Friday, October 2, 2015

Lie Detection in Hiring: Sportsmanship, Language and Hiring

Sports are a marvelous tool to build leadership, face competition, and to enhance sportsmanship.  Sports teaches the rewards of effort, help boys and girls push their limits, and teach natural consequence of hard work:  victory.

In short, sports, like other endeavors for children which require effort, skill, and development, are essential to survive, and even thrive in a competitive world.  It also allows these human traits to advance technology and civilization.

For the HR professional, in business and in law enforcement, the expressions used in the application and interview process are crucial in seeking to hire the best and brightest.  Yet, there is also a strong caveat that must be considered.

Listen to the language.

Those from the sports world often use certain expressions including some I have both heard, and asked follow up questions from:

"I like to tackle challenges"
"In the argument, I took her right to the ground."
"I am a team player."
"In my career, I hit the ground running with my first job..."

Sports, and competition in general (which can include such school activities as band, orchestra, debate, chess, math, and so on...where competition is front and center) helps mold future employees who learn from experiences in sports, what hard work and effort may produce. 

An ancient example:

In ancient military, most combat was hand to hand.  This is brutally frightening.  Men would grow long beards, wild hair, and use markings to instill various forms of fear to the enemy. Even children recognize a form of 'paternal terror' and 'paternal wisdom' from close proximity to long beards.  

When an ancient warrior was significantly taller than the norm, he stood out and strategy could be produced centering upon him.  (It is interesting to read studies on promotions and height, in business today).  

The ancient Philistines had Goliath of Gath (and his brothers) who were "Shaquile O'neil" sized warriors surrounded by fierce, and also large soldiers.  They kept ancient Israel's warriors in fear. 

Saul, king of Israel, stood "head and shoulders" taller than the rest around him, yet even he would not face Goliath, who, morning by morning, approached the Israeli army, and shouted curses and insults at them.  

David, the boy with the harp and sweet voice, could stand no more and said, "I will fight him."

His brothers were enraged and must have considered how they would explain to their father why they let their little brother, a shepherd boy, be cut in half in a show fight for the Philistines' entertainment.  David, however, resisted their arguments and we are given insight into David's thinking, which is key for understanding:

David thought to himself:  'there was a time when I was out watching my father's sheep at night, with my staff and slingshot, when a mountain lion came and grabbed a sheep.'  A hungry mountain lion is more powerful than 5 grown men, but instead of running, David attacked it, and freed the sheep, saving his father a serious loss of revenue. 

David then reminisced again.  'There was that other time when a bear attacked and I fought it, too, and God delivered it into my hands.  This Philistine is going down!'

With deadly accuracy, in a tiny 12 year old boy going one on one with Shaquile, David's slingshot landed the smooth stone just beneath the massive armor, concussing the giant to the ground.  Israel's army, encouraged by this 'miracle' (a miracle being a "suspension of nature", which is was not), went on a major offensive against the enemy and on to a great victory. 

                                                         How did David do it?

This is an important formula for success. 

How did David handle the challenge?

He did so by using his past experiences, and how not only his skills, once put to the test, and then again, to the point where he could draw upon the hours and hours of lonely practice with the sling shot, and then the two major tests; tests he could have failed.  Competition had not only sharpened his skills:

Competition sharpened his confidence.

David used his experiences to translate into confidence, which means heightened awareness and skill due to increased hormonal response.  History was his servant and friend.  

HR professionals should listen carefully to the question, "Tell me about yourself" not only with the training to pick up specific words, but to listen to the references used.  Did the applicant address challenges faced growing up, which is far more important than the proverbial answer about facing a challenge in his or her most recent employment.  Childhood creates the adult.  See the boy, see the man; see the girl, see the woman. 

future sensitivity trainer 
We always arm ourselves with a specific defense against theft in HR interviewing, but we also arm ourselves to pick out those who will be likely able to meet unknown and unpredictable challenges.  

Competition, which must include testing with "a lion and a bear", that is, challenges with consequences, to cause growth.  (So much for the "there are no winners and no losers because everyone wins, and everyone gets 100% and everyone gets a trophy, even just for maintaining a pulse!")

With all of these positive attributes, no company, and certainly no police department wants to hire someone who poses a risk of violence. 

I speak of two forms of violence, specifically:

Physical Violence and Bullying.

In western thought, bullies are weak.  In business, bullies are those who are also weak, pick their victims out specifically, and thrive in bureaucracy more than the private sector.  In law enforcement, they are dangerous, as they will combine verbal/emotional bullying, with the threat of lethal force.  

