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Working at USIS — Reviews by Employees

Learn what employees have to say about USIS pay, work/life balance, care potential, job security, and much more by reading our anonymous employee reviews.

Reviews of Jobs at USIS

4.5Rating Details
Category
Pay4
Respect5
Benefits4
Job Security5
Work/Life Balance5
Career Growth4
Location4
Co-Workers5
Work Environment5

From USA — 08/29/2008

A positive working experience for me. I paid fairly, was given respect by colleagues, and had job security. My previous job offered zero job security, mainly due to an insecure executive team, and the work life balance has been great.

I work with some great people here, and the location is close to my home.
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3.1Rating Details
Category
Pay2
Respect3
Benefits3
Job Security4
Work/Life Balance4
Career Growth2
Location4
Co-Workers4
Work Environment4

From Fairfax, VA — 08/22/2008

Gets a negative on respect and this is just for higher up management...the TLs know who is working hard and who isn't. Too bad it gets ignored further up the chain. Not that they have done much lately to gain respect. They are more like a bad soap opera with the lying and cheating. Anyone need a marriage destroyed? We've got people.
We have great people here who really work hard and are good at what they do. Too bad we have those small few who ruin it for the rest of us. But hey- don't worry about them- they still get taken care of, special "hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil" privileges for them when they should get fired for all the inappropriateness that takes place. Maybe having 20 year old managers isn't always a good idea.
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3.5Rating Details
Category
Pay3
Respect4
Benefits3
Job Security3
Work/Life Balance4
Career Growth3
Location4
Co-Workers4
Work Environment4

From fairfax, va — 08/06/2008

As a contractor and retired, some of these above elements are not applicable, so I'll comment primarily on those that do apply.
PAY isn't great, but isn't bad either. Contractors are paid by the "widgets" we produce. Probably works out to between $20-$30 per hour while doing only SPINS. How many part-time jobs pay that well. Very few.
I've heard it gets better with periodic reinvestigations.
RESPECT is fine. I don't see any real issues here.
BENEFITS don't apply to contractors.
JOB SECURITY isn't really a big contractor issue but I don't see any rush to get rid of anyone that was in my initial contractor group.
WORK/LIFE BALANCE is good for contractors. If I want to take off for a couple weeks, I just tell my TL not to assign me cases. On the downside, I have worked weekends when I'd rather be doing other things
CAREER POTENTIAL/GROWTH doesn't apply to contractors.
LOCATION is fine with me.
COWORKER COMPETENCE is fine. As a beginner, I've gotten good advise from experienced investigators.
WORK ENVIRONMENT is fine. I'm happy to work from home although not always happy with the amount of driving involved, it comes with the job.

As for the negatives, USIS is not painting an accurate picture of what contractors can expect. Their interviews with perspective contract investigators need to be more straight forward. Perhaps some are but mine was not. Unlike full-time investigators, USIS feels they cannot give us weeks of training but only a 3 day orientation and two days on OJT with a full-time investigator. We would not likely be interested in spending more time in training since we received no compensation for it. (From the USIS point of view, we are supposed to be experienced investigators, but previous investigator experience, while needed, hardly prepares one for this type of work. Also, more training would probably make up look more like employees from an IRS perspective.)However, the lack of training puts you at a considerable disadvantage when you start interviews. You learn from your mistakes. The USIS handbook and OPM manual are helpful only to a point. There are so many permutations and combinations in this work. The most frustrating aspect is using the OPM system, PIPS. It belongs in the Smithsonian. I asked another investigator who had worked with various DOJ systems if he had ever seen an investigative support system this bad. His response, only one that came close. I understand that it is being revised or replaced. I know these things take time, but the sooner the better. Also, if you are an experienced LEO, this is not really doing investigations. It's really just doing interviews. I say this because you are so limited in what you can cover. The questions in any given situation are dictated. You can only open a new area of inquiry if the subject opens the door first. At least, this is how it is with SPINS. Perhaps with BIs, it's more open. Still there are limits. It may be really disappointing for a former LEO unless you set your sights lower. In summary, you will likely be VERY frustrated for the first month or two and threaten to quit several times. If you stick it out, things get better. Don't bother to count the number of hours you spend for the first several cases. It will really upset you.
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3.6Rating Details
Category
Pay2
Respect5
Benefits4
Job Security5
Work/Life Balance3
Career Growth2
Location5
Co-Workers4
Work Environment4

