If a job interview next week goes well, I may need to get a security clearance with the necessary background check. Government background checks in general make my skin crawl, and if the job market didn’t suck so hard I’d probably just skip it entirely. But it does, and so I’m not planning to. I do, however, have a specific concern with regards to the whole thing.
Do they cover your ISP records? Not that I’ve done anything illegal. Well, okay a bit of P2P back in school. But nothing they actually arrest people for. But if I am going to get dragged over the coals for a few mp3’s, to heck with it. I could deal with the “Dear god man, how much porn do you need?” questions, but being the neurotically paranoid type I am that bit’s been bothering me.
They will ask you for virtually every place you’ve ever lived. They will ask you to account for every time you have broken the law, including speeding tickets. They will ask you for friends, family members, acquaintances, and total strangers you’ve met exactly once in passing. They will ask you about your drug history (and I highly recommend telling the truth on that one, they will find out). They will ask you some financial responsibility questions.
As of two years ago, they will not ask you for your ISP. Truth is, everybody I know in uniform uses Kazaa. So don’t sweat that.
Above all, tell the truth. A lie is a very serious offense, and you’ll wish you never applied for the job if they catch you in one.
I just had my 10 year review and they went back 7 years. You can see the form they use here. Whoever is doing your clearance will type it up using a program called EPSQ Make sure that you get all you dates to match up, if you have a gap of only one day the computer will kick it back.
I wouldn’t worry about them tracking down where you’ve surfed. If your references, past roommates, employers, landlords, etc do not say something about debilitating additictions to porn or rampant theft of mp3s, I’d say you’re on fairly safe ground. There are something like two and a half million Americans with security clearances, you can bet there’s more than a few who like naked chicks and free music
As has been suggested, relax, and be up-front and honest about answering the investigator’s questions.
That’s assuming my references can stop downloading porn long enough to do the interview!
Heh, thanks for all the answers folks. Of course, it turns out the (mumbled string of obscenities) person I talked to didn’t know the difference between a mechanical engineer and an electrical, so my secrets are safe for now.