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    Default Polygraph??

    I was wondering if yall could give me some insite on polygraphs. I have have never had to do one and I have to have one done at the dept I am hopefully going to be hired at in april.

    This will be a big move for me as it is a lot bigger dept, Much better pay and training ect

    Thanks and wish me luck

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    They hook you up to some wires that detect changes in blood pressure, pulse, breathing rate, and skin temperature.

    Don't lie and you will be fine.



    Good luck.
    Jason Knecht
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    They will give you 'benchmark questions' in the beginning.

    The drill is:

    "Answer this question truthfully"

    "Answer this question with a lie"

    This helps them establish reasonable benchmarks. They can check your reaction on the truth against the reaction against a lie. But this is not the whole thing. When they tell you to lie on the benchmark question, in your mind you have been given permission to lie and your body and mind does not really react to that lie as you might with another question where you lie. It is that question they are looking for the swing.

    I urge you to be truthful on everything.

    They will ask you hard questions on purpose, you know the ones:

    Have you ever used illegal substances?

    Have you ever stolen anything"

    Have you ever kicked your dog?

    These will be tossed out in between:

    Do you like baseball?

    Is your name Mickey Mouse?


    They know the answer that they expect... it is up to you to provide it, or if the answer is not what is expected, that you answer it without it causing a change in your pulse rate, respirations, etc.

    They will try try to put you at ease and act like they're you best friend. That is not an act... if you are nervous from the start then it is harder to determine if you are naturally nervous or just can't tell the truth about anything. Should you go in and act nervous to cover something? No. That will hurt you everytime, and make the employer get a questionable report on you.

    Remember, there is a difference between a lie and a truth that contains remorse. This means answering a question with the truth even though the truth is difficult.

    Example:

    Have you ever kicked your dog?

    In your mind you remember the time you kicked your dog on accident because he walked in front of you. You think to yourself, yes, but I didn't mean too... but you can only answer YES or NO.

    If you say 'no', it will produce a reaction that indicates your are uncomfortable with your answer, like trying to hide something.

    If you answer 'yes', it still will indicate you are uncomfortable but the answer dictates how the reaction is counted. Who really wants to admit they kicked their dog? You just don't get the chance to elaborate. Does it imply that you like to kick dogs? No but the next question might be... "did you like it when you kicked the dog?" or "Were you mad at the dog when you kicked it?"

    They operate from a script and return to questions that are similar to previous questions when they detect a reaction that creates a questionable response. This is how they narrow down if you're trying to avoid something.


    Good Luck.
    HAVE PLAN.............WILL TRAVEL

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    Great info, PK. Usually they polygrapher will go through all or most of the questions with you before they hook you up. During this time, they'll give you a chance to explain things before you get to the Yes or No answers.

    For example, before you're hooked up:
    Them: Have you ever stolen anything?
    You: When I was 7 I stole a pack of gum from the grocery store.
    Then when you get hooked up, it might go something like this:
    Them: Besides the incident we've already discussed, have you ever stolen anything?
    You: No.

    Be honest. Be concise. A good polygrapher will include LOTS of quiet time, especially after something you might think is a not good answer. They might tell you some personal stories to try to get you to relax. They want you to loosen up and talk liberally. Again, be honest and don't hide anything, but just be concise with the facts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zzyyzx View Post
    Great info, PK. Usually they polygrapher will go through all or most of the questions with you before they hook you up. During this time, they'll give you a chance to explain things before you get to the Yes or No answers.
    This is how mine was, except the guy wasn't friendly at all. I'd say the opposite compared to Paladin's experience. He tried to intimidate me from the very start. I happened to stop in at his office about an hour before hand because I was unfamiliar with the area, wanted to see where exactly the office was and ask if he could recommend a place to grab some lunch before my appointment. He seemed caught off guard as soon as I told him that I was his upcomming appointment and then he just acted really rude to me for the rest of the time.

