Which Jobs Really Require an FS Poly?

I’ve been applying for jobs for the past couple of months under the belief that I had a full-scope polygraph. A colleague today happened to mention that everyone I work with just has a CI one. I haven’t received confirmation, but that’s almost certainly the case for me, then.

I’ve gotten some offers recently from contractors for intel analyst roles. Of course, I’ve been telling all of them that I have an FS poly. They probably haven’t checked my clearance yet, but I told them what I heard as soon as I found out about this problem.

My question is: for what sorts of jobs and/or agencies is having only a CI poly a deal breaker? Many job descriptions list it as a requirement, but is it really in most cases? Do some contracts let you start with CI with the expectation that you’ll have to pass an FS?

Panicking a bit here, since I had been excited about these offers and other interest from recruiters, and I’d be awfully disappointed if this foreclosed most of the opportunities I’m interested in.

CIA and NSA. If you are applying as a civilian you need to go through the entire process anyway. If you are being hired as a contractor just about every position at these agencies will require you to have a FS before you are given access to their networks. DIA, NGA, and some of the other IC agencies will let you start and may only require a CI.

1 Like

This is very helpful. Thank you! Do you know if it’s common for contractors to sponsor an upgrade to an FS poly?

Right now I think the problem is that it is taking a long time just to get the poly scheduled, much less completed and adjudicated. And that was before all this COVID stuff hit.

Companies would much rather hire someone who already has all the necessary clearances. That way they can put you to work immediately and billing the contract. But if you are a good fit, and they have something else for you to do in the meantime, then it can be done.

1 Like

No I do not know if it is common.

Can you say why is that the case? I understand there is probably still a slowdown due to COVID but why was scheduling a poly taking a long time before that?

Here’s an example of the inconsistency of getting a clearance.

I applied to company A for a contract in Maryland. Everything was fine, but the client said no because I didn’t have an active Secret.

A year later, I applied to company B for the same contract in Maryland, and with the same client, just a different section (I belive). This time, they’re sponsoring a TS/SCI.

So, everything and nothing is possible.


Your Skill set determines a lot. If the client allows one to start with lesser clearance, that is in your favor. But as mentioned above to access certain systems, even if you only use their email…you require full scope vetting. Mind you a TS SCI and a TS SCI FS Poly…get same vetting, same depth, except one gets 4 to 5 hours in a chair…sometimes 2 rides on the merry go round before being granted access. If a company can get billable hours, and the client is willing…anything is possible. Poly and adjudication have been the long poles in the tent for several years now. Low density, high demand positions.

1 Like

For one thing, more positions seem to require a poly these days.

Also, they started tightening up on the requirement to have an “up to date” poly. This had been overlooked in many cases, so catching up with all those folks who had not had an update in many years added to the mess.

You don’t just train a new polygraph examiner overnight. It takes several months, and I’m sure there is a waiting list to get into the training. This means there is a limited number of qualified people to do the exams.

So with a lot of people needing their first poly and a lot of people needing an update, it led to a backlog. At least that is my understanding.

1 Like

Thank you. Any idea if these poly’s are being scheduled at this time (not sure if you are working for a fed) or they are waiting when it’s safe to talk without the masks?

I visit another forum on federalsoup.com and a number of people in process for jobs with IC agencies are saying that everything seems to be on hold right now, with no estimate of when they will start up the in-person processing.

Hadnt thought about the mask thing… wonder if that would mess up the polygraph if a person were breathing through a mask?

Was a dang small room for two people and hard enough maintaining normal breathing rate under stress…adding mask would make an awful experiment far worse IMHO. Honestly, spent the last 10 years in the poly world. Next position looking for plain vanilla TS. Nothing to hide, but never saw the mythical “wow, we will pay loads due to you having poly…” Honestly didn’t seem to mean anything other than a checked block. If position required, great. If not…oh well.

After I shared this news with two contractors that had offered me jobs that they confirmed require an FS poly, they both told me that their security officers had approved me. One said that I had a “PSP” poly. A brief search suggests that refers to the FBI’s Personnel Security Polygraph. That’s consistent with the polygraph I received… but is that actually a full scope poly?