What to expect during your DV interview

What to expect during your DV interview

What is a DV interview?

DV stands for Developed Vetting and is the third level of three security levels:

  • Counter terrorist checks (CTC). These checks are carried out for individuals who are likely to be working alongside prominent figures or who require access to sensitive information or restricted locations, such as military establishments, or industrial units deemed at risk from terrorist attacks.
  • Security clearance (SC). These checks are carried out to ensure that the person being assessed is of good character and whose personal circumstances enable them to carry out a job that will see them regularly come into contact with Secret assets.
  • Developed vetting (DV). This is the third level of security, but can also be considered an addition to SC. This security check is required for individuals who will have regular, unrestricted access to Top Secret assets.

A DV interview is one part of the assessment for developed vetting, and is the method through which candidates are assessed as to whether they are suitable to have access to sensitive information, and whether they can handle the information they will be privy to and not become a security threat as a result of their access.

DV interviews are renowned for being intrusive, but they have to be to ensure that you don’t withhold anything that could be exploited by anyone with nefarious intent.

Who needs a DV interview

Employees who will routinely work with ‘Secret’ or ‘Top Secret’ information, sensitive information or sensitive assets can expect to have a DV interview. It is particularly important for anyone who, through their work, could be put at risk of either being a target of a terror attack or likely target for blackmail or bribery.

What to expect during your DV interview

The DV interview is designed to check you are who you say you are and that you don’t have any skeletons in your cupboard that could potentially leave you vulnerable to blackmail.

The vetting officer will look at all aspects of your past, your personal and public life, as well as your educational and employment history. You will be required to give referees for your character, and the officer will contact all of these referees to corroborate what you tell them.

The vetting officer will have also carried out criminal checks as well as credit references so expect to be questioned on that too. Answer as openly and honestly as you can, you won’t be judged and you won’t have your access revoked. The interviewer isn’t looking to trip you up, they are merely looking to be as thorough as possible to leave no stone unturned. The more information you can provide, the less opportunities you present as potential weak areas to be exploited.

The DV interview itself will last for approximately 2-3 hours depending on your circumstances, and it can feel quite emotional, exposing, but also strangely cathartic. They tend to take place at your place of work and during office hours so you won’t have to travel or do it out of work’s time, but if you’d feel more comfortable, you can do it at home.

The DV interview is just one element of achieving DV clearance, but it is the one chance where DV officers get to talk to you face to face to assess your honesty, loyalty and reliability – all personality traits that the process hold in high esteem.

If you withhold information, or you are found to be lying at any stage of your DV interview or during the DV process, expect to have your DV clearance or application withdrawn.

Topics you should expect to cover during your DV interview

You have to keep in mind that whilst your DV interview will be in depth and quite often it is excruciating having to lay your cards on the table, to a complete stranger, it is vital that you do so, as best you can.

Expect to cover topics such as:

  • Past and present relationships (including sexual activity)
  • Family relationships
  • Childhood
  • Wider family background
  • Financial history and current affairs – mortgage, loans and credit cards. (Debt isn’t an issue as long as you can keep up with repayments)
  • Political activity (but not party affiliation)
  • Foreign travel
  • Hobbies
  • History of drug use

How you can prep for your DV interview

There isn’t a huge amount of prep you can do for your DV interview, because you aren’t being asked any tricky questions, as all of the questions are about you. And if there is an exam that all of us could get full marks on, it would be the subject of ourselves.

If you think you might have skeletons in your wider family closet, you can delve into them to try and uncover them.

If you think you might find the whole process too much for you to handle alone, you are welcome to bring in someone to support you during the DV interview: a friend, colleague or family member, however bearing in mind the questions are probing, this option isn’t suitable for everyone.

And don’t worry – the Vetting Officer will have heard it all before, and far worse than what you could tell them; they aren’t easily shocked. You should feel comfortable discussing sensitive private matters as in depth as you want with them. Remember, the more inside information you can provide, the better they can protect you.

Documents to bring with you for your DV interview

Proof of identity will likely include:

  • ID – passport, driving license etc
  • Evidence of name change
  • Adoption certificate
  • Birth certificate
  • Marriage certificate
  • Decree absolute or nisi
  • CV
  • Utility bills

As well as your financial records, expect to have to bring the financial records for your partner or spouse too. These could include:

  • Last 3 months bank statements
  • Last 3 months credit card statements
  • Loan statements
  • Mortgage details
  • Details of any criminal convictions including CCJs
  • Pay statements
  • Savings information
  • Supporting documentation for any unexplained finances

Expect to be told in advance of any additional specific items that you will be required to bring with you, on top of these standard documents.

If you’re DV Cleared and looking for a suitable role, why not get in touch with the Acumin team and see if we can find the perfect role for you?

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