Applying for a job at CSIS: Frequently Asked Questions

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Seeking General Employment
We thank you for considering CSIS as an employer. Please visit Canada.ca/csisjobs to apply on-line. The online application tool is specifically designed to provide CSIS hiring managers with quick access to our active applicant database. New jobs are posted regularly on our website.

Making changes to an application that is already submitted
If you have already applied and want to update your application, you must submit a new application.

Can I apply for more than one position at a time?
If you are interested in several positions, submit a single application and list your preferred positions in order of preference in your cover letter. CSIS recruiters will assess your qualifications against each position.

How often can I apply?
You can re-apply for the same position after 6 months.

Can I mail my resume?
We highly recommend that you apply through Canada.ca/csisjobs as you will be asked to fill out a questionnaire that provides important information to the recruitment team. This questionnaire cannot be sent to you.

Can you confirm that you have received my application?
You will receive a confirmation message after applying online (please ensure to search your spam folder). If you do not receive a confirmation, we recommend that you submit a new application.

Can I send in my resume without applying for a specific position and have it considered for a future opening?
You can only apply for jobs that are posted on our career page. If you do not find a job that corresponds to your skills and interests, visit the CSIS website as it is regularly updated.

Can the process be terminated and the position filled prior to the closing date?
We encourage you to apply as soon as possible.

Can I have the name of your human resources manager so that I can personalize my cover letter?
You can simply address your letter to the human resources team.

Should I submit a cover letter along with my resume?
Yes.  Submit a cover letter that clearly demonstrates how you meet each education and experience criteria listed in the tabloid. 

Will my application be considered in connection with other potential opportunities or only for the position I applied for?
Your resume will be considered for the position you applied for and may be considered for other opportunities.

The reference number or the closing date for the position I have applied has just changed. Should I reapply?
If it is the same position and you applied within the last 12 months, you do not have to reapply.

I received a letter from CSIS saying my resume was received. What happens next?
Because of the large number of resumes we receive each day, only those selected for further consideration will be contacted.

I will be abroad for a while. Can I still apply for a position now?
Applicants are required to participate in interviews and tests that are held only in Canada. However, for some of our positions, we can initiate the process with applicants who are out of country.

Requirements for applicants

For jobs that require a driver’s licence, will my application be considered if I have my learner’s permit only?
Applicants for those positions must have a valid and permanent driver’s licence to apply.

What are you really looking for in applicants? What makes an applicant stand out?
Applicants are assessed and compared with other candidates on a case-by-case basis – and according to their potential. Applicants must first meet all the basic requirements before applying. Our recruiters will carefully review work experience, travel, language skills and many other factors.

Is there an age requirement for applying at CSIS?
Applicants are assessed on a case-by-case basis against basic requirements, according to their potential and are compared with other applicants.

Selection Process

Aside from the essential criteria (ability to obtain Top Secret security clearance, etc.), is there anything an applicant can do to make their application stand out?
Each applicant is assessed against the requirements and skills for the job. CSIS recruiters will review an applicant’s work experience, travel, language skills and many other factors.

Can I still complete the selection process at the regional office closest to my home even if I applied to another regional office?
You can participate in the selection process at a CSIS office nearest you. However, if there is not an office close to where you reside, travel may be required. Options can be discussed at the initial interview stage.

How long does the recruitment process take?
On average, the process takes about six (6) to eighteen (18) months after the initial interview. The length of the process depends on a variety of factors, including, but not limited to, the number of applicants that are currently in the process.  An applicant’s travel and work experience must also be verified – which can sometimes be complex or lengthy depending on their history.  

When should I expect to be contacted if selected for an interview?
We cannot provide a specific time frame. Due to the large number of resumes we receive each day, only applicants selected for further consideration will be contacted.

Do I have to go through the polygraph test to join CSIS?
Yes. All CSIS employees must obtain a Top Secret security clearance and the polygraph is a mandatory part of the process.

Will my current employer be contacted during the selection process?
During the recruitment process, you will be required to provide us with information about your current and past employers. You can decide whether or not we can contact your current employer.

