GCHQ recruiting intelligence specialists through viral code-cracking game

By on December 1, 2011, 1:00 PM

A seemingly innocent online code-cracking game could be your ticket to a career in intelligence. Users that can solve the puzzle correctly before the December 12 deadline are being invited to apply for a job with UK-based GCHQ.

GCHQ is one of three UK intelligence agencies and part of the UK’s National Intelligence Machinery. The group works in partnership with the Security Service (also known as MI5) and the Secret Intelligence Service (otherwise known as MI6) to protect national security interests. GCHQ is looking to hire up to 35 new members in the coming months and are using the puzzle game as an early interview of sorts.

Upon visiting CanYouCrackIt.co.uk, contestants are presented with a grid of 160 pairs of letters or numbers, a blank to enter the keyword and a countdown clock. The campaign is making the rounds through social networking sites thanks to sharing buttons for Facebook, Twitter and Google+ found below the game interface.

A GCHQ representative said roughly 80 percent of those who have solved the puzzle have applied for a job. While anyone is welcome to try and crack the code, only those in the UK can apply for a position if successful.

GCHQ typically recruits specialists straight out of college by invited them “for a cup of tea and a chat” but technology is accelerating at a rapid pace and the group sees this challenge as a way to recruit those who are self taught.

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