No police department can, or should, hire one who's nerves cannot bear up under pressure.  For law enforcement, it is not the "danger we face every day" that wears them down.  On the contrary, it is the threat of danger, every day, that does the most damage.  It is one thing knowing a threat, but it is quite another to not be able to identify a threat, or even if such a threat will be faced today.  This is far more weighing, and too often ignored. 

Bullies in business will steal ideas, ridicule co workers, pit one against another, and almost always set up a false dichotomy of "us versus them", as they always seek an allegiance.  Thin skinned, they can burn for years over what they perceive as a personal insult or slight and may seek to exact revenge even after an employee has moved on.  To bully is to create discord in the work place, push forward ideas that may not be best, and create an atmosphere of mistrust and eventually, hostility that will either push good employees out, or, for those who stay, destroy their health.  

Q.  How can you spot a bully?

Q.  How can you spot an officer who, under pressure, may not control himself?  This is the one who should never carry lethal force on his person.  

Answer:  it is the same answer to both.  The language will reveal this, and this vetting should be far more effective than the typical background checks and interviews with kindergarten teachers.  

The violent, including the emotionally violent bully, will reveal himself (most are males, though some are females, with female violence on a steady, 30 year increase) in his words, before you hire him. 

Since sports is such an excellent training took for life, it is also no surprise that it is within sports that we find the language which reveal:

domestic violence
child abuse 
physical violence 

  The caveat is singular, and the HR professional with training, especially in analysis and legally sound interviewing, will bring the applicant, by the applicant's own words, to the crucible where the answer will surface:  

 we  need to know a single critical element:  sportsmanship.

How important is sportsmanship?

Answer:  It is the single most important element of sports, even superseding the lessons of effort, testing, consequence, and confidence:


Sports, by nature, exploits weakness.  

Even if the applicant never played sports, but was in debate club:  he or she saw the weakness of the argument of the opponent, and exploited it. 

In football, if the opponent has a weakness on its left flank, the team will run the ball through that weakness each and every time it exists. 

In chess, a single weak square, created by the lowly pawn move, becomes the entire center of both long term strategy, and the implementation of tactics to obtain that weak square, to build up forces, and launch the final attack on the enemy king. 

I ask police officers to consider this within themselves, and their coworkers:

Would you be comfortable with Officer Smith pulling over your teenaged daughter or son,  late at night, on a rural road?  Would you know your child's best interest will be balanced with the enforcement of the law?  Not that you seek suspension of the law, but can you rest knowing that your child will be treated honestly, fairly, and respectfully, even if in the wrong?



For some, so hesitant to speak a negative word, the thought of Officer Smith or Officer Jones in such a scenario brings a chill down the spine, quietly wishing the department had never hired Smith and Jones.  

I once received a lengthy lesson in domestic violence from a chaplain who worked in minor league ice hockey in the Northeast.  His biggest concern? The athletes who physically or emotionally could not "turn off competition" when they arrived home to their wives and children.  Even those who were not "abusive", still, sometimes, "competed" with their wives, with such things as, "Well, they obey me!" regarding the kids.  

We are aware from main stream media just how bad domestic violence is in the homes of the NFL players, but whatever we read is far less than what happens, as most child protective intervention is kept from the media, as is the seeking of intervention for D/V where there is a willingness to work.  By the time we hear of it, it has already exploded.  

What is it that causes the competition to come to a screeching halt, so that life can peacefully go on?

What is it that makes a strong officer, under a threat, talk down the aggressor, without having to use his weapon?

What makes one man strong enough to walk away from an argument that has gone astray, than to stay put until blows are exchanged?

What is it that allows one to use highly controlled aggression, to the good of society, while not crossing the line to violence?

It is "sportsmanship."

The HR professional must seek to learn if the applicant learned "sportsmanship" or did not.  It is the "off switch" that is so necessary for civilized society, strong and useful debate in business that allows for advancement and forward leaning progress.

Sportsmanship shows self control and human empathy for the vanquished foe.  It is, historically, what led in early "English Knights" having a code of honor, to the code of ethics for prisoners of war.  It is evidenced in civilized nations and greatly evidenced in its lack in brutal regimes and cultures.

If a person learned to exploit and celebrate weakness, void of humility and empathy for the “loser”, we must learn if he will treat employees with kindness, especially when they struggle.

Sports, by nature, exploits the weakness of the opponent, which is expected.  Sportsmanship’s element sought by us is the attitude of the victor towards the defeated. Those who taunt, excessively boast, or feel that the victory, for example, was not just a sports victory but of “superiority” outside the sport, reveals  a very concerning signal for one who’s job is to encourage subordinates:  they must show empathy.

