Alright, to follow-up from the last post (what to expect when taking a pre-employment polygraph test part 1). The applicant has his polygraph test appointment, he has down loaded and filled out his polygraph screening booklet and then the day comes to go to the polygraph test site.
The test site? Along with the polygraph screening booklet, there are usually two more forms that I have available for the applicant. These forms are (1) instructions on coming to the test site i.e., directions to the test site, what to wear, what items to bring (a form of ID, a list of medications taken, any other items uniquely requested). Also, what to do if you cannot make the appointment, i.e., days prior cannot make the appointment, or on the trip to my office, you are running late because of traffic jams, accidents, or wrong turns (it happens). Because of scheduling, if an applicant is more than 15 minutes late, that appointment will usually have to be canceled/rescheduled due to overlap with the next appointment.
Okay, the applicant makes it to the test site on time. Alright!!!
I have a word to the wise on arriving on time. On time in the real world of successful people it means 15 to 20 minutes early. Of all the applicants I have tested, I would say that, in greater than the 90 percentile range of applicants, they arrived usually one half hours early. And in the real world that means a lot.
I greet the applicant in the office, and get the proper documents from them. These documents include a proper form of identification and the polygraph pre-employment screening booklet they filled out prior to coming to the test site. In some cases, I have the applicant sit outside the office while I review and documents submitted or I may bring them directly into my office.
Once in the office, I will document their information and get more biometric data, which includes their photograph and a thumbprint scan of the dominant hand.
And then, before going any further I start to reduce G. N. T., General nervous tension! This is done to improve the quality of the test. Remember this acronym GNT, as I will follow-up on this in later posts.
I then go over the process of polygraph with the applicant. This includes some of the history, the mechanics of polygraph, how polygraph works, its limitations and examples of prior testing.
We then start the pretest interview which includes any concerns they may have. We go over every question in the polygraph screening booklet, question by question, page by page. This process takes approximately one and a half hours. Before going through this, I let the applicant know that we will possibly be talking about things that are unpleasant/uncomfortable, things that their closest family member, friend, spouse does not know about. I let them know that this is all confidential within the process. I also tell them that it is extremely rare that something is not added to the polygraph screening booklet that they had previously filled out. This is because I will ask questions a little bit differently and give examples pertaining to such. This usually jogs their memory about something else that they forgot to add to the booklet. In my experience, it is extremely rare that we do not add more to the polygraph screening booklet during this process. This is the main reason for doing the pretest interview about the pre-screening booklet. In the past, applicants have had concerns about this process. They have told me, “I have filled out the polygraph screening booklet, set it down and later remembered something else and added that to the booklet. Days later, I remember something else and added that to the screening booklet. Now, my concern is while we are sitting here going over this booklet again, if we add something else to it, is that going to make me look bad?” My answer is NO. Everybody’s memory can be jogged. When we’re asked questions a little bit differently and given examples about the questions, a lot of times we remember things that we had not previously thought about.
Okay, this is the pretest interview. My next blog will be on setting up and running the actual polygraph test. This is where it can get very deep and complicated but I will try to keep it as simple as possible. 🙂