CIA
3.7 of 5 24 reviews
www.cia.gov Washington, DC

CIA Interview Questions & Reviews

Updated Mar 24, 2014
All Interviews Received Offers

Getting the Interview 

58%
41%

Interview Experience 

58%
33%
8%

Interview Difficulty 

18 candidate interviews
Relevance Date Difficulty
in

No Offer

Neutral Experience

Analyst Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate

Interviewed at CIA

Interview Details On-campus recruiters came to my school; I submitted my resume and was asked to come the next day for an on-campus interview for a science/technology analyst. The 2 female interviewers were nice, but asked challenging questions. Maybe 2 weeks later, I was emailed to take online tests -- a personality one and a timed IQ-type test. I thought that I did well enough on the IQ test, but probably didn't pass the personality test (I have anxiety issues that it asked about). I got a rejection letter in the mail a few weeks later.

Interview Question – What is a science/technology issue currently facing the US, and what would you do to address it?   Answer Question

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Declined Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Intelligence Analyst Interview

Intelligence Analyst

I applied through college or university and interviewed at CIA.

Interview Details I attended a campus recruiting session and earned a campus interview for the next day. Heard back 2 months later with a call and a COE.

Interview Question – 5 or 6 standard behavioral questions   Answer Question

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No Offer

Neutral Experience

Very Easy Interview

Intern Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate

I applied through college or university and the process took a day - interviewed at CIA.

Interview Details Purely behavioral with no technical questions, they just asked stuff about challenges I had faced, how I usually worked with other people.

Notable is that after interviewing you, they need security clearance on you, which would take a long time to complete, which meant you would technically be interviewing for the following summer, because you would not have the clearance in time. I opted not to subject myself to the security clearance

Interview Question – Biggest Challenge Faced   Answer Question

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No Offer

Neutral Experience

Intern Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate

I applied online and interviewed at CIA.

Interview Details after you fill out online application, you receive a survey/personality assessment, then interviews, and background check.

Interview Question – they don't tell you the test is actually timed.   Answer Question

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4 people found this helpful

Declined Offer

Neutral Experience

Technical Intelligence Officer Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate

Interviewed at CIA

Interview Details Took 9 months between resume submittal and interview.

Interview Question – Very standard interview quesitons   Answer Question

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1 person found this helpful

No Offer

Neutral Experience

Core Collector Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate

Interviewed at CIA

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 Question – Pretty much standard behavioral interview questions. Be prepared to do a lot of research and be fully investing in this one position.   Answer Question

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1 person found this helpful

No Offer

Neutral Experience

Intelligence Analyst Interview

Intelligence Analyst

Interviewed at CIA

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 Question – Describe in exact detail a time when constructive criticism was helpful.   Answer Question

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12 people found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Negative Experience

Easy Interview

Open Source Officer Interview

Anonymous Employee
Reston, VA (US)

I applied online and the process took 10 months - interviewed 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 Question – 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

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2 people found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Neutral Experience

Difficult Interview

Political Analyst Interview

Anonymous Employee

I applied through college or university and the process took 4 months - interviewed 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 Question – 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.

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4 people found this helpful

No Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Staff Operations Officer Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate

I applied online and the process took 10 months - interviewed 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 Question – Describe in detail an international current event, and how is it important to American interests?   Answer Question

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