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Was This a Typical Post-Polygraph Interrogation?

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  • Was This a Typical Post-Polygraph Interrogation?

    Hi everyone,

    This is a long post. The TL;DR version is on the bottom, but I'd really appreciate anyone who takes the time to read all of this.

    I had my polygraph exam today. My conditional offer of employment is tied to passing the polygraph and psychological. I felt like the pre-interview went great, and I feel like the polygraph itself went well when I was hooked up to it. The examiner is a detective with a police department, so he obviously has interrogation and investigative experience.

    He was friendly, and built rapport with me (as most examiners probably do). I was truthful for the entire exam. He kept complimenting how clean of a background I have, and what a good candidate I am. He hooks me up to the machine, and we go through the questions for about 25 minutes. He leaves the room. After "looking over" my polygraph chart results with another examiner (supposedly), he comes back in, sits down, and accuses me of deliberately trying to manipulate the test. He starts off by saying "right now, you're not doing well with the test".

    He continued on, saying I was trying to manipulate the results. He implies I was trying to control my breathing, which I was not. I stood my ground, and I did not change my stance on the matter. He then plays a little bluff, which I've heard of them doing before - saying that I'm a really good candidate, and that if I just admit to having tried to manipulate the test, he would go to bat for me with "the hiring supervisors". He said he has a really good relationship with them. He said "they will listen to the report" about what he writes about me. He said if I don't come clean, he's going to write what we just discussed and my outcome in the process "will be obvious". I still didn't budge or change my answers. I said "I can assure you, I did not manipulate the results - and everything on that packet is the truth".

    After being unable to break me down, the detective gets angry. He said that he hopes I never become a police officer, then saying "you're a liar". He beats a dead horse again, saying it's obvious of what I was trying to do and that anyone could "see it". He then changed it minutes later, to being able to "hear what I was doing". A bit of an inconsistency, which I thought was strange.

    It was kind of like watching a horrible actor try out for a High School drama class, I could tell he was bluffing/acting the entire time. And I thought he winked at me at one point during it (as if to almost give me a hint?), but I can't be certain. He ended with saying, "is there anything you want to tell me? This is your last chance." I said "No." He ended the session with one last question - "How do you feel about the test and the way I treated you today?" I answered "I think you were professional and respectful, and I'd like to thank you for your time." He walked me out and seemed to be somewhat cold towards me, slamming the button on the elevator and saying "there ya go".

    Has anyone had a post polygraph interrogation like this before? Being accused of manipulation/cheating - and maybe end up having passed it? I feel like it would have either been this version of an interrogation, or being accused of "having a problem with a question". Maybe I'm right in saying no one is ever told they "passed"? I've heard they usually try to get people to make admissions by confronting them with a "failure".

    I know polygraphs are junk science and my experience today is probably common. I'd just like to hear some other opinions. Otherwise, I'll be waiting to hear officially (hopefully soon).

    TLDR Version:

    I was told I was trying to manipulate test results by a polygraph examiner, and I could tell he was probably bluffing - but I'm not certain. I'm curious if anyone had a similar experience and still passed?

  • #2
    He winked at you? Did you give him your phone number??

    You didn't pass.
    If everybody is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking.

    -George S. Patton

    Comment


    • #3
      That strap around you chest in a poly? That monitors respiration. It's a legitimate part of the test...he doesn't have to "listen" to your respiration to see if there's a change.

      As for whether this is "normal" or not, that would depend upon the agency, examiner, and candidate. Nobody here can tell you otherwise. I realize that the hiring process is stressful, but stop trying to analyze it. You'll likely fail to do so properly and just cause yourself more stress. Wait for your results and you'll know for sure.
      "He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."
      -Friedrich Nietzsche

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by NickG0103 View Post
        Hi everyone,

        This is a long post. The TL;DR version is on the bottom, but I'd really appreciate anyone who takes the time to read all of this.

        I had my polygraph exam today. My conditional offer of employment is tied to passing the polygraph and psychological. I felt like the pre-interview went great, and I feel like the polygraph itself went well when I was hooked up to it. The examiner is a detective with a police department, so he obviously has interrogation and investigative experience.

        He was friendly, and built rapport with me (as most examiners probably do). I was truthful for the entire exam. He kept complimenting how clean of a background I have, and what a good candidate I am. He hooks me up to the machine, and we go through the questions for about 25 minutes. He leaves the room. After "looking over" my polygraph chart results with another examiner (supposedly), he comes back in, sits down, and accuses me of deliberately trying to manipulate the test. He starts off by saying "right now, you're not doing well with the test".

        He continued on, saying I was trying to manipulate the results. He implies I was trying to control my breathing, which I was not. I stood my ground, and I did not change my stance on the matter. He then plays a little bluff, which I've heard of them doing before - saying that I'm a really good candidate, and that if I just admit to having tried to manipulate the test, he would go to bat for me with "the hiring supervisors". He said he has a really good relationship with them. He said "they will listen to the report" about what he writes about me. He said if I don't come clean, he's going to write what we just discussed and my outcome in the process "will be obvious". I still didn't budge or change my answers. I said "I can assure you, I did not manipulate the results - and everything on that packet is the truth".

        After being unable to break me down, the detective gets angry. He said that he hopes I never become a police officer, then saying "you're a liar". He beats a dead horse again, saying it's obvious of what I was trying to do and that anyone could "see it". He then changed it minutes later, to being able to "hear what I was doing". A bit of an inconsistency, which I thought was strange.