How much worse is this when the applicant, if hired, will carry lethal force?

The bully is thin skinned.  He often enjoys the infliction of pain on others, as his need for respect supersedes human empathy.  He is often a pragmatist and will do "whatever it takes to win", which may sound great, that is, until your company is under federal indictment, or your department, with its budget already stretched, facing a major payout for someone who got a confession after watching too many reruns of "The Shield" and injured the suspect. 

                           The "pragmatist" cuts corners and are not always male:

We have all met the officer who showed an acute need for respect, and felt the inherent danger involved, just as we have all met the one who could have cared less whether we were respectful or not:  he or she was secure in work enough to not be overly concerned. 

We have all met the business professional who, if his idea is challenged, sees "red" and is ready to not simply answer the argument, but compartmentalize the critic and personally demonize him. 

 "Your ideas are always weak."

In spite of a culture of "reporting" in the manner of ESPN, which glorifies violence, self, and narcissism in general, we still need to find those who, even in celebrating victory, maintain control and empathy for the loser.  What makes for a laugh on television, does not make for a good manager of real employees, with real problems, real weaknesses, and real issues. 

What may seem like "cowboy" heroics in a bar, may not translate to one, under pressure, who perceives the public as a constant threat.  

Recall the case of Cynthia Witlach who drove her partner (personal, not police) around in a patrol car to "show off" how she "teaches" citizens to respect her by bullying them.   She traumatized an elderly vet, who had never been in trouble, because his skin was darker than hers. 

Do not think for a minute that police officers were not whispering, one to another:

Who hired this psychological train wreck?

Someone did the interview and should have, with training, picked up not only the weakness of her character, but of her "victim status" mentality, who used gender, race, sexuality, and career, all as tools of "war against" perceived enemies.  Was not her blatant racism evident in her language?  Of course it was.  Was not her psychological need for relevancy, in its extremity, not evidenced in her language?  Only if one is not listening.  This leads me to ask:  Was someone afraid to not hire her due to her victim status? This, itself, is not just a red flag, but a red flag wrapped in a red flag, put in a red box handed to the Interviewer with a note, written in red ink that said, "DO NOT HIRE" in bold type.  

How do I get this information?

Professionals get professional training.  

I begin with simple, non-intrusive legally sound questions and immediately employ my training.  Once I get to competition, I set up various scenarios where winners and losers are in the same place, together.  

You might find it very funny, for example, to see a fan of one team "unable" to watch a game with a fan of his rival team, but what is funny on a Sunday afternoon, is not funny in a board room on Monday morning.  "In your face!  You ***!" is comical at a bar, watching a big screen, but what if it is more than just Friday night humor and it is brought into the work place?

I seek reactions where human empathy is necessary, accomplished by the "scenario" questions used after the open ended and relevant questions posed.    

I may bring up an injury, including a famous video of a professional being injured and I carefully listen to the reaction:

There are those who will absolutely love the video of a football player being severely injured, or will be one of the many "hits" on a youtube clip of a terribly violent action.  

If he "enjoyed" the carnage, run, do not walk, away, from hiring him.  

I "confirm" analysis always.  

"The thrill of victory; the agony of defeat" from the old Wide World of Sports introduction gives us the perfect, natural reaction:

The person seeks the crashing skier, and looks away, but really can't look away.  Squeamish duly noted; no problem. 

But what of those who actually enjoy seeing a violent injury?  Recall the "hobby" of Shawn Adkins and Billie Jean Dunn in their collection of "blood lust" videos where the cheerleader is dismembered. 

I ask, "does the subject affirm my assertion, or does he negate it?  Lastly, is his language indifferent to my assertion?"

In other words, he, himself, will tell me if I am right or if I need to go in a different direction. 

If I have a football player, for example, who scored a touchdown.  I begin with,

"tell me about that!"

I allow him to relive his high school glory. 

"What was it like for you when you crossed the goal line?"

You know where I am going...

"What did you do right after?"

If I get a description where the applicant is unafraid to boast how he wiggled his rear end, or taunted his opponent, I begin to get my answer, though I continue to press on. 

I am seeking to learn if he will guide his subordinates, or exploit them.  To guide them is to benefit my business.  To exploit them is to damage my business. 

If it is law enforcement, you may be impressed with his tales of conquest, but it is his reaction to the vanquished that will tell you if he is safe with a public who is on high alert, very sensitive, and a main stream media that targets police. 

It takes one poor hire to damage the reputation of an entire department, even of an entire profession. 

Within bullies, is also an element of "supremacy" which gives birth to "victim status", a powerful psychological drive that will lead to trouble.  Please see my article on Supremacy thinking and language.  

