Guide For Applicants: Government Background Check

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A lot of law school graduates apply for permanent, summer, or volunteer legal jobs with different agencies in the U.S. government ever year. Students often choose to work for the Department of Defense, Justice, State, Energy, Treasury, and the Central Intelligence Agency. Once you decide you want to apply for legal positions, you should be ready to undergo a suitability review, submit a questionnaire and, for certain jobs, a security clearance. We believe many recent grads won’t have any serious problems following these requirements, and for those who want to be fully armed here are top tips for advance preparation.

The Process of Suitability Review

No matter what job you are going to apply for, your federal resume should start with resume writing service reviews if you want to increase your career chances and win the desired position. After your application documents are professionally written and fine-tuned, it’s time to think about suitability review every applicant needs to undergo. This process is different from assessing whether a candidate is certified and well-qualified for the legal job in terms of education, experience, skills, and knowledge.

So, what is a suitability review? It is an evaluation of a candidate’s traits of character and decision if this candidate will be able to work efficiently and effectively at their position. For instance, a person who used drugs and violated the law by this act won’t be considered as a suitable candidate for an agency that enforces the law. There are three types of positions determined during this review. The job may be designated as Low, Moderate, or High Risk. Depending on the type of the position, the kind of investigation varies and requires different checks.

Security Clearance

Many people suggest that security clearance and suitability review are the same things, but in reality, they differ. A security clearance is meant to define eligibility for access to the information about national security and is designed to tell if a candidate is a security threat. In other words, the suitability review is more general and concentrates mainly on the candidate himself, but the security clearance is much more extensive and checks the family and associates of the candidate too. The security clearance process is more complicated and comprises an FBI reference check of coworkers, former recruiters, friends, landlords and even neighbors as well as a review of tax, credit, and police records.

According to the sensitivity of the information, a candidate will have access we can distinguish three levels of security clearance. They are Confidential (information that can hurt to national security); Secret (information that can hurt seriously to national security); and Top Secret (information that can cause the most serious damage to national security).

Investigating Agencies

The vast majority of background checks are performed by the Office of Personnel Management. More than that, this agency oversees almost all of the federal government’s investigations. The FBI agency conducts high-level Presidential appointments and BI investigations. Also, additional investigations that need other record checks and subject interviews are usually delivered to field investigators, either contract investigators or federal agents.

Standard Forms

If your application was successful you will be mailed with the questionnaire that starts a background check. However, some applicants want to look through the questionnaire in advance in order to make sure they feel confident with the inquiry and to think of any questions they might have in a timely manner. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management can provide General Services Administration, Standard Optional Forms to review the questionnaire forms and prepare for application.

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