Even though there are several different government agencies that conduct security clearance checks on employees, every agency and all of the departments within these agencies adhere to the exact same standards when investigating and granted clearance levels to employees. Top-secret clearance jobs are the hardest agency jobs to obtain because the individuals in these positions have access to data that affects national security, counterterrorism, or highly sensitive data. Once you obtain a top-secret clearance job, the process of granting you top-secret clearance begins. Learn more about the process and requirements needed for top-secret clearance before you accept a position where clearance is needed.
Why Do You Need to Accept the Job Before Applying for Top-Secret Clearance?
It might seem odd to accept a position without holding the proper clearance, especially because security clearances can take months to obtain. However, people cannot apply for security clearances on their own. In order to apply for a security clearance you need to have a agency or government contractor sponsor you. Typically, once you accept the position, you will work on tasks that don't require you to hold a specific security clearance -- under the supervision of someone who has the security clearance needed -- until your clearance is granted.
How Do You Apply For Top-Secret Clearance?
Applying for top-secret clearance requires you to fill out a security questionnaire. The questionnaire, along with other forms necessary to process your security clearance application, are then submitted by your employer.
What Do Top-Secret Clearance Investigations Entail?
When you apply for top-secret clearance a single-scope background investigation is completed. During the investigation, standard elements of a background check, including past employment, affiliations, and residencies, are reviewed; details, such as birth, citizenship, and places where you've traveled are investigated; and interviews of people who are close to you are conducted. You should expect investigators to comb through every detail of your life, so it's important that you are completely honest when filling out your security clearance questionnaire and during your face-to-face interview. Also, it is common for applicants to undergo a polygraph test as part of the investigative process.
Why Are Clearances Denied?
Depending on the level of clearance you're applying for, any number of things can result in an application being denied. If you're applying for secret or top-secret clearance, you can be denied clearance for things that you might consider small infractions, such as unpaid bills and poor financial history. Having a criminal record and participating in foreign activities are also common disqualifiers.
It's understandable why top-secret clearance is difficult to obtain and why investigator comb through so much personal information before accepting applications for top-secret clearance. However, you shouldn't let the process overwhelm you. Fill out the proper forms and provide the investigators with all of the information that they need, and as long as you aren't hiding anything that could jeopardize your character, there's no reason for your application to be denied for a top secret clearance job.