Is there a medical examination?
Most positions do not require a medical or physical examination.  Should one be needed, you will be advised at the start of the process.

I applied through the CSIS website some time ago, and I have not received a response. Can I get an update on the status of my application?
Because of the large volume of resumes we receive, only those selected for further consideration will be contacted.  

I participated in the recruiting process a few years ago. I submitted original documents and personal information. Can I get them back?
Any request for access to a record must be made by submitting an Access to Information request through the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat website.

Why is the closing date of available opportunities in several months?
CSIS recruits all year long. We do operate by recruiting cycles.  We encourage you to apply as soon as possible as we review applications as they come in.

Would it be possible to meet someone in person or to contact a CSIS recruiter by telephone?
Due to the large volume of applications, we cannot liaise with every applicant. However, CSIS recruiters regularly host career fairs and events across Canada and are available to answer your questions about CSIS jobs. Visit Canada.ca/csis jobs to find a recruiting event near you.

Public Servants

I am a public servant and I saw a job opening on Jobs.gc.ca. Is this position open to the public?
Yes. CSIS positions are posted simultaneously on Canada.ca/csisjobs, publiservice.gc.ca and jobs.gc.ca but applications are only accepted on Canada.ca/csisjobs.

As a public servant, can I transfer to CSIS from my department?
Yes. You must first apply online at Canada.ca/csis-jobs and after successfully completing the application process, resign from your public service job. You may also opt to take a leave without pay from your current employer. As CSIS is part of the public service, most of your benefits should be transferable.

Security Clearance

How do I get a Top Secret security clearance?
Each applicant is asked to fill out security forms provided by CSIS, which will kick-start the background investigation. Forms include questions about current/former addresses, work experience and travel over the past 10 years.

How do I know if I am eligible for a Top Secret security clearance?
Your eligibility will be evaluated as you go through the selection process. In the meantime, make sure you meet all the requirements mentioned here.

I already have a security clearance for my current job. Can this clearance be transferred to CSIS?
No. CSIS may use any previous clearances as a point of reference, but all applicants must complete the Top Secret security clearance forms, as well as undergo a security interview and polygraph test.

Would debts or a bankruptcy disqualify an applicant or affect their application?
Personal finances are reviewed during the security clearance process. Each applicant is assessed on a case-by-case basis. Be prepared to respond to questions on this topic.

Would a trip of many months abroad have a negative impact on a CSIS application?
Part of the process includes a CSIS verification of addresses and activities in Canada and overseas for the past 10 years.

Personal Suitability

Can life experience be a substitute for work and education experience?
Life experience is not a substitute for our basic requirements.

Would someone who has little experience but who is highly motivated to learn and who is able to learn quickly still be qualified?
An applicant must meet basic requirements to apply. Applicants are assessed on a case-by-case basis and are compared with other applicants. CSIS recruiters will examine applicants’ work experience, travel, language skills and many other factors.

Does CSIS hire people with disabilities?
CSIS’s policy is to create and maintain an inclusive, barrier-free environment to ensure the full participation of persons with disabilities. Applicants with disabilities should advise if any accommodations are required for the selection process.

Education

Do I have to meet the education requirements?
Yes. Our recruiters follow the requirements listed in each job profile.

Are there specific courses that I should take if I want to join CSIS?
Certain employment opportunities do require specific educational backgrounds, but CSIS hires individuals with a range of educational backgrounds. All education requirements are listed in the job profiles posted on our website.

Do I need a university degree to work at CSIS?
Certain positions do require a university degree, but CSIS also hires people with college diplomas for many of our positions. Our recruiters adhere to the requirements listed in each job profile.

Will CSIS request my post-secondary transcripts?
The Service asks that post-secondary institutions send applicants’ transcripts directly to us. However, it is not necessary to send your transcripts with your initial application, as we will ask for this information when required.

Do you recognize post-secondary degrees from international institutions?
If you have completed a program outside of Canada, you will be required to obtain proof of Canadian equivalency through a recognized credential assessment service at your own cost.

I have all the other requirements except for the education. Can I still apply?
Ensure that you meet all our basic requirements before you apply, including education listed in each job profile.

