A common SFO mistake that bothers background investigators

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Although the security clearance policy is changing for applicants/candidates, there are also guidelines within the industrial security professional that seem to be a point of contention between facility security officers (FSOs) and investigators from fund :

I have a question for all of you about how contracts work. I am currently employed and licensed. I was offered another job on the condition that I work with a new client. I’ve been waiting for a while now, maybe another year to work for my original company. Now the new company says I need to fill out another form stating this is my current employer. The only thing is that I haven’t worked for them yet. No salary, benefits, etc. They don’t sponsor me in any way other than recommending me. I can’t tell if it’s them or client security asking. Is this a normal request? Is it possible they could have charged me since I’ve been in class for a while now? Or maybe because of covid? I’m curious – I don’t want to lie on any of my forms. And I sure wouldn’t think it was fair if they were making money off of me without even being there (without assuming or anything). Thanks to anyone who has already seen this and can help!

A background investigator on the ClearanceJobsBlog note: “It’s a bad habit of the entrepreneur.” Background investigators conduct their interviews with the subjects, but the process is slowed down when the onboarding company asks candidates to list them as their current employer. BIs will find that there is no record of employment with the defense contractor, creating discrepancies between the SF-86 and the information gathered during baseline interviews.

Although this seems to be a more common problem than not, it is difficult to follow orders or instructions from your potential employer while trying to meet personnel screening or security standards. You can always contact them, in writing, confirming that they would like you to list them as their current employer even though you have not worked for them and ask for the reasoning behind this. If they are unable to give a solid answer, they may consult other security professionals and learn something as well.

Other tips for completing the employment section of the SF-86:

  • Do not mention temporary or future employment.
  • List all jobs starting with the present and going back 10 full years without interruption. No job is too short/insignificant.
  • Don’t stretch dates of employment to fill in the gaps when you were unemployed.
  • Provide both the employer’s location and your physical workplace.
  • Provide all current supervisor contact information.

Much of the clearance process resembles the Pirate’s Code: “more what you would call guidelines than actual rules”. This case-by-case system aims to consider the whole person, increase the safety of the process and allow candidates with the lowest risk/greatest need to complete the process. This article is intended to provide general information only and should not be construed as legal advice. Consult an attorney regarding your particular situation.

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