From New England — 08/05/2008

Pay - the company definetly does not pay enough. Compare our salaries to fed staff or even Kroll and you can see that. Even the managerial side (TL and DM) aren't paid as well. The company claims that when you factor in the other benefits (company car, dental, health, etc) the pay is comparable, but I don't believe it.

Respect - It is there. Even when the TLs/DMs are pushing for more and more, they know what it means to the field. All TLs and DMs have been INVs - they know the job. They push because THEY were star performers and so what to see other INVs perform higher (they know it can be done).

Benefits - very good. The car is nice and the gas card? Please, it's AWESOME. So far as us paying for the car, look at the dollar amount. I get a 08 Nitro for less money a month than a 05 sedan I'm still paying on.

Job Security - strong. There are FEW companies that are growing right now due to the economy. USIS IS - and when one contract slows down, there is another.

Work/life balance - that's tough. It depends. If you have self motivation and can set boundaries at home, it's good. But the INV job is NOT for everyone. Some people just can't shut the office door and walk away.

Career potential - In the company it is there... to a certain point. As you can see from other posts, when you get in the high, high management, it is who you know. The company also seems to have a nasty habit of just letting someone in an acting role and then what do you know - they end up really having it. Where is the interview process? When there are interviews, are they a sham? So far as using this job as a springboard to something else - definetly. There is great knowledge to be gained in the field.

Location - how can you rate working out of the home low?? You may have some driving based on where you live. That's to be expected with this type of job.

Co-worker competence - it's good.

Work environment - It depends on the area/region you are in. I think the NED is good.

I've been with the company for a number of years now. The pay was a lot lower then but I stuck through it, worked hard, and now am paid well. I would not, however, start with the company right now. The climate has changed and though the salary is higher than it used to be, it is frankly harder to get big raises at this point.
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4.2Rating Details
Category
Pay4
Respect4
Benefits4
Job Security4
Work/Life Balance5
Career Growth3
Location5
Co-Workers5
Work Environment5

From EBU — 07/07/2008

I have been with the company going on five years and really have not found too many complaints and find the good and the bad of the company to be area specific. There is so much variation between Districts. Some districts are excellent to work in and some are not. One of the major negative issues with the company is lack of communication between everyone, at all levels. Many times the right hand has no clue what the left hand is up to. Also, the bonus incentives aren't great and have been switched so many times, I'm not sure what it actually is right now.... Overall, the good outweighs the bad. I love the flexible schedule, the cheap fleet vehicle and working from home. It's not for everyone and some districts are much better than others but it's still a pretty good job.
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3.3Rating Details
Category
Pay3
Respect4
Benefits4
Job Security4
Work/Life Balance3
Career Growth3
Location4
Co-Workers3
Work Environment4

From New England — 06/19/2008

Don't go into this job expecting or wanting some kind of high profile criminal-chasing job. It's not what we do. We aren't trying to convict bad guys, we are weeding out unsuitable candidates for positions of national security. Most of the people we investigate are unsurprisingly good decent folks. Some aren't. But you don't know which until you investigate them all. This job has lots of perks other investigations would: you talk to lots of people, you go interesting places and see all kinds of things--but it also lacks a lot of the drawbacks of law enforcement type jobs: You don't have to work ridiculous hours and overtime, you don't end up with a nasty outlook on life because you only deal with criminals, and it's a lot easier to leave the job from 'coming home' with you so long as you turn off your cell phone and tuck your work stuff out of sight. Getting up to Sr. Investigator is mostly on your own work. I see a lot of people here complaining that they have to work off the clock to get minimum requirements and just don't get it. Most of my appointments are an hour away. If I go out at night I keep it to one night a week and 'compensate' myself by taking a half day some other day that week. I have never worked on a weekend. I enjoy my job. I like not being in an office and better yet, left alone. The pay was good enough when I started on 28k/yr (I didn't get in long enough for the employee buy out) to live economically and pay off my student loans in a couple of years and save money on the side towards the future, and the starting pay is much higher now. The car is good. You can't get car, gas, and insurance for under $35/wk here, and so long as you don't go over 20% of your mileage on personal you don't get taxed additionally--and I travel over 100 miles a day business. The deduction is also PRE-tax, so it helps you out on taxes.

