Background Investigations

USIS Hiring 200 Investigators

Looks like OPM is keeping USIS busy. I thought OPM said that security clearance investigation times were now all complete within a few months. Perhaps not?

USIS, a provider of security investigations to the federal government, is hoping to hire 200 field investigators in the next three months.

Falls Church-based USIS said in its hiring announcement that the new investigators are required for projects in high-need areas across the U.S.

USIS is also searching to hire independent contractors for work overseas. The contractors would work on national security contracts helping nations train local law enforcement personnel.

Comment Archive

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    This is why I was detailed to the training dept. We have heard it is closer to 300 though.

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    I guess I’m not that surprised. I know they lost a LOT of their contractors late last fall (at least in my district) due to the work slowdown and how that was handled. What concerns me about USIS is that they can’t seem to find a balance- they either expand to the point where they don’t have enough work for all their employees and contractors, or they contract to the point where there is too much work and the goals become unattainable. I wish them the best of luck and hope that their hiring practices are sound, and that they do a decent job of hiring the right people for the job…

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    Could this be a push to rack up really good turnaround stats in 4th quarter FY09 and 1st quarter FY10 so OPM can show congress it is meeting or almost meeting the IRTPA Title III December 2009 requirement?

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    When you say “good turnaround status” are you referring to good quality ROIs? If so, I am not sure about that. Most new investigators do not have good quality ROIs when they first get out of training. We have different programs that help them out when they first get out of training but there is only so much we can do to help them out with their quality.
    I am learning so much since being on this detail. Very eye opening.

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    A few hundred subs makes sense. There are alot of gaps in the country lacking coverage. Guys like me have to drive and drive just to close cases in rural areas. There are days I drive 7 hours just to collect a testimony or a record–just not enough hours in a day. At least they can spread the wealth a little better.

    I’m betting you will see all the companies on the OPM contract do the same. The new 14 day turnaround of work is virtually impossible on most larger cases, so having more folks readily available makes OK sense, but we will probably get to the point we were all at a year or so ago when we had too many people.

    I can’t recall for sure, but I believe at the end of Fiscal 09, the 14 day workload will be mandatory across the board.

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    We are still at the 25 day turnaround. Have not heard anything about a 14 day turn around yet. Hope that does not happen. as you said that is virtually impossible.

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    I am operating on a 14 day turnaround on two of my contracts. The main difference in the two week turnaround is that a lot more residential and source items are being noted out. There is no way to force people to respond to you. It’s unfortunate and potentially detrimental, actually, and I think it may be something for them to look at down the road.

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    I conpletely agree contract.

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    How do you enjoy working as an investigator? Did you have investigative experience before going into the program?

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    Contract Inv and Inv

    I agree, we are being pretty much forced to note out alot of stuff or we will end-up on the S List. I am looking at my cases now, and my forecast is an absolutely “No Way” these will all be done without overtime, but we all know if stats don’t match time–no pay. I now simply will not give any of my time for free and it’s the folks working off the clock that are killing us full-timers.

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    Having been exposed to a few different contractors, it seems that there’s really only one who expects (sometimes very unrealistically) that all the work assigned can be performed within a forty hour week and will not approve overtime. I think that could be a very sticky situation for them if someone really wanted to push the issue and get the feds involved (I think they’ve already lost some lawsuits regarding unpaid overtime in the past).

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    By “good turnaround stats” I only meant the time it takes to complete an investigation. Until a reasonable measurement for quality is created and there is equal accountability for quality and timeliness at the agency level, I have given up on talking about quality. If it doesn’t get measured, it doesn’t get done–except by the most self-motivated, sufficently trained, and dedicated workers.

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    Your statements are quite true. About a year ago, I had to participate in an OPM survey, which tracked my work for a week. The items included amount of time to obtain an item to include drive time. I produced stats for the time and, since then, I have heard nothing as to the final measurements or metrics collected. There has been no change to our statistics since I started this job in 2004. You can get by with less than quality work, but most folks I know don’t roll that way, but there are more who do then don’t.

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    Just like any job, it has its ups and downs. Some background investigators do have previous investigative experience and some don’t. Some of the best investigators in the area I work in had no investigative experience at all.

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    I’m currently working as an SI (Security Interviewer) and want to get into the Investigation side. I have been going over this site reading a ton of good stuff.

    “Some background investigators do have previous investigative experience and some don’t. Some of the best investigators in the area I work in had no investigative experience at all.”

