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Intelligence Officer Development Programme

Contract Type
Defence & Security
£30,817 rising to £33,316 after one year
Expiry Date
Become what you’ve always wanted to be

Job Description

At MI5 Intelligence Officers play an essential role in keeping the country safe, which makes for one of the most rewarding, stimulating and impactful careers you can imagine. As the country faces increased threats to national security, it will be your role as an Intelligence Officer to run investigations, pulling together the vital intelligence that will prevent these threats. 

The Development Programme

Our structured two year Intelligence Officer Development Programme will enable you to develop the skills you need to lead investigations in MI5, whilst you work in roles which directly support investigations. On the Development Programme you could spend your first two years in roles which include, but are not limited to: 


  • Digital Intelligence – where you’ll further investigations by analysing and assessing information gained through interception. 
  • Warrantry – a vital role that involves preparing warrants, ensuring they meet the appropriate legislative criteria before they’re sent to the Home Secretary for approval.
  • Legal Casework – this role could involve delivering and maintaining disruptive actions against key subjects of interest, which have a significant impact on their ability to engage in activities of national security concern.
  • Analysis – where you’ll work alongside those on our Intelligence & Data Analyst Development Programme, as well as experienced analysts to learn the tools and techniques used by MI5 to analyse intelligence.

This will be structured as either two postings of one year each, or one posting over two years. In these roles, you’ll learn about MI5 investigations before you lead them. This means you’ll immediately be having a direct impact on the security of the UK, but will gain more responsibility as your experience grows. Working in a close-knit team, you’ll enjoy a great mix of challenge and support, with a flexible approach to working that offers an attractive work-life balance. 

At the end of your two years, you’ll advance onto our Foundation Investigative Training (FIT) course. This five week course will prepare you for a direct move into one of our investigative sections as a fully trained Intelligence Officer. On successful completion of FIT, and subject to line management approval, you’ll also be eligible to apply for an advancement interview for promotion. 

The future

As a fully trained Intelligence Officer, your first role could be countering threats from international terrorism, espionage or Northern Ireland related terrorism. As your confidence and experience grow, so will your responsibilities. From then on you may choose to specialise in investigations, where you’ll pull together intelligence by working with different departments to gain resources. You’ll also set investigative strategies, making recommendations based on your assessment of threat levels, collaborating with colleagues and the police to thwart terrorist activity where needed. Alternatively, you could move into roles managing or training new IODP entrants, or broaden your experience by taking on an operational or policy role.

At MI5, we are committed to creating a supportive, collaborative and diverse work environment. Meaning that no matter which team you join, you will be supported by a line manager, with a big emphasis on personal and professional development. And whilst the nature of the work can be serious, our Intelligence Officers still enjoy quite a relaxed, informal atmosphere - while also maintaining a very professional and driven approach to work. This creates a uniquely rewarding and friendly environment, where everyone works together to get the job done. 

What we look for

To apply, you’ll need to have – or be expecting – a 2:2 degree in any discipline, or have 2 or more years graduate level permanent work experience. It takes people from a variety of backgrounds to help us tackle the threats that we face and MI5 is committed to reflecting the society we protect, for this reason our Intelligence Officers come from all walks of life. What they share are strong organisational skills, an eye for detail and trust in their own judgement. Alongside this you’ll be good at building relationships with a variety of people and will be a strong communicator.  This means that, while you’ll be comfortable taking responsibility for your own work, you’ll also enjoy collaborating to solve problems and make decisions. 

Key Dates 

Application closing date - Monday 5th March 2018 @ 23:00

Telephone Interviews will take place from March 2018

Assessment Centres will take place from May 2018 until July 2018 

The recruitment and vetting process can take around nine months to complete. If you are in the final year of your studies we advise you to apply now. During the recruitment process our recruitment team will give you further information about when you would be able to join.

The Recruitment Process

The first step is for you to complete our pre-screening questions to find out if you do meet our initial criteria. If you do meet these criteria we will then ask you to begin an application. You will need to create a login and provide your full name, email address and a memorable password. Once you have successfully created a personal account, you will be required to complete an initial application form providing contact details and equal opportunities information.

If you are successful at this stage you will be sent an e-mail asking you to take our online verbal reasoning test and situational judgement test, which form part of the assessment process. On receipt of this invitation e-mail, you will have up to one week to take the tests. If you do not complete the tests within this timeframe we will assume that you no longer wish to proceed with your application.

Online Verbal Reasoning Test

This test is designed to assess the key skill of reasoning with verbal information, which is essential for the role of the Intelligence Officer in MI5. We encourage you to complete some practice questions for the verbal reasoning test. The practice questions are untimed, but please note that in the real test you will have 25 minutes to answer the 36 questions in the verbal reasoning test. The practice questions are not a compulsory part of the assessment and will not affect the outcome of your application. If you wish to complete the practice questions for the verbal reasoning test please click on the link below and you will be redirected:

Situational Judgement Test

During the situational judgement test you will be presented with a set of hypothetical scenarios which have been designed using situations relevant to our values and key behaviours needed to perform the Intelligence Officer role.  The situational judgement test is set in the context of you taking on the role of an Intelligence Officer, however, you will not need any knowledge of the policies or procedures relating to MI5 in order to answer the questions in this test. You will just need to use your own judgement to rate the effectiveness of each option in response to the situation presented and pick the most and least effective options. This situational judgement test will present you with 22 different situations that you might have to deal with as an Intelligence Officer. It should take you approximately 45 minutes to complete the test but please be aware your session will time out automatically after 1 hour.
If you pass these tests, we will invite you to complete and submit our full application form, which will be sifted by our recruitment team. Successful applicants will then be asked to complete our Intelligence Assessment Centre Online (IAC Online). This is a 90 minute test of your strategic thinking and assessment skills, based on you taking on the role of an Intelligence Officer working on a fictitious investigation. 

If successful, the next stage is a telephone interview. This will include competency based questions and will explore your motivation to work for MI5.

Assuming you pass the telephone interview, you will be invited to attend an assessment centre in London. This full day assessment will include a mixture of role-plays, an interview, written assessment and group exercise. It is designed to assess the full range of competencies and skills required for the Intelligence Officer role, and is often described by candidates as a challenging but very rewarding and enjoyable day. 
The final stage of the recruitment process is a final selection board interview in Thames House, which will be followed by the Vetting process. 

You should read about the Vetting process and satisfy yourself that you meet the criteria outlined in theVetting pages prior to submitting an application. 

Eligibility Criteria

You should read the How to Apply section for further information on the eligibility criteria and recruitment process for this role, and satisfy yourself that you meet the criteria outlined:

  • Eligibility Criteria
  • Equality and Diversity
  • Recruitment Process
  • Discretion

Please note, you should only launch your application from within the UK. If you are based overseas, you should wait until you visit the UK to launch an application. Applying from outside the UK will impact on our ability to progress your application.

Guaranteed Interview Scheme

As part of our commitment to being a ‘Disability Confident Leader’ we offer an interview to all candidates with a disability who meet our minimum criteria for the role that they are applying for. This is known as the Guaranteed Interview Scheme (GIS).

To secure an interview for this vacancy, the minimum criteria (in order of application process) are: 

Eligibility Questions
You will be asked a series of questions relating to this vacancy. If you meet the criteria here you will be directed to the initial application form.

Online Tests
You will be required to reach the pass mark set for the verbal reasoning test and situational judgement test.

On successful completion of these tests and an application form sift, you will be invited to interview. This will normally be a telephone interview and is our guaranteed interview.