There are some drawbacks, of course. If you are not a self-starter, it is a hard job. It takes a certain personality. If you can't make yourself get up every morning when you don't have somewhere to be, or make yourself sit inside and type on a beautiful day, it will be difficult for you. It is also hard to get promoted above senior investigator. Often the person chosen to fill in for someone who leaves temporarily is all but guaranteed the job, even if they go through a full hiring process. They have to do a bad job NOT to get it. Therefore if your direct supervisor's position doesn't turn over often and if they do you are not chosen as the most local/convenient replacement the only chance you will get to advance is to apply for every opening that comes up in the country and be willing to move. Also, like any company Management ranges from very good to hellish. I've had both, and depending on which kind you get it really affects your performance and job satisfaction. I've had managers that let me be, and managers that micro-managed and terrorized me into doing things that made the team look good but me look bad because they're not rated the same way we are. Also, the 'meritocracy' can suck. They say that if you do good, you get paid well. They have a standard of 'good'. This is not really how you're rated. If you are making high numbers on a team of senior investigators who also make that standard of 'good' you will all get mediocre raises. If you are on a team that has a couple of people who meet the standard of 'good' a lot who meet the 'average' and a few who are struggling like most performance curves you will get a higher raise for the exact same numbers. I think this is the way most companies are run, but it does contradict what they keep telling us about how it's all up to us how well we do. However, I can't think of a system that would be fairer as a country-wide curve would punish people more by location than the current model, so I can't complain much.

USIS is better than most companies I've heard of when I compare jobs with friends, and all the companies I've worked for. It is absolutely better than any other contractor in the same business and in a lot of ways it's better than federal OPM (who have a period of 3 years they can fire you for any reason they want. They will absolutely fire you for not making at least 5 testimonies per day, and often 'lay off' people just before the 3 year mark is up because they know they can't get rid of you after that. And they detail people way more often). I love my job. I have had problems with the way the administration runs things in some cases, and had my share of bad supervisors. But I REALLY like what I do. I really like having a job that is as flexible as I want it to be and will always take me new places and see/hear new things no matter how long I do it. I'm paid enough to cover all of my monthly expenses (including a mortgage) and have money left to save at the end of the month even after I go out to dinner and buy a few frivolous things I want. I know there are plenty of people in the country in lower expense areas with similar or even worse performance who get paid more, but I think again, that is true in any company. I have a job that I consider to pay well doing something I like. For this I put up with a few bad managers and minor annoyances. This isn't a job for everyone, obviously. But if you don't like your job AND don't think you're getting paid well enough, why stay?
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3.1Rating Details
Category
Pay4
Respect4
Benefits4
Job Security5
Work/Life Balance1
Career Growth3
Location3
Co-Workers2
Work Environment2

From Northern VA — 06/18/2008

The company car- you have to record your personal miles and your business miles. You will be paying taxes on your personal miles. Its easy to rack up personal miles on the car because you look at it like a free ride-but you will pay in the end. You also have to pay a PUC (personal use charge) which is about $70 per paycheck for the Dodge Charger option. To answer your 2nd question—you must sign a 1 year agreement to stay with the company after training or you will be forced to pay approximately $5,000-or the cost of training an investigator. And your last question, the pay, yes its extremely low $38K for the VA region to be exact. And from MY experience they are not willing to negotiate, even if you have experience or a Masters Degree! Yes the car is a benefit that the company sees as a $7000.00 per year benefit (according to them). USIS is a decent company, they also give you an allowance for cell phone ($65 per month) and internet ($30.00 per month) but your home is your office and you are never off from work. You will get calls at alllll times of the day for people wanting to reschedule an interview or cancel one, or something, its always something. Good luck…
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3.1Rating Details
Category
Pay3
Respect1
Benefits3
Job Security5
Work/Life Balance1
Career Growth5
Location5
Co-Workers5
Work Environment1

