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Can you ask job candidates to take a polygraph test?

by , 28 October 2014
We've all seen plenty of movies where characters take polygraph tests.

That's the test detectives use to measure physiological responses in humans when they're questioned to determine if their answers are truthful.

But the big question is: Can you, as an employer, ask job candidates to take a polygraph test?

Read on to find out the answer so you can comply with labour law.

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Should you ask job candidates to take a polygraph test? Here's the answer

The Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service explains that when appointing to positions of trust, you can ask applicants to undergo pre-employment polygraph testing.
But it will depend on the nature of the job and you can only ask an applicant to take this test if you have his consent.
Depending on the nature of your business, it might be useful to insert a clause into the employment contract where the employee consents to future polygraph tests at your discretion. This is a standard requirement in high risk areas such as security positions.

Keep this point in mind when it comes to a polygraph test

The information you gather must be relevant to the position for which the candidate is applying.
A prior history of dishonesty is relevant to any position that requires an element of trust, more particularly when the position involves finances or financial transactions that are open to easy manipulation.
Knowing whether or not it's legal to ask job candidates to take a polygraph test will help ensure you comply with labour law.
PS: If you want to ensure every step of your recruitment is legal and effective, check out Recruitment: The Complete Guide. It will give you practical advice, tools, checklists and samples that cover every single step of recruitment.

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