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My Painful Story (Read 27165 times)
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My Painful Story
Nov 24th, 2007 at 3:41pm
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I was selected for a very good supervisory position at the local Sheriff's department. I was one of 40 applicants. I made it past the panel interview. I made it past the follow-up interview offered only to the finalists. I made through an interview with my potential direct reports. I received a conditional job offer. Then there was the polygraph.

Before the polygraph I confessed to my background check investigator that I was unsure whether I was using a legal copy of some software (Dreamweaver). I develop training at my present employer and use Dreamweaver as one of the tools. I installed a copy of the software at home in order to do work at home. At the time of my interview I said I was not sure whether the copy was legal. (After my polygraph test I researched the software license and discovered that the copy I installed on my home computer was, in fact, legal.)

During the baseline portion of the polygraph exam I said the same thing about the software but was sternly warned by the detective to get this settled before the background check.

He then went into a series of dozens of questions over a period of about an hour. Here's what happened.

Several questions were really offensive to me. Have you ever masturbated at work? (Yes) Then he dug in his heels. How many times? What aroused you? Etc. Have you exposed yourself in public? (Yes) What was that? (I went to a nude beach with my wife in Jamaica.) Have you ever had sex in public? Have you  ever looked at porn at your company. (Yes, once on a friend's computer when we first got internet access and didn't know the rules. And once on my machine shortly thereafter just because. Nothing for the past 11 years though.) On and on. I started thinking this guy was a pervert.

Have you ever done anything for which you or the department could be blackmailed? (I confessed an indescretion, not illegal, that took place about six years ago.) Have you ever stolen anything? (Yes, I shoplifted bubble gum as a kid.) I also confessed switching price tags as a 14-year-old.

My goal was to be completely honest no matter how painful.

Then came the polygraph itself. The detective said, "Now we're going to find out if you know how to tell the truth." (Arrogant little SOB.)

Have you ever lied to your boss? (Yes.) When did this happen? (I don't know. But I've been working for 40 years so I must have lied to my boss at some point in time.) Have you ever lied to your boss at your present employer? (No. But I was REALLY nervous by now.)

Have you ever stolen from your employer? (Yes... thinking of my software dilemma.)

Have you ever stolen time from your employer? (No... hesitation.) What does that mean? (Well, I've always been salaried and I personally feel guilty if I work less than 40 hours even if I sometimes also work 100.) Followup... Have you ever stolen time from your employer? (Yes... more hesitation.)

I'm a Myers-Briggs expert. I'm an NF temperament. Susceptable to guilt. NFs are also very much NOT black and white oriented. So, at one time a senior executive told our entire group that we "stole from the company" when we had a long Christmas off-site group event during work hours. Even though it was with the permission of our boss. I remembered that when asked if I stole time from my company. Legally and ethically I did not steal. In my guilty gut I did. So I confessed.

I am also not a black and white person. So to me there are few yes/no type of questions. So I got really nervous and just struggled. I often said yes in responses to questions just to be sure I was not lying. In fact, though, I would have been less than honest by saying either yes or no. But I followed the rules in an attempt to cooperate. The examiner said I had to answer yes or no... so I did.

My hands got so sweaty that he had to use contacts attached to the top of my hands. He had to stop the test early on because I was involuntarily taking deep breaths and moving my head. Then the test was re-started. I was so nervous from the pre-test baseline questions that I was completely flustered.

The detective finally said, "Okay, we're done." He got up and disconnected me from the machine. It was then that I saw a small smile cross his face. I'm sure he was thinking, "Hah... I have now successfully protected the department from another lying slime-ball."

Never mind that I have never been arrested. I've had one moving violation. I've never experimented with drugs. I'm not into porn. I'm a conscientious employee. Maybe too conscientious.

I got home and told my wife that there was no way I passed the test. Sure enough, I got a note stating that I had been eliminated for consideration for this very good job.

I didn't lie. I'm not deceptive. But I also see much of life in shades of gray not black and white. I'm also a very strong Christian and therefore I know that there is only one source of truth and it's not me.

The department lost a very good, moral, honest, and intelligent employee. I have years of experience and a Ph.D. in the field I was about to join.

And I'm suffering a severe case of guilt. I'm angry. I'm hurt. I feel like my character has been smeared. I have a big heart and a strong mind. I over-think many things. So my answers seem evasive, I suppose. But to me nothing is as simple as it seems.

