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  • Polygraph Experience

    First off, let me say that I am not yet an LEO. I'm hopefully at the end of a very long hiring process and just wanted to share my recent polygraph experience with guys going through it for the first time.

    It has been suggested that you are being watched from the time you show up at your poly destination, which for me was the downtown police headquarters. This is absolutely true. Had a detective approach me while leaving my car in the lot and ask if I was there for an interview. Also said I couldn't park in that lot. Got directions for suitable parking and made my way back to headquarters. Were they watching for me...I think so.

    There were also hidden cameras in the waiting area which was a room completely devoid of anything to fidget with while you wait (except for half a torn Greenpeace magazine...which is less than nothing). Maybe this first isolation is part of the process, or maybe I'm gonna fail the Psych test later. After eternity, a detective comes out, introduces himself so quickly I'm not sure if he's speaking English and takes me back to a very warm, stuffy soundproof closet sized room. He leaves me there another 20 or so minutes and my hands are so damn sweaty and we haven't even begun! I'm ready to confess or agree to anything to get the hell out of there. Keep in mind, I've had over 2 months knowing this thing is coming, and here it is. I don't care if you are Mother Thereasa, you are gonna be nervous, I promise.

    Ok, he goes through my polygraph booklet (PHQ) and asks a few questions on already admitted facts and I start to relax a bit. He puts me at ease somewhat with the explanation that he really don't care what I've done in the past, everybody in the police dept. has done things, nobody's perfect....think of me as your priest....just tell the truth. First question, "On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being perfectly trustworthy all the time no matter what, and 1 being not trustwaorthy at all, where do you rate yourself on that scale?" He started to take a drink of his Coke and I said "10" and he choked it back into the bottle and said "Well that certainly is what we want, if you had said any number less than 9, this interview would've been over". Now I'm starting to feel like this guy thinks I'm embelishing....which is lying....ok, I bombed the first question and I'm not even hooked up to the machine yet.

    So he asks questions, actually causes me to remember something I forgot to put in the PHQ. I remembered giving a coworker pain pills I got from a dentist a few years back when he said his back was hurting. He asked how many, and did I take any money for them....2 and no.


    So we finally get through with preliminary questions, he explains the polygraph machine, which looks like an padded steel electric chair to me, and he hooks me up. I'm told not to breathe deeply or slowly during the questions, which has me almost panting like a dog and trying to keep it regular. The 2 thumbscrews that are velcroed to fingers on my right hand are to check for perspiration....hell, I'm sweating like a pig already. Im told not to move around because there's sensors in the chair....sweet. He puts the wire coils around my stomach and chest (breathing monitor), and puts the bloodpressure cuff on my arm. We begin with him inflating the blood pressure cuff and I can feel every beat of my heart, which is pounding, through my left arm and right finger tips. He then asks me the same 6 or 8 questions I've heard while we were discussing the PHQ. I won't post those here. Just want to say that the way they are asked, the changes in voice, the cadence, and the pause between each question is nervracking. I was asked the same set of questions 3 times in a row, and by the 3rd time I started wondering if I was lying. Also, even though its the same questions, you really think about each one as if its the first time you ever heard it. Not like you can just just spit out the answer automatic like a knee jerk. A friend of mine said don't overthink the question, just give the first thing that pops in your head....I couldn't.

    And then it was over so quick...he just said, "Ok, you're done. How do you think you did?" I said, "I bombed." he was like "No, you did good, you passed." First though was "NO WAY! YOU"RE LYING!" Started wondering if a detective can lie to an applicant. Started thinking of all the episodes of First 48...you know how sneaky detectives are. All this happened yesterday morning and I still don't believe it. How the hell can that machine know I'm telling the truth when I'm sweating, my heart is pounding, and I'm starting to doubt my own answers? Who am I to say a perfect "10" on the trustworthy scale? Im not Jesus!

    If it turns out that he wasn't lying, and I did pass AND I get through the B.I. interview home interview tomorrow, then I can start worrying about the Psych Test. I don't think I'm insane, but this 7 month to eternity hiring process has got me a lot closer than I was in January. Hopefully get to decompress some on my upcoming ride-along.....like in that movie Super Bad.
    Last edited by beavisusmc; 07-10-2013, 09:16 AM.

