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Russian Language Opportunities Ref. 1078

Cheltenham, London
Up to £30,490 depending on allowances
Your knowledge of Russian could open up a fascinating career in intelligence.  By joining MI5 or GCHQ you can play a key role in protecting the UK.

We are looking for linguists for roles that will go well beyond translation and transcription.  It takes knowledge of the culture, history, politics and ideology to fully understand the original idea. And if you can do that, you can enable MI5 and GCHQ to make the right choices to help safeguard national security.

The roles

You’ll be using your language skills to provide intelligence insights, working at the core of our operational teams.  You will feel comfortable learning and applying new technical skills to conduct analysis and increase intelligence capabilities. You will also work with a range of government departments, including Whitehall, law enforcement agencies and the military to manage intelligence requirements.

You will work as part of a team, calling on technical experts where needed, but will also have considerable autonomy in organising your daily work.  You will be working in a modern, open plan working environment which encourages day-to-day collaboration. You’ll be supported by more experienced colleagues, as well as receiving dedicated training in analysis skills.

Enthusiasm, flexibility and team-working are all important. You’ll have an analytical and enquiring mind set, sound judgement and good attention to detail.  You’ll also have the opportunity to verbally brief operational teams and other colleagues across the intelligence agencies.

At GCHQ you will be the first line of assessment of the intelligence value of Russian language material, which may include highly technical and specialist terminology.   .  However, you don’t need to already be technically experienced as full training will be given. GCHQ has a large language community and there are opportunities to progress to senior language positions which have greater or broader responsibility.   

At MI5, you’ll carry out core language analysis work in support of investigations and develop your own career path focusing on the areas that most interest you, be it assessments, investigations or agent running.  We have opportunities for promotion within the team, leading to more strategic understanding of the work we do and mentoring of junior colleagues.  There are opportunities to develop your language skills and also learn new skills such as interpreting.

The agencies

There are openings for Russian specialists at both MI5 and GCHQ.

MI5 is responsible for the domestic security of the UK – the work of linguists helps to identify and counter threats to the UK from terrorism, espionage and proliferation.

GCHQ is focussed on collecting foreign intelligence which linguists translate and analyse to protect the UK from threats such as terrorism, hackers, espionage and organised crime. Technology is critical to meeting these 21st Century threats.

The skills

Whether you have developed your Russian language skills at home as you were growing up, whilst living or working abroad or through academic study, you have a genuine passion for languages.  You’ll thrive on the challenge of applying your Russian skills on a daily basis.

To ensure you pass our language tests, you will need to be able to comfortably read newspaper articles and understand news broadcasts in Russian. You’ll be able to translate from Russian into clear, well drafted English.

Our Russian practice test will enable you to assess your suitability for a role at MI5 or GCHQ.  The test does not reflect the full complexity of the challenges offered by our Russian specialist roles but is indicative of the type of skills successful candidates should be comfortable using on a routine basis.

Guaranteed Interview Scheme

As part of our commitment to being a 'Disability Confident' employer we offer an interview to all candidates with a disability who meet our minimum criteria for the job vacancy for which they are applying. This is known as the Guaranteed Interview Scheme (GIS).

Along with the standard eligibility requirements for this post, your application will be assessed on how far you meet the job specification based on your application and your Russian language ability. On successful completion of this stage, you will be invited to the Russian language test, which is our guaranteed interview.

Please note that if you are unsuccessful at the language testing stage of your application, you will not be eligible to reapply for Russian language vacancies at MI5, MI6 or GCHQ within a 12-month period.

Recruitment Process

If you wish to apply, the first thing we will ask you to do is complete our pre-screening questions to see if you meet our initial eligibility criteria. If you do, we will then ask you to begin an application. You’ll need to create an online login. You can do this by providing your full name, email address and a memorable password. Once you have successfully created a personal account, you will be required to complete an online application form.

As well as basic biographical details and your education and employment history to date, you will need to provide details of your Russian language skills and any other languages you have learned. You will be asked how you learned the language, how you currently use your language skills and to what standard you can speak, read and write these languages and dialects. You will also be asked about your interest in Russian language and culture and what appeals to you about using Russian in your work.

Please note that if you have applied for a Russian vacancy at MI5/MI6 or GCHQ within the last 12 months and have been unsuccessful at the language test stage, you will not be eligible to reapply for this role at this time.

Our recruitment team will complete an application sift to assess how far you meet the job specification. Successful applicants will be invited to attend a Russian language test to check whether or not you have the skills we are looking for.

At the language test, we will assess your Russian language ability across a range of tasks. There is an emphasis on listening and reading comprehension as well as translation.

Assuming you pass the Russian language test, you will then be asked to attend an assessment centre which will include a face-to face interview and other recruitment exercises.