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.

Also, part of your preparations, the day before the test, is to get a good nights sleep.  This link is to a product I personally use. If you snore or have sleep apnea, this product has really helped me. In the past, I found my self startled, waking up in the middle of the night, gasping for breath (apnea). For me, I have to sleep on my left or right side, not on my back, because my tongue relaxes and falls back blocking my airway. Ever since using this product I have had no incidences of waking up gasping in the middle of the night.  I personally will not travel anywhere with out one of  these devises in my toiletry bag!

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 means 15 to 20 minutes early. Of all the applicants I have tested, I would say that greater than 90 percent 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 (important) 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 are 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. 🙂

This blog post is going to cover what one should expect and what not to expect when taking a pre-employment polygraph test.

I decided to do this particular blog post because in past months, I have had several friends come to me with a lot of questions, concerns and worries about taking a polygraph test. They say things such as “I know I will be nervous so I know I am not going to do well on the test or I have things in my past and I know that even if I disclose these issues, it will be on my mind and I will not do well on the test.

This blog post will be written chronologically from scheduling a polygraph test appointment (after one applies for a government job, be it security, law-enforcement, state, county or local municipality) to post test interview at the end.

Usually an applicant is contacted by phone to schedule an appointment for the polygraph test. This contact is made by the polygraph examiner. In my case, if I get the applicant’s voice mail, I will leave several dates for the applicant to choose from.

They can then call back with a primary and a secondary choice. This is done just in case the applicant’s first choice for testing has been filled by someone else before they call back. Along with the dates, I will tell the applicant when choosing a date and time, to take into consideration the location of the test site and the duration of the test which is three to three and one half hours to complete.

It is rare, but I have had tests take as long as 4 hours. The applicant is instructed to: get a good nights rest (at least 6 hours. I will talk later about the importance of sleep and some experiences I have had with test subjects and this issue) shower, dress comfortably (no suit and tie, no sleeveless tops), take prescribed medications (if applicable), bring a list of those medications and a form of government identification to the test site. Also, during this contact, I obtain an email address from the applicant. I email the applicant further instructions and the polygraph screening booklet.

The booklet is to be filled out by the applicant prior to coming to the test site. Some polygraph examiners frown on the practice of giving out the polygraph screening booklet prior to coming to the test site. Their reasoning is: 1. Somebody else could fill out or coach the applicant on filling out the polygraph screening booklet. or 2. The applicant could take their original job application and use it to copy answers verbatim to the polygraph screening booklet, to make sure their answers are consistent. Those are issues that I do not worry about.

In reference to reason number one, I review the polygraph screening booklet with the applicant page by page question by question. This pretest interview takes roughly 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours. Also, when the applicant arrives at the test site, I have them fill out and sign several forms. So, taking all of this into account, there is no problem determining whether an applicant personally filled out the polygraph screening booklet and determining the consistency of their answers.

In reference to reason number two, you would think that an applicant would take a polygraph booklet and put in it, verbatim, everything they put in their job application questionnaire. Surprisingly, I have found this not to be the case. You would not believe how many inconsistencies I come across routinely with applicants, in reference to their employment package and the polygraph screening booklet.


I will soon be posting on what to expect when showing up to the test site Part 2.

[contact-form][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Comment’ type=’textarea’ required=’1’/][/contact-form]

I posted something on the lighter side since future posts may be a little more technical. I will be posting on polygraph issues of the day, developments, anything else related to polygraph and any other forms of testing for, “truth detection”, “lie detection”. I am posting everything based on science, facts and…. commenting on others stated opinions of the day. Everything I post should be clear on that basis. Although I am a member of several professional organizations, I do not speak for any organization pro or con.

I hope you enjoy these posts and that you can glean some useful information from it. As always, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me. It is as easy as clicking on my contact button.

[contact-form][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Comment’ type=’textarea’ required=’1’/][/contact-form]