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Unlocking Success: How to pass polygraph interview

Unlocking Success: How to pass polygraph interview

A polygraph test is not uncommon when applying for specific jobs. It is used to determine whether the candidate is suitable for the position. Although it is often called a lie detector, it cannot detect a lie.

A polygraph test detects the changes in your body responses, including breathing, heart rate, and pulse. In this guide, you’ll find everything you need to know about the polygraph process and how to pass a polygraph examination successfully.

Overview of a polygraph interview

A polygraph exam is a way to conduct a background check during a hiring process. Although it is not common in regular jobs, it is widespread when applied to specific industries. You might need to go through a polygraph exam for:

  • Law enforcement job;
  • Governmental agencies like intelligence or other agencies;
  • Prison guard position;
  • Firefighter;
  • Pharmacist;
  • Board patrol officer;
  • Security engineer.

Polygraph examiners work for military, security, government, police, and pharmaceutical organizations. It is uncommon to encounter polygraph tests in other sectors and private companies. The Employee Polygraph Protection Act prevents most organizations from using such a test during hiring.

However, when it comes to law enforcement agencies and government agencies, it is almost a standard procedure.

Why do Employers Use a Polygraph Exam?

The main goal of a polygraph exam is to do a background check on a candidate. Examiners might ask about your personal history, illegal drug use, or illegal activities. The answers will determine how suitable you are for the job.

It is important to note that a polygraph interview is not always completely accurate. That’s why even in court or during a police investigation, it is used with many precautions. It cannot detect a lie but can showcase your body’s responses to specific questions and answers.

The idea is that the majority of people experience stress when lying. Thus their heart rate, pulse, respiration, and perspiration indicators change. Some organizations also use a computer voice stress analysis during a polygraph process.

Polygraph tests are conducted by professionals who can ask questions specifically and interpret the results. The polygraph examiner might add stress factors with particular interrogative tactics.

Looking into the sectors that use polygraph testing, it is understandable why it is so crucial. A law enforcement job, for example, requires a rigorous process to ensure that the person is fit for the role.

The importance of passing the polygraph test

Whether applying to local law enforcement agencies or a giant pharmaceutical company, you must pass the polygraph screening successfully. Otherwise, you will not get the job.

An actual polygraph examination cannot detect what you’ve lied about or what you did. But it will show trustful answers and those that caused you the most stress. So a pre-employment polygraph test checks your integrity and truthfulness. If an employer decides you’ve lied about crucial questions, the chances of being hired are almost zero.

Why Might One Fail Polygraph Results?

The easiest way to pass this test is to give truthful answers. However, other factors might influence the test results. Those are:

  • Anxiety and feeling very nervous;
  • Specific mental and physical conditions (chronic pain, heart condition, or respiratory illness can influence testing results);
  • Previous negative experience with police polygraph questions;
  • Specific medications you might be taking.

Sometimes being honest is not enough, and it is essential to know whether you have some of these factors that can impact your performance. Polygraph is not extremely precise and cannot verify the information given. It only shows your blood pressure cuff or changes in breathing. The interpretation is up to the polygraph examiner.

It is important to remember that you can reject such a test. However, the employer might refuse to hire such applicants.

Preparation for Polygraph Interviews

So how do you prepare for a hiring or police polygraph test? First of all, think of how you react in times of stress. Evaluate whether you have any conditions that might impact the exam.

Developing trust with the polygraph examiner

During a pre-test interview, establish trust with the examiner. Remember that their goal is not to catch you in a lie but to ensure adequate employment.

Answer truthfully and pay attention to the types of questions they ask. Please pay attention to how they act and whether you feel nervous around them. If you have any questions about the exam, ask the examiner beforehand. They may explain how it works and what you can expect. Also, the examiner will probably reassure you that feeling nervous in such a situation is normal.

Understanding what questions are asked during the polygraph interview

The next part is being ready for the questions you might be asked. The first question is usually like, “Is Jane Doe your name?” or “What is your name?”. The first one or more questions you won’t have trouble answering.

The goal here is to establish the baseline of your body’s reactions. So your rate, pulse, and breathing will be used as a reference to indicators for further answers.

The examiner must tell you what other questions will be unless it is a police polygraph investigation. Police departments do not have such an obligation when they are investigating a crime. But in a case of a recruitment interview, you should ask about the list of questions beforehand.

It allows being prepared for what comes next. Think about the responses and interpretations. Try to keep your replies short, to the point, and honest. Be firm, serious, and show no hesitation during the exam.

Even if your response could be better, avoid spiraling down into explanations. Long and convoluted explanations during interviews make people look even guiltier.

Knowing how to control physiology and emotions during the test

It is possible to cheat the police polygraph and the hiring process too. However, it requires advanced control over one’s physiology. For example, one might react to stress during control questions. So when they answer other ones, the baseline is higher than in reality. Others might not experience stress when lying when the exam is conducted. It can be shared among people with specific mental disorders like psychopathy.

For a regular honest exam, you need to know how you respond to stress. If you feel overwhelmed, take a second and breathe. Do not rush to answer right away. Try meditation and breathing exercises before the exam.

Tips to Pass the Polygraph Interview

  • Establish an honest and sincere attitude.

Be honest about the subject of questioning. Stick to facts and keep it simple.

  • Prepare for each question with a positive frame of mind.

Try to stay calm and positive, as you have nothing to hide.

  • Know how to control your breathing, body language, and emotional responses.

Remember how you usually respond to stress and check your physiological indicators during the exam. Take a slight pause if you need to regain calmness.

  • Prepare for the interview physically.

Take a day off and have a good night’s sleep. Make sure you feel well and have no illnesses that influence polygraphs. Also, wear something comfortable to avoid any additional stressors. It would help if you felt confident. Respond with the truth and keep it to the point.

Date: 28 July 2023
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