What Is Security Vetting?

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  • Written By: Jacob Queen
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 17 January 2020
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Security vetting is the examination of a person's background and private life in order to make sure the individual can be safely trusted to hold certain jobs or learn secret information. This process can vary quite a bit depending on the reasons behind the vetting, but it usually involves things like background checks, assessments of competency, and drug tests. Sometimes people find the process of undergoing a security investigation very unpleasant because many aspects of their private lives are generally put under an uncommon level of scrutiny.

One of the main things often examined during security vetting is the possibility of criminal behavior. This would generally include any previous convictions on a person’s record, and it might also include further investigations to make sure the person isn’t currently engaged in any secret questionable behaviors. During a security investigation, a person might be rejected for crimes he hasn’t actually been convicted of, mainly because there is usually a concern that a person engaged in something criminal might be susceptible to various blackmailing schemes.

Another concern during most security vetting procedures is a person’s lifestyle and habits. The investigations will often look for things like drug problems or a history of unreliable behavior. For example, if a person has a long history of financial difficulties, those hiring for security-sensitive jobs might be concerned about a vulnerability to bribery, especially if the person were to find himself in a financial bind of some sort.


During many security investigations, there might be interviews with the applicants' family members and friends, and some of these interviews may even delve into very personal issues that have nothing to do with the applicant. This is because there is often a concern that people around the applicant may have shady backgrounds and might find a way to compromise the applicant and get access to secret data. Studying the applicant’s social contacts also gives a broader idea of who the applicant is on a personal level, which might be an important issue.

Many different kinds of jobs may require a security vetting procedures. Some of them would include things like intelligence personnel and other government-oriented security jobs. There are also jobs in private industry that require people to undergo some level of vetting for many different reasons. The non-invasive aspect of the vetting is usually related to the sensitive nature of the information the person will have access to. For less sensitive jobs, it might be as simple as a quick criminal background check, while others may spend many months under investigation.


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Post 2

@Melonlity -- Joe could bring an action, sure, but only if he can prove he was denied employment because he filed for bankruptcy. Most employers won't tell why they refused to hire someone, so how will Joe find out that was the reason XYZ didn't give him a job?

Also, no one can be denied employment solely because they filed for bankruptcy. It could be that XYZ didn't want Joe in a position where he was handling a lot of money. Is that OK?

I don't know. That is for a court to decide.

Still, vetting is a good idea. Employers want to know what they are getting and whom they can trust.

Post 1

This is one area where businesses can get into trouble. Vetting someone is one thing, but going too far into their backgrounds is something else entirely.

For example, let's say that Joe applies for a job with XYZ, Inc. XYZ runs a background check on Joe and finds that he had filed for bankruptcy at some point in the past.

The folks at XYZ don't want to deal with that kind of thing, so they refuse to hire Joe.

Is there a problem? Yes, indeed. Federal law prohibits excluding someone from employment because they filed for bankruptcy. Joe could possibly bring an action against XYZ.

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