I was interviewed by a man who sees life in a very binary way. To him I suppose the truth is simple. To me, it's not.

This was a TERRIBLE day for me. I won't get over the emotional trauma any time soon. It hurts me to my core. So my advise to you is that you are a caring and sensitive person who wants to please and seeks to tell the truth. DO NOT APPLY for a job in law enforcement if a polygraph is a condition of employment.
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Re: My Painful Story
Reply #1 - Nov 24th, 2007 at 4:11pm
Mark & Quote Quote 
Too bad you didn't research the polygraph BEFORE you took it.  I am not sure, though, from your admissions, they would have hired you anyway, even if the squiggly lines would have been read differently.
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"Although the degree of reliability of polygraph evidence may depend upon a variety of identifiable factors, there is simply no way to know in a particular case whether a polygraph examiner's Conclusion is accurate, because certain doubts and uncertainties plague even the best polygraph exams."  (Justice Clarence Thomas writing in United States v. Scheffer, 523 U.S. 303, 118 S.Ct. 1261, 140 L.Ed.2d 413, 1998.)
 
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Re: My Painful Story
Reply #2 - Nov 24th, 2007 at 5:52pm
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Maybe they wouldn't have hired me. Though I'm not sure why not. What employee has not left work a little early? Is that stealing from the employer? I don't think so. Not as a salaried employee.

As an IT professional several years ago everyone I knew loaded company software on home machines. The license agreements allowed it and we all did it. It was a way for the company to get more work out of us, quite frankly.

Porn? Well, that happened twice and stopped more than 10 years ago. It was kind of WOW, we can't believe this stuff is on the public internet.

I thought it was better to be honest. Maybe it was better to go into it with some prepared "silence is golden" responses. I don't know. At any rate I spilled my guts and they spilled my career.

After reading this web site I would have taken a much different approach. I thought the polygrapher was there to help me and to just weed out the bad guys. Instead they weeded out a good one.

I should have known better. In my conditional offer meeting the very nice person I talked to said that less than 3% of applicants make it through the polygraph and the background check. Not a good ratio.
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« Last Edit: Nov 24th, 2007 at 7:46pm by PainfulDay »  
 
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Re: My Painful Story
Reply #3 - Nov 24th, 2007 at 8:14pm
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Um... are you seriously asking why you didn't get the job???

Who masterbates at work??
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Re: My Painful Story
Reply #4 - Nov 24th, 2007 at 8:29pm
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Actually, about 70%. That's the truth.
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Re: My Painful Story
Reply #5 - Nov 24th, 2007 at 9:30pm
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Truth is very subjective, you say you see shades of gray... but obviously not true when push comes to shove. 

If your wife asks you, "Do I look fat?"  Should you say yes?  Is it better to switch the topic?   

The interviewer fooled you, and probably broke some laws by asking the questions he asked. 

People can ask questions, but you don't have to answer them, just because they are using a machine doesn't mean they can do anything they like.

The job probably wasn't as good as you thought if the interview went as you said.  Would you be comfortable asking others the same questions? 

Also, be a good 'Christian' has nothing to do with a persons honesty.  More than a few Catholics can sin all Saturday night only to repent on Sunday morning.

Before the interview you should have prepared yourself for difficult questions.  The interview was expecting you to be prepared, not honest.

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Re: My Painful Story
Reply #6 - Nov 24th, 2007 at 10:41pm
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Man I'm sorry for your story.

  But you know why I think you didn't get the job. Because all in all, you behaved like a sissy, and they just don't need sissies at that place.

  You want to work at the sheriff department? Believe me my friend, there's going to be A LOT of very ugly situations you will get yourself into. Consider what happened to you with the polygraph, as a test to how you would react in a tough/unpleasant situation. They asked you a bunch of incredibly unpleasant and humiliating questions and forced you to answer them. You did not pass, because you started to get all shaky, and nervous, and etc.
  The police has to deal with a lot of very very serious situations, most of which are very very difficult for it's agents. And essentially the difficulty comes from having to make a yes/no decision over some very very grey data. A simple example: Do I prosecute this kid for having 2grms of pot?
  *  Yes, it's the law and marijuana is wrong!
  *  No, I will be ruining his life: jail, trauma, no decent job, no credit, etc
  * Yes, God told me pot is bad in church Sunday and God only speaks the truth
  * But God also says to help out and have mercy.


  So what do you do? How to answer? What does your moral says? What does Jesus says?

