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CIA Interview Questions

Updated Nov 26, 2014
Updated Nov 26, 2014
25 Interview Reviews

Interview Experience

Interview Experience

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Getting an Interview

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Candidate Interview Reviews

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  1. 5 people found this helpful  

    Technical Intelligence Officer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Interview Details

    Took 9 months between resume submittal and interview.

    Interview Questions
    Declined Offer
  2. 3 people found this helpful  

    Core Collector Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Interview Details

    Standard phone interview followed up by many more steps. A lot of this can not be disclosed due to the security of this job. It is extremely bureaucratic (it is the government after all) and if you are in search of a "quick fill" position this is not it. The average time is 12-18 months for the whole hiring process.

    Interview Questions
    • Pretty much standard behavioral interview questions. Be prepared to do a lot of research and be fully investing in this one position.   Answer Question
    No Offer
  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    Intelligence Analyst Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Interview Details

    Applied online. Got an email telling me to complete an online aptitude test. After that I got another email stating that I will be interviewing in Washington DC. Interview was mostly standard behavior engineering team questions. Stuff about how you would handle working in groups, questions about bad team mates and such.

    Interview Questions
    • Describe in exact detail a time when constructive criticism was helpful.   Answer Question
    No Offer
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  5. 19 people found this helpful  

    Open Source Officer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Reston, VA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Reston, VA
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 10+ monthsinterviewed at CIA in August 2010.

    Interview Details

    I applied online to the CIA the March before I graduated and was asked to take a test about two weeks later. The test was an open-dictionary timed translation for the 4 languages I spoke (Arabic, Farsi, Dari, and French), plus a fun analysis section in English. When the test was finished a message popped up saying I’d hear back in 6-8 weeks. I called my contact 9 weeks later who gave me the run around for a few calls before telling me I passed and a program manager would contact me in two weeks if they wanted an interview. I called back 3 weeks later and was told, “Oh yea. They want to interview you.”

    The interview was pretty standard. They asked questions about times I displayed leadership, teamwork, creativity, diversity and a few other qualities. One of the interviewers had been tracking AQIM, a group I had written a research paper on, so we talked about that for a while. Two weeks later, about 5 months after I first applied, I received an offer. With signing and language bonuses, I would be tripling my salary.

    A few months later, they scheduled a time for me to come down for an office visit, psych eval, polygraph, etc. They originally scheduled it for Dec 30-Jan 1, then called back a week later to let me know that was a holiday and rescheduled for a week earlier. They gave me the wrong address for the office visit so I was 30 minutes late. That didn’t matter, though, since the office was never informed I was visiting. Everyone there seemed nice enough and passionate about what they were doing. The next day was the polygraph. They freaked me out by saying I had failed a question, but I found out that out of 8 other people there, they told 7 they failed the same question. All came back the next day and “passed”.

    About 3 weeks later, I received an offer from the Foreign Service. I called my would-be boss who I had met at the visit and told her. It was still about a year until I would get an assignment, so I said I wanted to work with her until then. She said that was great and she’d be happy to accommodate me. A week later, I received a letter saying I had been ruled “unsuitable” for the position and I should apply again in a year.

    The process did little to instill in me faith in the competence of the organization (among other problems, they didn’t know where Philadelphia was, insisting I fly to DC, and spent about an hour grilling me on my high school drinking habits). I’m far from alone. Most of my classmates in Arabic and Farsi went to Google, Deloitte, or McKinsey and none have gone to the CIA. I was single-minded back then and badly undervalued myself. I can’t imagine tolerating what I did from a hiring process again.

    Interview Questions
    • They asked me to give examples of when I displayed a few characteristics. Each one was one of the State Department's 13 dimension.   Answer Question
    Accepted Offer
    Negative Experience
    Easy Interview
  6. 13 people found this helpful  

    Operations Officer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Washington, DC
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Washington, DC
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 3+ monthsinterviewed at CIA in August 2010.

    Interview Details

    First step consisted of an online application for one or more positions. I was told later on that there is a hierarchy among the various directorates as to which gets first crack at the candidates available with Operations being first on that list.

    About a month later I was contacted and asked to set up a phone interview. The phone interview lasted around 30 min and consisted of some basic personal questions and a few general knowledge items regarding the agency and its mission.

    Several weeks later I received a packet asking for more information. The response included several personal / motivation for applying questions and an essay about a current international issue. In addition to the written material, I had to take an online personality assessment and IQ test.

    About a month after that I was contacted by phone (a negative response comes in the form of a letter) and invited to an information session in the Northern VA area and asked to set up an appointment for the first 1:1 interview. The information session was with a large group of people, lasted around 5 hours, and covered all the basics about positions within the Operations Directorate and general details about life undercover.

    The interview is scheduled within a week of the information session and was conducted at an off-site agency building. The interview was conducted by a retired Operations Officer and consisted of basic interview type questions (resume review, motivations, strengths, weaknesses, life choices, etc...) In addition I was asked to discuss another current foreign affair (different from the previous essay) and also participated in several role playing exercises based on typical duties of an officer.

    I choose not to pursue the position after that point, but from what I learned the next step (1-2 months later) consisted of a three day round of a 2nd 1:1 interview (similar to the first), another aptitude test, and psychological evaluation. Upon successful completion of that, candidates receive a conditional offer of employment. From there you must pass medical and background checks. Overall the process from application to start date can take up to or more than a year.

    General Thoughts: The process requires a long time to complete. An understanding of the concept of cover is important. Checking out some of the suggested reading material (provided early on) is a good idea. Overall a career in intelligence is probably less interesting that you would have thought (at least that was the case for myself).