From CBU — 05/25/2008

I have been with USIS for some time now, and have always been very vocal in standing up for this company. I have had no patience for those who want to complain about the pay, or the personal use charge for our cars, or the fact that USIS does not pay for every single utility in the investigator's residence. I have found that as long as you crank out the work, you can increase your pay through the overtime alone. And, it's been my experience that if you are producing a high case load, you actually do get compensated through bonuses (however small that may be) and through yearly pay increases. However, after months of being increasingly overworked, I've finally come to the point, that I will aggresively seek employment elsewhere. Reason? I can no longer keep up the pace of working night and day, weekends and holidays. These are not hours worked by my choice because I need extra income. These are simply hours put in just in order to keep up with the workload assigned to me. I am not alone in this situation. Other investigators I know (who are not whiners, and are high producing investigators as well) agree with me 100%. There has ceased to be a balance between work and home life. For those of us who have family's, and money is not the only driving force in our life, USIS has become an undesireable company to work for. As a field investigator, I have continued to be one of their high producers, and have no real complaints about the pay. Yes, there are jobs which pay more, but the flexibility of working from home and having the company car offsets the lack of competitive salary in the area. (Yes, believe me, paying $140 per month for a new car, and having no worries about new tires, maintenance, etc IS a wonderful deal for some of us!). However, since Randy Dobbs took over, I have seen a shift from the balance of being an organization dedicated to national security to a company which is strictly profit oriented. Being that we are a private company, I understand the bottom line, which IS profit. We would cease to exist without generating a profit. However, the balance has tipped so far off center, that in managements greed to get rich quick, they have forgotten to take care of the real core of the company, THE INVESTIGATORS. The company continues to bite off more than it can chew. They continue to bid for additional projects, for which we can not realistically meet the deadlines, as we do not have enough people to do the work we have now. I realize from reading these various posts, that there are obviously, still some districts within the company, where their investigators are not overworked and live is grand. This is the exception, though, and not the rule, unless you are fortunate enough to be getting assigned the wonderful PPR (piece of cake. This has been a great job, but knowing what's ahead in the coming months, I see no light at the end of this tunnel. Hopefully, someone will get a clue, and hold off getting all these new contracts until we have the work force which can do the job, and still have some time to spend with their family.
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3.1Rating Details
Category
Pay1
Respect4
Benefits3
Job Security4
Work/Life Balance3
Career Growth2
Location4
Co-Workers4
Work Environment3