  And now imagine this is a life/death situation and you have to make a decision in 2secs. You can't start to get sweaty and nervous... you can't start acting like you did on the polygraph.

  Also, don't think that by having a job as a IT supervisor you will have an easier time. You will also have to deal with such situations. They'll be different than for a policeman but they will be of similarly unpleasing. And especially as a manager.


"Susceptable to guilt."
"lost a very good, moral, honest, and intelligent employee."
"I won't get over the emotional trauma any time soon. It hurts me to my core."

Poor little full-of-himself baby.
I am sorry but you just don't fit in the police force. And I hope you stop your rants and think think for a while why.


Best to you and good luck with the job finding process. It's tough.

Regards,
Dimitri
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Re: My Painful Story
Reply #7 - Nov 24th, 2007 at 11:50pm
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I don't know where you get that 70% statistic. I guess there are tons of unprofessional jobs that provide people the ability to masterbate at work... However, you are applying for an honorable profession... You gave the interview a long list of dirty laundry...
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Re: My Painful Story
Reply #8 - Nov 25th, 2007 at 3:37am
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PainfulDay,

Thank you for sharing your polygraph experience in such detail. Apart from having no scientific basis to begin with, polygraphy is also inherently biased against the truthful, as your experience illustrates.

The "test" is scored by comparing reactions to relevant questions to reactions to so-called "control" questions. In the case of law enforcement pre-employment polygraph screening, the relevant questions usually concern such issues as illegal drug use, undetected major crimes, and the truthfulness of the information provided in one's application. The "control" questions, by contrast, are supposed to seem relevant, but it is secretly expected that everyone -- even people whom the agency would want to hire -- will be less than honest when answering them. An example of a commonly used control question is, "Did you ever steal anything from an employer?" Polygraphers assume that everyone has taken something from an employer, but they attempt to steer the examinee into a denial by suggesting that anyone who has stolen from an employer would be unsuitable for hire.

Reactions to relevant questions are compared to reactions to the probable-lie "control" questions. If reactions to the relevant questions are greater, the examinee fails. If reactions to the "control" questions are greater, the examinee passes. Perversely, the more candidly one answers to the so-called "control" questions, and as a result feels less anxiety when answering them, the more likely one is to wrongly "fail" this simplistic test.

For a fuller explanation (and a thorough de-bunking) of polygraphy, see The Lie Behind the Lie Detector (1 mb PDF):

https://antipolygraph.org/lie-behind-the-lie-detector.pdf
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George W. Maschke
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Re: My Painful Story
Reply #9 - Nov 25th, 2007 at 1:53pm
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Wow. This thread has had some interesting responses.

To Dimitri:

"Poor little full-of-himself baby.
I am sorry but you just don't fit in the police force. And I hope you stop your rants and think think for a while why."

Thanks for being so quick to judge someone you don't even know. It must be nice to be able to pronounce someone fit or unfit for law enforcement. Clearly, yours is a black and white world. That makes life very simple, but not very accurate or interesting.

How do you know that I'm full of myself? Accomplishment brings the right to be self-assured. Full of myself? Hardly. I will wager that I have nearly twice as many years on this planet as you and I'm certain that I have many more years of academic accomplishment. And yes, I'm proud of what I've accomplished. So shoot me.

To AREYOUKIDDING: Are you kidding? A profession is as honorable as those who are in it. Law enforcement is no more or less honorable than any other.

To George W. Maschke: Thank you for your helpful and understanding response. I was told going into the "test" that if I was honest I had nothing to worry about. So I was completely honest. I answered every question. I volunteered information. I did everything that was asked of me.

What I have learned is that the polygrapher EXPECTS people to lie or be dishonest. When I answered questions that were personal or invasive I answered honestly. But the truth hurts sometimes so I'm sure it looked like I was a liar. I now believe that the polygraphers have no idea what to do with people who answer every question honestly.

They clearly did not believe that I had never tried illegal drugs. (I never have.) They did not believe that I had not cheated on a school test since grade school. (I have not.) They did not believe that I have never been reprimanded at work. (I never have.) They did not believe that I have not had a traffic citation since 1971. (I haven't.) And they clearly don't believe that a "man" should have any emotion. I'm an INFP, less than 2% of the male population. The polygrapher was obviously an ISTJ, probably 80% of the law enforcement/military population. Big big difference in approach to life.

My prospective supervisor wanted to bring into the department someone with a "new set of eyes." Well, the process guarantees that people who see the world differently than the typical police officer will very rarely make it through the selection process.

