UK secret service recruiting on Facebook

Summary:MI6, a branch of the UK's secret service, is using Facebook as part of a recent recruitment drive to find the "next generation of spies".

MI6, a branch of the UK's secret service, is using Facebook as part of a recent recruitment drive to find the "next generation of spies", reports The Guardian newspaper.

The ads, which begun appearing on the so-called social utility, reflect a change in tactics first introduced in 2006. Rather than targeting top tier Universities only, MI6 is reaching out via a number of public channels in the hope of attracting candidates from a variety of backgrounds. Last year the CIA also began using Facebook to reach out to potential candidates.

"A number of public channels are used to promote job opportunities in the organisation and Facebook is a recent example of this," a UK Foreign Office spokeswoman tells The Guardian.

Three ads are currently running on Facebook, the first of which targets graduates.

"Graduates of all ages can develop long-term careers as operational officers, collecting and analysing global intelligence."

A second ad is aimed at those looking to switch jobs - "Time for a career change? MI6 can use your skills - while the third ad attempts to play up MI6's potential to shape history. "A career in world events? Help influence world events, protect the UK."

Targeting virtual hangouts such as Facebook marks a real departure from MI6's traditional methods of recruitment in which, as The Guardian notes, "recruits joined after getting a tap on the shoulder while studying at a leading university."

Perhaps instead of a tap on the shoulder, potential candidates can now expect to be poked. That's progress I guess :-)

Topics: CXO, Social Enterprise, Tech & Work


Steve O'Hear is a London-based consultant, educator, and journalist, focussing on the Internet and all aspects of digital technology. He advises businesses and not-for-profit organisations on how to exploit the collaborative and publishing opportunities offered by the Web, and has written for numerous publications including The Guardian a... Full Bio

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