More than ever before, law enforcement needs to hire the best and brightest, with no political pressure involved, hiring confident, humble (confidence is humility's first cousin) and trustworthy.  Just as dishonesty keeps one from being hired, so much bullying and violence.  

The one that "took to the ground" another in an argument:  

This was a case in which I interviewed the subject for the company after the company had already hired him. 

I told them he was violent and it was a matter of time before the violence erupts.  I said that he was a bully, thin skinned, and had never learned to govern his own emotions growing up.  Not in childhood, not in sports, not in school, and it won't be here. 

Several weeks passed when he got into an argument with a co worker in front of vulnerable clients.  The owner of the business decided to have a look for herself, and drove to the location.  

She called police for intervention. 

He threatened her when he perceived that she did not believe him. 

What lawsuits may emerge from this?  What costs?  What of the company's reputation?

Sports are a marvelous way of teaching children to become responsible adults who must compete in the work place and can give them confidence to “tackle” responsibilities and challenges. 

Sportsmanship combines these great skills along with human empathy that translates into good management. 

I was often teased by parents for not allowing my sons to be overly demonstrative when they hit a home run, and later, when they scored a goal in ice hockey.  I knew that they needed to learn to govern their own passions but I also knew that the parents of the kids who were doing choreographed celebrations and taunts of the opponents, would never grasp this, so I simply said,

"Well, by not celebrating it certainly puts a reminder into the opponent to expect more..."

I'm not certain that even this was understood.  

Even with the cultural change, there is still nobility of those who can celebrate a victory, without the need of humiliating the opponent.  By watching even the reaction of one observing the very public display of ostentatious celebration, we learn whether or not the applicant holds the human empathy as a prized trait, which will work to help keep him (or her) from crossing the line, and bringing harm to the public, loss to the company, and a black eye to the reputation.  

It always comes down to:  "Who hired this $%^&?"

For training for yourself, or your company, visit Hyatt Analysis

Next up:  Agenda in Hiring:  Social Justice Warriors 


Anonymous said...

OT - Here is the 911 call from Fidel Lopez after disemboweling his girlfriend on 9/20/15.


Apple said...

Another OT:
Too little too late, unfortunately

Anonymous said...

zilch.nada. nothing.

Crackin' good read, Peter! Inspiring as well.

Here's a link to a subject that might very well be of interest to you. This man likes to write letters (to little boys) and stalks them as well. Wouldn't it be neat to get to see those letters and compare them with letters sent to others (boys, girls, inmates, etc.)?

Even in court he could not contain himself. Has a history spanning decades! Right up your alley if your into another hobby.

Anonymous said...

Oh, yeah...the link:

John Mc Gowan said...


Wife on trial for murder says husband was in a rage

41-year-old Julie Harper says fatal shooting was self-defense

A Carlsbad woman on trial for murder in the death of her schoolteacher husband testified Tuesday that on the morning of the fatal shooting, she awoke to him screaming about his missing computer and tearing up their room looking for it.

They argued, eventually they struggled, then she got away and grabbed her gun from under her pillow, 41-year-old Julie Harper said during her second day on the stand in Vista Superior Court.

Harper said her husband, Jason, came at her.

I was shaking and holding onto my gun tightly,” she said. “The next thing I knew I felt my hand jerk.”

Downstairs, their young children watched cartoons.

Harper is charged with murder and use of a gun in the Aug. 7, 2012 death of her husband, Jason Harper, 39, who was shot once in his left side. She faces up to 50 years to life in prison.

Prosecutors have said Harper had been deterioriating in the weeks and months before the killing, had forged checks in her husband’s name and was planning her exit from the marriage. She spent the hours following the shooting trying to arrange play dates for her children and sending a text from her husband’s phone as if it had come from him.

Harper testified the shooting was self-defense, and said her husband had abused her. She has spent about a day and a half testifying, and will return to the stand Wednesday.

She said the couple had fought that summer morning and eventually she told him she’d filed for divorce five days earlier, to end their failing 11-year marriage.

Her husband was furious, Harper told the jury — not about the pending split, which he already knew about, but that she’d hired an attorney, instead of filing on her own and saving the money.


John Mc Gowan said...


He was flailing his arms, and shaking his head and spitting. His face was all red, his nose got all scrunched up, his eyes squinting. He’d get this look of rage and hate, but this, this was bad,” Harper testified.

She said he started to sexually assault her, which she has said he had done before.

I started pushing back and somehow managed to wriggle my way free,” she said. “I, as quickly as I could, moved across the room to my bed.”

She said she grabbed the two-shot Derringer she’d started sleeping with a few days earlier, out of fear of her husband.

