Joining MI6 was until recently an operation as covert as the organisation’s official business, but now applying to become a spy is simply a matter of filling out the right application form.
Traditionally you don’t choose to work for the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), or MI6 as it’s more popularly known, the service chooses you. Potential spies were often identified from behind the cloisters of Oxford and Cambridge and then tapped up surreptitiously.
Alternatively job applicants might arrive for interviews without any idea who their potential employer might be and only ever find out if they pass through the various rounds of recruitment successfully.
Recent years have, however, seen a very significant change in the intelligence agency’s recruitment policy. Believing secrecy at the recruitment stage to be counter-productive and talent-spotting to be too labour intensive, MI6 now find their spies in a more straight-forward and transparent manner, much like their sister service across the Thames, MI5. Likewise they also now have their own website rather than just a mysterious PO box number.
The application process may be more straightforward these days but that doesn’t mean MI6 have also curtailed their fine art of selection. They are no less particular about the type of candidates they are looking for and keen as ever to dissuade “thrill seekers and fantasists” looking to follow in the footsteps of James Bond.
Successful candidates still need to be very discrete - it’s one thing to have a hugely exciting and impressive job but then to have to keep any mention of it limited to your nearest and dearest is an enviable skill in itself. Show-offs are therefore as welcome as would-be 00-agents.
Besides being averse to the limelight, SIS employees are expected to be motivated problem-solvers who are good at building relationships, exhibit strong intelligence and have a healthy interest in international affairs.
As well as keeping a particular eye out for specialists such as linguists – particularly in Arabic – and computer experts, the SIS is also looking wider in terms of the sex and ethnicity of its potential employees.
It is now accepted that the white males from privileged university backgrounds that have historically formed the backbone of the security services are not naturally suited to all foreign security threats, not least those posed by Islamic extremists.
The service is keen to recruit more staff from ethnic minority backgrounds not simply because public organisations should be reflective of the society they work on behalf but because of the valuable insight and understanding different ethnic minorities bring - and because they want people that look the part. MI6 have said they are keen to recruit from the Muslim community. Women are also in greater demand.
The SIS can’t afford to choose the wrong person and so recruitment process is a rigorous process that can take as long as nine months for successful applicants.
Up to 80 per cent of applicants fall at the first hurdle, the online application form, and often for trivial mistakes such as failing to answer the questions properly. Half of those selected for first interview don’t make it any further and then 50 per cent of the remainder don’t make it beyond the second.
Those that manage to make it so far still have to face an assessment course and then an intensive personal vetting process.
Before you even think about starting this journey you have to make sure you passport confirms you are a British citizen, that you have a 2:2 degree or above and haven’t indulged in any recreational drugs in the preceding 12 months.
Perks of the Job
If you would feel a great sense of purpose and pride in the idea of protecting the security and economic well-being of the United Kingdom from threats such as terrorism, drug trafficking and regional instability then it is certainly worth all the effort.
In being centred on foreign intelligence gathering it is not surprising that one of the perks of the job is the opportunity to travel. An SIS officer may be expected to spend months in a particular country soaking up its culture. The SIS is also noted for the warmth and friendliness of its working environment.
Weighing down the numerous attractions of a role within the SIS might be a concern for danger, a common presumption for which James Bond and his ‘licence to kill’ can share at least some of the blame.
The safety of MI6 staff reigns supreme and they are not asked to do anything they are not comfortable with. Even if they did fancy the idea of having a concealed weapon about their person it wouldn’t be their domain to do so. On occasions where action is required specially trained operatives would be contracted in, usually ex-special forces members.
I’m a 13 year old boy from the UK I have been interested in MI6 for a while now I am a shy individual that has not many friends making me a perfect spy
Grape - 21-Oct-20 @ 10:21 PM
I wanna join you, , , iam a killing machine and willing to die in the battle field
Lucifer - 28-Jun-20 @ 8:16 PM
Fluent in Hindi, Punjabi, English and can speak some French.
watch this space a few years from now
. - 27-May-20 @ 12:09 PM
16 years old.
Height: 5ft 8
Body fat percentage: 9.5%
Well built, athletic, intelligent, street-smart, make rapid decisions, leadership qualities.
Completed DoFe silver-- Lead my team through tough situations, managed food allowance, first to wake up, last to sleep.
Go gym 4 times a week.
GCSE MOCKS results: 5 Grade 9, 3 Grade 8, 2 Grade 7
Indian origin; Father is British Citizen (Indian Origin), Living in Britain for 16 years.
Passionate to make a difference to the future of UK.
My certificates and grades speak for themselves.
Not working for money; but for my country.
. - 27-May-20 @ 12:06 PM
I certainly thought this would have at least any older people to leave a comment, but all I see is preteens being desperate to be an agent. Just because you see action agent James bond movies doesn't mean all that you see is true. Real live agent are far from What you see in movies or book. Their works are not that easy either. And this requirement of having to have British passport/citizenship is ridiculous! Why can not people from other part of the world be able to partake in this? If this job requires linguistics- particularly in Arabic- and Muslims are seeked, why not let others who don't have British citizenship have a chance? I wanted to try out for this very much, but seeing the requirements now is very disheartening for I am not British. I may have some potential in some of the fields mentioned here and might possibly be good at others also if trained properly. So if MI6/SISmight consider this and actually asks for my type of people -who are actually interested and serious being an agent- we will jump at the first opportunity.
