Among the chief complaints proffered against the contract background investigation workforce today is the demand to churn out an ever growing volume of background investigations while still maintaining the quality of those investigations. At the ClearanceJobsBlog, a comment recently noted:

Given all the recent updates it is amazing that these contract companies continue to terminate investigators for lack of productivity. Its time leadership gets out of their chairs and into the field to see what life is really like out here. Cases are more difficult to brief then ever before. Cooperation from the public is at an all time low. Reporting requirements are confusing. Much of what is required to be reported is not even used for anything and is a complete waste of time. The most frustrating thing on my team is that the section lead provides zero guidance but is still able to fire investigators for not meeting source unit requirements. Do any of you have experience or advice on how to handle your career as an investigator when the section lead does not offer any help and only threatens termination for not meeting source units?

The issue for contract background investigators and anyone related to the security clearance applications process is the very conflicting set of priorities coming through the Office of Personnel Management and National Background Investigations Bureau.

“They seem to have a lot of conflicting priorities, but none of the problems seem to actually be handled as a priorities,” notes William Henderson during a recent interview on the Security Clearance Careers podcast . “They seem very focused on the Insider Threat problem right now, and that’s directly related to continuous evaluation and periodic reinvestigations. And they just announced they were changing the periodic reinvestigations interval, at least for industry, from five years, to six year intervals, which doesn’t seem to really support their insider threat program.”

The current thread on ClearanceJobsBlog notes several issues with contract background investigations today:

  • Quotas
  • Unrealistic expectations in terms of reports per week
  • Low compensation
  • Poor training
  • Unrealistic contract performance expectations

Does this mirror your experience as a background investigator or applicant? Join the conversation on the blog to weigh in.

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Lindy Kyzer is the director of content at Have a conference, tip, or story idea to share? Email Interested in writing for Learn more here.. @LindyKyzer