Polygraph Prep

Polygraph / Lie Detector Examinations and Integrity Questionnaires

There are several police services across North America that have begun to use polygraph examinations on applicants. Some people refer to polygraph examinations as lie detector tests. These are often performed along with Integrity Questionnaires. Applicants will be asked personal questions such as:

· How often do you drink alcohol?
· Have you ever driven a vehicle while intoxicated?
· Have you committed any crimes in the last three years?

All of these questions have to be answered honestly during both the questionnaire and during the polygraph examination. If there are discrepancies between the two examinations, and the polygraph exam indicates that you are lying, or if your answers aren’t measurable your application may be permanently removed from the process and you may be prohibited from ever applying to the police service again.


1) Be Honest

Police services understand that no one has a perfect past. No matter what your past transgressions have been, admit to them, and be ready to explain what you learned from these transgressions.

Q. Have you committed any crimes in the last 5 years?
A. Yes. I worked at a grocery store, and on one or two occasion I took property without paying for it.

2) Demonstrate What You Learned.

If you are asked later about the situation, try to demonstrate what you learned.

I always felt bad about myself after I took the objects. They didn’t belong to me and my actions were hurting the owners of the business, after they gave me a job. I’ve learned that respect for property is important and I value people’s possessions to a much greater degree.

3) Think About The Question Before Answering.

Give some thought to these questions before answering. Everyone has done something foolish in their past of which they aren’t proud. Don’t just write an answer down without giving it any thought. Answering “Yes” to a question such as “Have you ever driven while intoxicated?” will not get you disqualified from the application process, whereas lying about it and failing the polygraph exam will.

4) Relax.

You are going to be nervous. The police service will understand this. Try to be well rested on the test date and have fun with the process. If you aren’t hiding anything, you have nothing to worry about. Don’t get nervous about admitting to past transgressions. (If you have a serious criminal record, consider an alternative career choice.)

5) Correcting Mistakes.

It is acceptable to provide a different answer on the polygraph examination than you did on the questionnaire if it was an honest mistake or if you remembered something during the test. Relax, answer the questions honestly, and at the end of the examination, mention to the examiner that you made a mistake and forgot to include something on the questionnaire. If you need to contact a recruiter at a later date and ask them to correct something, do it. Recruiters will realize that you are nervous, but the best solution is still to read the questions carefully and answer them completely and honestly the first time.

6) Listen To Instructions.

Prior to beginning the examination or filling out the questionnaire, pay close attention to the instructors, read all instructions fully, and ask any questions you might have.

7) Clarifying Questions.

If a question is unclear, ask the examiner to explain exactly what the question is looking for. Most of the questions should be straightforward and the examiners should explain the process to you, but if something is unclear to you, ask for assistance.