President George W Bush visits CIA Headquarters, March 20, 2001.
Marching onwards with our revamped Policy Section, enjoy some career advice from Soft Power Blog a creative project of an American academic and future intelligence officer, and a Canadian lawyer and entrepreneur. Analysis include coverage of major world events and political issues, as well as a unique take on various debates within policing, law enforcement and intelligence. Soft Power Blog for Mindthis Policy will focus on themes such as patriotic activism, careers in intelligence, and ensure our team provides views from all spectrums of Policy. Now go and enjoy Part 1 of how to pursue a career in intelligence!
Q: Where should I apply?
A: The website, obviously. This remains true if you have been approached by Intelligence personnel and given a recruitment offer verbally. Waiting for them to invite you to a secret, smoke-filled room is going to drag on for a long time before you too cave and apply on the website.
Q: What if I don’t know what agency I’d like to work for?
A: That is certainly worthy of extra consideration. Within the US, there are countless agencies that would happily take your application. Applying just to the most well-known agencies is not necessary and could potentially create bottlenecks in the processing of applicants. Another avenue that one can follow into a Career in intelligence is through an existing career or potential future career in policing or the military. Citizens of foreign states who fit the requirements and are interested in a new passport would be wise to apply only to a foreign policy-oriented intelligence agency if applying in the US, Canada, or the UK.
Q: What should I expect after applying?
A: If you are in the US, Canada or the UK, you may expect another lengthy waiting period, in which you wonder if you have been forgotten. During this time it is essential that you find other work, preferably in a related field and preferably in a way that allows you to remain financially stable. When interviews and tests begin, you will likely find them to be stressful. Remember that your experience is less unique than you think, and that those on the other side of the interview have been through something similar themselves. Don’t take anything personally, and learn to be professional and patient when your personality is under scrutiny. Most of all, trust your own inherent sense of morality.
If asked or seemingly required to do or say something that is against your moral beliefs, refuse to do so. That in all cases is passing the test. If in doubt, remember the person interviewing you. What makes this person powerful? What makes somebody the right man for the job in an intelligence career? They can be trusted. And if you can’t be trusted with your own moral code, you can’t be trusted. In addition to testing and interviews, you will be given training and conditioning using hired actors and on-the-job training using real offices and workplace environments. All involved in these exercises will make clear to you, in a way that you could go to your embassy, consulate or agency contacts with in an emergency, that they are employees of the same intelligence agency or of a cooperative intelligence agency.
Q: Who should apply?
A: Every neighborhood of every major American city, and every strategic town, contains people employed as intelligence officers. The intelligence community requires the ability to knock on any door, speak in any language or accent, and appeal to any demographic. The real requirements are as follows: An Intelligence Officer must have a strength of character and personal integrity that becomes clear and remains intact under close observation and extreme situations of stress or duress. An intelligence officer must be trusted in all possible situations, and worthy of trust when nobody is looking or when the threat of consequences is absent. An intelligence officer must be a person that people like and admire, or a person that people both fear and respect. An intelligence officer is, famously, a little bit sociopath, but also highly empathetic and highly moral. Like a doctor, or a like a soldier.
These same standards have been observed in cooperative and allied intelligence agencies as well. When in doubt, ask.
Stay tuned for Part 2.
This feature is originally from Soft Power Blog.
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