Career Advice

Intelligence Community Agencies and Final Job Offers

Most Intelligence Community (IC) agencies use in-house background investigators or another IC agency to conduct the background investigations on potential job candidates. Some smaller agencies like the National Reconnaissance Office or National Geospatial Intelligence Agency are very timely in getting them done and in front of an adjudicator. Other bigger agencies, like the Central Intelligence Agency or National Security Agency, are not so timely, according to many of the comments on this blog.

The process is pretty much the same for most of them and looks like this:

  • Initial job offer is made
  • Candidate fills out the SF-86 and submits for review
  • If it passes initial review, fingerprints are submitted, and investigation starts
  • Investigation gets completed and sent to an adjudicator
  • Adjudicator reviews and determines whether to grant Top Secret/ SCI eligibility or not
  • If TS/SCI is granted, then a drug test is administered
  • If the drug screening is favorable, then a polygraph is scheduled
  • If the polygraph is favorable, then the final job offer is sent out

Most of the IC Agencies have a disclaimer in their security clearance process section that states you may not receive a final job offer due to information disclosed during the investigation of which you may not be aware of, or an assessment was made by the adjudicator that you do not meet the agency’s overall employment criteria. If you do not meet eligibility requirements, the initial job offer is withdrawn and the determination is final. Keep in mind the agency does not have to give you the specific reasons for why you weren’t selected.  It may not even have anything to do with you – the vacancy may have been filled by someone else or they no longer have a need for the position. This would definitely be frustrating for someone who was waiting for a long time to jump through all the hoops, only to be told the job offer was withdrawn.


  1. Wait so the adjudicator at an IC agency reviews the applicant’s file before the applicant takes the polygraph? That doesn’t track with the experiences shared on here. IC applicants have posted that they were told that their case went to adjudication only after they passed their polygraph and completed their psychological evaluation without any problems.

  2. These agencies don’'t do all the work themselves “in house” with their own investigators. They use contractors as well. Is there any government agency that uses no contractors for anything??? I think not.