THE UK’S INTELLIGENCE agency has launched an unusual recruitment drive – asking talented mathematicians to crack a series of online puzzles as part of its application process.
The website, ‘Can You Crack It?’, contains an apparently meaningless series of hexadecimal numbers – but those who can make sense of their meaning could be in the running to win a job at the elite surveillance agency.
The agency has 35 vacancies to fill, and is keen to recruit younger and tech-savvy staff who are already proficient in ethical, ‘white hat’ hacking and similar activities.
The new campaign marks an usual step for GCHQ, which ordinarily seeks to recruit students directly from universities – but which is now struggling to do so, with high performers more likely to work in the private sector for a higher wage.
GCHQ told the Guardian that it had deliberately left its branding off the website, so that people taking up the code-breaking challenge might not be directly motivated by the idea of working for the agency.
Another spokesman told the Daily Telegraph that the new recruitment drive was an attempt to adapt to modern circumstances where the best potential recruits may be self-taught and not have come through the college system.
People who crack the online code are then giving a programming task, which produces instructions that ultimately lead to a second website from where successful applicants can download another program.
Within that programme is another web address – from where they can apply for work in GCHQ.
Those who have slightly less patience or programming nous, however, can skip that whole process and just Google for ‘jobs at GCHQ’ – though only British citizens need apply.