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General FAQs on the Background Investigations Process

Frequently Asked Questions

  • The timeliness of a background investigation depends on the type of investigation conducted. Depending on the type of background investigation, the scope of the investigation may require coverage for specific items. The need for a security clearance may affect the time period in which an investigation is completed. Each background investigation requires that certain areas are covered before an investigation is completed.
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  • Adjudications officials at the agency requiring the investigation will evaluate your case and communicate their recommendation to the appropriate personnel or security office.
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  • We talk to as many knowledgeable people as possible to get a balanced, accurate, and comprehensive picture of the person being investigated. Later, you may have an opportunity to refute any misleading or false information that was reported about you.
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  • Not necessarily. Any negative information is evaluated regarding its recency, seriousness, relevance to the position and duties, and in light of, and in relationship to, all other information about you.
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  • Yes. Background Investigators are required to identify, locate, and interview a sufficient number of people who know you well. We want a balanced and unbiased investigation. It would be a questionable investigative practice to only interview persons whom the individual being investigated identified for us.
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  • Not necessarily. Any negative information is evaluated regarding its recency, seriousness, relevance to the position and duties, and in light of, and in relationship to, all other information about you.
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  • It is a requirement of a background investigation, and actual employment, that your current employer be contacted. We must verify your employment data and make other inquiries concerning your background. If you are a Federal employee or contractor, for example, it may be that your current employer needs you to have a security clearance for the work you do. In other instances, you are asked to complete the investigative form for an investigation and clearance only after a conditional offer of employment has been made for a position requiring a security clearance.
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  • Suitability determinations are made on a case by case basis in accordance with part 731 of title 5, Code of Federal Regulations, for covered positions that are subject to investigation.  Covered positions are those in the competitive Federal service, those in the excepted service that noncompetitively convert to the competitive service, or career appointments to positions in the Senior Executive Service.  This regulation does not apply to military personnel, positions in the excepted service other than those subject to suitability, or contractors.    A felony conviction does not automatically make one unsuitable for Federal employment.  When making a suitability determination, an agency will evaluate the individual’s character traits and decide whether their employment or continued employment would or would not protect the integrity or promote the efficiency of the service.  The factors that may form the basis for finding a person unsuitable can be found under 5 CFR 731.202(b) and include criminal or dishonest conduct.  To the extent deemed pertinent to an individual’s case, the agency making the determination must give consideration to the additional considerations found under 5 CFR 731.202(c) which include things like the nature of the position for which the person is applying, the circumstances surrounding the conduct, the recency of the conduct, and the absence or presence of rehabilitation. 
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  • For some types of investigations, the former spouse may be interviewed regarding the Subject of the investigation. The need to interview a former spouse is dependent on the type of investigation requested.
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  • The investigation is a job requirement. Providing the information is voluntary, but if you choose not to provide the required information, you will not meet the requirements of the job and will therefore not be considered further. If you are already employed by the Federal government, your appointment will be terminated. The courts have upheld this principle.
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Total Count: 49, Number of Pages: 5, Page: 1