    Where/how can I get my foot in the door? Also being an Interviewer I wouldn’t mind having some Investigator feed back from my area, or any Investigator for that matter.

    If you would like to talk off line let me know.

  16. Avatar

    SI Guy,

    Like Investigator said, a large majority of us have a background, but many don’t. In alot of cases, I have found some with no background to be better at the job because they start with a “Blank Slate.” Alot of ex-LE types try to equate the job with criminal investigations, which will not work. I am assuming as a SI, you handle the Personnel Security side of the house. If so, you already know your way around the paperwork, which is a plus. If you want in, now is the time with a hiring push. Once the jobs are filled, getting in will be tough.

    What part of the country are you in?

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    SI guy,
    Like the beginning of this post indicates USIS is hiring. Other contract companies include Kroll and Caci. Omniplex is another contractor which does background investigations but I am pretty sure they no longer have the OPM contract. As I have said before on this blog each company has its pluses and minuses. The best thing to do is research each company and choose the best company for you.
    OPM does hire its own background investigators but it is easier to get on with a contractor.

  18. Avatar

    We have had many former LEO’s not make it in our area for the exact reason you indicated.

  19. Avatar

    Thank you BW and Investigator. I have started looking at a company or two that were listed in the earlier post. I have learned some good stuff from this blog. I work in Iowa, and yes I know the paper work.

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    SI Guy,

    Good place to apply–Iowa is always short folks and not just one company–hit them all. I know your area as I’m in the midwest as well.

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    I found myself successful because I shut-up and listened to the trainers and never equated the two. With you helping in training I’m sure you will hear alot of “When I was a Criminal Investigator, we didn’t do it that way.” You will tire of it quickly as I did when I went through training. I am the only known survivor from my class.

  22. Avatar

    I am not looking forward to that if there are any former LEOs in the classes I train. I start training my first class on Monday.

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    BW, Thank you. I have been looking, but haven’t seen anything for Iowa yet. I will not give up though.

    Investigator, Good luck with the Instructing.

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    SI guy,

    Just a tip–throw a resume at an opening somewhere in the midwest and at least get a call and tell them where you want to work and you will travel. Don’t pick one company, apply at all of them.

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    Good luck–Bone-up on your “What if questions/answers” 🙂

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    Oh, yes, the “what if” questions. Good luck Investigator. You’re going to need it! Doing this job for what seems like forever and I STILL come across new situations frequently.

  27. Avatar

    This question can really go to anyone:
    I have an interview coming up and I was wondering if anyone who has experience with USIS interviews might be able to tell me how to prepare. I’m really interested in the position (investigator) and want to make sure I do well. Should I expect the same type of questions that were discussed in the phone interview or will they be geared in a different direction?

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    BW again Thank you. I thought about it, but wasn’t sure until you said it. This is what I will do.

    What’s with an Intermittent Investigator? Is this a part time job, or only call you when we need you type thing? The write up sounds a lot like the Contract Investigator job.

  29. Avatar

    Wait I see USIS uses Intermittent Investigators about 10 hours a week. Would this be a good way to get in the door, and keep my full time job? I guess I’m wondering if the 10 hours will turn into 20, 30, or more.

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    The intermittent investigator position might be the best route to go if you are not sure you want to do this full time. The training will be the same as if you were going to become a full time investigator. Regarding the hours turning into 20 or 30, you will have to ask that question to them.

  31. Avatar

    are there any part time openings?

  32. Avatar

    I wish I could help. My interview was 7 years ago so I have no idea what they do now during an interview.

  33. Avatar

    That’s OK Investigator. Thank you for the response.

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    Investigator thank you.

  35. Avatar

    Hey guys I have an issue… I have a person that has listed References for residence that are all living in other countries. Is this a problem for you Investigators, and should I have this person give state side references? Just wondering.

  36. Avatar

    We try not to interview all of the listed ref as we don’t want the SJ to guide the investigation but there are times when there is no one else to interview. It would be much easier to have ref who are stateside. Let your SJ know having stateside ref would make their investigation go faster.

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    Investigator, Thank you I will do that.

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    SI Guy:
    Listing someone outside the US as a person who can verify a residence is not a problem if the Subject of the investigation is in the same country as the person listed (i.e. Subject and his references are all at the same US military base in say Germany). If Subject is in the US, anyone that he lists on the SF86 who is not in the US is useless for most investigations.

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    Mr. Henderson Thank you. I was thinking that it would do no good to have the person who lives in US to list persons living overseas now. After reading about Investigators having a time line I thought it wouldn’t help.

