The work we do has to remain confidential. But there are plenty of things we can openly share about what it’s like to work here. Such as the fact that we have an open, collaborative and supportive culture, first-class training programmes and huge scope for development.
Although our work is incredibly important and we need the highest levels of integrity, we’re a very friendly, welcoming place to work with a relaxed, open culture. Our people are down to earth and genuinely keen to help each other. We encourage collaboration by giving them the flexibility to try different roles in different teams. And of course, we make sure they have all the training and support they need. It all ensures they can play their part in keeping the UK safe from ever-evolving cyber threats.
We welcome people from all walks of life, because it’s talent, drive and potential that really matter. If you have the skills we need to keep the country safe, it doesn’t matter where you developed them. Of course, we have some qualification and eligibility requirements, but we actively aim to reflect the diversity of the nation we serve.
We have support networks for women, BME, disabled, and LGBT employees. We undergo regular diversity benchmarking by Opportunity Now and Race for Opportunity. We develop partnerships with organisations such as Stonewall. And we run groups like Women in Technology (WITTY) to encourage more women to take up STEM subjects.
Test your skills on some of our challenges:
Or why not download our free Cryptoy app at Google Play.
School leavers – One of your biggest decisions could be whether to choose an apprenticeship or to study for a degree. Our apprenticeships will lead to a degree, so they offer the best of both worlds.
Students – One of the best ways to get enhanced career prospects is to take a summer placement or internship. At GCHQ, we run a number of student schemes.
Still unsure? – Keep an open mind, assess your skills and take a closer look at organisations that might offer interesting challenges. These links may help:
Summer schemes and internships: RateMyPlacement (internships)
Industrial placements: RateMyPlacement (placements)
Graduates – direct entry: Save the Graduate
Graduates – Future Leaders: TARGETjobs
Apprenticeships: National Careers Service website (apprenticeships). This application guide is also really useful
Almost all employers will look for examples of how you’ve used particular skills. Here are some of the more common ones that we (and many other organisations) look for:
Communication – Show how you can get your point across and take on board other people’s views by giving examples of presentations you’ve made or how you’ve taken a fresh approach after listening to others.
Problem solving – Almost everything we do is about tackling complex problems. Show how you overcame a difficult challenge or made a tough decision without all the details.
Team working – Have you been involved in group projects at school or university, or are you a member of a club, society or sports team?
Organising – We can’t afford to make mistakes, so show how you’ve organised a family event, juggled different priorities to meet a deadline, or planned ahead.
Curiosity – We look for people who don’t just take things at face value. Do you always look for new and better ways to do things? Are you always building your knowledge and keeping up to date with industry developments?
Determination – Our work’s highly complex, so we always need the determination to succeed against the odds. Show how you’ve overcome tough setbacks, learned from your mistakes and stayed positive to deliver beyond expectations.
You can find out more about skills and competencies here:
Research is vital, so you can tailor your applications – and even your CV – to the role and organisation. The more you reflect the role, its requirements and the organisation itself, the better your application will be. Find out more about applications and CVs here.
Online tests – Many organisations use these, so it’s a good idea to practice as many as possible. You’ll find some examples here.
Interviews – These will usually include some competency-based questions, asking you to describe a situation when you’ve used a certain quality or skill. The STAR framework will help you to answer these kinds of questions.