You have a lot riding on your security clearance interview. A new job or a promotion often hinges on securing and maintaining a security interview and the clearance necessary to access a high level of data and client access. Filling out the SF-86 was just the beginning of the security journey, now you’ve been asked to meet with a stranger—a government stranger—to review the document. If you’ve never been through this process before, this article will help you learn what to expect.
What Is the Security Clearance Interview Like?
The first thing to realize is that, if you’ve made it this far, the security clearance interview is the icing on the cake. Filling out the SF-86 is often a laborious process for most technology professionals, because, frankly, who keeps records on all the stuff they ask about: Your foreign relatives, that decade of travel in Europe, and even the jobs and job duties you’ve held can be tough to document if you haven’t kept meticulous details.
The security clearance interviewer will ask you about all of these things. The interview could span several appointments depending on the length of your job history. So, how can you prepare for this?
First, be honest and transparent. The SF-86, at the end of the more than 100 pages, requires a signature that you’ve been truthful to the best of your ability. The security interview is designed to correct any human errors as much as it is to spot untruths. Just like any interview, talk candidly with the security clearance representative.
Make sure you have the following documents with you during the interview process:
- A copy of your SF-86.
- A government–issued photo ID.
- A personal address book or a list of your contacts.
- Any relevant documents that may resolve any pending security issues. This could include your passports, financial documents, court records, and birth certificate—or anything else relevant to your case.
If you have some sort of security concern that the interviewer brings up in the first meeting, and you can’t verify or adequately answer or document details to resolve it, what do you do? One suggestion is to contact an attorney for legal advice. You can bring the lawyer with you to the interview, but that’s an expense you may not need to take on.
The interviewer is trying to determine a few things to resolve any security issues. This includes the nature of your conduct to any issues that come up. What were the circumstances and how often did it happen? How old were you when the incident occurred? What has happened since to ensure that kind of incident won’t happen again?
The security clearance interview is intrusive by nature, but you cannot gain clearance without it. It’s a serious matter that requires your full attention—but it is also a kind of necessary evil to help your career path move forward.
Blackstone Technology Group often has government-related jobs that require security clearance. Talk to our team today about your options. We can help.