        It was kind of like watching a horrible actor try out for a High School drama class, I could tell he was bluffing/acting the entire time. And I thought he winked at me at one point during it (as if to almost give me a hint?), but I can't be certain. He ended with saying, "is there anything you want to tell me? This is your last chance." I said "No." He ended the session with one last question - "How do you feel about the test and the way I treated you today?" I answered "I think you were professional and respectful, and I'd like to thank you for your time." He walked me out and seemed to be somewhat cold towards me, slamming the button on the elevator and saying "there ya go".

        Has anyone had a post polygraph interrogation like this before? Being accused of manipulation/cheating - and maybe end up having passed it? I feel like it would have either been this version of an interrogation, or being accused of "having a problem with a question". Maybe I'm right in saying no one is ever told they "passed"? I've heard they usually try to get people to make admissions by confronting them with a "failure".

        I know polygraphs are junk science and my experience today is probably common. I'd just like to hear some other opinions. Otherwise, I'll be waiting to hear officially (hopefully soon).

        TLDR Version:

        I was told I was trying to manipulate test results by a polygraph examiner, and I could tell he was probably bluffing - but I'm not certain. I'm curious if anyone had a similar experience and still passed?
        The answers to all your questions are in your post.
        Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

        My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks for the responses, and Happy New Year.

          Comment


          • #6
            Not sure where people get the idea that the polygrapher never says whether one passes at the end? Every polygraph I've taken I was told at the end that I passed. Usually, something to the effect of, "You're good to go, I'll send my approval letter by close of business today/tomorrow."

            I know that they can't say anything like, "You're hired" because of course they are not the one who ultimately decides that, but they can say, all day long, "You passed this portion of the process" and in fact they have said that to me every time I have taken one.

            Comment


            • NYtoNC
              NYtoNC commented
              Editing a comment
              I was NOT told at the end of the exam if I passed or not. I ended up passing and having a long career.

            • SOCAleo
              SOCAleo commented
              Editing a comment
              Must be different in different areas. I'm from California and the last poly I took was about six years ago.

            • GangGreen712
              GangGreen712 commented
              Editing a comment
              I've taken, I think, about 12 polygraphs in my life. On only three occasions was I told straight up on the spot that I passed. On one occasion, I was told that I failed. All the others times, I didn't find out the results for a few weeks, when I was either given a thin letter or a call from a BI to continue on.

            • ArmyVet
              ArmyVet commented
              Editing a comment
              I was told I passed at the end of all four I have taken. For one of them, he said at the beginning he would not tell me at the end if I passed or failed. He said if I passed, he would walk me out, shake my hand, and wish me luck. If I failed, he would walk me out, shake my hand, wish me luck, and hope to never see me again. He still told me I passed at the end. I imagine he says that at the beginning so that if someone "fails," they don't suspect anything when they leave.

          • #7
            Very similar thing happened to me in the 90's. Tried to tell me I was lying about cocaine use. Left the room and everything after the results!!! I was already a police officer at the time, so I knew the drill. Had you changed an answer, you had already swore that the first set of answers you provided were the truth, so changing your answer might have ruined your chances.

            Comment


            • #8
              Poly operators are investigators. A poly is a tool... the biggest use is simply having it in the room. A good interviewer can get the same result by wiring somebody to the copy machine.

              Trying to get you to change your answer, trying to get you to confess to something, is part of the job.

              Tell the truth the first time, and you won’t have to remember the lie.
              "I am a Soldier. I fight where I'm told and I win where I fight." -- GEN George S. Patton, Jr.

              "With a brother on my left and a sister on my right, we face…. We face what no one should face. We face, so no one else would face. We are in the face of Death." -- Holli Peet

              Comment


              • #9
                Thanks for the responses.

                I haven't heard anything yet. As they say, sometimes no news is good news.

                Comment


                • #10
                  It's fake science...

                  Comment


                  • #11
                    Originally posted by Ratatatat View Post
                    He winked at you? Did you give him your phone number??

                    You didn't pass.
                    Not that there's anything wrong with that...

                    OP, it sounds like it was just the polygrapher's tactic he had to use. If he did actually wink at you, it is possible the session was being recorded, and he had to make it sound good for his supervisor.

                    I had applied to a department back in '88 that had a polygraph as part of the hiring procedure, but my future wife and I moved away before I was able to finish the process. My buddy, who was in my academy, who got on with that department told me later that all you had to do on the polygraph was to tell the truth. He told me that he was a minor to moderate drug user before he decided to get into LE, and that he listed ALL of that in his personal history statement along with other minor criminal offense/citations. He told me that he flew through the polygraph with flying colors even though he attested to the drug use and whatever else. Again, from what he told me, they just want you to tell the truth.

                    The department I got onto and eventually retired from didn't have a polygraph in the hiring process, but just like the vast majority of departments, they just wanted you to tell the truth to them. They know EVERYONE has 'sinned' in some way or another, and they probably don't want you anyway if you don't have some human flaw(found out in your personal history, oral board or medical/psychological screening).

                    More to add, other academy mates and I discussed ways to fool the polygraph like having a tac in your shoe and stepping on it when you answer correctly, but not when you answer falsely so that you have a similar response. I wouldn't doubt some have actually done that, but I'm guessing it wouldn't work. Another one was, when asked a question you want to answer falsely, change the question in your head that you can answer truthfully and then answer that question in your head that way as your response. An example would be if the interviewer asked you if you had listed ALL illegal drug use in your personal history report and you really haven't, you quickly change the question in your head to something low stress and true like "do I like puppies and pancakes?" Again, I have no idea of those work or not, but even so, just tell the truth on your PHS and to the polygrapher.

                    Comment

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