  • #2
    lol good stuff...me reading this had me on the edge of my chair.
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    • #3
      Originally posted by beavisusmc View Post
      First off, let me say that I am not yet an LEO. I'm hopefully at the end of a very long hiring process and just wanted to share my recent polygraph experience with guys going through it for the first time.

      It has been suggested that you are being watched from the time you show up at your poly destination, which for me was the downtown police headquarters. This is absolutely true. Had a detective approach me while leaving my car in the lot and ask if I was there for an interview. Also said I couldn't park in that lot. Got directions for suitable parking and made my way back to headquarters. Were they watching for me...I think so.

      There were also hidden cameras in the waiting area which was a room completely devoid of anything to fidget with while you wait (except for half a torn Greenpeace magazine...which is less than nothing). Maybe this first isolation is part of the process, or maybe I'm gonna fail the Psych test later. After eternity, a detective comes out, introduces himself so quickly I'm not sure if he's speaking English and takes me back to a very warm, stuffy soundproof closet sized room. He leaves me there another 20 or so minutes and my hands are so damn sweaty and we haven't even begun! I'm ready to confess or agree to anything to get the hell out of there. Keep in mind, I've had over 2 months knowing this thing is coming, and here it is. I don't care if you are Mother Thereasa, you are gonna be nervous, I promise.

      Ok, he goes through my polygraph booklet (PHQ) and asks a few questions on already admitted facts and I start to relax a bit. He puts me at ease somewhat with the explanation that he really don't care what I've done in the past, everybody in the police dept. has done things, nobody's perfect....think of me as your priest....just tell the truth. First question, "On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being perfectly trustworthy all the time no matter what, and 1 being not trustwaorthy at all, where do you rate yourself on that scale?" He started to take a drink of his Coke and I said "10" and he choked it back into the bottle and said "Well that certainly is what we want, if you had said any number less than 9, this interview would've been over". Now I'm starting to feel like this guy thinks I'm embelishing....which is lying....ok, I bombed the first question and I'm not even hooked up to the machine yet.

      So he asks questions, actually causes me to remember something I forgot to put in the PHQ. I remembered giving a coworker pain pills I got from a dentist a few years back when he said his back was hurting. He asked how many, and did I take any money for them....2 and no.


      So we finally get through with preliminary questions, he explains the polygraph machine, which looks like an padded steel electric chair to me, and he hooks me up. I'm told not to breathe deeply or slowly during the questions, which has me almost panting like a dog and trying to keep it regular. The 2 thumbscrews that are velcroed to fingers on my right hand are to check for perspiration....hell, I'm sweating like a pig already. Im told not to move around because there's sensors in the chair....sweet. He puts the wire coils around my stomach and chest (breathing monitor), and puts the bloodpressure cuff on my arm. We begin with him inflating the blood pressure cuff and I can feel every beat of my heart, which is pounding, through my left arm and right finger tips. He then asks me the same 6 or 8 questions I've heard while we were discussing the PHQ. I won't post those here. Just want to say that the way they are asked, the changes in voice, the cadence, and the pause between each question is nervracking. I was asked the same set of questions 3 times in a row, and by the 3rd time I started wondering if I was lying. Also, even though its the same questions, you really think about each one as if its the first time you ever heard it. Not like you can just just spit out the answer automatic like a knee jerk. A friend of mine said don't overthink the question, just give the first thing that pops in your head....I couldn't.

      And then it was over so quick...he just said, "Ok, you're done. How do you think you did?" I said, "I bombed." he was like "No, you did good, you passed." First though was "NO WAY! YOU"RE LYING!" Started wondering if a detective can lie to an applicant. Started thinking of all the episodes of First 48...you know how sneaky detectives are. All this happened yesterday morning and I still don't believe it. How the hell can that machine know I'm telling the truth when I'm sweating, my heart is pounding, and I'm starting to doubt my own answers? Who am I to say a perfect "10" on the trustworthy scale? Im not Jesus!

      If it turns out that he wasn't lying, and I did pass AND I get through the B.I. interview home interview tomorrow, then I can start worrying about the Psych Test. I don't think I'm insane, but this 7 month to eternity hiring process has got me a lot closer than I was in January. Hopefully get to decompress some on my upcoming ride-along.....like in that movie Super Bad.
      welcome to the poly bull**** devil. I have taken 3, and got all the possible results answering the exact same way.

