Background Investigations

Are Young People Bad at Filling Out Their Security Clearance Applications?

Do millennials have more difficulty obtaining security clearances than other generations? With debt issues starting earlier and our international world making ‘foreign influence’ more difficult to define, they certainly may have more difficulty filling out their security clearance applications.

A recent article on offered tips specifically for millennial job seekers filling out their SF-86. From keeping tabs of addresses that may change multiple times a year to ensuring you list a quality reference everywhere it’s required, the devil is in the details.

Failure to fill out a security clearance application accurately may be the biggest issue – regardless of greater instances of debt and foreign influence. Issues can often be mitigated, but failure to accurately report problems isn’t likely to be seen as oversight, but dishonesty.

What do you think – are there generational issues at play making today’s security clearance application more complex?

Comment Archive

  1. Avatar

    Everyone is bad at the form. Most of the young kids are in basic training or just being recruited and have little time to complete or the recruiter does it. The recruiter (Not all) doesn’t care as evident in what we come across.

  2. Avatar

    I think it has less to do w/age and more to do with whether or not they take it seriously.
    Plenty of older people assume their home of record is their resi
    for the past 10 years or they over disclose in an attempt to appear
    as honest as possible. Young people can’t seem to figure out how to
    stop at their 18th birthdays and rarely does anyone try to be efficient and
    think to use the resi history they just created as the basis to determine the dates
    of their employments/duty stations.
    The ones to look out for though are those who give a lot of insignificant issues when they tell
    you about their stuff in an attempt to come off honest so when they leave out the big stuff they are hoping you think since they were so “honest” with everything else you will believe them when they say they forgot about their reduction in rank due to 2 accidental discharges that happened while deployed to Afg 3 mos ago…..

    Anyone else out there feel me on this? Or has my mind turned to cream of wheat from typing up spins on a Friday nite?

  3. Avatar

    I’ve been a background investigator for USIS and a Case Analyst for OPM. Been thinking about becoming a contract investigator and getting out of the federal government.

    Can someone tell me all the places I can attempt to contract with? Also, can I make a lot of money? Six figure income? I’m willing to work hard and also live in between Baltimore and DC.

    Thanks for any info/advice you guys can give. Business advice such as how to set this up is much appreciated as well. I really enjoy reading the posts on this site.

  4. Avatar


    Easily in D.C. metro–it’s like shooting fish in a barrel. When figuring income, a good rule is to minus 33% from everything for taxes. You will get some back end of year, but too many folks don’t prep themselves. To me, there is no advantage of forming any business form…..S-Corp, llc…….I just run and pay taxes, not enough tax laws/breaks IMO to help with the additional BS. Check below:

    Keypoint Govt Solutions (OPM)
    USIS/Altegrity (OPM)
    MSM (Non OPM Backgrounds)
    CACI (OPM)
    Omnisec (USAF and Others)

  5. Avatar

    Also check CSC (Computer Sciences Corp). They just won a big contract and are desperately seeking people to work for them,

  6. Avatar


    Haven’t seen anything from CSC–what type of jobs?

  7. Avatar

    Thanks for all the info. My main issue is leaving the government. Can anyone speak to how much they make as a contract investigator and the average hours they are putting in per week?

  8. Avatar

    Do you think I can get 40 hours of work per week and what is a reasonable expectation of what I will make as a contract investigator?

  9. Avatar


    If I were a betting man; I think you could make about $600-$1k a day if you get at it and don’t waste time.

  10. Avatar


    Are you a contract investigator yourself? Anyway I could communicate with you via e-mail? Don’t know how you would give me the address, but I would like to communicate more with you on this.

    Does anyone on here have contacts with investigation companies I could use to get on as a contract investigator? Does anyone else have an opinion on the money aspect of being a contract investigator? Thanks again!

  11. Avatar


    In D.C, NoVA, MD, there is never a shortage of work, nor will there ever be. Getting a solid workload for you is easy.

  12. Avatar

    Mike, I would suggest that if you were looking to become a contractor that you definitely get on with more than one company. That way if one is slower than the other, or institutes silly, time wasting policies, you can just take work from you other contract(s). I work for whoever is paying me most or for whoever it’s easiest to get work from, and they vary sometimes by week. I think $600 to $1000 per day is realistic once your fully proficient but it may take a few months to learn the business. And maintaining the $600-$1000 per day rate may burn you out.


    the CSC contract started in September, I think they’re a little slow to staff it but I saw once a few weeks ago a job announcement and if it’s not still advertised I wouldn’t be surprised if it was again soon.

  13. Avatar


    What is a realistic money number per day? Just to add, I have Investigator experience and I was very proficient then. just trying to decide if leaving the government is feasible and money is the main obstacle. Thanks for your response.

