ClearanceJobsBlog is a special ecosystem where background investigators, Facility Security Officers (FSO) and security clearance holders and applicants gather to ask questions and share experiences around the personnel security and vetting mission.

Today’s episode of ClearedCast is a rundown on the highest viewed and engaged questions on the blog.


Are You Experiencing Security Clearance Processing Delays?

2016 was a rough year for the security clearance process. Director of Content, Lindy Kyzer writes:

“Over the past several months we’ve heard from both hiring managers and cleared candidates that security clearance processing delays are becoming a serious problem. It’s no surprise that in the wake of the Office of Personnel Management cybersecurity breach, the 30-day eQIP shutdown, and some major reshuffling in contract investigation companies, delays are going to happen. The most recently released figures from the National Industrial Security Policy Program Committee bear that out. Top Secret and Secret investigation times have increased by about 50 days, and Top Secret reinvestigation times have increased by more than 80 days.”

Many commenters were at 100+ days at least since submitting their applications.

IC Poly and Adjudication Process

Polygraphs are a constant enigma within national security careers. How do I get a polygraph? How do I pass? Does one make me more marketable?

One ClearanceJobsBlog subscriber asked:

“I have received a COE and just recently completed my poly, mental health, and background interview. Everything went well except for the poly. I did it twice, and the examiner said that the results were inconclusive and that they will submit it to the adjudicator for their decision. My background interview was the next day, and they said they will still conduct the phone calls and due diligence even though my poly was inconclusive. Just wanted to get any input you may have. Since the poly was inconclusive, does that mean my offer is automatically getting rescinded? Or is the poly only one part (a large part) of the whole process, and adjudicator bases their decision based off the poly and background and references interviews?”

Public trust timeline

While not considered an actual “security clearance” a position of public trust requires candidates to fill out Standard Form 85 (a shorter form than the SF-86). Does this mean the investigation process is shorter?

A poster writes:

“I completed my eqip about three weeks ago and i still haven’t heard anything from an initial background investigator for an interview. My hiring manager contacted me earlier this week to see if I had heard anything yet. I was initially told that the public trust clearance takes about 3 weeks. Is there a backlog? How long does it usually take for a investigator to contact you after applicant has completed eqip? How long is the public trust clearance process in general?”

While the answer is always ‘it depends,’ a public trust can come through in a matter of a few weeks or up to a year. A common timeframe at the time this thread was started was at least 6 months.

Adjudication Timeline

Clearance timelines are going to always be a common question on the blog – but this one was specific to the Department of Energy.

“The DoE applicant tracking system shows “investigation results received” on April 13,2017 so I would assume I am now waiting on Adjudication. Does anyone know how long Adjudication should take? I have read that DoE Adjudication should be done within 20 days but have also read that Adjudicators have up to 90 days.”

Here are the most up to date numbers on DOE processing times.

Does internet history get checked during security clearance investigation?

This is a common question even if you aren’t doing anything against the law. Could something you were researching be misinterpreted? Luckily, background investigators are not searching your internet history, scouring your text messages, or have the ability to take your hard drive.

Unless you are subpoenaed, that type of monitoring is off limits to the security clearance process.


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Katie Helbling 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! 🇺🇸