    If this is the case I wouldn't let that get to you, but I would have liked to known that this could happen just so I wasn't caught off guard. Not trying to scare you, just prepare you for what could happen. I figured that he is probably used to dealing with punks every day that would try to evade his questions (he didn't just do fire and police polys), and that he's just trying to do his job.

    In addition to monitoring changes in blood pressure, pulse, breathing rate, and skin temperature, they now also have a pad under your feet and butt so they can detect if your are shifting your weight because of an uncomfortable question or trying to beat the machine.

    Just don't let it get to you (it sounds like every polygrapher has their own routine that *hopefully* gets them the best results), get everything out in the preinterview and tell the truth. You'll be fine.

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    If they ask you if you like females, don't lie. Also if they ask you that they will ask you if you like guys!!!

    Just answer yes to both to be on the safe side!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by yjbrody64 View Post
    This is how mine was, except the guy wasn't friendly at all. I'd say the opposite compared to Paladin's experience. He tried to intimidate me from the very start. I happened to stop in at his office about an hour before hand because I was unfamiliar with the area, wanted to see where exactly the office was and ask if he could recommend a place to grab some lunch before my appointment. He seemed caught off guard as soon as I told him that I was his upcomming appointment and then he just acted really rude to me for the rest of the time.

    If this is the case I wouldn't let that get to you, but I would have liked to known that this could happen just so I wasn't caught off guard. Not trying to scare you, just prepare you for what could happen. I figured that he is probably used to dealing with punks every day that would try to evade his questions (he didn't just do fire and police polys), and that he's just trying to do his job.

    In addition to monitoring changes in blood pressure, pulse, breathing rate, and skin temperature, they now also have a pad under your feet and butt so they can detect if your are shifting your weight because of an uncomfortable question or trying to beat the machine.

    Just don't let it get to you (it sounds like every polygrapher has their own routine that *hopefully* gets them the best results), get everything out in the preinterview and tell the truth. You'll be fine.
    This kind of depends on the person and the purpose of the test. I work with some guys (PGTs) that can play good guy/bad guy and take their persona from what we want them to do. If we are trying to catch someone because of a theft in the station, they play hard. If we interview new candidates, they play easy going. But everyone has their own style(s).
    HAVE PLAN.............WILL TRAVEL

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    Quote Originally Posted by PaladinKnight View Post
    This kind of depends on the person and the purpose of the test. I work with some guys (PGTs) that can play good guy/bad guy and take their persona from what we want them to do. If we are trying to catch someone because of a theft in the station, they play hard. If we interview new candidates, they play easy going. But everyone has their own style(s).
    That reasoning makes complete sense to me, so I don't know why my guy was such a jerk. I would think the tactic you mentioned of being nice and putting the applicant at ease would work out better in the long run for both parties: the polygrapher reading the machine and the applicant relaxing. Whatever. Still passed it.

    I would say that he toned it down once I passed the test, plus it probably didn't hurt that I was polite and respectful with him the whole time.

    Oh yeah, if it's appropriate treat this just like the rest of your process and wear a suit just like your oral. Especially if the poly is in-house.

    Good luck!

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    I had to do one once for my work (non-firefighting), due to my security clearance at the time. They even noticed when I got too relaxed with my baseline "lies," which they came back to from time to time...

    There are people who can completely fool a polygraph. They are able to maintain the proper demeanor for the questions. They may have kicked the dog on the way out the door that morning, but can coolly and calmly answer "no" to said question and not raise a bit of curiousity on the part of the examiner.

    Don't try to be that guy...

    Good luck with the whole process. Hope you get in.
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    Quote Originally Posted by zzyyzx View Post
    Great info, PK. Usually they polygrapher will go through all or most of the questions with you before they hook you up. During this time, they'll give you a chance to explain things before you get to the Yes or No answers.
    This is basically how it was when I took one. I spent about an hour with the detective doing the test just talking, going through some questions and so forth. Out of the questions asked then he picked about 5 or 6 to ask again on the polygraph.

