MI5 is recruiting 'intuitive and curious' people and you don't need any past experience - here’s how to apply

Would you like to work for MI5? (Photo: Shutterstock)Would you like to work for MI5? (Photo: Shutterstock)
Would you like to work for MI5? (Photo: Shutterstock)

Most of us might associate working for an intelligence agency with the world of film and TV, but jobs within the security service aren’t just limited to the James Bonds of the world.

Government agency MI5 is currently recruiting for staff to join to join its bases in Cheltenham, Central London and Manchester as vetting officers.

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Who is MI5 looking for?

MI5, MI6 and GCHQ help to protect the UK from threats to its national security at home and abroad, working against terrorism and espionage, to cyber threats and sabotage.

Vetting Officers work across all of these three agencies to deliver vetting decisions and recommendations on potential recruits or members of staff.

The successful candidate is promised the role will involve hearing “the good, the bad and everything in between”, and is about having insightful, confidential conversations to build a picture of who a person is.

You will be helping to keep the country safe by thoroughly screening people and identifying anything that could pose a potential risk to national security.

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What experience do I need?

All new vetting officers will join a structures two year programme to help develop the skills and knowledge required for the role, so previous experience is not essential.

The programme will consist of:

- intelligence agency familiarisation

- formal training

- on the job learning

- project related work

- working with an experienced Vetting Officer who will mentor and support you throughout the programme

Once the programme is completed, you will be expected to have developed the skills required to apply for a fully accredited vetting officer role and apply for promotion.

If successful, you will then take on a broader range of activities as an autonomous vetting officer.

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Where will the job be based?

The role will be based at the headquarters of whichever agency you choose as your preferred location, either at Cheltenham, Central London, or Manchester.

However, it may be necessary to travel to other parts of the UK as part of the role.

What is the person criteria?

MI5 is looking for people who are self-motivated, resilient and are able to manage their own workload to meet tight deadlines.

Being a natural people person is essential, as the role requires engaging confidently with staff at every level of seniority, as well as candidates and their referees from a range of backgrounds.

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Applicants must have an innate sense for the truth and know when to dig deeper, with strong decision-making skills being essential.

Additionally, applicants should be organised and logical, yet have a good sense of curiosity and intuition, so as to absorb as much detail and information as possible when asking questions.

How do I apply?

To apply for the role, candidates need to fill out an online application form which will cover relevant experience, motivation for applying and some situational judgement questions related to the role.

If successful, candidates will then go through a vetting process which involves completing some online forms, a security interview, and referee interviews.

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Candidates must be born or a naturalised British citizen to be eligible to apply, and must normally have been resident in the UK for nine out of the last 10 years.

However, applications will still be considered if you have served overseas with HM Forces, or in some other official capacity as a representative of Her Majesty’s Government, studied abroad, or lived overseas with parents.

Candidates can apply at the age of 17 years and 6 months. However, if successful, they will not be offered a start date prior to their 18th birthday.

Applications should not be discussed with other people, except for partners or a close family member, and should only should only be made from within the UK.

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