Apola - 23-May-20 @ 9:42 PM
I'm a 12 year old girl and have always been interested in joining SIS/MI6. I would like to find out what the GCSE requirements are so I can work towards the expected grades.
riama - 29-Apr-20 @ 11:29 AM
Joined the Cyprus army at the age of 18, i may bot be the smartest person in the room but my i can be very street smart. i feel like i could be at use in the field
Blinkers - 24-Apr-20 @ 7:23 AM
I want to join MI6 please fams, don't have ID though.. Immortal on a good day, 5ft 500pounds speaks dog language, i have some people ide like to roll on, I'll bring alcohol and weed. Been able to confuse people with my experience you included... Perfect for the job
Dead - 4-Feb-20 @ 2:04 AM
Hi im a 12 year old girl and i am really interested in MI6, Ive always wanted to join and be a spy doing secret missions.The thing that inspired me the most is the spy movies like james bond and Johnny English and i have always had the curiosity of what it would be like. Very soon i will be choosing my subjects for GCSES and i would like to know wht subjects do i have to study to become apart of MI6
Fruits - 27-Dec-19 @ 4:11 PM
Y’all aren’t the most perceptive people are you? First things first, you need to be at least 17 and a half to apply and have full British citizenship. Secondly, the guy that wrote this is not affiliated with the SIS in any way.
TomCallan - 22-Sep-19 @ 5:43 PM
I would really like to join the mi6 it is my dream and I would start training right away and please send a message to my Instagram yxng_esav
E - 2-Sep-19 @ 4:01 PM
Hi Im healer and please take me I will do all the missions and I will
always follow the orders please take me Thank you!
healer - 11-Aug-19 @ 12:07 PM
I'm 13 I live in Nigeria I've lived in the US and I want to join the MI6 so madly I spy on little people please give me the opportunity to work with you I won't let you down
Black Mafia - 10-Aug-19 @ 12:39 PM
So i am a 12 year old girl and i really want to become part of the MI6 any time soon probably at the age of 14 however i dont know how to sigh up as a child.
Gonaburst - 2-Jul-19 @ 11:23 PM
I would love to join. I have immense emotional intelligence, great at forming relationships, trust is the highest thing I value. Trust me, I know a lot and can be very useful. Joining this organisation has been my dream.
Anton - 1-Jul-19 @ 4:37 AM
I am a British citizen and ethnic afghan and I can believe that I can be very useful. I can speak Persian , Pashto, Urdo , punjabi and English.
Karim - 25-Jun-19 @ 2:18 AM
I am a 13 year old girl who was born in Britain and lives in a kurdish household. next week I will be choosing my options for year 9 and GCSEs and I would like to know what subjects i need to study in order to become part of the MI6.
Mermaid - 2-May-19 @ 6:13 PM
I am not a British citizen, I am a 16yr old who would love to work for the SIS n serve MI6.
Anonymous - 12-Mar-19 @ 11:43 AM
I am a 13 year old girl for Latvia, living in the UK. I’ve always been interested in secret missions, I’ve been watching films about spies and secret agents. I understand films are not really like the real deal, but I’m still interested in helping the country and keeping it safe. I’ve started doing research on the MI6/SIS and I’m studying extra subjects after school. I was wondering about the subjects I should choose for GCSE in the future, if you have any advice, I’d be more than happy to try it out.
Unknown - 12-Feb-19 @ 8:31 PM
Im going to chose my GCSES next month so i am wondering what i would need to because it is a lifelong dream to work for MI6
agent - 12-Jan-19 @ 7:50 AM
Hello I would very much like to be a part of MI6 and many people believe my intelligence to be very high, however I am 14 years old. I was just wondering if there were specific GCSE requirements and if there was anything I could do to give myself a better chance of succeeding the application progress when I am older. I would be extremely grateful for a reply.
Agent1512 - 20-Dec-18 @ 6:48 PM
i wanna be a agent to work for Uk , trust me i know the most of the secret about the uk for a lot of people who the curv is looking for ,,, and sorry my age is 22 ,,contact me by email
Agent007 - 15-Oct-18 @ 3:16 PM
I am thinking about joining the MI6/SIS but I’m not sure what the entry requirements are yet. I have looked on the websites but it doesn’t say anything about what GCSE results I may need.
I still have one year left at secondary school and I’m only 15 but I am exploring my options and deciding what I want to do when I leave school. I will be looking forward to seeing a reply,
Jo - 26-Sep-18 @ 4:15 PM
I currently study maths economics and chemistry for a levels and im thinking of doing forensic science for university. I am about to turn 17. Where do I go from here if I want to be a spy or a secret agent?
CJ - 24-Sep-18 @ 4:27 PM
I am 18 years old, I want to be a mi6, I often see on the internet that being a mi6 agent is very good and interesting, but I am hindered by Indonesian citizenship, whether I can become a mi6 agent without being hindered by citizenship. I'm waiting for your reply
Fiqri - 20-Sep-18 @ 10:32 AM
can other citizens be SIS agents, I want to be a British agent, only I am hindered by Indonesian citizenship
Fiqri - 20-Sep-18 @ 5:22 AM
I’m 17 and currently studying public services to then go to university and study forensics. I’ve always wanted to be part of this agency and I would to be given the chance. I’m hardworking, secretive and I think I’d fit in very well. Looking forward to a reply.
Pops - 10-Aug-18 @ 11:30 PM
Ok here we go
I am from a medical backgroundI am in 40s 3 postgraduate and works in a professional capacity with people interaction, I speak 2 foreign languages and well travelled, from ethic background,discrete , more then 15 of senior professional experience in a very large national organisation in the UK, wants a change in career and new challenge.
1717 - 29-Jul-18 @ 11:07 AM
can i join the m16 without being a british citizen?
Mc shady - 20-Jul-18 @ 7:58 PM
I'm 16, but i wanna train to become a spy when i'm 18. I'm going to college in september and after i leave college, i wanna start to train and apply. Am i able to apply now?