Police Officer Hiring Process – The Polygraph Exam

Polygraph ExamMost law enforcement agencies require a polygraph exam as part of their hiring process.

Who is the Polygraph given to?

Usually, the polygraph is provided to candidates who have advanced in the selection process and are being considered for hiring.

How does the Polygraph work?

You sit down to take the polygraph and you’ll be fitted with a blood pressure cuff. There will be a strap around your chest and there’ll be monitors on your fingers. The finger monitors measure how much you perspire as a result of the stress. The blood pressure cuff keeps track of your blood pressure.

When the exam starts the cuff will fill up with air and create a tight gap around your arm. The cuff is measuring your heart beats per minute. As you get more nervous the blood pressure cuff will communicate greater beats per minute. There is a strap that goes around your chest and a set of tubes. It is placed over your chest because it measures how much air you are breathing.

The Polygraph Pre-Interview

Prior to actually being given the exam there will be a pre-test interview and typically you’ll be asked questions for about 20 to 30 minutes. The questions will focus on a variety of things such as your previous employment history, driving record, drug use, and criminal history. The examiner is going to explain the process of the polygraph in such a way to emphasize the reliability and the precision of the test. The purpose of this is to place a truthful candidate at ease and also to heighten the anxiety of a candidate that might have something to hide. It is very important to be honest and complete during the pretest and because if you’re not then you’re going to have some reason to cover something up during the actual exam. It is extremely important to be very truthful because the act of not being truth may be worse than what you are trying to cover up.

During the actual polygraph exam it will start off with the examiner asking you basic questions, questions that the examiner knows the answers to. You might be asked what’s your name, where do you live. This also helps the examiner determine some baseline activity for questions that you are answering truthfully.  Then, the examiner will begin focusing on the same questions they asked during the pretest, such as criminal activity, previous employment, and drug use.

How to Prepare for the Polygraph?

It is not unusual for someone to fail the polygraph when in fact they have been totally honest. The machine measures stress, and an honest person can be stressed during the exam and fail.

Mastering the Polygraph is a course from Sgt Godoy which will teach you how to avoid failing the Polygraph when in fact you are answering truthfully. This is done by helping you understand the process and includes some simple relaxation techniques. The course also includes a simulated polygraph.