      Comment


      • #4
        If its bull****, I don't want to tempt fate. I went away believing in it, but not knowing how it could know through all the sweat and heart pounding. Even if its all fake, the detective didn't need it. I was ready to tell him everything and even make up some ***** that might have happened when I was too young to remember. At one point before the thing was hooked up he asked again "So, other than your parents and what you've already told me, you have never lied to anyone who was important or in authority over you?" I said "Well, yeah..." he picked up the pen...."I could have lied to a teacher when I was in school...." he put the pen down..."No, thats not what I mean. Anybody you specifically remember....?" ......"No sir, no one I can specifically remember right now....nothing recent or that I can recall" .

        You know, I had the most problem with that question when I was hooked up. He would say "Other than your parents, and what you have already told me, you have never lied to anyone who was important to you?" I kept thinking first off, its been 24 years since I lived with my parents and I can't remember ever having lied to them. They wouldv'e beat the ***** out of me if I did. Then I had to remember who I told him I did lie to...so there was always a pause, I wanted to be accurate. Forced me to think about it....even though he has asked it 3 times.

        I can't imagine trying to get through that carrying a lie. Maybe it was the nerves of knowing a career was on the line, the lack of sleep and coffee didn't help either. Still, even telling the truth and passing the poly does'nt mean I'm not DQ or gonna get passed over for a better candidate.

        All you good guys trying to get hired, I wish you luck. If you can lie and pass that, you should be a politician.

        Comment


        • #5
          A wise man told me once how to pass the polygraph, first, make sure you are completely honest. Second, don't over think the question, you will fail. Third, when you are hooked up to that machine and you are being asked a question, answered it truthfully, as soon as you answered it concentrate on a spot in the room, and asked yourself questions about that spot in the room, it would take your mind off the question, and every time your asked a question, make sure you concentrate in that spot, after each and every question.

          Comment


          • #6
            Man, its funny you say that....swear I was looking for something to concentrate on to take my mind off it. They had me face a manilla wall 3 feet away with nothing on it.
            Nothing about it makes sense to me. If it measures breathing, perspiration, and heart rate....then how the Hell did I pass?
            Actually, I don't want to know. I had every intention of telling the truth, no matter what question, and that's what I did. If I actually found out how it works, I would probably fail it next time.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by beavisusmc View Post
              Man, its funny you say that....swear I was looking for something to concentrate on to take my mind off it. They had me face a manilla wall 3 feet away with nothing on it.
              Nothing about it makes sense to me. If it measures breathing, perspiration, and heart rate....then how the Hell did I pass?
              Actually, I don't want to know. I had every intention of telling the truth, no matter what question, and that's what I did. If I actually found out how it works, I would probably fail it next time.
              You can pass being like that because there is no standard in the measurements it takes. It will just give the operator the ability to see the few physiological tells of stress. The machine cant tell if youre lying, but it will tell your stressed about a question, and stress usually means lying in this instance. Most of the actual deception detection comes from the polygraph operator, which is why we do have liars passing them and good people failing so often.

              On a side note, poly's are best at finding deception on things of very small scope, not whether someone has led a "good" life. As ****ty as they are, polys do serve a purpose to help weed out the non-desirable.

              Edit. If I have anything wrong here, please correct, I am not a poly operator, but simply going on what the operator of my last one told me as we discussed the poly in itself.
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              • #8
                Originally posted by beavisusmc View Post
                First off, let me say that I am not yet an LEO. I'm hopefully at the end of a very long hiring process and just wanted to share my recent polygraph experience with guys going through it for the first time.

                It has been suggested that you are being watched from the time you show up at your poly destination, which for me was the downtown police headquarters. This is absolutely true. Had a detective approach me while leaving my car in the lot and ask if I was there for an interview. Also said I couldn't park in that lot. Got directions for suitable parking and made my way back to headquarters. Were they watching for me...I think so.

