Should I work for the CIA?

The CIA's head of personnel reveals his secrets: this is how you successfully apply to the secret service

“Give us an example of when you were not open and honest: what happened? What did you learn? How have you changed since then? ”When you are ready to answer these questions, the doors to one of the most powerful intelligence organizations in the world are open to you. Okay maybe.

In an interview with the US magazine "Forbes", the CIA personnel manager Ron Patrick gave application tips and advertised jobs.

Simply apply online

Interested parties, says Patrick, can easily apply to the CIA online. After receiving the application, the CIA will check the résumé for special skills and experience - as any other company would do.

If an applicant matches the job profile, there is a telephone conversation, then there may be admission for several online tests, in which things like the written language and analysis skills are tested. If an applicant has overcome this hurdle, explains Patrick, he will be invited to a personal interview.

An interview, not an interrogation

What he then describes seems to go beyond the usual procedure: “We look at what jobs our applicants have already had, look at their academic careers: How good were they as students? Were they respected or viewed as disloyal by their professor? We look at their everyday life. Do you lead an open and honest life? When you set out to do something, for example, are you really doing it, and how well are you doing it? And if they didn't: why not? Did you not have something under control? "

But it would also ask simple things like “Why do you want to work for the CIA?” Or “What are your expectations of working for the CIA?”. Every abnormality is noted, and inquiries are made in the event of contradictions.

Nevertheless, he reassures potential applicants: The conversation is more of a conversation, a dialogue between the candidate and HR staff. Patrick: “If an applicant behaves conspicuously, possibly cheating, then we follow up. But it's an interview - not an interrogation. "

Background check

When asked by “Forbes” how the CIA checks “shady” connections, such as with other secret services, Patrick's answer is surprisingly obvious: “This will now destroy the myths about the CIA, but we just ask: Connect with a foreign government or do your relatives work for a foreign government agency? Or do you have any connections that would conflict with your work with the CIA? "

Who will not be hired?

However, if the background research reveals that a candidate has a connection to something that could pose a national security risk, that person will not be hired, Patrick told Forbes.

The TV series "Homeland" - with the bipolar agent Carrie Mathison as the most important character - has never seen Patrick. But when asked whether a person with such health problems should actually work for him, he is surprisingly tolerant: “People who come to the CIA are normal people. This means that they may have had difficulties in their life or have gone through a bad period. But as long as they meet our standards, do their job and meet our safety standards, we will hire them. If there is a medical problem, we have many discussions with our doctors and those of the applicant. And if everyone agrees that the matter is not a problem and is under control, then we will move on. "

Stoners also have a chance

Once, Patrick revealed, there was an applicant who admitted to smoking marijuana in the US state of Colorado. It is allowed there - but not in all of America. He would have said: "Wait at least a year, then apply again."

There is only one thing the CIA cannot accept: “If an applicant is a convicted criminal. Even if he's been out of jail for five or ten years, it doesn't matter. "