  14. Avatar


    Are you currently an OPM Investigator? I thought the deal was that the Feds paid better?

    I may have to look into being a contractor. 🙂

  15. Avatar


    There are alot of variables in the contract side–make sure you learn them before you jump ship.

  16. Avatar

    USIS non compete contracts won’t let you go contractor for other companies for a year after you leave them as a full time investigator, not sure if you have one but most do.

  17. Avatar

    BW, tell me the variables please.

    I think if you are in the MD/DC/VA area, you can always get contract work and be paid more.You have to work hard. There are pros/cons to everything. My wife is a fed, so I can get on her health plan and then I’d have to setup my own retirement account. Not too difficult though. I know people in the biz.

    Just trying to figure things out before I have kids and get stuck in the government.

  18. Avatar

    Mike, make sure you look at the cost of adding yourself to your wife’s plan. The Fed program does not have a self +1 option, so it doesn’t matter if you add yourself or 10 kids, you’re still going to pay through the nose once you take the ‘family’ coverage option. I learned that the hard way but you may be aware of it.

  19. Avatar


    Sounds like you understand variables. You are correct, work in your area is plentiful.

    I notice contractors don’t protect themselves. I have a diasability plan for myself that will pay out until age 65 if I’m sick/injured and can’t work. With a family, I highly rec this. I will say this, if you are having kids, this is the best job in the world. I was at my son’s school every single day to pick him up and never missed any activities.

    As a sub, taking time off if kids are sick, is just a matter of staying home. There is nothing better than this option. Also, you could literaaly save a ton on daycare expenses–list goes on. Folks with kids in this business will tell you it’s the best.

  20. Avatar


    I used to work in employee benefits, so I know how people don’t take insurance then are in for it when something goes wrong. I would definitely get disability insurance and get this setup correctly. I have time since I currently have a job, so I’ll get it right.

    Do you have a phone number/email, so I can contact you personally? Maybe we could talk about the MD/DC/VA area and the biz in general. I have more questions, but would rather talk to you rather than continue to type them one by one on here. Thanks.

  21. Avatar


    Working as a subcontractor in the DC/ MD/ VA area you can EASILY make $400 per day without pushing yourself. The main problem being a contractor are that you are the low man/woman on the totem pole. If work dries up, guess who’s not getting any work until it picks up again- you! That has only happened once since I have been doing this work- beginning the day after the last election in 11/08 and continuing through around 2/09 or 03/09. Pretty scary but I immediately diversified and added two more contracts. Depending on what happens next month, it may be a similar story for a few months. No way to know.

    But the benefits, oh the benefits! I avoid rush hour every day. Set my own schedule. Decide how far I’m willing to go for work. Turn work back in if it looks like it’s going to be too time consuming and, therefore, not cost effective. Pick and choose the type of work I want to take (and that varies by how I’m feeling). But, most importantly, I am 100% completely available to my family. Volunteer at all school functions, available to pick up a sick or injured kid from school or stay home with the sick kid. if the spouse decides to telecommute, I can be home that day too. It’s fabulous and every so often I try and convince myself that I should rejoin the workforce. Inevitably I get offered a “real job” and I always turn it down after realizing I don’t want to be tied down for 40 hours per week and limited to 10 vacation days per year…

  22. Avatar

    I have been offered a position that requires a FS polygraph. My current employer put me in for the FS polygraph at the same agency about a year ago. My last FS polygraph was ~8 months ago and the security people at my current company stated that the clearance is in “Final Adjudication.”

    What does Final Adjudication mean?

    Does large duration since my last polygraph imply that I passed it?

    I really want to move to the new company, but they may not hold the position for me while I wait for the clearance to process… Alternatively, I can start at the new company with a CCA, but I risk the possibility that the full clearance will get denied and I will be out of a job…

    Any advice you guys can offer would be greatly appreciated!


    [email protected]

  23. Avatar


    I doubt you will get anyone to commit to that question. We do not generally give advice on what folks should do because we have no way of knowing and would not want to be responsible for you making a wrong career choice. But, I would call and ask about your poly results. This may help you make a clear decision. Wish I could offer more. Good luck.

  24. Avatar


    I called just after I asked this question and the answers to my questions. It is starting to feel like I would be better off waiting for the poly to get through adjudication, since it appears to be in the last step before approval.



  25. Avatar


    Wise choice. Hope it works out.

  26. Avatar

    I have sent my resume into the contractors you mentioned and haven’t gotten a response. For CSC, I couldn’t find anything for them where I could apply as a contract investigator.

