NSA Recruiter Q&A

Melissa Uhniat, CareerTV: The NSA protects the classified information transmitted throughout the U.S. government with IT systems and data processing. I had the opportunity to sit down with NSA Recruiter Gillian Powell for a special question and answer segment about the NSA.

The National Security Agency is the United States' cryptologic government organization, meaning it uses sophisticated technology to protect the government's information systems and to produce intelligence data. Almost all other details about the NSA are classified, but we can tell you that it's headquartered in Maryland, and that's where we met recruiter Gillian Powell.

Gillian Powell, NSA Recruiter: The agency is really looking for diversity in our applicants and our candidates. We reach out to various student organizations and affinity groups on campus, as well as disability affairs offices, to ensure that everyone is aware of the opportunities that are available at NSA.

Melissa: What skill sets are you looking for in new hires?

Gillian: We are a high tech agency, so we are doing a lot of hiring for computer science, specifically in computer network operations is a really hot item for us right now, as well as information assurance. We are also hiring a lot of computer and electrical engineers, as well as mathematicians, so your skill set is going to vary based on the position that you are going to be filling with us.

Gillian on phone: 'Office of Recruitment, this is Gillian."

Gillian: Like most employers, Gillian tells us applicants can submit resumes online or at NSA Career Fairs. But from there the hiring process may be unlike your previous jobs. Applicants to the NSA can expect an intensive background check, a polygraph test, a psych test, and an operational interview.

Melissa: What piece of advice can you give to a candidate to really stand out in the operational interview?

Gillian: We run pretty extensive schedules around here so it's important to be on time. I also think it's really important that a candidate knows a little bit about the organization, knows a little about the agency, so it's always a good idea to look at the Web site.

Melissa: Gillian entered the agency in a security related position, and has since transferred to recruiting. It's a stark change, but it's no secret that NSA employees can move to any specialty.

Gillian: You can come in as a computer scientist, you know, work for a few years, and if you want to train to something completely different we will train you to do that. So I think that is really unique about the agency, just the amount of opportunities that we have.

Melissa: You can learn more about the NSA by visiting our Web site – CareerTV.com.

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