MI6 aims to enlist more black and ethnic minority spies with a new recruitment video set in a barbershop.
Britain’s foreign intelligence agency wants to change the macho image of their intelligence officers and reach candidates who would not normally apply.
The short TV advert attempts to debunk the James Bond image by telling potential recruits it is not about killing their enemies with car ejector seats.
The clip, which will be shown on YouTube for the first time, starts with what appears to be a nail-biting scene from a 007 movie.
The clip, which will be shown on YouTube for the first time, starts with what appears to be a nail-biting scene from a 007 movie
The short TV advert attempts to debunk the James Bond image by telling potential recruits it is not about killing their enemies with car ejector seats
It shows a man sweating, looking terrified, and gripping arm rests as a man approaches him in the background in what appears to be an interrogation scene.
Following the menacing music playing in the background, a voice then says: ‘We are intelligence officers, but we don’t do what you think.
‘It’s not about finding the secret button for your ejector seat.
‘It’s finding common ground with a stranger, anywhere. And gaining their trust.
‘Taking an interest in the world, learning more.’ It quickly emerges that it is actually just a moment from ordinary daily life and a man from an ethnic minority is receiving a shave in a barbershop.
Reaching to ordinary ethnic minority and black Britons, it adds: ‘If this sounds familiar, it’s because you do it every day.
‘MI6, secretly we’re just like you.’ In a further advert posted on their website, the agency said ‘there’s no such thing as a ‘type’ of SIS officer’.
It added that ‘while we have always attracted talent, in order to remain one of the best intelligence services in the world, we need to harness talent from the widest possible range of backgrounds and experiences. That could include you.’
Following the menacing music playing in the background, a voice then says: ‘We are intelligence officers, but we don’t do what you think’
The agency said there were many ‘misconceptions’ about what it is like to work for them and people assume they have to be from privileged backgrounds and have no family or social life.
‘In fact we are more like you than you think. Many officers balance fulfilling careers with caring commitments, have active social lives and come from a range of educational backgrounds’, it added.
The advert follows MI6’s first ever TV recruitment bid last year, which started with a shark in the tank.
MI6, also known as the Secret Intelligence Service, said the advert increased applications from ethnic minority groups but it still wanted more diverse candidates.
The agency is expanding by 25 per cent to take on soaring global threats, from resurgent Russia and China to terror groups Islamic State and al Qaeda.
It also announced last year that it was relaxing its recruitment rules to encourage more children of migrants to sign up.
In an attempt to boost ethnic minority recruitment, it dropped a century-long requirement to have a British-born parent or ‘substantial ties’ to the UK.
The rule change was part of a major push to increase MI6’s headcount by 800 to 3,400 by 2021.
The British military is also attempting to recruit from sections of society who would not traditionally sign up to the armed forces.
On the recruitment website, The Chief of SIS, Alex Younger, said: ‘I want this opportunity to dispel the myths that still too often see potential candidates rule themselves out.
‘The Service I am proud to lead is global, modern, and most capable with a deserved reputation of being one of the best intelligence agencies in the world.
‘MI6 makes a unique contribution to protecting Britain’s security and prosperity.
‘My message remains simple: there is no ‘standard’ MI6 officer: if you have what it takes, then apply to join us.
‘Our work is exciting, intellectually challenging and it matters.
‘Regardless of background, if you have the skills we need and share our values, I want you to consider a career in intelligence, in a service that reflects today’s UK society.
‘MI6 needs the best people that this country has to offer and there really is a place for you.’