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Mi6 is looking for a few good spies... in the newspaper

British secret service goes old school in latest recruitment ad.

Ever wonder how James Bond got his job? If movies have taught us anything, covert government operatives are recruited on college campuses, the military and through other less-than traditional means. But earlier this month Britain’s famed Mi6, or Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), did something very un-Hollywood: it placed a want ad in the newspaper.

The unbranded, copy-heavy ad, created with London ad agency M&C Saatchi, appeared recently in the London Evening Standard and the Sunday Times. It has the look of a secret file freshly pulled from a weathered manila envelope and teases the reader to not balk at all the words. “You’ve read this far. You’re in a minority. Only 17% of people ever read adverts past the headline. Assuming, of course, this is an advert. There’s no logo, no obvious contact details and no product. You’ll have to read on to find out more….”

Further down, it offers, “Your peers see you as dynamic. Your bosses may have you earmarked for promotion. But there’s something missing. A nagging feeling that you could be doing something more worthwhile. Something more rewarding, but not simply in a financial way.”

It goes on to detail the ideal candidate’s ability to, among other things, “integrate seamlessly into the day-to-day society of a different country.” Hmm. And then the kicker: “By reading between the lines, you’ve probably guessed what we’re after…. You may even consider applying. You may feel like talking to family and friends about this. That’s completely natural and will end your application process before it’s even started. So if you want to discuss applying, discuss it with us and no one else.”