A Day in The Life of a Polygraph Examiner

A Day in The Life of a Polygraph Examiner

No two days are ever the same, you have to be prepared for anything. Every examination is different.

It’s important to understand that people come to us with a variety of problems and most times we are a last resort to either solving a case, clearing somebodies name or saving a relationship. Each polygraph examination is unique and great care is taken to handle each client’s individual requirements.

Initial Interview

Once a client has booked an examination and the examinee has undergone a preliminary screening for suitability by one of our Case Managers, the case will be passed to an examiner. The examiner will contact the client and the person that is going to undergo the test prior to the test date.

As the examiner I will discuss the details of the case in order to get an understanding of the situation and to help direct me on how the test should be conducted. In some cases background research will be done on the examinee and the client to assist with this process.

As a polygraph examiner I could be conducting examinations anywhere in the UK so the more preparation done prior to the test date the better. On a normal day I’ll try to leave the house with everything ready to go.

The polygraph instrument itself doesn’t consist of a huge amount of equipment but I’ll always carry an additional kit bag that contains an array of useful items that I’ve found I require, spare components, additional paperwork, bottled water and a pack of tissues just to name a few useful items. If all the case notes and personal details have been collected then that will help speed up the whole process for the examinee.

The Client

Every examinee is different and the reasons and situations that lead them to my door can vary wildly. While you can get a good idea of how the person is going to be on the day of the examination from talking to them on the phone prior to the test, the way they are feeling and behaving on the actual test day can be totally different.

Some examinees can arrive angry at the fact they have been asked to take the test, some can be relieved that it’s their opportunity to prove their innocence, some are curious and some are petrified.

One thing is always certain, everyone that comes to take a polygraph examintaion is nervous to some degree.

The Polygraph Examination

On arrival to the meeting room I normally have about an hour to set up the instrumentation and check that everything is working correctly. I give the notes a final once over and most importantly have a big cup of strong coffee to help keep me sharp.

Over the next few hours there’s a lot of talking from both me and the examinee. I explain the examination process, how the test works and establish that a person is suitable to be able to take the test as well as discuss the issue under investigation.

Alternatively at this point an examinee may confess that they have been deceitful about the issue under investigation. In this event we will discuss the reasons and the implications that this confession will have on the examinee. In the case of a confession it’s not ethical to continue with the examination so a person who has confessed will not undergo the actual in-test phase of the polygraph.

Once I’m happy with the information that the examinee has provided and ascertained that they are suitable to undergo the test we move into the in-test phase. There are a variety of techniques that can be used and the best technique and format will be chosen for that particular case and individual.

After The Test

Once the examination is over the test results will be discussed with the examinee. People often ask me why anyone who knew they would fail a polygraph would still show up. You’d be surprised at the number of people who come along to try their luck!

Once the examination is over its time to pack up the instrumentation and hit the road again, but that’s not where my day ends. Once back in the office, it’s time to write the up the report and get it to the client’s Case Manager. After the days reports have been completed its time to look at the next case and start the whole process again.

Working as a Polygraph examiner can mean long days and dealing with difficult or sensitive situations. Most examinations can be highly emotionally charged. It’s crucial to remain objective during the examination, but this can be difficult.

The most gratifying aspect of being a Polygraph Examiner is that - at the end of every day - you’re giving someone closure to a question that needed answering.

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