- The experience of recruiting for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is intriguing, but not vastly different from other types of talent acquisition, Roy Maurer reports for the Society for Human Resource Management. SHRM Online spoke with the former chief of talent acquisition for the CIA, Ronald Patrick, who spent 30 years recruiting for the agency.
- Patrick told SHRM that the process of recruitment and onboarding for the CIA is known for being one of the most complete and detailed in the industry, with specific qualifications for each job type and a multi-phased assessment. In addition, all new hires must meet the requirements of an intelligence officer as well as be a subject matter expert. The average time to hire is 6-9 months.
- All CIA recruiters receive extensive training and, despite common belief, there is no top secret warehouse of information on every American they interview.
The unique nature of the CIA makes recruitment a lot more detailed and time-consuming. This is not a big surprise. After all, CIA agents must hold to above average ethical standards not seen in other career paths.
Companies can learn from this insight that they should have a consistent process for sourcing, recruiting, screening, and onboarding every candidate. No one should be accepted at face value. Having a third-party to conduct background checks and drug screens are one piece of the puzzle, something that more companies are engaging in today. On top of this, ensuring job ad language is specific yet non-discriminatory so that people with diverse perspectives will apply.