I recently accepted a conditional offer from a company that does contracts for federal agencies. They mentioned they will be conducting PUBLIC TRUST background suitability check. They said it's mainly for financial and criminal check. I don't have any financial/drugs/criminal history but I EXAGERRATED on resume. They told me they won't be reaching out to my current employer so I am thinking they are just doing a financial and criminal check?

  1. Will they make me fill SF85P? Has anyone done this kind of check? Since its not a clearance check I am not sure what to expect. I am just worried about my resume.
  2. If they make me fill SF85P I will be writing the truth in it and it will mismatch with resume. Will it land me an automatic rejection or what can happen? Is there a chance to still get this job?

Things I exaggerated are: I combined 2 work exp into 1 company to look better/avoid gap etc. Added my unpaid work experience in resume too as it was more relevant.

  • 9
    At some point, exaggerating becomes lying, that seems antithetical to a public trust position.
    – cdkMoose
    Feb 12 at 18:30
  • 2
    "Will they make me fill SF85P?" - You should this potential employer if the SF85P will be required. I would assume, that it will be required, if the position is indeed for a Public Trust position. Only the potential employer will be able to answer that portion of your question. The SF86P goes into detail of what information is required. This includes suggesting an interview with an investigator might be required. We can't tell if you "exaggeration" will disqualify. There have been famous cases of individuals lies, being found out, and those individuals are typically immediately fired.
    – Donald
    Feb 12 at 19:09
  • It's best not to exaggerate on a resume' job form. In addition, to basic honesty, it's easy to get caught out. Also, do you want to be assigned a job that you cannot do? Feb 12 at 20:17
  • 1
    I forgot to put a short gap between jobs on a similar form, and remembered it when I was talking to the investigator. We corrected the form and that was that. My resume wasn't brought up at all. The important thing is to be completely honest on the form and with the investigator. If you just exaggerated your experience and didn't flat out lie about a job or credential you never had, you should have nothing to worry about.
    – ColleenV
    Feb 12 at 20:55

1 Answer 1


The public trust form will require you to list all jobs. All gaps must be explained. The investigator will confirm with the companies the dates, and maybe the titles, but probably not looking for a 100% match on the titles.

They will also want to know why you left each job.

The hiring manager doesn't see the federal form. They can't check it against the resume. But that does not stop the company from doing their own background check, or even the customer doing a check.

The clearance process is separate from the hiring process.

The federal form/investigation will also verify criminal and financial aspects.

  • 1
    Many places call former employees even if you don't give permission. Feb 12 at 20:18
  • Got it. They have not asked me to fill that form yet but they said they do a mild employment check on their end too. I do have previous managers in the company that can vouch for my adjustment in the resume since I have more than the knowledge needed to perform the jobs. I can just give the exact info on federal form and can give the exaggerated details on employer's background check maybe? Since the references I will provide will vouch for the dates worked. Do we need to provide the volunteers jobs too? or unpaid or jobs that are performed at different country without pay?
    – maddy
    Feb 12 at 22:04
  • @maddy - The SF85P form requires ALL request employment information. If you consider volunteering to be relevant within that requested information you should provide it. Your contact at the company, requesting the SF85P form, should be able to help you determine if something should or shouldn't be provided. However, the form has clear and concise instructions, and the information being requested is straight forward
    – Donald
    Feb 12 at 22:50
  • Got it. They said they are only requiring to fill out "eApp" form, they sent an email out regarding T2 eAPP. I believe this is also a federal form and requires full disclosure and honesty?
    – maddy
    Feb 13 at 23:23
  • @maddy At the end of the form there should be some kind of statement where you are signing that you are being fully honest (with some legalese thrown into it). Needless to say signing that with intentionally wrong information that you know is wrong will get you into trouble and can result in you being barred from future government work. So yes be open and honest.
    – Anketam
    Feb 14 at 14:33

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