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June 23, 2010 7:03 PM   Subscribe

Is clinical depression generally a disqualifier for positions entailing a psychological exam?

A government organization wants to interview me for a technical/analytical position. The hiring process involves several evaluations, polygraph etc. so it seems the whole thing is quite serious. I was diagnosed with clinical depression some time ago, and it's still in full force. I'm wondering if I should bother with the pre-employment paperwork, arranging an interview etc. if I'll just be kicked to the curb when I take their "psychological exam."
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
It would depend on what position and what government, I should think.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:09 PM on June 23, 2010

That said, don't sweat it. Getting stressed out can't be much help.

Also, definitely DO bother with the paperwork. If you don't get the job, you don't get the job--a bummer, but a possibility regardless of any psychological factors; if you don't apply, you'll be one notch further down the regret spiral. (I've been there, and it sucks.)
posted by Sys Rq at 7:18 PM on June 23, 2010 [2 favorites]

The security clearance people are concerned about whether you can be blackmailed, whether you will be vulnerable to bribery, and whether you are in the thrall of a foreign government. Your medical history is only an issue insofar as they want you to disclose it so that the information couldn't be used against you for purposes of blackmail or something like that.

A clinical depression diagnosis isn't going to make them consider you a serious risk... I suspect that this sort of thing comes up regularly.
posted by deanc at 7:22 PM on June 23, 2010 [5 favorites]

What percentage of Americans are clinically depressed? The numbers seem too high for the government to rule those people out, unless the position is for a secret agent. So I'd chalk it up to a mild uncertainty, but still worth pursuing per what Sys Rq said.
posted by philosophistry at 11:11 PM on June 23, 2010

Don't know what government you're applying with, but I have a friend who applied for a job with the British government which required psyche clearance when she had a history of depression.

It drew out a recruitment process which was already ridiculously lengthy, because they requested all her medical records and did some further interviews, but ultimately my friend got the job.

The depression itself isn't a dealbreaker, just make it clear that you see it as a medical condition for which you are seeking treatment and of which you are not ashamed. 90% of those intrusive background checks are to make sure you don't have a Big Secret Shame somebody could use to blackmail you into revealing state secrets. (Which is why they do that hideously embarrassing interview about what kind of porn you like.)
posted by the latin mouse at 1:36 AM on June 24, 2010

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