books, "Becoming a Firefighter-The Complete Guide to Your Badge," "Fire Up Your Communication Skills," and "Eat Stress For Breakfast," which have been translated in 24 countries and regions including South Korea, Latin America and China.

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