Though someone might suspect that a CIA job interview would be conducted in an anonymous hotel room someplace, by trench-coated spy types, nothing could be further from the truth. Though the CIA is an organization that engages in a number of unusual and dangerous activities around the globe, it is organized along the same lines as many other government bureaucracies. As a matter of fact, most of the jobs at the CIA are similar to jobs in bureaus: research, administration, management, and paperwork of various kinds. Unless you are applying for a job as a field operative, the kinds of questions you would be asked in a CIA job interview aren't much different than at a more traditional research firm.
It should be said that the toughest part of the CIA job interview might be getting into the interviewing the first place. Because of the CIA mystique, a lot of people apply to the organization who might not be qualified. In fact, a lot of people apply to the organization who might be better described as "mentally ill." For that reason, and security concerns, the CIA tends to be very selective regarding who they speak to. They do a lot of their own
recruiting, at top colleges and universities, looking for students who have been recommended by people who have worked with and for the CIA themselves. If you are called in for a CIA job interview, that is a high honor. Be aware that you will be interviewing with some of the most qualified people in the world, and take special efforts to prepare yourself for the task.
CIA Job Interview Strategy
Your strategy for a CIA job interview shouldn't be substantially different from that of any other job interview. Research the position, Predict the Questions, Develop the Answers, Practice the Answers. Researching the position means investigating the duties and environment of the job you are applying for and creating a clear profile of the experiences, qualifications and results that the department is looking for. Predicting the Questions means deciding what questions the interviewer will probably ask to uncover those attributes. Developing the Answers means matching the answers you give to the likely questions with examples, stories, anecdotes and narratives from your past job and life history. Practicing the Answers means getting together with a job search partner or friend and conducting a mock interview until the process becomes natural to you.
One part of the CIA job interview that will be different is the security check that you go through as a candidate. In addition to filling out a long and thorough application which asks for all your past addresses, employers, teachers, friends and anyone who has ever known you, you will go through other tests unique to the CIA. For instance, you might well have to perform a polygraph exam, or to undergo some psychological screening as well. For all these interview sections, the best that you can do is simply be honest and perform as best you can.
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