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Legal Insider: How to Prepare for the Investigative Interview

This is a sponsored column by attorneys John Berry and Kimberly Berry of Berry & Berry, PLLC, a local employment and labor law firm that specializes in federal employee, security clearance, retirement and private sector employee matters.

By John V. Berry, Esq.,

In our last post we discussed the security clearance application process. This week we’ll focus on how to prepare for the security clearance investigative interview.

If an individual believes that there is a good chance that problem areas exist in a security clearance application, he or she should expect to be asked about these areas by the assigned investigator. The investigative interview can vary in duration from an hour to several hours depending on whether significant security concerns exist.

Early preparation for the security clearance interview can help the individual’s confidence when meeting with the investigator and minimize any problem areas. Unfortunately, many individuals go into the interviews without thinking about or preparing for the issues that could arise and often provide incomplete information.

Don‘t react defensively to security clearance questions

It is important to be calm and positive about the issues when speaking to an investigator. In addition, arguing with an investigator will never benefit an individual since the investigator can have significant influence over the application process in the initial stages.

Be courteous and professional with the investigator

It is important for all applicants to treat the investigator with professionalism. If an investigator attempts to contact you, be timely and courteous in your response. Even if it is inconvenient to meet or return calls, not doing so could be detrimental. Promptly responding to the investigator can give the investigator a positive impression, especially if the investigator will be providing a recommendation regarding your ability to obtain or retain a clearance.

Be patient during the security clearance process

It is important to understand that the security clearance process can often take a few months to complete depending upon a number of other factors, including:

  • Whether the individual is a federal employee or government contractor
  • The number or significance of the security concerns
  • Delays in obtaining responses from federal agencies in seeking an investigative file
  • The general investigative backlog
  • The specific employer involved

There are a multitude of other considerations that can also delay adjudication so it is important to remain patient during the investigation.

If you need assistance with a security clearance issue, please contact our office at (703)668-0070 or at www.berrylegal.com to schedule a consultation. Please also like and visit us on Facebook.

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