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Old 03-05-2012, 04:09 PM
 
1,250 posts, read 4,217,466 times
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So I'm applying for a job with the federal government. It's a fairly low-/entry-level position (even described as a developmental/training position in it's listing) but it's within the career track that I'd like to pursue so I'm willing to start at the very bottom and work my way up to a better position.

One of the requirements for the job is that the applicant "[m]ust be able to obtain and maintain a Top Secret security clearance."

Obviously, this would be my first federal gov't position so I don't have any sort of security clearance. However, reading the guidelines I'm fairly certain I could pass the TS clearance: No criminal history at all (not even a traffic ticket), no drug use (never even smoked a cig..I'm a bore, I know), never lived in another country, no overseas family, good credit, no concerning sexual activity, nothing that would bring to question my allegiance to the USofA.

However, as I understand obtaining TS clearance is a minimum 6 month endeavor but more likely to take 1 year or even longer.

Would they hire me and then sponsor my security clearance? It says "must be able to obtain" not "must already have".

Would I be given a certain time frame by which I will have to have obtained my clearance and if not I would be fired?

Assuming they did offer a position, what would I do between the time I got hired and the time I was able to get a TS clearance? Would I just not be exposed to the classified material/projects?

Thanks in advance for any help!
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Old 03-05-2012, 04:18 PM
 
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Normally, they would have to do the background investigation on you, you yourself cannot do it - you don't have access to FBI databases on yourself and so on. That means, 6 months to 1 year you would have to sit and wait for their word, and they will tell you to not start selling your house/look for an apartment until you definitely hear from them with an offer.

When TS clearance is a requirement for the position, you will NOT be hired before you are cleared.
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Old 03-05-2012, 04:46 PM
 
4,919 posts, read 19,850,813 times
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This is a tough one but from my understanding, some positions that require "getting" the proper clearence, can start you in non classified area until you are vetted and clearance granted. But only the agency hiring you knows what they will do and they ususally don;t tell you in a job announcement. SO, why not try for it since they said must be able to obtain not that you must have at hiring, and you may have the ability to be hired while the process is on going.
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Old 03-05-2012, 05:17 PM
 
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Thanks for the info from both nuala and PacificFlights.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nuala View Post
Normally, they would have to do the background investigation on you, you yourself cannot do it - you don't have access to FBI databases on yourself and so on. That means, 6 months to 1 year you would have to sit and wait for their word, and they will tell you to not start selling your house/look for an apartment until you definitely hear from them with an offer.

When TS clearance is a requirement for the position, you will NOT be hired before you are cleared.
The 6mo to a year (or longer) of having a job 'in the air' and not confirmed would be torture! The reason I thought I may have a chance is because a lot of the other jobs say something along the lines of "must have active security clearance" or something like that, while this particular job just says I must be able to obtain one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PacificFlights View Post
This is a tough one but from my understanding, some positions that require "getting" the proper clearence, can start you in non classified area until you are vetted and clearance granted. But only the agency hiring you knows what they will do and they ususally don;t tell you in a job announcement. SO, why not try for it since they said must be able to obtain not that you must have at hiring, and you may have the ability to be hired while the process is on going.
I actually just submitted my application package about 1 minute ago. I figure the worst thing that could happen is I don't get the job. Worth a shot.
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Old 03-05-2012, 06:22 PM
 
740 posts, read 1,879,033 times
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From what it looks like you will probably get in all right however people have been denied for reasons other than the ones you have listed (although you appear to be a "clean" individual).

There is a site that shows details of most (if not all) cases where an applicant is denied or granted security clearance. I'll keep my eye out for it and pass it along. In a lot of the cases the applicants have to make an effort to address the concerns of the judge and they are ultimately granted clearance so I think you'll be all right.
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Old 03-05-2012, 07:12 PM
 
9,520 posts, read 14,819,994 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nuala View Post
When TS clearance is a requirement for the position, you will NOT be hired before you are cleared.
This is certainly not true. You can't be cleared until you are hired; the government won't even start the process. Some companies will only hire people with current background investigations (because it's expensive and risky to get a new person cleared), but the wording "[m]ust be able to obtain and maintain a Top Secret security clearance" indicates that's not the case.
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Old 03-05-2012, 07:20 PM
 
819 posts, read 1,363,096 times
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My only advice, as a retired Federal employee, is to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. If you have had any problems in the past, reveal it (them) and you will be on record as having told the truth.
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Old 03-06-2012, 04:53 AM
 
4,249 posts, read 8,137,817 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 540_804 View Post
a lot of the other jobs say something along the lines of "must have active security clearance" or something like that, while this particular job just says I must be able to obtain one.
Because "the other jobs" use the lower level of security clearance, as in - criminal record, credit report, just the usual stuff that even your landlord wants to check.

Top Clearance means you will get your hands on the top level classified documents that may harm your country security, if in wrong hands. They need to make sure that you can be trusted, so this IS going to be a long process, verifying all your life in the previous 10 years or longer, your finances (not just the credit), your psychological stability, your relationships and so on. You will be looked at by a team of professionals, one at a time, while FBI/CIA digs any dirt on you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 540_804 View Post
The 6mo to a year (or longer) of having a job 'in the air' and not confirmed would be torture!
This is why they STRESS: DO NOT hang any expectations on this. They will repeat to you again and again to conduct your own life as if you never applied, and keep it quiet that you did apply. In fact, they will PREFER if you were already satisfied with your place in life, - because you will then make a less anxious employee. Anxious employees are threat to gov't security.

This is a tough, tough world you want to enter. They take it with grave seriousness. It is not going to be the usual application process. You even may grow so weary in the middle, you may re-evaluate if you are even cut out for this. This is one of the goals of the process, too - to weed out the weaker ones.

Last edited by nuala; 03-06-2012 at 05:35 AM..
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Old 03-06-2012, 05:00 PM
 
Location: St Pete
480 posts, read 806,174 times
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As others mentioned, it can take 6 months to a year for a TS. Depending on the position, they may or may not let you start early with what is known as an interem clearance. ( a quick background / credit check). Also, do not hold back info when you fill out your Equip. Even if you smoked dope in school or got a few minor issues, do not try to hide them. The adjudicators know that no one is squeakly clean and generally won't have much issue with minor scrapes, however if you do not disclose something and they find out, then you are finished. I have been through the process 3 times and even with my slightly checkered past, I had no problem getting a secret (which is a bit lower then TS).
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Old 03-06-2012, 06:43 PM
 
Location: Talmadge, San Diego, CA
13,324 posts, read 25,283,552 times
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Also, don't count on anything until the clearance is finished. Investigators will talk to people that you don't have listed as references to see if they can find out anything that you didn't disclose to them. They'll talk to one reference, and ask for names of other people that you associate with, including neighbors. Just be prepared.
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