View Full Version : Questions re PIQ & Polygraph Portion of the Hiring Process

07-17-2011, 1:36 PM
My questions relate to the PIQ and the possibility that I "overshared"; and also to the accuracy of a polygraph.

I took the written, physical test, and preliminary questionnaire. I decided beforehand that on the PIQ I would list everything that I could conceivably think of, so that if I made it to the polygraph stage, I would have listed every possible transgression I have ever done. If I could think of any action at any time of my life I wrote it down. So for example I put down something I did when I was 11 years old and living abroad. (The question began "Have you EVER...." ) I listed that I dropped off my step-daughter at school when I had my shotgun in the trunk. For the question about using your vehicle to slow down another vehicle I listed that if someone is tailgating me, I would tap the brake lights to get them to back off, etc.

So my question here is did I possibly overshare? (For example I asked one of the background investigators who were running the test about whether I should have listed the shotgun in the trunk incident and he didn't think so - but it was too late by then) Even though there is a place on the PIQ to write in details which explain your answers, I think there is a possibility that the person reviewing the PIQ would see the number of "YES" answers I had, and just toss my application aside.

Now as far as the polygraph is concerned, if I make it to that stage I will at least know I have noted all the stuff I could think of. But how accurate is it? How much is the subjective instinct of the polygrapher and background investigators? I am the type of person who whenever I see a police car I feel guilty, or whenever I go through customs I feel guilty. Sometimes when I get nervous I sweat. Can this be taken as a sign of being dishonest? Or all the folks who conduct the polygraph part of the application process skilled enough to separate these impulses and not take them to be a sign of dishonesty?

Thanks in advance for any help/advice you may have.

07-17-2011, 2:56 PM
As far as your first question about being too honest goes, I had a background investigator comment about my application being "very detailed" as well. It wasn't a problem, as they do investigate any transgressions listed, and don't just toss your application, provided you don't have any major arrests and have an otherwise decent looking package (did well in school, previous jobs, etc). For example, I listed that I often had arguments with my previous boss. What I meant by that would probably be described better as productive intellectual discussions, and when the background investigator did the follow-up, it was clarified and dismissed. As long as you're a viable candidate, they'll do the background and eliminate any minor things you listed. Besides, it looks better that you listed everything and they turn out to be nothing, than you didn't list something and they take it as you hiding something.

As far as the polygraph goes, the examiner will know you are nervous, and will probably even ask you if you are nervous. He/she will take that into account, as everyone is nervous for their first polygraph. The examiner will usually give you a chance to explain things in your background package before they administer the test. They're looking for consistency in your answers. For what it's worth, it's not so much an interrogation as a discussion of your background. While very business-like, it is not hostile.

07-17-2011, 2:58 PM
You might want to stop trying to research the poly process. Many times they will ask you if you have researched it and they don't necessarily want to hear that you have been researching it. Your nervousness would not be unusual and they do take that into account.

07-17-2011, 3:54 PM
Usually they ask if you've studied ways to defeat the polygraph. I admitted that I had asked general questions about the polygraph exam, and that I was just told to be truthful. It wasn't an issue for me, but I hadn't actively learned and practiced methods to attempt to defeat the polygraph.

07-17-2011, 4:09 PM
better to be too detailed than leave things out, for most things I would just think to use common sense.

07-18-2011, 1:59 AM
Everyone has done something wrong in their lives. What they are looking for is those who are trying to hide things in which they have done in the past. If you have something major to hide then you should not be an officer of the law in the first place.

The best thing to do is to be honest to the examiner when being questioned and do not try to hide anything. If you try to hide something, chances are they will know. They are looking for several more things when answering questions than just your verbal answers.

What it comes down to is if you get hired on with a department and are working as an officer in his or her scope of duties and are caught on record lying , you are no longer able to testify as your credibility as an officer to tell the truth is out the window. You have become a pin cushion for the defense attorney in any court proceeding as your credibility to tell the truth is worthless.

Just remember, if you get hired as an officer always tell the truth no matter what the consequences maybe as your honesty is what defines you in your scope of work.

Best of luck to you

07-19-2011, 4:16 PM
Dropping off your step daughter while you have a shotgun in your trunk isn't a big deal in the grand scheme of things. Technically, you could be charged if somehow caught, but would you? Highly doubtful. Just relax. You did the right thing by disclosing everything. It's when the investigators start discovering stuff that you DIDN'T disclose is when you have problems. Although some people think being honest to the cops about having child porn on your computer won't get you busted.

07-19-2011, 7:05 PM
Thanks guys for taking the time to answer in such detail. It is very helpful.


07-23-2011, 1:27 PM
UPDATE: Just got my rejection letter. Since I got rejected based upon the Preliminary questionnaire, does this most likely mean I will be rejected by any agency, ie are the criteria for rejection pretty much the same from agency to agency?

So disappointing. I guess its time to look elsewhere....

Tacit Blue
07-23-2011, 1:34 PM
UPDATE: Just got my rejection letter. Since I got rejected based upon the Preliminary questionnaire, does this most likely mean I will be rejected by any agency, ie are the criteria for rejection pretty much the same from agency to agency?

So disappointing. I guess its time to look elsewhere....

I've had the same thing to me before. Just try to remember everything you wrote down, as it may come back to haunt you later on. :mad:
I think the PIQ is BS personally, it's meant to hack away at people,before you enter into backgrounds. My friend in the Army told me the following for his SF-86 Security clearance application. He said " To tell them what they need to know and thats it, otherwise everything else will be counted as a instant bar from employment" I'm starting to wonder if what he said is true, honestly........ So far, it's worked for him and he's doing great..

Another example, a friend of mine applied for security clearance too. When asked if he's ever done any other drugs other than Marijuana. He replied " Yes" then he got denied and wasn't issued the clearance for his Special Forces intel job..

I'm not advocating to be dishonest, i'm merely showing the outcomes of experiences and how admin staff treat it... Everything is supposed to be treated in the " totality of the circumstances" but chances are , if you got some Skeletons in your closet. The guy testing next to you prob doesn't...