When looking for a qualified polygraph examiner ask the following questions:
1. What school or institute did you attend for your polygraph training?
The best source for this information comes from the American Polygraph Association (APA). www.polygraph.org. Don’t be fooled by individuals who have taken “home study” programs and claim to be certified polygraph examiners or “studied with a former federal agent.” If the individual cannot provide you the name of the institute, they’re trying to spin the facts. Polygraph Institutes/schools provide training in psychology, physiology, interviewing techniques, instrumentation, countermeasures and live examinations.
2. Are you a member of a professionally recognized polygraph association?
The only professionally recognized organizations are the American Polygraph Association (APA), American Association of Police Polygraphist (AAPP) and state organizations such as the California Association of Polygraph Examiners (CAPE). Some individuals have developed a pseudo professional sounding organization, but lack standing and guidelines.
3. What is your experience?
Don’t fall for the spin factor. Some claim to have conducted thousands of examinations. Ask them what types of specific examinations they’ve conducted. An individual whose main focus is on pre-employment polygraph examinations is ill prepared to conduct therapy, criminal or defense attorney examinations.
4. Can you send me information on your qualifications?
If the examiner is unable or unwilling to provide this information, turn away. A reputable examiner will not hesitate to send you a copy of his/her CV/resume. Some individuals will play games with the wording and lead you to believe they have decades of experience. Being “associated” with polygraph is not the same as being a “polygraph examiner.”
5. What type of polygraph instrument/equipment do you use?
Computerized polygraph instruments are now in full use. The old analog instruments are used only as backup instruments. Occasionally you’ll see an individual on the Dr. Phil Show or similar program use the analog instrument (moving pens and paper). Yes they work up to a certain point, but it’s more for dramatics. The computerized instruments can provide clearer readings, detect intentional body movements made by an individual during an examination and contain a software program that assists the examiner in obtaining the final results.
6. What if I’m offered a Voice Stress Analyzer in place of a polygraph?
Run away from this individual. Validity studies show VSA is less than 50% accurate. See the APA or the Defense Academy for Credibility Assessment (DACA) websites for information on VSA.
7. Can I watch the examination?
No. During family related examinations the family should know what areas they want tested. This information is communicated to the examiner who then works with the person taking the examination to formulate the final questions. To eliminate any hint of subjective results or acts of “bribery” by the person taking the examination, an independent witness should be present and/or the entire process will be recorded. The computerized polygraph instruments are capable of recording the entire polygraph process.
8. Should I believe an individual’s Google or Yelp Reviews?
Don’t be misled by individuals posting false reviews of their work on Google Review or Yelp. Be aware that in many sectors of any business to include the polygraph industry, individuals will hire a company to post inaccurate or false reviews to make themselves more appealing. Yelp and Google make every effort to remove the false reviews, but not all are detected or removed on a timely manner.