Hiring Timelines

I know this may sound like a broad question, but after interviewing with an agency (and still being considered in the process), what is the typical length of time you would expect to hear back by?

There are no timelines. It could be several weeks to several months. It could be a year or more.


I know a guy who was contacted after nine months and asked if he was still interested… he was, and ended up getting the job. Up until then he had heard nothing, I don’t think the status on USAJobs ever changed either,

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Depends on the job. USAJOBS can take forever. Contractors can be 1-2 days.

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Some years back I was “between jobs.” I had applied to a couple federal jobs, did not hear anything for a long time. LIned up an interview for a contractor job, when I left the hiring manager said, “let me think about it,” and I got a phone call with an offer the next day.

About a week later the federal job finally called to set up an interview… since it was for a GS-5 job about half the pay of the contractor job, I declined.


It’s just mind-boggling to me that it can considered normal to not hear a word for months on end but still be in the process.

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Normal? Hardly. But hardly unusual.

It is normal for those in the security process to be vague or unresponsive; that’s how information is kept secure.

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here it is for your collection of never-ending-wait-to-hear-back


What is the big secret though? To tell a person where in the hiring process he currently is? Is that a state secret? I don’t understand what’s so hard to let people know once every few months where they stand.

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I applied to a 3 letter agency back in 2018. Interviewed in person around May of 2019. I was then invited to go do the evals/testing on March 2020. Then COVID happened. I was told then that I’m still in the process and that I should hear back from them around Sep 20. Still haven’t heard anything from them. Whenever I called they said you’re still in process. At least I don’t have to reapply.

To be fair the ‘hiring process’ is vastly different than the ‘clearance process’. Going through your BI & Adjudication is truly a black hole vs. hiring where your Hiring Manager should be responsive to questions or inquiries.

Does having a fully adjudicated clearance from the same agency (as a contractor) helps speeding up the clearance process after you receive the CJO?

I understand they are different, but your FSO should be able to update you on where you are in the process - they have the info. I mean, we are not talking about a month of full hiring process like in the corp environment, this takes two years or more - getting to people 4-5 times a year just to tell them they are not being forgotten is not asking too much, is it?

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For a smaller company, maybe not. For a large one with many applicants, it could be a full time job.

Larger company would have more applicants and consequently, more FSOs. So the number of applicants each FSO is handling would be the same, whether it’s a large or a small company. I’ve never worked as an FSO, but I would assume that to be true.
You also don’t need to be a techno wizard to set up a reminder for each applicant for every 2-3 months with a canned message saying: your current status is bla bla bla.
You are working with people, this should be a part of your job.

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That’s up to HR, not security personnel.

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You make many assumptions there. They could have 1 FSO for a 1000 employees and 200 applicants. Or it could be 20. Who knows. It’s not the FSOs job to tell an applicant anything. That would be the hiring manager or recruiter jobs.

I would’ve thought these larger agencies would have automated processes in place to notify applicants of their current status every 1-3 months. Even if it is simply a message stating you’re still in the process, it’s better than radio silence.

To my knowledge, only DOE has a site where you can check your general investigation progress.

People often post their delays but not the investigation service provider (ISP). DCSA does 95% of the investigations and is required to publish their timelines. The other ISPs do not publish any details.

Who is the ISP for your agency? Is the case in adjudication ? Adjudication is normally the Agency responsibility.