I have worked for the military, the police or the RCMP for many years, but I do not meet the education requirement, could I still apply?
Our recruiters adhere to the requirements listed in each job profile. Applicants are assessed on a case-by-case basis and are compared with other applicants. Ensure that you meet all our basic requirements before you apply, including education listed in each job profile.

How important is a person’s university grade point average (GPA) when applying?
Education records are assessed along with professional and personal experiences.


Education requirement:

Highest education level attained by the applicant:

Eligibility

College diploma

High school diploma

No

 

College diploma

Yes

 

Accredited career college diploma

On a case by case basis

 

Two college certificates in related field

On a case by case basis

 

University degree

Yes

 

Incomplete college or university degree

No

University degree

High school diploma

No

 

College diploma

No

 

Royal Military College diploma

Yes

 

Incomplete university certificate

No

 

University certificate

No

 

two-year university diploma

No

 

three- or four-year university degree

Yes

 

Master’s degree

Yes

 

Education completed abroad  

Canadian equivalency required

 

Does CSIS currently have any job postings for people with a high school diploma?
We sometimes have jobs for people with a high school diploma, but the majority of the positions require a college diploma or a university degree. Information can be found on the job description.

Can I apply for a position that requires a degree if I have an Associate’s Degree?
Our recruiters adhere to the requirements listed in each job profile. Applicants are assessed on a case-by-case basis and are compared with other applicants.  If you have completed a program outside of Canada, you will be required to obtain at your own expense, proof of Canadian equivalency through a recognized credential assessment service.

I am currently completing my master’s degree. Should I apply now since CSIS has a lengthy selection process?
For positions requiring a bachelor’s degree, your application can be submitted at any point. If the position requires a master’s degree, you can apply one year before you graduate.

Official Languages

Do I have to be bilingual to apply?
Certain positions require applicants to be bilingual, but others do not. All language requirements are listed in the specific job postings on our website.

I have not written the second language test. Where can I get more information on the subject?
The Public Service Commission site has guidelines and information on second language testing, including a description of competency levels. Other Reference: Language Portal of Canada.

Can I do the second language tests on my own time?
CSIS is responsible for arranging a second language evaluation.

I do not meet the language requirements of the job. Can I still be considered?
Applicants who do not meet the required language profile may be offered language training if selected.  However, those who meet all the requirements will be considered first.

Residency and Citizenship

Do I have to be a Canadian citizen to apply?
Applicants must be Canadian citizens.

Can a permanent resident (PR) apply?
You must be a Canadian citizen to work for CSIS. If you apply now and you do not meet this requirement, your application will not be considered.

Do I have to meet any residency criteria?
Applicants are not required to have lived in Canada for any specific period of time. However, to meet Top Secret security clearance requirements, CSIS must be able to verify an applicant’s place of residence, travel, work and education history for the past 10 years. You should keep records of any significant periods of time spent abroad.

Can I still apply while I am living abroad?
Applicants must be in Canada for the duration of their recruitment process to participate in the necessary interviews and testing. However, in some circumstances we can start the process with candidates who are out of country, including those applying for the intelligence officer role.

Do you hire people born abroad?
We hire people born abroad, as long as they are Canadian citizens.

Can I apply for a position while my citizenship application is being processed?
If you apply now, and you do not meet the citizenship requirement, your application will not be considered.

Do you hire people with dual citizenship?
Yes. As long as the applicant has a Canadian citizenship and meets the other basic requirements, they can apply.

Types of Employment

What jobs do you expect to fill in the near future? 
The list of available positions can be found on Canada.ca/csisjobs. New jobs are posted regularly.

Where can I find the job description for a particular position?
Job descriptions for current jobs can be found on Canada.ca/csisjobs. If you do not see the job you are interested in, check our website from time to time as it is updated regularly.

Do you have part-time positions?
Positions at CSIS are full-time however we do hire students on a part-time basis.

How do I know if the position I am interested in is a permanent or a term position?
This information is available in each posting under the section “Status.”

