Back in the old days, there were a few different ways to get involved with the British Secret Service. As described by a recent article featured in British news source The Telegraph, “One afternoon in term time, a promising undergraduate at Oxford or Cambridge would find himself invited to tea with the eccentric classics don known to everyone, from master to cleaner, as the ‘college talent spotter.’ In the quiet of an oak-panelled study, the potential recruit (right school, right family) would be subjected to gentle interrogation over crumpets, before being asked (clink of spoon on china) if he had ever considered ‘official work’. If the encounter proved satisfactory, the candidate received a letter inviting him to an interview at an address in St James’s. The interviewer would beat about the bush for a while, before clearing his throat and coming to the point.”

This scenario might sound just a bit too typical of a spy thriller, and indeed, it seems that in reality British Secret Service has revamped some of its recruitment techniques, as stated in the aforementioned article, which can be read by following this link:

Want to Join MI6?

But for those of you seeking to lead a life of danger, it looks like recruitment techniques aren’t the only things that have changed. “The safety of staff is paramount,” the article says. “You are never asked to do anything you are not happy with. SIS operations do require muscle on occasion, but this tends to take the form of ex-special forces contractors rather than serving intelligence officers. Shooting at things is not really MI6’s thing.” So much for the Walther PPK you’ve tucked away in that holster beneath your arm there, Bond.

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Author: Micah Hanks

Micah Hanks is a writer, researcher, and podcaster. His interests include areas of history, science, archaeology, philosophy, and the study of anomalous phenomena in nature. He can be reached at