Just how do MI6 recruit their next James Bond?

From time to time, I ask myself “How do MI6 recruit their 007’s when hiring managers don’t share their “symptoms” with their recruiter?”

After all for a doctor to prescribe the right medicine, they need to have the right information to do their job effectively and if you want to get better quickly, whether you think the symptom is related or not; you don’t hold off telling the doctor your symptoms.

As the person ultimately responsible for recruiting and growing your workforce, it is essential you know how to effectively brief your recruitment partner. This is an integral part of your recruitment process, hold back your time or detail on this part and expect to lengthen your time to hire and/or appointing a good candidate that leaves because the job is not as you described. Then just how do MI6 recruit their agents when this information is kept under the hood?


Here are some things you should be willing to freely share with your recruiter.

  1. Pay – what you are actually willing to pay for the right person –Give an absolute genuine range of the salary, don’t disappoint or put off a great candidate when you make an offer, you could lose the candidate and all parties time has been wasted. Be tactful on how you discuss salary at interview and have information on salary expectations before interviewing a candidate. In other words, someone who is out saving the world, dodging concentrated sunlight from a satellite and attempting to stop a mass release of deadly nerve gas causing genocide to all of Earth by flying into space on a rocket with no training and….. you get the gist. You won’t pay a 007 crumbs.
  2. Benefits – Spell it all out Everything you do that make you an employer of choice and why your best people stay… this will range from financial to non-financial benefits. Whether this is an Aston Martin Vanquish with invisible cloaking, or an Omega Sea Master laser watch.
  3. Recruitment Process and Start dates –You want your recruiter to manage the expectation of your candidates until you’ve made a decision on their application and to wade off your competitors snapping the candidate out of the market. Be clear with your recruiter on what happens at every stage of your process and what the recruiter or candidate should expect.Also consider how much this vacancy is costing your organisation by not having this person in place; so streamline your process to assess candidates efficiently. Finally be realistic, a great candidate may be currently employed and may also have a longer notice period dependent on their seniority or length of current service. In other words, make sure your candidate is managed across the whole ‘Spectre-um’ of the process.
  4. Current team –People want to know who they will be working with, look at your recruitment process and see how and when candidates can meet a member of your team and have a 5 minute one to one chat with them. People want to know what it is really like and may not feel comfortable asking you as the hiring manager. People may not be comfortable working in a team and prefer to work alone. 006 found out this the hard way!
  5. Solutions you are looking for –If there are problems in your existing team, morale is low, staff turnover is high; whatever it is, share the challenges you are facing and what solutions you will be expecting from the candidate you are recruiting. Yeh so Bond, congratulations you got the job, now kindly go save the world cheers.
  6. Report Hierarchy –If not you, who will the candidate be reporting to on a daily basis? What is their management style and what expectations do they have? After all, we know all know what happened to M at the end of Skyfall!
  7. Stability/Ambition –Questions around progression opportunities will be asked by good candidates, people want to know what the future holds for them with their employer, you want your recruiter to be able to answer these questions with a decent level of conviction.


There are certain roles that have less room for progression, this needs to be clear so you can get someone that is happy with the pace of progression you offer. After all, I think if casually saving the world is going to be a daily task you’d want to know what progression is available and if you will even have a future!

These are just some of the many things I think a good recruiter will want to know before they start their quest in finding you that candidate, any recruiter who is happy to take a quick job description and a minimal brief does not have your best interest at heart. Expect irrelevant candidates, tyrants to rule the world and anarchy to reign supreme!