Does CSIS offer training opportunities to its employees?
There are many training opportunities available internally. It is also possible to undergo training through an external provider.  The Service promotes learning and development. Education leave is also possible.

Is there information available about the 12-hour rotating shifts schedule?
Jobs that require this type of schedule may include day, evening and night shifts on weekends or weekdays. The schedule varies depending on the job requirements.

Can I apply for a job located abroad?
Once hired by CSIS, international job opportunities are available.

What kinds of positions are available overseas, and what qualifications are required for these opportunities?
Once hired by CSIS, this information will be available.

What are the salaries?
CSIS offers competitive salaries that vary depending on the position. All salary ranges are outlined in the job profiles that are listed on our website. Specific salaries, within our posted salary ranges, are determined during the interview process based on previous experience.

If I am already a public servant, can I retain the same number of vacation days?
Yes. CSIS will match vacation days.

Are there any volunteer opportunities at CSIS?
No.

Surveillance Officers
Surveillance Officers must possess a completed College diploma (minimum 2-year program) in any field or a degree from a recognized university from Canada.  Should the degree be from another country, the candidate will have to obtain a Canadian equivalency.

CSIS is seeking to recruit surveillance officers who demonstrate adaptability, communications, interpersonal and leadership skills - among the main competencies. Our recruiting officers will review the candidates’ work and travel experience, knowledge of foreign languages and other extra-curricular activities, such as volunteer work and sports.

Under the direction of a team leader, the Surveillance Officer is responsible for:

The candidates must have a valid and permanent Canadian driver’s license at the time of application:

Intelligence Officer Positions

Intelligence Officers requirements 

Intelligence Officers (IO) must possess a completed degree in any field from a recognized university in Canada.  Should the degree be from another country, the candidate will have to obtain a Canadian equivalency.

CSIS is seeking to recruit IOs who demonstrate adaptability, communications, interpersonal and leadership skills - among the main competencies. Our IO recruiting officers will review the candidates’ work and travel experience, knowledge of foreign languages and other extra-curricular activities, such as volunteer work and sports.

The IO’s career will begin with work at Ottawa headquarters as analyst/case officer (office work), and then in the regions doing field work.  IOs must be willing and able to relocate within Canada due to a variety of circumstances.  IOs must also be willing to travel as required by operational and organizational requirements. Assistance and financial support are provided in line with policy.

The candidates must have a valid and permanent Canadian driver’s license at the time of application:

Are intelligence officers asked to sever relationships with family and friends?
The Service does not ask anyone to break any family ties or friendships. However, the job requires discretion.

As an Intelligence Officer, can I choose where to work in Canada?
Candidates must work at CSIS HQ in Ottawa for the Intelligence Officer Entry Training (IOET) and the subsequent three (3) year development program.  IOs must be willing and able to relocate within Canada due to a variety of circumstances.  IOs must also be willing to travel as required by operational and organizational requirements. Assistance and financial support are provided in line with policy.

Where does the IO training take place?
The training takes place at CSIS HQ in Ottawa, Ontario. Candidates must successfully pass the Intelligence Officer Entry Training (IOET) and are expected to continue to develop their skills through subsequent required training and professional development opportunities. Upon successful completion of the IOET, the new IOs will start a three (3) year professional development program in the case officer role, after which they can progress into the investigator role.

Do I have to be willing to move if I want to work as an Intelligence Officer and, if so, how often?
The Intelligence Officer position is the only one at CSIS that requires relocation. Relocation is based on the organizational and operational requirements of the Service. You will move throughout your career.

Can I apply for another position if I am not selected for the Intelligence Officer (IO) position as part of the selection process? 
Candidates who have not been selected for IO as part of the selection process and who wish to reapply must wait at least one (1) year from the date they are notified they will no longer continue in the IO process. Applications sent before the one (1) year mark will not be considered.

Is it possible to work from home?  
Our positions require you to work at one of our offices.

Where are your regional offices located?
Find out more about our regional offices on Canada.ca.

Are there any opportunities near my location?
Each job posting specifies where the position is located under “Location”.

