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Lie detectors and recruitment

As the BPO and ITO sectors continue to grow in Bulgaria the demand for finding new candidates has increased rapidly. Some of the qualities that candidates in these sectors are required to have are high integrity, good verbal and written skills and build long-lasting relationships with prospective or current clients.


Although it is somewhat easier to tests the abilities candidates have uncovering their true personality can be a mammoth task. Most of the BPO and ITO organization require their employees to handle sensitive data daily. So, how can we be sure that the person we are hiring is not going to use this information in a malicious matter?


Well, we have found that some of the leading companies in these sectors in Bulgaria have adopted a rather controversial method to test the integrity of their potential or current employees – using a lie detector. Although this was a widely spread police practice used to detect deception in the past nowadays it has been discredited as being a reliable source of information. The APA (American Psychological Association) stipulates that the theoretical framework used to explain the validity of this method is outdated and has not been supported by research. The main limitation that lie detectors have is that it is based on the belief that deception can be detected physiologically. As psychology has evolved, we have come to understand that certain psychological processes can manifest themselves physically and some of these reactions can have a similar or the same psychological effects like the ones when the person is lying.


This, in turn, poses the question can a person cheat while he has been submitted to a lie detector? The simple answer is yes. Although it was believed that lie detectors have a success rate of 80% the results can be manipulated. Furthermore, the accuracy of the results relays completely on the interviewee, the analyst and the way the questions are structured.


Going back to the begging of this article the questions we are trying to answer is whether lie detectors are a reliable and valid method when testing your current and prospective employees. It can be argued that this method can be complementary to other methods when there has already been an incident where several employees have been suspected of lying. However, this method on its own is not able to give accurate predictions for how, why and when an individual is likely to engage in behavior that threatens the organization and its clients. Therefore, there are alternative methods that have been designed to test the pool of prospective candidates and how inclined they are to engage in deceitful or unethical behavior. Additionally, there are other techniques and psychometric tools that have been specifically designed and validated to detect deception.


If your organization is at a crossroad and is looking for objective and reliable methods to test the integrity of its employees, please feel free to contact us and we will do our best to assist you!

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