    What sticks out to me is that he said it is usually easier to have a suspect admit to a crime with a polygraph than it is for a background investigation as it is used for hiring. The issue was that he said he was only interested in the last 5 years of my life, but when asking some questions, one can think back to their time as a minor or beyond say 5 years. One question was, "Have you ever had sex with a minor?"....he said the problem with that is someone can think back to being 16 or 17 with their girlfriend in HS, whereas the information being sought was for the last few years.

    Another thing making things standout is that they know you want the job and nerves can play a part. Just try and relax and be truthfull.
    The thoughts and opinions posted here are mine and mine alone and do not reflect the thoughts and or views of city or dept affiliation.

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    There's a reason polygraphs have been ruled illegal by the judicial system. Unfortunately, parts of our public safety community still insist on using them instead of a thorough background investigation. Remember, there is no "science" behind the poly, and it's based on whether the polygrapher likes you or not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jimd77 View Post
    There's a reason polygraphs have been ruled illegal by the judicial system. Unfortunately, parts of our public safety community still insist on using them instead of a thorough background investigation. Remember, there is no "science" behind the poly, and it's based on whether the polygrapher likes you or not.
    How much background can you get on a 21 year old applicant who is looking for their first job. It's not about the answers but about how you react. Mine was easy, they gave you all the questions before the test was given and you answered them without the machine, showed how the machine worked then "left the room." Came back and did the "test." I wonder what part the real test was?

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    Quote Originally Posted by lexfd5 View Post
    How much background can you get on a 21 year old applicant who is looking for their first job?
    They had to make certain you weren't a baby milk bandit...
    HAVE PLAN.............WILL TRAVEL

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    Quote Originally Posted by jimd77 View Post
    There's a reason polygraphs have been ruled illegal by the judicial system. Unfortunately, parts of our public safety community still insist on using them instead of a thorough background investigation. Remember, there is no "science" behind the poly, and it's based on whether the polygrapher likes you or not.
    I would take the results of a polygraph for a background versus a psych test administered with a written test, as you see more often now.
    The thoughts and opinions posted here are mine and mine alone and do not reflect the thoughts and or views of city or dept affiliation.

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    Number of spies caught by polygraph still stands at zero. But everybody gets one ... ? Shows how accurate they are.

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    10 mg Inderal tablet....if ya got something to hide, works every time. The Army uses it for shooters. "I like to think large"

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    Quote Originally Posted by jimd77 View Post
    There's a reason polygraphs have been ruled illegal by the judicial system. Unfortunately, parts of our public safety community still insist on using them instead of a thorough background investigation. Remember, there is no "science" behind the poly, and it's based on whether the polygrapher likes you or not.
    The same people who will ban guns when the only citizens not impacted are criminals.

    Same people (and Obama) push DNA testing for everyone arrested, believe in the infalability of such tests, and that DNA tests are conducted by "scientists" with a PHD+ and 23years of experience.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jimd77 View Post
    There's a reason polygraphs have been ruled illegal by the judicial system. Unfortunately, parts of our public safety community still insist on using them instead of a thorough background investigation. Remember, there is no "science" behind the poly, and it's based on whether the polygrapher likes you or not.
    That may be true, but if it was only based off whether the polygrapher liked me or not I wouldn't have passed mine. I'm pretty sure about that. But if that's what the dept wants, then I'll jump through their hoops. And if I didn't, there would be 1000+ guys waiting for the chance. It's just part of getting a gig with a FD.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jimd77 View Post
    There's a reason polygraphs have been ruled illegal by the judicial system. Unfortunately, parts of our public safety community still insist on using them instead of a thorough background investigation. Remember, there is no "science" behind the poly, and it's based on whether the polygrapher likes you or not.
    I do agree with this statement. They have been ruled illegal here for 25+ years due to the fact that it has been proven that the same polygraph administered by 2 different operators half an hour apart, produced 2 totally different results. Also interpretation of the results evidently is quite subjective as well. The Mark 1 brain and instincts are still the most accurate barometer for judging a person.

