Subject interview

Seven months since submitting SF-86, and now I get to meet with the special investigator next Friday! I have a silly but genuinely serious question…What should I wear to the interview? Is it like a job interview where I should dress up? Or can I wear neat, but casual clothing like jeans and a sweater?

Also, I just discovered that references could be contacted after the interview. (All this time I thought the subject interview was the last step and that it would happen after all references/verifiers were contacted. I’m still learning.) I also know that not all references are necessarily contacted. I’m just curious as to how long that particular part of the process (contacting, and maybe even visiting references) takes after the subject interview. I know there’s no exact timeline. And I’m pretty relaxed/patient about it, so it doesn’t really matter to me. Just curious about how long it might have taken for others.


Business casual is appropriate attire for the interview. Sometimes the investigator will interview you at your job (if you have one) so whatever you wear to work will be fine. Depending on the investigator, they may go directly to interview your references after the interview. They will usually call you if they have an issue contacting a reference. From that point, it depends on how fast they can finish their report and push it up the chain. After the investigation is complete, it is up to the hiring agency or OPM for contractors to adjudicate it.

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Whatever makes you comfortable and what is appropriate for the interview setting.

Also, bring names, addresses, and phone numbers for any friends or coworkers from the last seven years. This will help a great deal.

I made a post about a month ago on how to help yourself after the EQIP submission. This also briefly covers the subject interview. Go back and find the post… it will help.

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I found your post. That helps a lot!

About the names and addresses of friends, coworkers, etc. within the last seven years, shouldn’t the investigator have this from my SF-86? Or are you saying I should have additional references that I did not include ready to submit?

You should have additional names for each activity that you did not submit. This gives your investigator options and will help speed up your investigation.

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  1. I’d wear a blazer or a pantsuit.

  2. References will be contacted after the interview. After your ESI, investigators will begin working on your case in its entirety. Following up with social sources is a priority.

  3. Depending on if your case is standard or priority, it could take awhile for it to get completed.

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How would we know whether our case is standard or priority?

I think it more depends on the sponsoring agency when it comes to processing times for the investigations. Investigations for contractors generally take longer than those of federal employees from agencies from DHS, DOD, DOE. However, even within the federal government, some agencies are more efficient than others because of their system and lack of backlog.

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The easy answer and harsh reality is: if you’ve had an open investigation for several months, you’re not a priority.

Your sponsoring agency pays more to expedite cases.

You don’t - this is for the requesting Agency to decide.

Makes sense, priority is priority. I think my agency does their own processing; it’s all just so confusing!

What is your Agency?

requiring me to type 20 characters, so it’s nsa

NSA is notoriously thorough. Good luck!

I’ll take any luck I can get! :slight_smile: Waiting to be scheduled for the poly, gyar. And thank you!

This particular part of the process can vary greatly depending on where the references you provide live. I had my subject interview in September of 2017 and as of this upcoming week they are still interviewing references. However, my references are scattered throughout the United States. A lot of them live in large cities like: New York City, Philadelphia, Chicago, Dallas, and Seattle. I am sure this contributes to the length of the investigation. Some were interviewed over the phone, while others needed an in-person interview.

I am not entirely positive if this is how it works (this is based solely off of my experience), but once your assigned investigator has a list of names and addresses they begin contacting your references. Your assigned investigator will then develop their own list of references (ones you did not provide) based off of the information produced by your listed references during their subject interviews. If a reference lives in a different part of the country, an investigator assigned to that zip code will then be contacted to conduct the interview. In my experience, it could take 45 business days for that investigator to contact the reference in question.

Goodluck! Everyday that passes brings you closer to the end.

Six is pretty close.

If your references live in the same area as you do (which at least one should to fulfill the time requirement) then your case is completed pretty quick.

Chasing down references in large cities or backlogged areas, such as the cities listed, can add months to your case. Especially if the other agents find out that your references have no regular personal contact (in person) in the last five to seven years. Then the hunt for valid references continues until the requirement is met. This is why you may get a phone call from an agent/investigator after the Subject interview asking your for additional leads.