Former agent discusses FBI employment opportunities

09-25-09 FBI
Special agent Vincent Lemons discussed white-collar crimes and FBI careers at the MU Alumni Lounge.(Matt Pavelek | The State Press)
Published On:
Friday, September 25, 2009
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Former ASU graduate and FBI special agent Vincent Lemons discussed employment and other opportunities in the FBI to a crowd of 50 people Thursday night.

The event, which was hosted by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners ASU Student Chapter, allowed Lemons to discuss his accounting major and how it was rarely used throughout his career.

“I spent most of my career doing other stuff than accounting-type work,” he said.

Lemons expressed his desire to do something outside of this field and how the FBI has a wide range of job positions.

“What your expertise is, it is probably not what you are going to do in the Bureau,” he said. “Once you come on as an agent, there are dozens and dozens of avenues you can go down.”

Students in the audience, including accounting senior Andrew Hawkes, understand the many paths they can take.

“Accounting is one direction I can take with the FBI,” he said.

Hawkes currently works with a fraud unit at Bank of America.

Lemons, who graduated in 1988, said he never regretted working with the FBI instead of in a business field.

“I was dreading one of those [accounting] companies offering me a position,” he said.

While Lemons veered from this side of his career, accounting senior Darek Kochman said he has a passion for accounting.

“[Lemons] didn’t use [his major] very much, but that was his choice,” he said.

While Kochman, the chapter president for ASU’s fraud examiner association, has been looking into a similar career, he said he learned new things from Lemons.

“I did learn about career advancement and ranks,” he said.

With an open forum presentation, interested students were able to ask questions about the application process, which Lemons described as a lengthy process.

He said that it can take six to nine months for the application process to be complete and that even filling out the application can be time-consuming.

“I’ve known people where it has taken them two weeks to fill the form out,” he said.

The applications have four major requirements, Lemons said.

Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree, three to five years working experience in what Lemons called a “real job,” they must be between 23 and 37 years of age and must be able to work wherever the FBI wishes to send them, he said.

Lemons said other steps in the process include interviews, polygraph tests, background checks and physical tests.

“I learned more about the beginning aspects of the recruiting and application process,” Hawkes said.

Lemon said there were 30,000 applicants last year and only 8,000 people were hired.

After candidates enter the academy, they pass the 20-week session 97 percent of the time, Lemons said.

Lemons said the FBI Academy is much more academic then other police academies.

Being an agent also requires plenty of movement, he said.

New agents can request where they wish to work but nothing is guaranteed.

“If they can make their wishes fit your need they will do that,” Lemons said of the FBI.

Lemons went on to say that shows like CSI and Law and Order have little in common with how investigative jobs work, stating that the shows are “completely fictitious.”

“What they portray as happening in two to three days takes a month to do,” he said.

The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners ASU Student Chapter will host another event in October with guest speaker Frank Collins, an Arizona assistant attorney general.

Chapter President Darek Kochman said all speakers aim to focus on “fraud education, as far as prevention and detection.”

Reach the reporter at nathan.meacham@asu.edu.