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    Well I have not taken the polygraph yet, but I took their tests yesterday... what a day, the Ems testing made nremt test seem like nothing. Then came the fire side of the test, it wasn't to bad.


    Out of 20 that they choose I was one of 6 that will go on to take the polygraph. It should be sometime next week.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jimd77 View Post
    There's a reason polygraphs have been ruled illegal by the judicial system. Unfortunately, parts of our public safety community still insist on using them instead of a thorough background investigation. Remember, there is no "science" behind the poly, and it's based on whether the polygrapher likes you or not.
    Illegal and not accepted in court as evidence are two very different things.

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    As far as I know, a polygraph is completely legal in Canada. Its just not accepted in any court of law, civil and criminal. I don't know of any companies or govt agencies using them as they were pretty badly discredited some years ago.

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    I didn't have to take a poly to get into the Academy I'm in now, but did have to take one with the Sheriff's Office.

    Personally, I think polygraphs are highly inaccurate. I answered every question truthfully but when asked if I had ever been arrested in another country, I supposedly showed "significant deceit." Very hard to do when you haven't been to another country, let alone seen a cop, participated in a crime, and been arrested for it. I passed the polygraph and had the job offer, but still, knowing his little machine said twice I was lying when I wasn't bothered me. Then again, clearly they know they aren't perfect as I still passed. So just go in, relax, don't try to cheat, tell the truth, and it'll work out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jimd77 View Post
    There's a reason polygraphs have been ruled illegal by the judicial system. Unfortunately, parts of our public safety community still insist on using them instead of a thorough background investigation. Remember, there is no "science" behind the poly, and it's based on whether the polygrapher likes you or not.
    Pretty much. My belief is that the poly is just a way to illicit a damaging admission, aka confession. It's nothing more than a tool of intimidation.

    Polys at my current employer are given by detectives with job related psych degrees. It's basically an interrigation. During the interview preceding the poly, they're already looking for signs of deception. You know, speech, mannerisms/body language and such. They'll ask questions such as "Have you ever lied to get out of trouble?" Of course you have, so has everyone else. Answer no, and you're throwing up a major BS flag. The kicker is, at the end of the poly, they ask you "Have you lied about anything you've told me today?" Even if you haven't, it's difficult not to show a response while thinking about the question.

    The true value of the poly, IMO, is to get you to spill the beans. The poly admin. may even turn the computer towards you and show you a few charts that show "deception" and you may be asked to explain why you're showing deception. There may in fact be no deception whatsoever in the first place; they may be fishing for a confession where you've already tested clean. My admin tried this, and also said to call him back if I could think of why there was a deception, "I'm not giving up on this, make sure you call me at any time, and we can discuss this. Here's my card". Yeah right. I was like WTF after leaving the poly, sick to my stomach, having been completely honest. I was so sure that I failed the poly that I took an EMS only job in SC to start on a state retirement, and work into fire there. Then I received job offer several months later after finally receiving notice of a successful poly, and entered the next available recruit school

    It's a glorified interrogation. Be truthful, and don't try to overexplain any answers or admissions. That implies that you're hiding something.

    Edit: since there's actually no solid science backing up the poly, I would recommend appealing a failed test, in writing, should you fail.
    Last edited by edpmedic; 04-10-2010 at 05:52 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 883 Low View Post
    I didn't have to take a poly to get into the Academy I'm in now, but did have to take one with the Sheriff's Office.

    Personally, I think polygraphs are highly inaccurate. I answered every question truthfully but when asked if I had ever been arrested in another country, I supposedly showed "significant deceit." Very hard to do when you haven't been to another country, let alone seen a cop, participated in a crime, and been arrested for it. I passed the polygraph and had the job offer, but still, knowing his little machine said twice I was lying when I wasn't bothered me. Then again, clearly they know they aren't perfect as I still passed. So just go in, relax, don't try to cheat, tell the truth, and it'll work out.
    There was probably no deception detected from the machine in the first place, but they would like you to believe so, and then admit something. Common tactic.

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