By submitting an application to the CIA, you are consenting to background investigation by the United States Government and its agents, and to the use of any information you provide by the Central Intelligence Agency for any of its authorized activities.
Applying While Living Overseas
For your safety and the security of our process, we do not want to have commercial communications by hard copy mail, telephone, email or internet with you while you are outside the United States or its territories. Do NOT apply online or contact the CIA if you are physically outside the United States or its territories. Throughout your process with us, you may travel abroad. However, you should never contact us from outside the United States or its territories once you are in process with us.
To be considered suitable for Agency employment, applicants must generally not have used illegal drugs within the last 12 months. The issue of illegal drug use prior to 12 months ago is carefully evaluated during the medical and security processing.
Recently, Colorado and Washington legalized the sale of recreational marijuana under their state law. In addition, 20 states plus the District of Columbia have also legalized the use of marijuana for medical conditions, likewise under their state law. Despite the legalization of marijuana under state law, federal statute specifically prohibits CIA and other agencies from granting security clearances to users of controlled substances, including marijuana. Further, the use of marijuana and other controlled substances in violation of federal law remains a possible disqualifying criterion under Intelligence Community clearance eligibility standards. Regardless of whether an individual is located in a state that has legalized marijuana or in a foreign country where local laws allow it, and regardless of whether the Department of Justice enforces applicable federal criminal prohibitions in those jurisdictions, any use of marijuana may adversely impact that individuals eligibility for a security clearance.
A career in intelligence can be enormously rewarding. It also demands the very best of the men and women who comprise the Agency's workforce. To meet the requirements of the work itself, intelligence professionals must be highly competent in their fields. To safeguard some of the nation's most sensitive information, CIA officers must be highly reliable and trustworthy. Woven through all aspects of their performance is the imperative to adhere to the highest standards of integrity. To be selected for a position of such trust and responsibility, one must be granted a security clearance.
Many applicants wonder if they can pass such scrutiny. The Agency recognizes no one is perfect. Agency security officials consider the nature, extent, seriousness, and recency of past behavior. They weigh the potential risk and benefit of each individual - the whole person - with utmost care. Although national security is always the paramount consideration, our security experts work hard to ensure the Agency does not turn away unnecessarily someone who could make important contributions to the nation's intelligence effort.
The Clearance Process
The clearance process is strictly governed by rules and regulations derived from Federal statute and executive orders. It involves a thorough examination of your life history and fitness to safeguard the nation's secrets. Think of this process as the first step in building a bridge of trust between you and the Agency. Candor is an essential ingredient in the establishment of that trust.
The investigation addresses comprehensively one's loyalty to the United States, strength of character, trustworthiness, honesty, reliability, discretion, and soundness of judgment. In addition, it examines one's freedom from conflicting allegiances, potential for coercion, and willingness and ability to abide by regulations governing the use, handling and protection of sensitive information.
The Agency uses a polygraph to check the veracity of information that bears upon the areas listed above. CIA's polygraph examiners are highly trained security professionals, among the world's best in their field. They work closely and carefully with applicants to ensure that the information upon which clearance decisions are based is as accurate as it can be and is guarded with the strictest confidence.
The clearance process can be lengthy. Since the Agency actively recruits people who have expert knowledge of foreign languages and cultures, it is not unusual for our applicants to have numerous foreign contacts. In these cases the investigation must cover more ground, which usually takes more time. Candor is critical to the timely completion of this process.
The hiring process also entails a thorough medical examination of one's mental and physical fitness to perform essential job functions.
You Should Also Note
Your responsibility to adhere to high standards of personal conduct does not end on the first day of employment. CIA employees undergo regular reinvestigations, including periodic polygraph examinations. CIA is an Equal Opportunity Employer. The Agency does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, age, or sexual orientation in granting, denying, or revoking security clearances.
I applied online. I interviewed at CIA (Arlington, VA) in February 2017.
Let me just say from the outset, that this review is no doubt tinged by the fact that I am disappointed that I did not get an offer. That being said, I was interviewed by another agency that was my first choice and I would give them a very positive review despite the fact that I was not given an offer. Take my review for what it's worth.
I applied about a year before I got my final rejection letter. I did not expect to get a response, but after three months, I was sent a translation test, given that I had originally applied to be a linguist (I also applied to be an analyst). I turned it in, again not expecting to hear anything, but after another four months, I got a message in the mail directing me to an online test and a questionnaire. I did both and waited. I was told that if I did not hear back in 45 days that that meant that my application was no longer being considered. 45 days passed and I assumed that I was disqualified and forgot about my application. After about another 45 days, I all of a sudden got a call telling me that they wanted to set up a phone interview. I consented and they called me back the next day.
The interview went very poorly. One of the first questions they asked me is if I had ever been in a high-pressure situation and I stumbled. Because I applied for a desk job, I assumed that they were asking about meeting deadlines, so I gave some BS response about a time I had to work on a tight deadline. The interviewer interrupted me and basically told me that I gave a bad answer (and she was correct), although she did it politely. I can hardly remember any of the other questions because I was so tripped up by this that it is all that I remember. It was an incredibly odd question to ask a 20-something single guy straight out of college with little real experience in the workplace. When I got to the end of the interview, I was informed that I was being interviewed for a completely different position (one that involved high-pressure situations) than the one that I had applied to. They had not even given me a hint that this would happen and I had instead been given the impression that I was going to be interviewed for a low-pressure desk job. This and the fact that they called me a month and a half after I had assumed that I was no longer being considered left me with little room to prepare for a better interview. No wonder I stumbled so badly.
This might not seem like much, but at one point, they even sent a letter to my previous address that I had moved out of after telling them on two occasions that I had moved. The current tenants there were kind enough to let me know that I had received a letter so I was able to respond in time.
Anyway, I felt like the entire process was completely bungled and I have to be honest and say that I was left with the impression of bureaucratic incompetence. The only thing I have left to say is that I welcome our new Russian overlords.
- Describe a high-pressure situation in the workplace that you have gone through. 1 Answer