CIA Hiring Process

Outlined by the Head of CIA Recruiting:

"Unlike other federal agencies, we hire all year round as we do not hire to specific jobs, but to skill sets we need, and because of our unique security requirements. It takes roughly 9-18 months to get through our process, depending on the occupation for which a student has applied and the extent of their overseas experience and contacts. We are always looking to improve our timeline, and there are always those who clear faster than others, but the above is the estimate that students need to plan for.

On the hiring process, it is roughly as outlined below, although it will vary somewhat depending on occupation:

Applicants must apply online and are able to apply for up to four positions in one year or at one time in a year. If the applicant does not hear anything in 45 days from us (and it is stated on our website) it means that at this time the applicant was not seen as competitive. We are working on a formal letter to all applicants, so there is no guessing by the applicant, and hope to have that capability by FY11.

If there is interest, the applicant will receive a telephone call from a recruiter, either an invitation for a local info-session/initial telephone interview (for the National Clandestine Service) or an invitation to an info-session and follow-on in-person interview (all other occupations--analysis, support, and technical.)

After this stage, the process varies slightly for each occupation. But generally speaking, for the National Clandestine Service, it is a longer process of interviews and testing than for the other three occupation areas before a decision is made to offer someone a Conditional Offer of Employment (COE). For the other three, after the interview, the entire applicant file is compiled (results of interview, online testing, and the applicant's online application) for a decision on whether to issue a COE.

Once an applicant receives a COE, the applicant is mailed an SF-86 form to fill out within 17 days or less, which launches the security (suitability, background check, and polygraph), medical testing, and office visits, which generally are held in Washington, DC, and over a three day period. We pay travel and lodging expenses.

Once an applicant clears this process, and granted a security clearance, we then schedule a date to enter on duty (EOD). Each new hire is scheduled for a nine-day orientation program, which includes meeting with their new office management and segments on benefits, Agency culture, promotion criteria, etc.--everything a new officer needs to know to feel a part of the CIA and how to work successfully at CIA.

Once an applicant receives a COE, s/he can expect regular communication from us approximately every 30 days or within a 30-day period until they EOD."