                There were also hidden cameras in the waiting area which was a room completely devoid of anything to fidget with while you wait (except for half a torn Greenpeace magazine...which is less than nothing). Maybe this first isolation is part of the process, or maybe I'm gonna fail the Psych test later. After eternity, a detective comes out, introduces himself so quickly I'm not sure if he's speaking English and takes me back to a very warm, stuffy soundproof closet sized room. He leaves me there another 20 or so minutes and my hands are so damn sweaty and we haven't even begun! I'm ready to confess or agree to anything to get the hell out of there. Keep in mind, I've had over 2 months knowing this thing is coming, and here it is. I don't care if you are Mother Thereasa, you are gonna be nervous, I promise.

                Ok, he goes through my polygraph booklet (PHQ) and asks a few questions on already admitted facts and I start to relax a bit. He puts me at ease somewhat with the explanation that he really don't care what I've done in the past, everybody in the police dept. has done things, nobody's perfect....think of me as your priest....just tell the truth. First question, "On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being perfectly trustworthy all the time no matter what, and 1 being not trustwaorthy at all, where do you rate yourself on that scale?" He started to take a drink of his Coke and I said "10" and he choked it back into the bottle and said "Well that certainly is what we want, if you had said any number less than 9, this interview would've been over". Now I'm starting to feel like this guy thinks I'm embelishing....which is lying....ok, I bombed the first question and I'm not even hooked up to the machine yet.

                So he asks questions, actually causes me to remember something I forgot to put in the PHQ. I remembered giving a coworker pain pills I got from a dentist a few years back when he said his back was hurting. He asked how many, and did I take any money for them....2 and no.


                So we finally get through with preliminary questions, he explains the polygraph machine, which looks like an padded steel electric chair to me, and he hooks me up. I'm told not to breathe deeply or slowly during the questions, which has me almost panting like a dog and trying to keep it regular. The 2 thumbscrews that are velcroed to fingers on my right hand are to check for perspiration....hell, I'm sweating like a pig already. Im told not to move around because there's sensors in the chair....sweet. He puts the wire coils around my stomach and chest (breathing monitor), and puts the bloodpressure cuff on my arm. We begin with him inflating the blood pressure cuff and I can feel every beat of my heart, which is pounding, through my left arm and right finger tips. He then asks me the same 6 or 8 questions I've heard while we were discussing the PHQ. I won't post those here. Just want to say that the way they are asked, the changes in voice, the cadence, and the pause between each question is nervracking. I was asked the same set of questions 3 times in a row, and by the 3rd time I started wondering if I was lying. Also, even though its the same questions, you really think about each one as if its the first time you ever heard it. Not like you can just just spit out the answer automatic like a knee jerk. A friend of mine said don't overthink the question, just give the first thing that pops in your head....I couldn't.

                And then it was over so quick...he just said, "Ok, you're done. How do you think you did?" I said, "I bombed." he was like "No, you did good, you passed." First though was "NO WAY! YOU"RE LYING!" Started wondering if a detective can lie to an applicant. Started thinking of all the episodes of First 48...you know how sneaky detectives are. All this happened yesterday morning and I still don't believe it. How the hell can that machine know I'm telling the truth when I'm sweating, my heart is pounding, and I'm starting to doubt my own answers? Who am I to say a perfect "10" on the trustworthy scale? Im not Jesus!

                If it turns out that he wasn't lying, and I did pass AND I get through the B.I. interview home interview tomorrow, then I can start worrying about the Psych Test. I don't think I'm insane, but this 7 month to eternity hiring process has got me a lot closer than I was in January. Hopefully get to decompress some on my upcoming ride-along.....like in that movie Super Bad.
                That's a bit as I would imagine the poly being done, but what u said was a bit more extreme. Nice put together, Sir! Congrats on passing. Good luck on your hiring process.
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                • #9
                  Thanks, and yeah I feel like such a woosie now that its over. I want to go back as Dwayne Johnson and do it again.

                  No, I want to go back as Willie Nelson and rough up the suspect 5 minutes before the Polygraph starts. That way I would think about Doritos and feel relaxed. I never smoked pot but I bet it takes the Woody Allen out.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by beavisusmc View Post
                    If it measures breathing, perspiration, and heart rate....then how the Hell did I pass?
                    Actually, I don't want to know. .

                    Because it is graded on a sliding scale, like a bell curve, they already take into account your natural nervousness and sweating and just grade on top of that.

                    And yes, I believe polygraphs are junk science, they are only about 85% correct and are not admissible in court. A good background investigator will beat a polygraph anyday.

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