Sunday, January 31, 2010

Security clearances and federal jobs, and contractor jobs


Derrick Dortch, of the Diversa Group (link) sets the record straight on how security clearances affect federal jobs in a column on p H1 of the “Jobs” section of the Washington Post today, Sunday, Jan. 31, 2010.

His column today is “You don’t need a security clearance to get a federal job,” link here

When a federal agency wants to hire you and you don’t yet have the necessary clearance, it will make a conditional offer and then submit the required background investigation. You can’t start work until the clearance is granted. In a few cases, as with the CIA, this could take a year or more (and that’s something that the administration should fix, because intelligence services need more brain power right now to connect the dots – badly). Military departments may take longer (but civilian employees are not held to the “don’t ask don’t tell” policy, even if they go overseas or live temporarily in military quarters or on ships).

However the “Beltway bandits” – the contractors – often require that candidates already have necessary clearances, and even hold special job fairs for them (Dice often sends me advice on these fairs by email – and Dice is a good source on these jobs). I’ve always wondered why polygraphs are OK for government clearances but not in court or for ordinary job investigations. (I wonder if future clearances will involve MRI scans for “thought reading”, like “No Lie MRI” ).

By the way, Dice and other similar databases can be fairly pricey for very small headhunting agencies. Economy of scale is definitely advantageous for placement companies using these databases.

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