My polygrapher probably smiled because, as the guardian of the realm, he kept out someone who does not fit in. George, it's too bad that if I am selected for another law enforcement position I will have to take the advice found in The Lie Behind the Lie Detector. In order to appear to be honest, I'll have to actually be dishonest. VERY interesting.

I can't believe that the law enforcement community is this arrogant. I can't believe that so many polygraphers have bought into this lie. I guess it's all a part of the job.
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Re: My Painful Story
Reply #10 - Nov 26th, 2007 at 6:59pm
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"Quote"
They clearly did not believe that I had never tried illegal drugs. (I never have.) They did not believe that I had not cheated on a school test since grade school. (I have not.) They did not believe that I have never been reprimanded at work. (I never have.) They did not believe that I have not had a traffic citation since 1971. (I haven't.) And they clearly don't believe that a "man" should have any emotion. I'm an INFP, less than 2% of the male population. The polygrapher was obviously an ISTJ, probably 80% of the law enforcement/military population. Big big difference in approach to life.
"End Quote"

   I don't like the polygraph, especially for pre-screen. However, if I want a job, or someone else desires a particular position, while it is part of the hiring process, then you have to deal with it. I've had good expierences, and not so great expierences with the machine. I've learned that not being prepared is an added stress.
   When I was not prepared, it was a nightmare, but it was I who was at fault, not the polygrapher. But this is about your last statement, I'm a firm believer in a person's action including words, but since I can not read your NVI's, I won't assume truth or deception. But you stated I never have for drug usage, and you have not ever cheated on a test. Undecided But you stated you haven't had a traffic citation since 1981 Wink. Reading this over and over (once or twice), and attempting to do a written analysis, would leave to believe you haven't had a traffic citation, but I'm doubting the other denials.
   A polygraph is a test, like it or not. You can be prepared knowing what is going to happen. When I went through the polygraph after gaining knowledge about the procedures it was a breeze. No surprises. I was more relaxed, and had a great conversation with the polygrapher, who was even good enough to explain the charts to me. We swapped stories afterwards, and received the official notice to move on to the next stage in the hiring process. I didn't use countermeasures, nor was I in the mood to try. I wanted it over and done with. But, was relaxed enough to take it (after a few cups of joe). Remember the Polygraph is an awesome tool for criminal investigations. I don't like to be polygraphed, but honestly who does???
   I'm sorry you suffered so much during your polygraph. It's good to be honest, but remember before entering your polygraph your waiving your 5th ammendment rights. Good to be truthful, better to be careful.  Grin Grin Grin
Good luck in the future...
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Re: My Painful Story
Reply #11 - Nov 26th, 2007 at 7:11pm
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Nice comments nomegusto.
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All men are mortal. Socrates was mortal. Therefore, &&all men are Socrates.-----Woody Allen  &&
 
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Re: My Painful Story
Reply #12 - Nov 26th, 2007 at 8:11pm
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I know you have a hard time believing that I never experimented with drugs or cheated on tests. (By the way, no traffic citations since 1971, not 1981.  Smiley But its all true. I'm just one of those good guys who can't believe there would ever be a need to doubt the intentions of a potential employer.

The one mistake I really made was one of trust. I did not research polygraph before the test. That was a collossal error. I didn't think I needed to do such research. Another error. With that in mind, I probably got what was coming to me.

I'm just surprised that a potential employer would treat recruits that way. It absolutely floored me. Never again... NEVER again will I take a polygraph without being prepared.
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Re: My Painful Story
Reply #13 - Nov 26th, 2007 at 8:20pm
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Honestly, you don't have to keep telling me you told the truth. I'm not a polygrapher, nor am I gonna judge you. I was trying to explain how you wrote a post, which would lead some investigators (whether they use or rely on a polygraph or not to believe your accounts on how you wrote your statement).
If you didn't cheat, or ever used a drug thats cool. I've got no issues in that. It's how your writing your posts that get me think more about your situation. I enjoy analyzing statements. I wish I could help more, but I can't... Again, good luck....
EJohnson... Thankyou!!! Smiley
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Re: My Painful Story
Reply #14 - Nov 27th, 2007 at 9:41am
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Okay EJohnson,

Now you've got me interested. What are you seeing in my posts? I'm a curious sort of guy so your statements really intrigue me. I'm very interested in messages (intentional or not) that are sent through verbal or written media.

What can you tell me?  Huh
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