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  • Polygraph Experiences

    I just had my first polygraph this week and boy, that was awful. I passed, but my Polygrapher sure made it sound like it was "by the skin of my teeth", as they say. I was told a few times to stop controlling my breathing, which inherently made me focus more on it. She even stopped a couple of times to tell me if I kept doing it, she would fail me. At this point I'm curious what others' experiences were with the Polygraph?

  • #2
    Witchcraft.....hocus pocus......not a big fan. Can be fooled easily by those who lie without reaction.....can fail those who are just nervous at being really scrutinized. Border Patrol and Customs are known for having one of the most notoriously difficult polygraph test, but look at all the folks you fell thru the cracks.

    There will always be folks who slip thru the cracks,,,, just be honest during the process, not just the poly. Good luck.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by calumthestrong View Post
      I just had my first polygraph this week and boy, that was awful. I passed, but my Polygrapher sure made it sound like it was "by the skin of my teeth", as they say. I was told a few times to stop controlling my breathing, which inherently made me focus more on it. She even stopped a couple of times to tell me if I kept doing it, she would fail me. At this point I'm curious what others' experiences were with the Polygraph?
      Was this a Valley agency and the examiner a sergeant perhaps?

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      • RaspiestShrimp
        RaspiestShrimp commented
        Editing a comment
        Share with the class!

    • #4
      I don't understand why agencies waste money on polygraphs. At some point during the process just give the candidate a second background packet and tell them "we found issues fill this one out honestly this time". Then compare them, issue DQs if needed

      Same effect as the poly. Less money.

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      • BelieveTheHype
        BelieveTheHype commented
        Editing a comment
        Only problem I see with that is 1. I had a Bellevue officer tell me to always make copies of your background packet cause some departments will say they "lost" yours to see if everything matches up on the second, and 2. it makes it sound like you're assuming they lied on the first one and that might make some nervous specially for those who did fill out the first packet honestly. Are departments wanting to hire people who lie on the packets? Lastly, its required by that state to enter the Washington Police Academy that agencies give out the polygraph, so im not sure its 100% up to departments.

    • #5
      Polys are just one part of the process, we don't do ours until an offer has been given. It just confirms what we already know and sometimes, even more comes out when they do it.
      I don't check to see if the glass is half full, I make sure its not dirty.

      Comment


      • #6
        Just took my very first poly and failed. A lot of people are shocked they still use them. It being my first time i was nervous because you hear nothing but horror stories. No matter how much someone tells you to just be calm you still get nervous. Think of it like my very first varsity game in highschool, confident I could play but nervous with all eyes on me so you miss things you do not normally miss on. Sad its the end the hiring process for me.
        Last edited by BelieveTheHype; 04-25-2019, 01:05 AM.

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        • #7
          If that is how you think, your right. As an applicant, by rationalizing your perceived failure, you are tell me that you don't belong in this career. You don't really fail a poly, you show deception during it that is above their risk level.

          I don't care what veteran cops say and do, they have earned the right to be sarcastic and bitter. But as a new applicant, you need to think positive that you will succeed, regardless of what obstacles are in the way. Did you get a feeling what issues you were having? Did you already complete the background and this was just the final tests after the chiefs interview? if it is post background, some agencies may put you through a second polygraph to confirm.

          This process can take years for applicants, I tell future cops all the time, testing is a side job, focus on a career that would make you happy if LE didn't work out. (for a majority of applicants, it will not happen, only 1 out of 10 will get hired) Good luck.
          Last edited by C Tucker; 01-31-2019, 01:32 PM. Reason: correct verbage
          I don't check to see if the glass is half full, I make sure its not dirty.

          Comment


          • DBB
            DBB commented
            Editing a comment
            I would like to take a moment and thank you Off. C. Tucker for the time you have taken to be involved on this website. As someone who has considered taking the leap into Law Enforcement I appreciate your willingness to fully answer questions on here.