    Interview Questions
    • Describe a time when you've lied.   View Answer
    • Describe a time when you manipulated another person to get something you wanted.   View Answer
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Average Interview
  7. 2 people found this helpful  

    Analyst Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Washington, DC
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Washington, DC
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took a dayinterviewed at CIA in January 2008.

    Interview Details

    The interview lasted for about 1 hour. The questions were both about my professional qualifications, along with my personal situation. At one point the interviewer had me explain to him my understanding of the political situation in a region outside the US. I could choose the region I told him about. The interviewer was very interested to know my language skills.

    Interview Questions
    • Tell me, in detail, your understanding of a political situation of a country outside your area of expertise.   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  8. 1 person found this helpful  

    Directorate of Intelligence Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 6 weeksinterviewed at CIA in August 2014.

    Interview Details

    I applied for the Intelligence Analysis internship on the CIA's website. I wrote a few essays, submitted my resume and cover letter, which was easy. I was notified after 3 weeks (?) via e-mail that I would have to take some tests. One of the tests was a timed skills-based test which has SAT-style questions. They focused mostly on logic and basic algebra. There was a personality test which was multiple choice and offered the same questions that would be on a Myers-Briggs exam. There was also a timed writing exam in which I would have to write a brief for the intelligence community on a fake terrorist group. These tasks were a little difficult, but completely manageable.

    I was contacted a week after taking the tests for a phone interview. I was interviewed by two people, a man and a woman, who seemed like they were trying to play a little good cop/ bad cop kind of thing. The interview focused mostly on my soft skills and really went through my resume. They also asked some more political questions. I really enjoyed answering the question, "What do you think the greatest problem today is in America?".

    I received a notice of rejection a week and a half later. I feel confident that I would have gotten the job, however, I am studying abroad this semester so they would not be able to conduct a proper background check on time.

    Interview Questions
    • Can you explain to us the process you use when conducting research on a subject?   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  9. 7 people found this helpful  

    Political Analyst Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied through college or university. The process took 4+ monthsinterviewed at CIA.

    Interview Details

    Applied online after meeting a recruiter at my university. Heard back a month later and completed some basic intelligence and personality tests (LSAT and Meyers-Briggs type questions). Also sent in a more detailed explanation of my qualifications, particularly related to foreign travel. Phone interview was a month later, then after another month I had an in-person interview. Both were very straightforward and focused on my writing, research, analytical, and teamwork background in a lot of detail. My advice to candidates who get this far would be to stay on your toes, up to date on current events, and know your resume cold as you will be grilled on it. Overall impression of the interview was that it was extremely thorough but also exhausting. Heard back within a month with an offer and then began the security clearance process, which is a whole different saga. If you are fortunate enough to get an offer, make other plans because you won't start for a long time. Apply, then forget about it until the next step comes along.

    Interview Questions
    • What, in your opinion, are the three biggest intelligence challenges facing the United States?   View Answer
    Negotiation Details
    I was extremely happy with the initial offer. Not sure how negotiating would go as this career really isn't about the money, plus you're dealing with a government bureaucracy that has an endless supply of qualified candidates.
    Accepted Offer
    Difficult Interview
  10. 6 people found this helpful  

    Staff Operations Officer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 10+ monthsinterviewed at CIA in March 2012.

    Interview Details

    Begins with the online application. From there, there is a telephone interview with a recruiter, basic behavioral interview questions. They will also go over your resume with you. After that, you will be invited to an information session, where they will explain in detail the particulars of working for the agency; immediately following that, there will be a one-on-one interview with an agent or former agent. In addition to standard interview questions, there are also things such as current event knowledge questions and role playing scenarios. Assuming you get past this stage, you are then flown out to DC for at least three day There will be a another 1:1 interview, this time even more detailed and with more role-playing scenarios. Finally, there is an interview with a psychologist, which is very much so like a behavioral interview, just way more intrusive and detailed. From there there are two options: you receive a rejection letter (which I did); or you receive a condition offer of employment, which is conditional upon the completion of a deep background investigation that normally takes another 6 months to a year to complete, in addition to medical testing and a polygraph test.

    The main bad thing about the interview process was that it was SO LONG. From the date of my initial application to my final rejection just before the COE, it was a total of 10 months. If I had made it further, it would have been as much as another 12 months before I could enter on duty. Which can make rejection that much more painful.

    Other than that, though, it was a pleasant interview process. Anyone who applies and makes it even to the info session should consider themselves lucky: the Agency gets tens of thousands of applications for each position it opens--just making the cut is an achievement. If you are lucky enough to make it to the second round of interviews, they fly you out and reimburse you--and usually you do have enough free time to enjoy the area a bit.

    Interview Questions
    • Describe in detail an international current event, and how is it important to American interests?   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  11. 6 people found this helpful  

    Intern Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    The process took a dayinterviewed at CIA in September 2010.

    Interview Details

    Talked to a recruiter at a university career fair about an internship as a weapons analyst. Received a call that night for an on-campus interview the next morning.

    Interviewer was nice and the interview was relatively relaxed. Asked a set of standard behavioral questions and also asked what in my opinion was the most important issue America was facing. Questions were mainly focused on leadership experience.

    Interview went well but was unable to continue with application process because I was planning on some international travel between the interview and the internship period when the background check would be taking place.

    Interview Questions
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Easy Interview

See What CIA Employees Are Saying

2 people found this helpful

 Current Senior Analyst in Bethesda, MD

Pros: “Serving your country. Relative job security. Good stepping stone for international relations majors to other analyst jobs. D.C. Area is a great place to work and network” Full Review

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