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Enhancing Hiring and Selection Processes

By Bob Shaffer

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For decades Linguistic Statement Analysis has been taught to thousands of members of the law enforcement field and private investigators as an effective and efficient tool for solving crimes.  Analysts are taught to identify specific words, phrases, statement content, and structure of written statements that identify if the story is deceptive, where the deception lies and what the underlying truth really is. 

Over the course of several years, it has been exciting to see investigators experiencing a high level of success with LSAT.  It has also been encouraging to see different applications for LSAT emerge.  One of the more creative and useful applications has been in the field of Selection and Hiring of law enforcement personnel, specifically background investigation and oral interviewing.  The LSAT concepts and techniques used for identifying lies during criminal investigations are equally effective as a means of detecting if police applicants are embellishing their qualification and experiences in order to secure law enforcement positions, whether they be commissioned officers or support personnel.

There are three main application opportunities for LSAT in the selection and hiring process:

  1. the examination of the application and personal history statement
  2. the written examination phase
  3. all levels of oral interviews

The LSAT Basic training includes a module on how to develop and apply the “IQ” or Investigative Questionnaire.  Studies have revealed that education and work history are the areas in applicants’ information that are most often misrepresented. Treating applicants’ hiring documents as written statements, the same concepts are applied to their application and personal history statements to determine if the applicant has embellished, lied or withheld relevant information on it.  The IQ is a multi-page document that is typically used during criminal investigations to eliminate innocent people from a suspect pool. 

In my 7 years as Personnel Sergeant for my police department, I relied on LSAT and the IQ heavily during our selection processes.  Using the IQ to evaluate applicants’ applications and personal history statements was invaluable.  We found that if the applicant showed signs that they were misrepresenting, omitting or lying about information contained within these documents, that 99% of those would also reveal something in the polygraph examination that would eliminate them from consideration.  As a result of the high correlation, the polygraph examiner did not have to waste time inquiring about the application process and could concentrate on other areas of personal history and behavior.

During the written examination phase, LSAT-trained hiring directors have been requiring applicants to produce written work as an example of their grammar and handwriting proficiency.  By directing them to write a “statement” about personal experiences such as workplace discipline they may have received or their motivation for seeking a job in law enforcement, the hiring personnel can analyze the statement to reveal if the applicant is being forthright and truthful.

The same concepts that apply to written statement also apply to spoken language. Applying LSAT during oral interviews, interviewers can easily determine when an applicant is lying, embellishing or withholding information about their experience or other qualifications. 

Regardless of your law enforcement assignment, there is likely to be a relevant application for LSAT in your workplace.  I encourage you to attend an LSAT training course and explore the possibilities it offers in your position.





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