    Thank you guys for the help.

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    Hi Wannabe,

    I think that the USIS interview for intermittent investigator is to determine if you are well suited for the job and vice versa. One challenge they identified during mine is that sometimes it is time consuming trying to find military personnel who are deployed, at sea, etc. Also, they want to know you are timely in your work, get things done effectively, efficiently. They want fast turnover. Also,that you understand what you are getting into..a lot of interviewing and complex format report writing. They don’t want to waste time training folks only to find out they don’t like the job. So read this website cause these guys know what they are talking about.

  41. Avatar


    Thank you for taking the time to answer me. I actually already had the interview last week, but you are right on in your description of what they told me they were looking for.

  42. Avatar


    Being completely honest, if you are looking for something long term to build a career, think twice about this path. I am retired Military, so this is more short term for me. I can honestly say, I have a complete grasp on this job, but depending where you are working, making stats will be virtually impossible, even more so in a few months. Not trying to scare you–just giving you the hard truth. Part time is OK though.

  43. Avatar

    In the near future, I wish consideration for certification and the opportunity to venture into a different arena for an Intelligence Analyst, Background Investigator, Criminal Investigator, Law Enforcement Consultant.

    It’s this experience and knowledge I would bring as a field investigator / consultant / analyst. I would put into use the REID Technique of interviewing / interrogation which I was taught at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (F.L.E.T.C.) at Glynco, GA.
    I currently hold a TS/SCI clearance.

    Harry A. Hernandez
    Senior Intelligence Officer /
    Special Emphasis Program Manager
    DHS-ICE Tactical Intelligence Center
    “ J ” Road Bldg 2040
    Stennis Space Center, MS 39529
    228-688-1355 (office)
    [email protected]

  44. Avatar

    Altegrity Inc. is here.

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    In name only–or new owners?

    Guess you should know, Kroll gone Keypoint Govt Solutions in.

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    In name only. Altergrity Inc is the holding company for USIS and two other companies. We are still working for USIS but now we are USIS an Altegrity Inc Company.
    I read about Kroll going to Keypoint Govt Solutions a few months back. Was it said why?

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    Didn’t fit in the scheme of the parent–and of course CASH!!!

  48. Avatar

    Wannabe you are welcome. I have no idea of your age or former work background. You sound like you may be changing your career path? You may want to consider law enforcement…there are a ton of baby boomers retiring right now, including me. There are so many opportunities with federal, state, county and city agencies (even though there is still some financial instability at this time). Just in case doing contract work turns out to be too hectic, etc. I think BW might be right and I hope to find a part time 1099 position. I look forward to a new challenge as I’m sure you do. Be persistent and you will make it.

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    Actually, I am only 24 and just out of college. In college I was a very busy bee working for the student publications. I ended up as the editor in chief for our yearbook (250+ page publication)… although the journalism industry is in a complete hiring freeze. My minor was in psychology… and I am really trying to find something to use my writing, communication, psychology, and english skills. So I’m not exactly what you think as far as baby boomer.. but I need a job because I have so many student loans popping up.. and too be honest not many companies are willing to hire entry level.. no matter how hard working they are. It’s pretty tough out there… I’ve been looking for six months. But I’m happy enough to get the interviews because no matter what they are good practice. I thank you for the words of encouragement, and same goes to you.

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    Harry Hernandez,
    As a background investigator for OPM you might be able to use some of the knowledge you learned from the REID Technique of Interviewing but OPM has their own protocol on how background investigations are conducted. OPM itself, along with its contractors teach this protocol to the new investigators who are hired. We interview SUBJECT’s and sources but even when there are issues in a case or I have conducted a SPIN I have never interrogated anyone. At least I do not consider it an interrogation. The SUBJECT’s we are interviewing are not being accused of any crime they are applying for a position dealing with National Security or Public Trust. We are civil background investigators not criminal ones.

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    I’m the baby boomer hee hee. 24 is a great age. I was fortunate to enter law enforcement at 23, after trying to get in for about a year or so. But I made it all the way to retirement..well very soon. Now just like you I’m a wannabe all over again because I’m looking for a new job. I’ve been researching the fed. background field for about a year and a half. I agree that you don’t need a law enforcement background to be a great investigator. Some of the best investigators I ever trained were straight out of college and had worked as grocery checkers, etc. As a matter of fact after reading the posts here I’ve confirmed that I just need to keep quiet about all my past experience and learn some new tricks. I’m crossing my fingers for you and all those who need a job now!