It is not unheard of for an overzealous Military Entrance Processing Station recruiter to fill out an SF-86 for a new military recruit. Unfortunately for clearance applicants issues can arise if someone else fills out this paperwork, .

The biggest problem is if a military recruit inaccurately fills out the form and the security clearance applicant has to address the wrongful answers. A recent ClearanceJobsBlog thread shows that military recruiters are maintaining the trend to get recruits in the door:

I went to MEPS recently for 35L (Counterintelligence Agent) only to find out my recruiter filled out my SF-86 on his own. This requires a TS clearance. Now I’m going through the background investigation with a form that wasn’t completed by me. I’m filling one out on my own and bringing it to my personal interview but I’m wondering how that’s going to work out. What should I say/do? I’ve spoken to a couple investigators about references, but I haven’t been assigned to an interviewer yet.


Getting to know the questions and your answers is a good thing to do before an investigator reaches out. Aside from that, just be honest when you do have that conversation and note any discrepancies the recruiter provided compared to your form you filled out.

One commenter on the thread notes:

Wait for your interview with the investigator. Provide the accurate information. Explain to the investigator that you did not fill out the form. This should not be surprising to the investigator. You will be asked to provide the name and location of the recruiter.

This problem happens way more than it should. Military recruiters may think they’re doing candidates a favor, and saving them the hours necessary to fill out the form. But individuals who need to obtain a security clearance should be well aware of the questions involved and what they are agreeing to. Very few issues will ultimately result in security clearance denial, so recruiters – and recruits – may be erroneously concerned about issues they shouldn’t be. Whether it’s criminal conduct or recent drug use, almost any issue can be mitigated. Honesty is the best policy, and remember that the whole person concept is weighing in your favor.

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Katie Keller is a marketing fanatic that enjoys anything digital, communications, promotions & events. She has 10+ 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! 🇺🇸