Does CSIS cover the costs of new employees’ relocation to a regional office?
If you are selected to work in one of our regional offices, your request for the reimbursement of relocation expenses will be forwarded to headquarters for approval before you are offered the position. However, it is important to note that your request will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, and your relocation costs may not be reimbursed.

Co-op/Internship Opportunities
An applicant must be enrolled in a co-op/internship program in an accredited academic institution recognized in Canada. To be eligible under the CSIS Student Employment Program, an applicant must have full-time post-secondary student status and must be enrolled in a co-op/internship program in an accredited academic institution recognized in Canada. The students must also be returning to full-time studies in the next academic term or completing a co-op placement as part of their academic year.

CSIS hires co-ops for fall (September), winter (January) and summer (May) terms depending on students’ availability and co-op/internship requirements. Our co-op opportunities are advertised at CSIS.jobs on Canada.ca, one year in advance. It is important that your application be submitted 10 to 12 months prior to the desired work term. This is required to provide sufficient time to obtain a top secret clearance.

Student Opportunities – part-time work
CSIS hires students on a part-time basis. Students must be willing to work a minimum of 12.5 hours a week per work term. CSIS student opportunities are advertised at Canada.ca/csisjobs. It takes about 10-12 months to process the student application and obtain a top secret clearance.

Career Fairs

Where and when are your career fairs?
CSIS career fairs are promoted on our website at Canada.ca/csisjobs and on our social media platforms such as Twitter (@csiscanada) and Facebook. For exclusive CSIS career fairs, local radio stations and Linkedin may be used to announce location, time and details of the event.

Career Planning

Can I apply before I graduate so I can start working sooner after graduation?
You may apply 1-2 years prior to graduation at the post-secondary level.  If the position requires a master’s degree, you can apply one year before you graduate.

You may be presented with an employment offer conditional upon the successful completion of your educational program. There may also be opportunities for student employment as you complete your studies. Each application is assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Do you hire post-secondary students immediately after graduation?
Yes. Applicants are assessed on a case-by-case basis according to their potential and are compared with other applicants. Make sure you meet all our basic requirements before you apply. Our recruiters will review applicants’ work experience, education, travel, language skills and many other factors.

Does CSIS prefer new graduates from selected universities and colleges?
We do not favour one university or college over another. Applicants are assessed on a case-by-case basis according to their potential and are compared with other applicants. Make sure you meet all our basic requirements before you apply. Our recruiters will review work experience, travel, language skills and many other factors.

While I am still in school, do you have any advice in terms of reading material, work and volunteer experience, courses or programs I should participate in?
You can find the requirements we are looking for by reviewing the descriptions for current job openings on Canada.ca. If you don’t see a job that interests you, visit Canada.ca often to view updates. Applicants are assessed according to their potential and are compared with other applicants. Make sure you meet all our basic requirements before you apply. Our recruiters will examine applicants’ work experience, education, travel, language skills and many other factors.

You’ve been hired!

Are there opportunities for advancement?
CSIS offers career advancement opportunities to employees of all levels. The organization is committed to supporting all employees to reach their career potential.

How long will I be on probation?
All new employees to CSIS must complete either one or two-year probationary periods, depending on the position. The probationary period for Intelligence Officers is one (1) year.

What type of benefits do employees receive?
CSIS offers a comprehensive benefits package, similar to other federal government departments. If you have an existing pension plan, you may be eligible to transfer your accrued pension benefits.

I have questions about the public service pension plan.
You can contact the Public Service Pension Centre at 1-800-561-7930, Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Do CSIS offices have on-site parking?
Yes. CSIS has on-site parking which is assigned based on pensionable service. However, CSIS cannot guarantee that parking will be available for all employees.

Can I still apply if I have received traffic violations?
Numerous traffic violations may impact an applicant’s reliability and in turn, eligibility for a Top-Secret security clearance.

Can I still apply if I have a criminal record or while I am in the process of obtaining pardon?
Having a criminal record or being in the process of obtaining a pardon does not prevent you from applying. Remember to be upfront and honest from the beginning – from your first interview. Each case is evaluated individually.

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