Background Investigations Suitability


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Federal employment requires high standards of integrity and trust to promote the interests of the public. Suitability adjudication is different from security clearance adjudication. The suitability adjudication considers only an individual’s personal conduct while security concerns may go beyond the individual’s conduct to that of their associates or relatives, or the influence of foreign contacts.


Suitability refers to identifiable character traits and conduct sufficient to decide whether an individual is likely or not likely to be able to carry out the duties of a Federal job with appropriate integrity, efficiency, and effectiveness. Suitability is distinguishable from a person’s ability to fulfill the qualification requirements of a job, as measured by experience, education, knowledge, and skills. Suitability determinations apply to applicants for employment and to individuals already employed.

Many issues, such as security, may be disqualifying under suitability. An adverse suitability determination may result in a debarment decision and an agency may deny a security clearance based in part on the presence of a previous negative determination.


When individuals are reemployed in Federal service, they should complete a new Declaration for Federal Employment (OF 306). They should also complete new investigative questionnaires (or update their prior form if the public trust or sensitivity level of their new position is the same as their previous one). If suitability issues are admitted on the OF 306 or investigative questionnaire, or if they are otherwise developed, they should be investigated and adjudicated.

If there are no suitability issues, and there has not been a break in service of longer than 24 months, a new investigation is not necessary unless it is required under 5 CFR 732, or other authority, or because of a higher public trust risk level. The adjudicative guidelines established by 5 CFR 731 will be used for all reemployments that are subject to investigation and adjudication.

This page was last modified on 18 July 2013, at 22:17.

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