I turned around and proceeded to move toward the end of the bed, toward the center of the room. He was running toward me,” she said.

She said he ignored her when she told him to stop, stay back.

He kept coming toward me. This all happened very fast,” she said.

Harper said her husband said he was going to kill her. She pulled the trigger once.

He was still coming forward at me,” she said. “All of the sudden, he froze completely, and just like a tree in a forest, fell forward at me.

I was still just terrified and ran to the bathroom,” she said.

She waited for him to come after her. He didn’t move, she said, even as she crept back to his body. He was dead.

On cross examination Tuesday afternoon, prosecutor Keith Watanabe’s questioning — which will continue Wednesday — did not delve into the step-by-step details of the fatal shooting. He asked general questions about the incident, including whether Harper believed at the time of the shooting that she was justified in killing her husband.

I wasn’t thinking about anything like justification at that time,” she said.

Harper said she was “hoping to scare him so he’d back off and stay away.”

Watanabe also asked about Harper about her testimony that her husband had sexually assaulted her. She said the incidents happened at least 30 times from 2010 to 2012, but she never told anyone.

Watanabe asked Harper if she regretted killing her husband.

I was terribly sad he was gone,” she said. “I never meant to kill him, never meant for that to happen. But since that was what resulted, I guess you can call it regret.”

Harper — whose parents posted her $2 million bail last year — also testified on cross-examination that she is living at the Badger Lane home, and sleeping in the master bedroom where she killed her husband.

horse chestnut said...

This horrible woman leaves her daughter to drown in a bathtub, her BABY daughter, and then has the audacity to say that God has victimized her.

horse chestnut said...

or this mother with her infant "mama's boy".

Anonymous said...

James 1:13 "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God;
for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempts he any man."
"But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust,
and enticed."

"Do not err, my beloved brethren."

James 3:16 "Where there is confusion and strife there is every evil work."

Corin 14:33 "For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace."

This is the Word of God. ABB

Anonymous said...

Isn't it nice to know there are references that refer to almost any type of "Quote" from the bible? Directed at you, ABb-specifically.

Anonymous said...

Of course it is directed at me, nameless anon @9:31. So here's one that's directed at YOU: "Every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed." You are enticed to insult me. Go ahead. I can take it.

My post was not designed to insult you or anyone else. Have a nice day. ABB

lynda said...

Interesting as always Peter. It leads me to think of all the times, particularly in grade school and high school sports, that I've seen the "hero" of the team offer his hand to the one that tried to stop him but fell instead. They offer their hand to help him up from the ground instead of stepping over him to receive their accolades. I also think of the ones that did the exact opposite and it is very enlightening to have this relating to future business/social interaction. I had never equated one with the other. Thank you!

jenny said...

Something about this post has stood out to me.
I think I've read most of the stuff posted here about the Dunn case. I read they had an interest in blood lust videos. Not sure what that is, but I thought it was Freddy and Jason type movies. This is the first I've heard about a video of dismembering a cheerleader. Is that a video of an actual killing, or a movie that depicts a killing?

lynda said...

Peter or anyone..I asked this before to see if anyone had any insight. Would continual throat clearing, coughing, smiling, "nervous" laughter fall under SA or body language? They are sounds..but also include a body movement so to speak. Is this something you look at Peter, or is it not noted?

lynda said...

First video of mom of missing 2 year old, Rainn Peterson, Bloomfield, Ohio. Also it has been reported that initially mom said she was working when she went missing but that has changed to she was "out".

Sus said...

I have a question, though it may not be pc. This post makes a lot of sense. It brings up something I always wonder about.

What do you notice about hiring veterans? Especially in LE positions? The initiative from the DOJ is to hire vets first.

Obviously the service needs a type of attitude from its members to fight in war. I certainly wouldn't say it's unsportsmanlike, but it is a "vanquish the foe"...not what we want on our city streets.

I'm offering two examples.

Remember the vet who stopped a "fake vet" in the mall and questioned him. He taped himself confronting the fake. He basically went off on him, yelling at the fake in front of other patrons, including children. He was later on talk shows and it was learned he wanted to be a policeman. I read all sorts of comments on what a great policeman he would be. Really? Would all those commenters want him going off on them like that when they speed or don't have a seat belt on?

I know a supervisor in federal LE. (I'm going to be purposely vague on this.) He interviews and hires. They now have to give first consideration to vets. Because of the educational, psychological and background requirements, he says he can interview vets for days without getting a qualified applicant. It wastes time.

So I think I'm asking, are soldiering and LE diametrically opposed? Unlike sports and LE. What do you see in hiring?