Experience has shown that there are a number of potentially serious difficulties that can occur during the course of law enforcement screening. The following subparagraphs illustrate some of these issues and our approaches to them.
Assuring quality requires careful oversight and the routine review of every case. As mentioned previously, we are practiced in reviewing every case for completeness, accuracy of interpretation, and standardization of ratings.
Our recommendations are shaped by the test scores and interview in which each candidate participates, but not by any fore-knowledge of concerns that may be of interest to the hiring department due to their applicant processing. It is far more equitable (and defendable) to intentionally keep all background investigative information, polygraph or other results from psychological evaluators. If the psychological evaluation raises the same issue, the concern is validated. On the other hand, if the evaluator knows of the concern prior to meeting with the candidate the claim of prejudice is too easily justified. It is best when the department discusses any concern that might be present once they are in receipt of the finished psychological screening report. If the Department finds that a candidate has lied or failed to be complete in the information they presented psychologists, we are pleased to issue an updated report. The revised finding is always a failure; integrity counts.
Manipulation and Dishonesty
As just explained, our procedures direct candidates to provide honest and complete information. Any manipulation or deceit is ground for rejection due to unsuitability. Since we tape record the hour long interview, there is both a deterrent to deceit, and a record of it when present. If you find that an applicant has been deceitful, you are to ask us to issue an amendment to our earlier report. This process of amending reports demonstrates the essential nature of the true information and the dramatic effect the truth had on the psychological recommendation. Our research has shown that more than five times the number of applicants lie to the interviewing psychologist than are otherwise determined to be psychologically unsuitable.
Invalid Test Results
In our experience, approximately one candidate in six (15%) is sufficiently anxious or defensive that their test results are technically invalidated. Sometimes literacy or cultural influences can also be a factor, for many candidates are of a foreign heritage and English is not their native language. While retesting can occasionally produce more interpretable results, further examination most often just repeats the scores. These are circumstances where the interview is absolutely indispensable. The interview is necessary to ascertain why the test results were diluted and whether or not reassessment is reasonable. We typically recommend these cases with reservation, and detail what issues appear to be relevant in the available results and during interview. In turn, these observations can be compared to background information and the Department's interviews, shoring up or further reducing your confidence in the candidate.