Polygraph Interrogation

I had my 1st polygraph recently and apparently failed the lifestyle part, specifically serious crimes and drug use within 2 years. They rescheduled me for the next day but this time it was completely different and felt more like an interrogation than anything else. Iv never committed a serious crime and haven’t done any drugs in two years but the polygrapher kept telling me I was a liar. I was told to just confess and we could move on and that they would work with me. This went on for 4 1/2 hours. I didn’t confess to anything because I hadn’t done anything wrong and she told me because I was a liar and holding stuff back I failed my 2nd polygraph. I was told this agency doesn’t hire liars and I probably wouldn’t get a call back. And that if I didn’t confess to the drugs or crimes I committed it was over for me with this agency. Does this sound normal? I don’t know what to think at this point because she was so friendly to me once we were out of the room. Any advice or insight would be greatly appreciated.

In my experience, polygraphers can and do make these type of broad, sweeping accusations as part of the game that they play with applicants.

This is EXACTLY how my poly went a few months ago. Down to the same “You’re a liar. Hope you feel good about wasting the past two years of your life”. This is apparently a common tactic to get those folks who think they can hide stuff, to squeal at the end.

Good luck! Hope it works out in the end for you!

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I could share many such stories (mostly second hand) but I’ll just note that I once saw a job posting for a polygraph examiner and one of the desired qualifications was ‘experience extracting confessions from suspects’ or something like that.

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@DBLA That’s a common tactic by polygraph examiners. They can’t actually detect deception so they use methods such as what you’ve described to obtain information that you may be concealing. Very similar to how cops will often lie to suspects during an interview about evidence they don’t have in order to obtain a confession (which the Supreme Court allows).

Having said that if the examiner believes that you are concealing something - they’ll include that in their report and you likely won’t be cleared.


Sadly, if the polygrapher has the narrative in his/her head that you are lying, there is not much that you can do about it. I don’t know if it is training or if they are rated on how many people they fail (I’m inclined to say it’s the latter), but if there is a questionable response, they will demand that you are dishonest. One thing I would tell you: DO NOT SIGN ANYTHING! I cannot stress this enough. They will threaten to report you to the adjudicators if you don’t go along, but they will do that regardless. As long as you did not sign anything that admits to wrongdoing on your part, there will be less of a case. It won’t help you get into the agency that requires the polygraph, but it will help you keep your existing clearance and enable you to better move on to another position that doesn’t require this polygraph BS.

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