How long employer willing to wait for clearance before rescind offer?

First time posting here, and I thank everyone sharing similar experience.

On 6/14 I was contacted by HR from one of the largest government contractor (GD, Lockheed, NGC, Boeing, etc.) to join their engineering team. On 7/24 I finally had a phone interview with HR and the following week a phone interview with the hiring manager. On 8/3 I was flown to their site for an on-site interview and they made me an offer the same day. On 8/28 I have submitted my e-QIP for security clearance and was denied the interim clearance on 9/20. As now I go back review the offer letter which states that "employment is contingent upon the ability to get a full clearance in a reasonable amount of time, as determined by the company."

Has anyone got their offer rescinded because of the interim clearance denial? And how long did your employer wait for your final clearance before they rescinded your offer?

p.s I have tried to reach out to HR, on-boarding representative, security, they all don’t have that “reasonable amount of time” information. There was also no unclassified project for me to work on at the moment. I also feel the HR lady’s email response is a lot more professional than before my interim clearance is denied (no more smiley faces, casual chatting, etc.), which really puts me on edge.

1 Like

In most cases, Interim clearances are not being doled out. It’s just the way things are going these days. Depending on what was in your file, the process to final adjudication may take months to sometimes over a year or more.

Yes many times jobs are rescinded because of the backlog of clearance processing. Take a look at your personal situation and unless your squeaky clean, keep applying to jobs.


There’s really no exact guidance we can give you. Every company will have a different tolerance to how long they will wait. I suggest continuing with your job search and not banking on this job. I was in the process for a DOD contract, it took me two years to get my clearance. Once I was notified I received my clearance, the company informed me the contract was no longer available. I applied for many other positions for that company and never got hired. You have the option of applying to a different company at that point, and they can pick up your clearance.


While there is no clear guidance that can be given, I can tell you that the large firms that you are referring to ALWAYS have openings. If someone else fills the role that you were offered, there will be something else for you when you clear. They need people, they are not likely to rescind your offer.

Now . . . Let’s recognize that you could have a long wait, depending on what is on your SF86 and what turns up in your investigation. Minimum? A few months. Maximum? A year? Two?

You need to continue your job search in the civilian sector if you need to work.


thank you for the advice and comment. yes, my HR actually told me interim clearance is about 50/50 and final clearance is about 70/30 (clear/deny), not sure if she is saying the whole company or just within my group.

got it thank you! I am sorry about your long waiting experience for clearance and offer recsinded, must have been a frustrating situation

Ed, great advice, thank you! it is my very first time getting a clearance so i always appreciate all the professional advice i can get. i know that a lot of people may experience frustration, anger, anxiety, etc, during the clearance process, and that is me included as well. The first day i learned that my interim clearance got denied, i only slept 3 to 4 hours the following night troubled by clearance.

Yes, still don’t have a job in the cleared world. I got an offer from DOS, still waiting on that clearance, coming up on a year on that one. It’s a lot of fun.

I’m in a very similar situation as you. I got a job offer on 11/16 from one of the contractors that you mentioned. eQip submitted on 1/17. Investigation opened on 4/17 and closed on 1/18. Now I’m sitting in adjudication for last 9 months.

Initially they told me that I can start without a clearance but then they made a requirement that all individuals have to be fully cleared. My last contact with HR was more than a year ago. They couldn’t tell me how long this process will take. My initial enthusiasm has waned.

Now I’m afraid to ask how long are they willing to wait. I have been calling security office every 30 days for status update. Its always the same response, pending adjudication from DoDCAF. I have reached out to my senator. Although they helped speed up investigation, they can’t influence DoD and I have to wait. Security office told me that they have seen cases in adjudication for over a year and government just doesn’t have a good handle on the backlog.

My timeline might be unusual but like Ed said, these large companies always have opening. My potential employer is still hiring like crazy. My suggestion to you is to not wait for clearance and put your life on hold. Go ahead and travel and find other jobs. Be patient and it will pay off in the long run. Good luck


Each company has their own tolerance, multiple people in process, and pressure to put “butts in seats.” I have 400 positions I interview for, and dozens put in process. We honestly interview for a position, choose the people qualified, and submit. Some come out cleared in 6 months, 8 months…one young lady came out in 18 months for a Secret clearance today. Normally a 20 year old clears in about 4 months if there isn’t much to look at. This lady had lived in two states so I suspect it was just getting an investigator there to look into her other state. I hire for Secret, TS and TS SCI full scope positions. At times, if the person wants work as fast as possible I will submit for secret, get them cleared (if possible, start them in any position. It is good to give them 30 day to 90 days to see if any of this work is for them. If they like it and we like their performance we submit for the higher clearance. It still takes another year to go from Secret to TS (here). But it gives them income. You may be looking for a TS position, but don’t turn down a Secret position to get working somewhere, but you still need clear. And whatever it is denying you the interim still exists. It isn’t necessarily a bad thing, they just need a person who can make a decision…to review your info and make that call. I have even moved people up in stages: Secret, then submit for TS. Once they clear TS they know nothing was found eliminating them. From there I put them in for the polygraph (a bear. A total brutal experience). But at least they have the confidence knowing there aren’t any surprises in their investigate-able history. They may still lie and get caught but at least we had them working and they gain some peace waiting.


Thank you for sharing your experience with me! This is very informative.

You got a point about doing something else while waiting for clearance. I am currently still employed but at the same time I will go back to school for a master’s degree (online). Hopefully i am cleared by the time I finish the degree, and i will be more valuable to any employer.

Based on the fact that the HR did not notify you of rescinding the offer, I think your offer is still valid. My HR lady told me if they waited too long, they will let me know. She also told me to keep each other informed on any updates. So I think get back in touch with your HR and update them with your clearance timeline might not be a bad idea. This shows you that you are proactive and committed. Thank you and wish each other luck :slight_smile:

This may be a sensitive subject, but I will ask it. What are the salary ranges for the positions that have a secret clearance at your company? Are they commanding higher salaries? How about TS? I read today that the backlog is at 600k now and that by the end of the year it may be at 500k or less. I am asking this question to see if the delta between someone without a clearance versus one with a clearance is worth this long wait?

Just curious,


Well…it depends. We are a compound wide support contract. That means: housekeeping, grasscutters, escorts, monitors, access control…they pay about the going rate. Certainly there are leadership positions, team lead, assistant managers, managers and senior program manager slots. They pay competitive rates for those fields. But if it is a matter of wanting anything cleared for any income…yes, we do that. I can’t recruit on this site however. If you search cleared positions here indeed eventually brings us together.

Thank you, amberbunny for sharing recruiting experience. Valuable information.

Another question… I am currently still employed at a civilian company and waiting to be transitioned to be employed at a new federal contractor company. Meanwhile, I am waiting for my clearance to be granted (interim clearance already rejected) for me to be eligible to be employed at federal contractor. My current employer told me today they may want me to potentially travel to Taiwan, Bulgaria, China or Vietnam for business trips up to 3 months. During these 3 months I am not in the U.S., what if the investigator came knocked on my residence and they did not get a response from me until a couple of months later after I get back to the U.S.? How will this affect my clearance process? What are your experiences on traveling while pending for clearance (if any)? Thanks!

Last that I looked, the year was 2018. There are many ways to get in touch with you and the last one likely to be used is a knock on the door. Most of the others will allow you to respond while you are out of the country.

Waiting to be transitioned? Until you are fully cleared and sitting at your desk in your new job, just go on with your life.

Ok! Thanks guys for the advice.