    Does anyone know how long it takes for the contract companies to get back to you? Or does anyone have contacts from these companies that I can get in touch with? Thanks.

  27. Avatar

    You need to be patient. It may take some time for the companies to get back to you. Also my company wants contractors with recent experience out in the field. I read above that you were a background investigator for USIS at one time. How long ago was that because how investigations are conducted now is different than they were conducted 5 years ago even 3 years ago. I can tell you my company will only consider hiring a contractor if they have had investigation experience with in the last 18 months. If you do not have that you may as well cross my company off your list. I work for your old company. I am more than willing to answer what I can on here for you when I am on here which is not much these days with more than enough work for two investigators, two kids and a wife with a broken ankle. Please don’t ask for any of my pesonal contact information as I will not give it out on here.

  28. Avatar

    I just read back a few threads- how did I miss the jobquestion guy who mostly conducts himself w/integrity??? That just made my day

  29. Avatar

    Good news–OPM dropped the “I don’t know” explanations in the reports. 30 minutes saved per report.

  30. Avatar

    I just did my interview for my PR today. Can anyone tell me if it will be done by this Thurs. I’ve been offered a job that doesn’t require a clearance, so my PR is timed perfectly 🙂

  31. Avatar

    My browser deleted my bookmark for the blog. As such, I’ve forgotten about it until now. What’d I miss?

  32. Avatar


    OPM will have it done by Thursday morning, Ill see to it myself.

    Would anyone like my personal phone number and home address so I can personally attend to all your needs?

  33. Avatar

    I was arrested for DUI in Sept of 2011 and received PBJ. My probation began in January. I have met all requirements of probation, was evaluated with a result of no alcohol related problems, and attended alcohol education classes. I am seeking secret clearance. Will currently being on probation disqualify me from obtaining this clearance? I have met all mitigating factors. Thanks in advance for the help!

  34. Avatar

    My “I don’t know” explanations were one sentence covering the whole report. But now that OPM dropped the requirement I expect to get reopens on all the cases I completed when the explanations were required making me add individual sentences to each verified. ‘Cause that’s how we roll…

  35. Avatar


    Dude, you missed a ton of extremely important items. If I were you, I’d go back and read every single post as it is very important, not only to you, but to mankind.

  36. Avatar


    I knew you’d come through. If you want, I will just have admin post all of our contact info to save time. Also, please post your SSN so I can verify it’s actually you.

  37. Avatar

    I think everyone is bad at filling out their security clearance application because lets face it, the form is 127 pages long. I don’t know many young people, old people, smart people, middle aged people, etc. that can fill out a 127 page form without any mistakes on the first try. What I’m saying applies to actually filling out the SF86 doc, not via E-QIP. The quality of the E-QIP is much better since it has some basic error and compliance checking, but asking anyone to fill out a 127 page PDF just seems asinine to me, there’s no way it’s going to be right on the first try. Even if someone takes their time, checks it multiple times, etc. they are going to miss something… we’re only human.

  38. Avatar

    BW so no more restating sub doesn’t know in our reports or no more Idk option for subject to put in answer field when filling out SF?

  39. Avatar

    Yep–still ask to see if they can supply, but no documentation if not. Still IDK option. I agree that it should be gone.

    Our disclaimer: All other info pertinent with questionnaire is used to blanket it.

  40. Avatar


    Sounds like you have done all the right things. Of course, I can’t give you any guarantee, but I’d say you will be OK.

  41. Avatar

    Are our East Coast Investigators out interviewing in the Hurricane?

  42. Avatar

    Stats are stats–they need to be. We got an e-mail telling us to charge our computers so we could keep typing.

  43. Avatar

    That is just sad.

  44. Avatar

    I expect all of you inv’s to be doing resi checks this Tues and not wasting productivity time voting 🙂

  45. Avatar

    I’ve decided my time will be better spent as an election monitor. I’m sure OPM won’t care.


    Kidding, only kidding, I love my OPM overlords.

  46. Avatar

    I’m joining the U.N. group monitoring our elections. I thought I’d reveal our big secret to them that everyone here is allowed to vote how they want. I think that will confuse them.

  47. Avatar

    In honor of Election Day, tomorrow I intend to aggressively accuse all of my subjects of Hatch Act violations.

  48. Avatar


    I was told voting was changed to Friday the 9th. Am I wrong?

  49. Avatar is still prediciting a Romney win!

  50. Avatar

    Same knee-jerk BS. As a career military criminal investigator, I will tell you; if they actually gave away national secrets, they would have been court-martialed and not disciplined through Non-Judicial means.

    Way to go leadership, once again, persecute before thinking. Our military has been placed into Corporate status.