April/May 2010 – CIA Conditional Offer of Employment (COE)

In April 2010 I get an email marked “urgent” from my recruiter asking me for a copy of my current pay stub and that I’ll be receiving a Condition Offer of Employment (COE).  WOOHOO!  I promptly stop what I’m doing at work and download a pay stub copy.  Due to the firewalls with personal emails at Lockheed, I do some trickery to get the paystub sent to the CIA from my personal email.  Days later, my COE package arrives via FedEx; I have to sign for the package.   It contains my job offer letter and a bunch of forms to fill out, including the SF-86 U.S. Government National Security form.  Two interesting observations here:

  1. The only thing that really mentions CIA is my offer letter, which contains the CIA logo as well.  None of the other forms mention CIA at all.  Some say “government” and “classified” on them somewhere in the text. The return address on my COE package just said “Recruitment Center” and came from the DC area.
  2. The COE package also contained a nice brochure about life and benefits at the CIA.  Remember the diversity thing I mentioned?  Well, when you unfold this brochure there is a big picture of a smiling black guy’s face on it spanning 2 full pages on the back covers.  What are they trying to say to me here? 

I’m given only a couple weeks to get all of the forms back to CIA.  They dig into the past 10yrs of my life, medical records, criminal and financial history, drug use, computer use, and some more stuff.  My COE letter tells me my job title will be for a position that isn’t posted online, as I expected.  I return the COE package and wait.

In May 2010, again, I’m on business travel with my job.  Are they intentionally doing this?  My phone rings in the middle of some testing, an unknown caller, as always.  I think to answer, but I wait until a break in testing.  I run outside and see there is a voice mail.  A lady from The Recruitment Center wants me to call her back.   She says she wants to set up a phone interview with me, which confuses me.  When I ask for details, she just says that this is for a government position I applied for, no mention of CIA.  After a moment I realize that this is the next step in the process.  The “interview” is just to go over all the COE security forms that I filled out and to make sure I’m who I say I am.

I have the phone interview on my cell phone later that week at the airport while I’m returning from business travel.  It was the only time I could schedule in that hectic week.  I found a quiet spot in the airport to wait and have the interview, since I was hours away from flight time.  The phone call came from another lady in the recruitment center and basically went over all my security forms.  She asked about drug use, crime, downloading music, finances, foreign national contact, unauthorized computer use, and more!  As much as I thought I found a quiet spot for the interview, the airport loud speaker would periodically come on and make flight announcements.  I cringe thinking how unprofessional this is, but I apologize and she doesn’t seem to mind.  Afterwards, she says she doesn’t see any road blocks and will move my application along.  I’m told that I could expect a call to schedule polygraph appointments within a couple of months.

I just realized something, are there any male recruiters at the CIA?  If so, I have yet to communicate with one.  Well, they know I love women…sexy women!   All the ladies I’ve talked to have sweet voices and the ones I’ve met are even nicer in person.  Maybe they are trying to play on my sexual desires for recruitment as well.  Well, it’s working…the CIA is awesome!

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