Page last updated at 12:43 GMT, Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Employer lie detector use 'grows'

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The former detectives said using polygraphs helped "fit together pieces of the jigsaw"

Two former detectives who set up a lie detector business say more firms are wanting to test if potential employees have been lying on their CVs.

Andrew Armstrong and Patrick Mulligan worked for West Midlands Police when they were seconded to St Lucia, where they were introduced to polygraphs.

The pair, of Dudley, claim they are being contacted by increasing numbers of employers to help with recruitment.

However, psychologists have criticised the accuracy of polygraphs.

In the United States, lie detector tests for new recruits are restricted to high-security positions.

However, in the UK, a polygraph can be legally used for any job as long as the participant signs consent forms.

There's no evidence whatsoever that polygraph tests tell you anything about a person's performance at work
Occupational psychologist
Dr Steve Woods

The test is based on changes in breathing, sweat levels and blood pressure and is said to be 98% accurate.

The data from the polygraph tests is encrypted and must be destroyed after a year.

Mr Mulligan said their lie detector process, which has been used on clients including a security company and a bodybuilding business, did not tell potential employees whether to recruit someone or not.

He said it just gave them the data and allowed the companies to make decisions for themselves.

However, occupational psychologist, Dr Steve Woods, of the Aston Business School, said he had researched polygraphs and said he had doubts about their capabilities for recruitment.

Dr Woods said: "There's no evidence whatsoever that polygraph tests tell you anything about a person's performance at work and desirable behaviour at work."



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