Geek News: Latest Technology, Product Reviews, Gadgets and Tech Podcast News for Geeks

The CIA Is Hiring, What Can You Expect?

Posted by Alan at 12:13 PM on March 6, 2011

When I was a kid my dad worked for a small airplane company that had some big government contracts.  He spent a lot of time traveling to foreign countries delivering planes and teaching air force pilots there about them.  A lot of those countries experienced regime changes soon after his departure.  It was so obvious that we teased him about showing up for work to find a 60 Minutes crew waiting outside.  That never happened, but it did fuel my fascination with clandestine operations.  That was re-awoken recently by radio ads that the CIA is hiring.  I’m not changing jobs at this point, but I was curious what to expect if I applied.

To be clear, I have NOT applied.  I am only looking at it from afar.  The radio ad mentions security clearance checks, background checks, and polygraph tests.  What does all of this entail and how do you know if you should even bother trying?

Every aspiring geek probably wanted to be James Bond at some point.  OK, Bond wasn’t CIA, but Jason Bourne just doesn’t have the same appeal.  Of course reality is a whole lot less exciting than Hollywood.  Like anywhere, the CIA consists of cubicles and lots of paperwork.  Currently they are hiring for a broad range of positions including IT and Security, as well as the cryptic “clandestine services”.

The application process involves medical and drug screening, personal integrity testing, security clearance check, and passing a polygraph test.  The last seems to be a favorite of government agencies, despite the compendium of evidence showing that it’s completely unreliable.  It’s a long application, interview, and testing process.

Think you have what it takes?  If you have applied, or are planning to, let us know in the comments.  Fill us in about what you can let be known.  It’s a fascinating process and career.

2 Comments

  1. From jay at 3:36 pm on March 6, 2011

    the hiring process is a beat down. If you love spy movies and Jason Bourne and James bond, do yourself a favor and get another interest. If you want to directorate of intelligence, you can make a lot more money with a lot less hassle in the private sector. If you want to work for the National Clandestine Service, formally known as the directorate of operations, then you better have your ducks in a row and really love to work long, thankless, anonymous, underpaid hours. If the latter is your choice, you’ll go through a grueling application process. You’re going to need at least a bachelors and it would help a whole lot of you had some military experience. You don’t have to be a ODA or SeAl operator but neither should you be a pencil-pusher nerd. A language skill would help immensely as would any foreign service. Once selected you’ll go to the career foreign service school in Williamsburg Virgina (Camp Peary -The Farm). If you’re looking into the paramilitary side of the Special Activities Division you need a paramilitary course and you’ll end up at some point at Harvey Point North Carolina (The Point). From there, it depends on you and the needs of the Agency. If you’re a case officer, you’ll be stationed in some low-rent job in some armpit of a country and spend all day long doing superficial meaningless work in some office, while running agents and doing the real work clandestinely.

  2. From Alan Buckingham at 7:10 pm on March 6, 2011

    Wow! Thanks for all of the info. I wasn’t planning to try so it’s good to know it was stupid pipe dream anyway.