Polygraph testing for your job
If one local entrepreneur has his way, instead of employers doing only background checks on potential employees in Barbados, they would also let prospective workers do a lie detector test before getting the job.
Richard Blunte Sr is the owner of Reciso Services Inc., an online-based company offering polygraph testing.
“You still have to do background checks, but it is used in terms of people lying about their resumé, and it is also used for drug testing,” Blunte said, adding that some people would lie about not using drugs in order to get certain jobs.
It was after his wife became very ill in 2010 that Blunte decided to leave the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF), where he had spent 15 years, so he could better care for her. She passed away in March of last year.
Blunte took up a job in the private sector and almost immediately afterwards wished to have his own business; but he wanted to do something he believed could bring added value to various sectors.
So last year Blunte, 40, came up with the idea of offering polygraph testing.
“I was going to do my Master’s in security management. That was another four years of studying and I was like, ‘I don’t want to do that’,” he divulged.
It was on watching a polygraph system demonstration on television one night, and doing some research afterwards, that he decided this was the way he wanted to go.
And, without hesitation, Blunte got in touch with an instructor at the Academy of Polygraph Science in Fort Myers, Florida, United States.
On his return from studies in November last year, the Eden Lodge, St Michael resident offered the service to three employers. He said the responses had been favourable.
Currently, Blunte is in negotiations with at least two other companies, and is also seeking to work with a number of lawyers.
Individuals to be tested are asked to sign a consent form; they are given instructions and then hooked up to the machine and then given a short test where there is the initial monitoring of the body, including heart rate. The individual is then asked the questions, after which Blunte would do his reading and score.
That, he said, would be followed by a post-test if the individual failed, or a retesting could be done if he was unclear during the process. The entire process is also recorded on video.
“It detects lies. It is to find out the truth you would say,” Blunte told Barbados TODAY
He said while the service was popular in the United States, he believed it was a matter of time before it was widely accepted in Barbados.
“Polygraph in the private sector is becoming important, especially in the US, because instead of background checks, we do what you call a pre-employment screening. We would ask you questions, such as ‘Have you ever lied on your application or about any credentials you have?’,” he said.
Blunte said the service was also useful in companies “in terms of internal theft and breaches of confidentiality”.
“It could also be used in terms of fidelity testing to find out if a husband or wife was cheating. You can use it also in sexual accusations,” he added, pointing out that it was usually at least 92 per cent accurate.
“It is a new service to Barbados outside of the Police Force’s criminal aspect. For the private individual, it is a new service I am now trying to get out there,” he said.
Blunte, who believes it is a service ready to take off in Barbados, pointed out that it was useful in a range of industries, especially banking, and in sports.
“So it is also used not only to find lies, but to also find truth,” he added.
The entrepreneur explained that while some may see it as an invasion of privacy, anyone asked to do the test would have to first consent to it.
“And the employer . . . is who sets the questions for me to ask . . . because he would know the issue,” he explained.
“I also, as the examiner, have to sign for the confidentiality. Any breaches of that, you could sue me,” Blunte added.
The father of four said he did not foresee any challenges, except to “get people to understand it and accept it”.
His hope is that the computerized polygraph system would “become another tool for employment and getting the truth from persons”, since not everyone wanted police involvement in their business when an employer was believed to be in breach of a company rule.
“With [the polygraph] you could deal with the matter in-house,” he explained.
Blunte, who is due to return to the United States in March this year to do additional studies, said his hope was also to work with the Child Care Board to help solve cases of child abuse using polygraph testing.