From San Francisco Bay Ar — 04/17/2008

Pay: I'm being paid the same amount now that I was paid in 1992. Different job and different industry, yes. But this job is much harder, and I have advanced college degrees. I can't make ends meet no matter what I do. I cut the cable t.v. I cut LD on my landline. I quit my gym membership. I bag my lunch. I shop at Ross for clothes and gifts. I cut coupons. I took out a home equity loan to make home improvements and pay my property taxes. I still live paycheck to paycheck.
Respect: I give a high rating here because my TL and DMs, for the most part, have always been in my corner and helped me. They're truly good people. Can't say much for senior management.
Benefits: Medical/dental/holidays/vacation seem commensurate with other companies, but the car benefit is a joke. I have another car so I only use $30-$40/mo in PU on the company car, but the company makes me pay $150/mo AFTER taxes, with no reimbursement for what I don't use - a rip off.
Job security: No problem here. They won't fire me with good metrics and 100% quality score.
Work/life balance: My first 2 years - no life at all. Had to work or think about the job continually to learn it. This is not an easy job to learn. Once you do learn it, you can have a good work/life balance but it takes a long time to get there and the company does not recognize this.
Career/Growth potential: You know, I've seen this in action recently. I've been with the company 3.5 years and I'm still not a Senior Investigator because I don't have the high production numbers, even though I've met the standards in this regard. I just won't work for free. I believe in integrity and that's why I'm doing this job. I believe in doing a quality job, and doing a quality job takes time. I care about my country, and this is the way I protect my country. I refuse to hurry and do a sloppy job because I won't be promoted or make more money if I don't rush. And I refuse to work for free. I know other people do this, and I know they are rewarded with kudos and money and gifts. I know they are the ones who set the bar too high, and make those production numbers the standard. They should be ashamed of themselves. I still believe in being a person of integrity and I still believe that cheating is wrong, even if it brings more rewards. I think the compoany has made a serious error in promoting quantity over quality because this is the result. Even people who sart out with the best of intentiosn fall prey to this company policy. Our "widget" is national security. You can't make an assembly line out of that. It's sad, but I'll barely make it to Sr. Investigator, let alone any kind of other career growth.
Location: Excellent! I work from home. I'd rate this a 5 if I never had to go on month long details. 2 weeks would be acceptable, but my cats start to piss on my furniture if I'm away too long.
Co-worker competence: I have mostly great co-workers. Some aren't very good investigators, but they weed themselves out before very long. My local management team is terrific.
My work environment is just lovely. I have an office in my home with a forest view and I can open the window. The rest of my time is spent in the car and at other locations in the SF Bay Area, which is all beautiful. That's why I'm never moving to Grove City no matter how many job openings they email me about.
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4.4Rating Details
Category
Pay5
Respect4
Benefits4
Job Security4
Work/Life Balance5
Career Growth5
Location5
Co-Workers4
Work Environment5

From yeah right, USA — 04/15/2008

Ok, read this site and some of YOU are really angry and maybe SHOULD be looking for another job. Been here for a long time, ( no clues,haha) and if you do "YOUR" job, meet normal expectations and stop sitting at home making excuses of why you can't get someone or close a case,you will be rewarded financially and with the respect you deserve. NO I'm not a manager, or company person, but I have worked elsewhere for some really bad mgrs and supervisors at the 7am to 5pm job with 30 minutes for lunch, and this job is a cake walk. You go find me a job that pays you well after 5 yrs. YES, I said 5 yrs... stay, learn and work hard and maybe you will get the pay your just deserve.. You work from home, have a new car, that yes you pay some $$ for, but better then insurance and gas, especially with today's gas prices, and YOU manage yourself and have time with your kids as you wish. I agree with MN and some of the people that I have worked with were never satisfied, mostly because they tried to "work" 2 days a week and get paid for 5. Simple solution,get lost and go work for some other company because I'm done with your complaining and bitching. I work (almost) a full week :) and still manage to have time with my family and do what I want, and still perform as expected. Yes, Mgmt has no idea what we do and I don't think they care,or do I about them, but does anyone know what they do daily? Same thing, your job is not to figure out how to run this company, but to go to work everyday and do what your getting paid to do, so you have a job in the future to provide for your family. EVERY corp has the same probs, and profit is the bottom line and Mgrs make it all and leave with FAT pockets, remember the old crew, harper gang. National security is not our problem, YES, I said that! If there is a problem it will come out in the end and out of our hands. Do you think your working on every case that turns out to be Robert Hansen.( look him up , for some of your that have no clue) Your not a CIA agent, your a simple fact finder, interviewer and reporter of information. Why do yiou think anyone can do this job with no background in anything other then having no isses when hired and knows how to type! Deal with that and submit your cases with all your "t"s crossed and everyone will be happy. If it was any different you would be sitting outside a SBJ's house in a telephone company truck looking thru binoculars and listening to his wiretapped phone. My husband understands that and he works in a factory 10 hours a day and is exhusted when he comes home, when I've have been home for 5 hours, and typed and completed my work for the day, and I like my job much better then his.. go figure! Sorry, I'm done complaining and I'm going back to work and maybe you should too...:)
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