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Thread: Polygraph??

  1. #1
    Forum Member L-Webb's Avatar
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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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    MembersZone Subscriber Dickey's Avatar
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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
    Assistant Chief
    Altoona Fire Dept.
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  3. #3
    Forum Member PaladinKnight's Avatar
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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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    Forum Member yjbrody's Avatar
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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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    Forum Member Jonnee's Avatar
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    Wink

    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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    Forum Member yjbrody's Avatar
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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.
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

    Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

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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.

  18. #18
    Forum Member yjbrody's Avatar
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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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    Forum Member L-Webb's Avatar
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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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