Government Job Background Check
Governments across the world have the responsibility of making sure that their state's residents are safe and secure. One of the ways to do so is to hire reliable and loyal staff members for government jobs.
A face to face interview is not enough to determine if potential government employees are safe to hire, which is why government background checks are performed in the U.S. With a government background check, employers in government and federal offices can determine which people to hire and which ones to disqualify.
What is Government Background Check?
A government background check, also known as a federal employment background check, is a check performed by government offices to make sure every person hired for a government position is "reliable, trustworthy, of good conduct and character, and loyal to the United States.” When a government job background check is performed, the office searching for employees will focus on credit checks and criminal record checks to make sure candidates are suitable for a position.
To perform the government job background check for a federal position, job candidates must submit a release form allowing federal employers to perform the check on them. Then, the government background check is performed based on the nature of the job and the necessary security clearance.
Government Background Check Security Clearance
One of the most important things that a government job background check provides is information about applicants' past. To make sure that a potential employee will not disclose confidential and potentially harmful information, he/she will go through several interviews. During the questioning, applicants will have to answer questions about their past, like where they lived, went to school, worked, military history, police records, and more.
If applicants have never worked in a federal job, they will also need to submit their fingerprints for inspection. If the position requires access to confidential and sensitive data, applicants will also need to pass a government security clearance. Security clearance required additional checks that go deeper into applicants' lives; the process involves speaking to the candidates' spouses, neighbors, roommates, friends, colleagues, and any other person they have contact with daily.
The thoroughness of the security clearance depends on the type of job and its sensitivity; to determine what candidates will be checked for, the government has set several security clearance levels; Confidential, Secret, and Top Secret.
A "Tier 3" government background check is the default check for Confidential and Secret security clearances. These types of checks are performed by a National Agency Check (NAC); the NAC looks at previous government checks and also at FBI databases with fingerprint checks.
Position Sensitivity and Risk
To determine which government job background check should be held, most federal jobs are assigned sensitivity and risk levels; these levels are based on what type of responsibilities government jobs bring with them. The sensitivity level is determined by the potential impact on national security a position has:
- Noncritical sensitive position - the potential to cause significant or serious damage to national security.
- Critical sensitive position - the potential to cause exceptionally grave damage to national security.
- Special sensitive position security - the potential to cause inestimable damage to national security.
The risk level of apposition is determined by how likely it is to cause harm or noticeable damage to the public’s trust:
- Moderate risk position - a position that is likely to produce a fair amount of harm or serious damage to the public’s trust.
- High-risk position – a position that is likely to produce a substantial or even inestimable amount of harm or serious damage to the public’s trust.
The Process of a Government Background Check
Once applicants submit a consent form allowing federal agencies to perform a background check on them, they will be checked in the following manner:
The human resources department will submit the security package to the State Department’s Office of Personnel Security and Suitability
The security package will be reviewed to check if it is complete. Then, the package will be entered into a case management system
A fingerprint check and records check is performed
The applicant and his/her contacts will be investigated by a special case manager who is assigned to perform the check
The applicant will be contacted by an investigator to perform an in-person interview. The interview usually takes place several weeks after the package is submitted
The investigator assigned to an applicant will verify if the information in the government background check package is accurate. During this stage, the investigator will perform interviews with the applicants' contacts. Also, the assigned investigator will speak to the law enforcement agencies in the places where the applicants attended school, lived, and worked in.
The investigator completes the report. At this stage, the security clearance adjudicators weigh the investigator's results against adjudicative guidelines to assign the necessary security clearances
At the final step of the government background check, the applicant is notified if he/she has passed the check. If so, a security clearance at the proper level will be granted to the applicant.
How to Pass a Federal Background Check
Well, the only way to pass a government job background check is to be a law-abiding citizen with a clean past. Criminal records won’t necessarily lead to rejection, but they have a big weight when it comes to federal jobs. Unfortunately, in certain cases, errors in records lead to applicants for federal jobs to get rejected.
For instance, your background check might turn up with a criminal conviction, even if you don’t have one. To make sure there are no errors in your reports, perform a background check on yourself before on a website that specializes in these types of checks. If you notice errors in your records, you will be able to contact the authority that registered the information incorrectly and ask it to repair the errors.