One of the toughest aspects of recruiting is finding out your “ideal candidate” did not pass his/her pre-employment background check or substance abuse screen. Don’t you wish there was a pool of skilled people you could choose from where you could feel highly confident the candidates will pass those screens? There is – the military!

All military recruits undergo thorough background checks before being allowed to serve, including finger print checks, and may include criminal record checks, and a financial credit check.

Military members whose jobs require a security clearance undergo multiple investigative processes to obtain and maintain that clearance. Full re-investigations are required every 5-10 years (depending on the type of clearance) for as long as they serve in the military. A security clearance background investigation includes:

  • A National Agency Check, during which investigators review records held by federal agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the Office of Personnel Management.
  • A Local Agency Check, which calls in criminal history records held by local law enforcement agencies such as police departments and sheriffs with jurisdiction over the areas where the service member has lived, gone to school or worked.
  • Financial checks.
  • Field interviews of people who know the veteran, including co-workers, employers, friends, educators and neighbors. The service member provides a list of contacts, though the investigator may (and often does) talk with others beyond the names submitted.
  • Checks of records held by employers, courts and rental offices.
  • A personal interview with the service member.

Not every job in the military requires a security clearance, so not all who have served will have undergone the above mentioned investigation.

Frequent and random drug testing is a fact of life in the military. Active duty members must undergo a urinalysis at least once a year. Members of the Guard and Reserves must be tested at least once every two years. The reality is that most will be tested more frequently than those minimums due to the many options military commanders have for legally justifying that a test be done. Department of Defense labs test over 60,000 urine samples every month. Annually, anywhere from .04% to 2% (based on FY 2001 statistics; the range varies by Service and by Component) of all service members will test positive for drug use, and, as drug use is considered incompatible with military service, those members will be discharged from the service with something other than an honorable discharge.

Posted by Lisa Rosser, Author of and Speaker/Workshop Leader on The Value Of a Veteran(TM): The Guide for Human Resource Professionals to Regarding, Recruiting, and Retaining Military Veterans


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