Obtaining a security clearance will be a new experience for most job applicants and this section is designed to provide an overview of what you can expect during the process, how long it will take, what information you will be asked and other key points to consider. This will allow the applicant to be a pro-active participant in the security clearance process and the sponsor to feel they made the right hiring decision as their new employee demonstrates a skill most new hires do not possess. By understanding the process before it actually begins, the applicant can create a solid partnership with the sponsoring company, which can then expect the applicant to begin work more quickly.
The process to obtain a security clearance might seem confusing and, at times, overwhelming but it doesn’t have to be difficult. Understanding how the process works, the expectations of the person applying for the clearance, the responsibilities of the sponsoring company or organization and the timeframes during which each step will likely be completed helps to make the process less stressful. According to William H. Henderson’s Security Clearance Manual (June 2007), “if applicants for security clearances spent as much time learning about the process as the average consumer spends gathering information prior to buying a car or major appliance, the turnaround time for security clearances could decrease by as much as 20 percent… Any significant improvement in the way forms are completed would dramatically affect the turnaround time of field investigation by spending less time on each case.”