While security clearance policy is changing for candidates/applicants, there are also guidelines in the industrial security professional that seem to be a point of contention between Facility Security Officers (FSO) and background investigators:

I have a question for you all about how contracts work. I am currently employed and cleared. I’ve been offered another job contingent on me clearing with a new client. I’ve been waiting a while now, maybe a year still working for my original company. Now the new company says I must fill out another form saying they are my current employer. The only thing is I have yet to work for them. No pay, benefits, etc. They aren’t sponsoring me in any way other than recommending me. I can’t tell if it’s them or client security requesting this. Is this a normal request? Is it possible they’ve been able to bill for me since I’ve been in process for some time now? Or maybe because of covid? I am curious – I don’t want to lie on any of my forms. And I certainly wouldn’t think it was fair if they were making money off me not even being there (not to assume or anything). Thanks for anyone who has seen this before and can help!

One background investigator on the ClearanceJobsBlog notes, “This is a contractor bad habit.” Background investigators conduct their subject interviews, but the process is slowed when the onboarding company asks applicants to list them as a current employer. BI’s will find that there is no record of the employment with the defense contractor, thus creating discrepancies between the SF-86 and information collected from reference interviews.

Though this seems to be an issue more common than not, it is a fine line to tread following your potential employer’s orders or directions while trying to abide by personnel vetting or security standards. You can always reach out, 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 it. If they aren’t able to give a solid answer, perhaps they will consult with other security professionals and learn something as well.

Other tips for filling out the employment section of the SF-86:

  • Do not list tentative or future employment.
  • List every job beginning with the present and back 10 full years with no breaks. No job is too short/insignificant.
  • Do not stretch employment dates to fill gaps when you were unemployed.
  • Provide both employer location and your physical work location.
  • Provide all current contact information for supervisors.


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

Related News

Katie Keller is a marketing fanatic that enjoys anything digital, communications, promotions & events. She has 8+ years in the DoD supporting multiple contractors with recruitment strategy, staffing augmentation, marketing, & communications. Favorite type of beer: IPA. Fave hike: the Grouse Grind, Vancouver, BC. Fave social platform: ClearanceJobs! 🇺🇸