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Security Clearance

  1. Jan 9, 2008 #1
    I have accepted a job offer at a company that is contingent upon a security clearance. The start date for the job is in mid June (I graduate in May), however the clearance process has just started.

    I keep getting a lot of offers for interviews with other companies (that do not require clearances). Should I interview with these companies to secure a backup incase I fail the clearance?

    I really doubt that I will fail the clearance; I don't think I have ever done anything that would cause this. I am just worrying that come June, for some crazy reason I lose the clearance, and then I am out of a job! To me it is just weird that I have gone through all the interviews for the job, but I still technically do not have it yet.

    I am looking for advice on how to handle this situation. Should I just calm myself, and not worry about the clearance? Should I interview with the companies and tell them, that I would only work for them if for some reason I fail a security clearance (I can't imagine anyone hiring me if this is the case)?

    I really really want to work for the company that requires the clearance. It is basically my dream job ;-)

  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 10, 2008 #2
    If I were you I would go to all the interviews you get just to test the waters.

    However, I don't think you'll fail the security clearance. I have a lot of friends that work in the defense industry and not a single one of them has failed the security clearance.
  4. Jan 10, 2008 #3

    Don't sweat the clearance, if you can't think of anything to worry about, you'll be fine. Do know, however, that it can take awhile, depending on the level you need. Just the normal background check badging usually doesn't take too long, but someone I know is still waiting for his secret clearance to go through, 6 months later. Just takes time sometimes.

    You can keep in touch with HR to find the status. I wouldn't sweat it. I also don't know anyone personally who has failed a clearance check. By all means go on interviews for the experience... I wouldn't tell them they're backup just in case you fail your clearance, just be honest with them-- you're considering another position but you wanted to talk to them about their company, etc etc. But I'm sure you'll go through fine. Good luck with your dream job!
  5. Jan 10, 2008 #4
    Thanks guys.

    My friends and family all say the same thing, "don't worry about it, everything will be fine". However, doesn't family always say this ? :)

    It was nice to hear the same from others who don't know me.

    I like both of your suggestions about gaining the experience from going to the interviews. dotman thank you for the advice on how to be upfront with the other companies. I knew it would be good to go to these interviews, I just didn't want to do it in an underhanded way. My intentions are to work for the company that requires the clearance, I have committed to them, and I do not want to change it. But as I said, when graduation rolls around, I do not want to be jobless :)

    I will follow the advice. Thanks again!
  6. Jan 11, 2008 #5
    Obtaining your clearance will open up other doors of opportunity. Some people take jobs that require a clearance just for the sake of getting one.

    Just another thing to remember.
  7. Jan 11, 2008 #6

    Dr Transport

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    Interim clearances take between 3-6 months, finals usually in 12-18 months. Other clearances take longer, much longer and are much more involved. As long as you have no convictions for felonies and no serious misdomeaners you should be OK. Traffic tickets as long as they do not involve DUI shouldn't prevent you from getting cleared.

    Depending on the backlog the times I mentioned above could be longer or shorter, a friend of mine took 3 years to get his, but the terrorist incidents in 2001 were the factor, not his background.
  8. Jan 12, 2008 #7
    None of those...
    Hopefully mine should be quick and painless :)
  9. Jan 12, 2008 #8

    Dr Transport

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    Another point, after you get a clearance, if you are unhappy with your position there are job fairs where you need a clearance to get in the door because companies are looking for them. I have seen where entire businesses were bought out by larger entities for their security clearances alone.
  10. Jan 14, 2008 #9
    Interesting thread, I'm in a similar position (for internships, not a full-time job), FrogPad. Actually, in the SAME position as you :)

    Is it bad if I decide not to pursue a job offer from the defense contractor after I accepted it, should I get an offer from some other company?
  11. Jan 14, 2008 #10

    Dr Transport

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    That is up to you, but remember that if you accept a position with a defense contractor and they start clearance paperwork on you and you turn them down, they may be able to come after your new employer for the $$ they have invested in your clearance......
  12. Jan 14, 2008 #11
    Whoa... really? How much does it cost for a clearance? I had no idea.

    What if I don't necessarily tell them I'm going to work for another company? I know that this isn't honest, but let's assume this is the scenario.
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2008
  13. Jan 15, 2008 #12
    I have an idea: How about you just don't do underhanded things to people who are trying to employ you? Especially not underhanded things that cost them money and leave them wishing they had never so much as interviewed you.
  14. Jan 15, 2008 #13
    You're telling me that if another defense contractor pays you as much as $10/hr more for another position with better benefits, you're not going to go?

    Get real. You're only thinking that way because you're not in this position. Additionally, I'm doing this for an internship - not a fulltime job offer. I actually just read an article where a company can spend thousands of dollars (anywhere from $4k - $8k) on a full-time graduate as far as time/people/interviewing/training/money is concerned, whereas for an internship it is next to none.

    I'm not going to sell myself short, especially knowing that I'm capable of doing better. On the other hand, I know what I'm doing is the best of practices, but I'll get over it. They have TONS of interns applying, finding another one wouldn't be a problem.
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2008
  15. Jan 15, 2008 #14

    Dr Transport

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    Security clearances can cost upwards of $50K, higher level clearances two to three times that. If you accept a position and start your clearance and leave before coming to work or within usually the first year, your future company may have to reimburse your first employer. It is standard practice, when you go to work for a new company, they usually ask you if you have started clearance paperwork and if you have been with the other company long enough so that they are not on the hook for such expenses (relocation etc.....).

    Sorry, that's the way business is, you can leave and take the better money, but you can be held financially responsible for expenses you have incurred.
  16. Jan 15, 2008 #15
    A security clearance for an intern for the summer can cost 50K? I find that really hard to believe... no way in hell defense contractors are going to pay that kind of money for someone working 3 months.
  17. Jan 15, 2008 #16
    Maybe they hire most of their interns? This sounds like a serious enough thing that you may want to look into it before jumping ship early.
  18. Jan 16, 2008 #17
    I don't get your question... hm. The defense contractor has hired me directly as an intern. I have accepted the offer and now I'm in the process of filling out the application.
  19. Jan 16, 2008 #18
    he means hiring you as a full time employee
  20. Jan 16, 2008 #19
    Oh - ok makes sense.
  21. Jan 16, 2008 #20

    Dr Transport

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    Internships are a long term proposition, they come back year after year unlike co-ops and yes, many get hired full-time when avaialble.

    We routinely work the security issues with our interns.
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