        • #8
          C Tucker I apperciate the feedback. I went into my polygraph positive, open, and went into great detail on specific scenarios, dates, etc. I think it was just being nervous, as stated above this was my first every polygraph and again I have read a lot of horror stories of people failing, or being grilled, etc. I cant use someones past experiences in mine but it was a setback after almost 4 months in the hiring process to be told I did not pass the polygraph. The easiest thing would be to make excuses but it happens. I sent a thank you email to the detective, asked if there was anything else I could do and then moved forward with life. Maybe its just not the right time for me and that agency. Best thing I can do is stay positive, move forward, and apply else where. Its just a heart breaking situation to be rejected.

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          • #9
            Never take a DQ personal, as there are many things that are out of your control can get you there. But, listen to the questions that are being asked and if they are doing many followups to a certain point, that may be a clue. Many of my DQs originate from failing to disclose very trivial things. No background investigator should expect you to be perfect, in fact if you are, usually you are really young or I haven't dug deep enough. Poly's can be a pain, sitting and strapped in on a chair for a long period of time, but that should be the time that you find your "Zen" and be relaxed. Most, if not all provide you the questions before you take the test and review them so that you understand what they are asking, so then its just Yes or No.

            Just keep trying. If you are into your third background and you start seeing a trend of DQ's, stop and give it a year to provide time and "distance" from the previous Dq's

            Good luck. And DBB, thanks for the compliment.
            I don't check to see if the glass is half full, I make sure its not dirty.

            Comment


            • #10
              C Tucker I appreciate the feedback. I have applied to other departments since my last post. You made some good points I need to not take it so personal. Its tough to see that departments are posting all over that they need help and more officers and you apply and do not make it though. But again I will take what you said and apply it. Ill try with a few more departments and if no luck Ill take a year off from applying, collect myself and try again. Thanks for input its appreciated.

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              • #11
                I always find some of these stories very odd. Like, "sitting in that chair, strapped to a machine for a long period of time.."
                This confuses me. I took a poly for my first employer, the Ohio State Hwy Patrol, in 2000. The interview was indeed brutal. Over 2 hours.
                BUT, the polygraph was about 15 mins long.
                Did you lie about such n such?
                were you truthful about such n such

                like 14 questions.
                Then, done.
                Has it changed that much? I get the whole Customs/Border patrol thing ( Which is hilarious, since they managed to hire someone who wasn't even born in the USA), but they seem to be an anomaly.

                Comment


                • RaspiestShrimp
                  RaspiestShrimp commented
                  Editing a comment
                  For what it's worth, my Border Patrol polygraph experience was identical to every other agency's (federal and local). I had a positive experience at all of them, and slid through without any hiccups.

                  On a goofy sidenote: the polygraph I took with Washington State Patrol was much more in-depth than the Border Patrol test I took. Still had a good time, but the BP one was a breeze. The people posting endlessly about how terrible it is could probably mess up a wet-dream, if you know what I mean.

              • #12
                themoj0 My polygraph experience was not strapped to a chair for a long time. The interview before hand was long (about 3 hours) and then when "strapped" to the chair I become nervous because in my head I was thinking "this is it, you either pass or you fail. 4 months all relying on this". Thinking that way made me nervous. Also sitting in the chair wasnt the most comfortable. I was told to look forward, do not move at all, and do not swallow. So it was a very quiet 15 minutes and anytime I was asked a question it would be silent, then I could hear her click on her mouse and type which again made me nervous haha all while my mouth was getting super dry.

                Either way I do not want to make excuses. It was tough, unfortunate but its time to move on. All in all it was a good experience and I am happy I made it as far as I did, again it was more of just sad that I spent 4 months making it through a lot of disqualifying steps with the department just to fail to close to the end. But if anything its motivation knowing I can make it past a written/video, physical, oral board, etc. I just need to retry with another department.

                Comment


                • #13
                  Having taken now 6 polygraph's during my application process and passing each one, I just want to reiterate that you should always be properly dressed, friendly, arrive early, and try to develop some rapport with the polygrapher. I have never gotten the impression that anyone was trying to "get me" in a lie, but they might put a bit of pressure on you. If you are telling the truth just stick to your guns. Don't volunteer irrelevant information, don't overthink the question. No sense in getting nervous about it, if you are you're probably going to fail before you walk into the room.

                  Just my two cents.

                  Comment

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