Interview techniques for a security services position – FBI/MI5

Tuesday, October 7th, 2008 - government jobs, Job Application, Job Interview


Trish asks: I am looking for advice for a client who is interviewing with the FBI for a surveillance position. We’ve worked on behavioural interview questions and while we’re not looking for “insider” information, we just want to make sure we’re accomplishing the right research in preparation for the interview.Your suggestions are welcome!

In answer:
All government departments – but particularly those involved in any level of national security – use staged interview techniques over a period of time (normally at least six stages over 90+ day periods), that create a 360degree view of the candidate with both different interviewers and situations.

These processes aim to find out the true extent of character, their driving forces and loyalties, and their decision making. They also look for detail orientated persons (most surveillance work is frankly boring, but small issues and key patterns take extensive investigation); and they have a specific need presently for less white males to create a more culturally diverse work force – there are situations where not being white and male has it advantages in the current political climate.

The simple answer is – the tests are so extensive and well developed, that you can’t prepare fully for this interview technique. Basic interview technique on how to answer a question – interview room etiquette – would clearly assist any candidate. But trying to learn tactics or cover up/hide or focus away from any character issues would ultimately be folly: the whole issue of the selection process construction is to find such flaws. And if the candidate could cover it up, they would be trained in such techniques, and would probably hence be working for an adverse agenda.

If you are looking for some specific details, then read about interview techniques and processes/procedures used by the relevant national government for employing civil servants and national level police forces – and expect something more extensive, with an army level like physical test. The UK government security services offer an overview on their own recruitment website.

In summary – be honest, and be yourself: if they can’t trust you or your thinking, you won’t get the job.

Good Luck!

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One Response to “Interview techniques for a security services position – FBI/MI5”

  1. Alice Says:

    This post was great.

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