How Do Multiple Failed Polygraphs Reflect During Adjudication?

I applied for a position with a 3 letter agency and had my background investigation go smoothly, as I had no red flags to report on my application.

However, my experience with the polygraph was quite the opposite, having to repeat 5+ times before finally being told I passed. Do people often get that many chances? If not, should I be comforted by the fact that I did, or should I be worried that this will be held against me during adjudication and potentially result in an overall rejection?

I know it’s completely out of my hands now, but I’d greatly appreciate any insight anyone can provide.

Applicants for intelligence agencies are rarely treated to more than five pre-employment polygraph sessions. (They must have really wanted you. This is perhaps ground for comfort.) Note, however, that with the CIA and NSA, applicants are routinely subjected to as many as three polygraph sessions.

I don’t expect that the number of polygraph sessions you endured will be held against you during the adjudication process.

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I see, that does give me some peace of mind. Honestly I’m not really sure why they kept inviting me back, since it was for an entry level position and I’m not some sought after subject matter expert. Maybe it’s because I remained consistent with everything I’d listed on my SF86?

When I was told I passed, they also said there was some sensitivity with suitability (I think? I forgot what they were called) questions that would require review, but the examiner said they didn’t expect it to change the outcome. Is that fairly standard for anyone passing beyond their first try?

Yes, that sort of admonishment (that you were still “showing sensitivity” to certain questions) is commonplace. It’s intended to keep applicants and employees fearful of the polygraph.

If you aren’t anxious about it, it doesn’t work. I think that’s why sociopaths and their ilk pass polys so easily. I could be way off base with that.

Edit: I have an unhealthy interest in true crime, and don’t know much about the poly other than it was founded on junk science. I have heart palps due to a health condition that are quite random; given what the poly looks at, I don’t think I’d be able to “pass” without a strong beta blocker.

Any job that requires a polygraph is a job you don’t want. It never ceases to amaze me how a procedure that has no scientific basis can still be considered valid. Liars pass and truthtellers fail. Don’t believe me? Check out some of the residents at the supermax in Colorado.