Normal Topic How to tell if you passed? (Read 21524 times)
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How to tell if you passed?
Nov 26th, 2001 at 1:39am
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I recently took a pre-employment polygraph for a P.D. It is for a "Reserve" officer position. I am a career Firefighter/Paramedic, and taking the poly so I  can be used as a tactical paramedic for a SWAT team. The examiner was very low key, but nice. She administered "firefighter" questions that she pulled from a reference guide. Also seemed positive about the role I was pursuing on the Department.She used an old suitcase type analog machine. I followed most common advise reguarding questions, all answers followed my application. She stated we would do 2 or 3 graphs. After 2 she stopped, was talkative taking the equipment off, and thanked me/shook my hand. No third set, no post interview questions. I simply forgot to ask if I passed, and now have to wait a few days to find out. My friend took the same exam, with similar run through, but asked/was told he did fine. Anyone have any input?
  
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Re: How to tell if you passed?
Reply #1 - Nov 26th, 2001 at 3:02am
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Wondering:

Despite what anyone has told you (from any source), it is IMPOSSIBLE to determine whether or not you passed the polygraph based on the attitude and actions of the examiner (unless, of course, they catch you trying to cheat the test in the act and kick you out right then and there!).  I personally have concluded that the actions of the examiner after the test mean absolutely NOTHING in regards to how you did.  I have taken two tests for local police departments within the last year/year 1/2, and both times this was what happened:

They ran the test only twice (told it would be run 2-3)
Examiner was nice as could be both before and after the test
No Post-Test interrogation
No negative attitude coming from examiner
Nice hand-shake, smile, small talk after the exam
(second one it was even suggested that I did fine)

And low and behold, two weeks later I receive the note from the PD saying they have reviewed the results and decided not to move my application forward to the next step.

The fact is that I don't really know whether or not I passed the tests or not...it could be that my admissions got me booted both times (I am in the process of getting the results for both those tests to find out exactly what did happen), but most likely they found me deceptive in the charts--both times--and the examiner was nice as could be.

Polygraph examiners have to learn the art of manipulation
to implement their test on any given day. 

Don't ever believe that your experience with an examiner was real.  Most examiners have probably dealt with hundreds of innocent looking citizens who seem to be telling the truth, yet later it is discovered that they were one of the best face-to-face liars the examiner has ever dealt with.  The examiner knows that you could be the next one (and they never forget that).

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Re: How to tell if you passed?
Reply #2 - Nov 26th, 2001 at 3:36am
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Wondering,

The only way to tell for sure if one has "passed" or "failed" a polygraph "test" is when the official results are sent in writing. Even then, in some rare cases, a declaration of "passing" can be rescinded, as it was when Wen Ho Lee was polygraphed (highly unlikely in your case).

In the mean time, the fact that you mention no "post-test" interrogation is a very good sign.

Note that we do not advise those submitting to polygraph interrogations to ask at the conclusion of the test whether or not they "passed." This type of question often opens the door to more interrogation (polygraphers often respond "Do you think you passed?"). We suggest simply shaking the examiner's hand, thanking him (or her) for his (or her) time, and promptly leaving the premises.  Examiners often assume that truthful examinees will be confident that they passed without having to be told.

On another note, you wrote
Quote:
The examiner was very low key, but nice. . . [she] [a]lso seemed positive about the role I was pursuing on the Department.


This examiner may have indeed been a very nice person with a positive opinion about the role you are pursuing. On the other hand, her behavior may have been a carefully practiced act to establish rapport with you and lower your defenses in an attempt to increase admissions. Polygraph examiners are trained to project a false sense of empathy for examinees and their situations. Some of the most effective interrogators realize that you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar and consequently eschew intimidating interrogation tactics in favor of the "I'm your friend and here to help you through this" approach.

For others following this discussion, I strongly suggest taking nothing for granted during any polygraph "examination.” In this type of situation, it is always best to assume the worst. You must remember that regardless of his/her character outside the examination room, the polygraph examiner's job is to get you to admit things that were not stated on your application forms and/or change things that were stated.

Examiners are often evaluated on their confession rates (what percent of those who produce a "deceptive" chart are duped into confessing), with many boasting of obtaining confessions 90%+ of the time. An examiner that actually trusted examinees and was genuinely there to "help" everyone would not last long in the position. Remember this when facing an examiner who claims that he has been a polygrapher for a number of years and yet seems to be the one examiner who is "different" and is actually there to help you.

It is possible that the examiner is a nice person that you may wish to befriend after joining the department. Nonetheless, every examiner’s job involves using deception and trickery to get criminal suspects and job applicants (examiners often have trouble making this distinction when conducting these “tests”) to disclose damaging information about themselves that they would otherwise choose not to provide. Believing that your examiner is somehow different from the others (exactly what a skilled interrogator wants you to believe) is a grave mistake that is likely to lead to disastrous consequences.
  
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Re: How to tell if you passed?
Reply #3 - Nov 26th, 2001 at 4:22am
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Thanks, I understand know one outside the testing company can tell me I passed. I guess forgetting to ask if I passed was a good stroke of luck. I did carefully read "The lie of.." and do understand that they are not there to help me. I kept my answers to yes/no. Was early, well groomed, respectful, but not any more familiar with the tester than someone intruduced to you at a company function. Admitted the commin human foibles, never added anything at a later time. I really had nothing to hide, just worried about a false result. Did take care to monitor my breathing ( plus side of 14yrs in fire service). Stayed focused on just saying saying yes no to each question. Kept focused on one point on the wall and let the test role. Thank you again for your input. I will post with a yes or no about the test when I find out.
  
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Re: How to tell if you passed?
Reply #4 - Nov 26th, 2001 at 4:50am
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I wish you the best of luck.  Keep us posted.
  
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Re: How to tell if you passed?
Reply #5 - Jun 10th, 2021 at 9:27pm
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Now y'all are making me nervous. I just took a polygraph exam for a records position in So Cal. The examiner asked me questions and then did a practice test  and then he gave me two polygraph tests and said that I passed with a high enough score that if the police department decides that a score answer needs to be changed or lowered, he thought that I should still be fine.
I've worked with a PD previously but I did a CVSA for them and passed that fine.
Now I'm more nervous but whatever happens happens.

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