ShoeYears ago a friend of mine applied for a clandestine job at a major intelligence agency and was invited to McLean VA for a series of interviews. His story may be of interest if you are looking for a similar job.

The first interview was quite uninteresting, even boring, according to my friend. He was ushered into a small nondescript office by an average looking guy who seemed to want to do most of the talking. My friend perhaps expected the agent to "sell" the agency to him with recitals of interesting adventures during his career, but it was nothing like that. The man talked mostly about himself, but in a dull, matter of fact way, full of details. Just as an example of how boring and pointless the conversation was my friend said that on two occasions the man pulled out a battered wallet and showed him pictures of his children; the second time my friend's eyes glazed over and he looked away. My friend was not impressed by the caliber of people working at the agency, to say the least.

After 45 tedious minutes the meeting was over and my friend went to his next appointment with a man who was obviously a top official, sitting in a nice big office. Now the real interview began, as the official fired question after question at my friend: Tell me about the man you just met: what did he look like, what would you estimate his height and weight? Did he wear brown shoes or black? Please summarize what he said. Did he mention anything about American policy in the Philippines? How many children does he have? Are they boys or girls? Unfortunately my friend had not paid enough attention during the first meeting; he thought of himself as detailed oriented and having a good memory, but was surprised at how difficult it was to come up the information requested.

Well, he did not get the job, but instead joined a big accounting firm, became a partner and lived happily ever after.


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