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Security Officers

At MI5, Security Officers are the friendly face of our service, helping to protect our people, places and property. It’s about being welcoming and helpful as a member of a supportive team, and carrying out a variety of tasks each day.

As well as greeting different visitors to our buildings and keeping accurate records, you’ll be checking vehicles, monitoring CCTV and carrying out physical searches. And all the time, you’ll be chatting with visitors and colleagues, while keeping your eyes open for anything out of the ordinary.

It’s using a lot of the skills I had already, such as dealing with people and knowing how to handle situations calmly.

Security Officers

This is what our security looks like

View Audio Transcripts

Alesha - Career changer

I used to work on an airport check-in desk and really loved meeting people from different backgrounds, making them feel welcome and helping them get to where they needed to go. But, although I enjoyed the contact with people and the responsibility, I felt I’d gone as far as I could. I wanted variety and a chance to develop - a new challenge, really.

Then I saw an advert for Security Officers at MI5. I must admit, it’s not a job I’d ever thought about. But the advert talked about meeting lots of different people, helping them out and learning new skills, and that ticked all the boxes for me.

I really love my job. Every day’s different – over the course of a shift you could be monitoring CCTV, checking vehicles, welcoming visitors or testing alert systems. It’s using a lot of the skills I had already, such as dealing with people and knowing how to handle situations calmly. You definitely need to be approachable and a good communicator, because you talk to everyone from the Director General and government ministers to the public.

I’ve learned lots of new skills too, from first aid and using CCTV equipment to de-escalation techniques. And the collective experience in my team is really great to draw on. I’m always learning and I really feel like I’m helping to keep people safe.

The skills you need

This role relies on communication skills and understanding people, paired with a relative level of physical fitness and an ability to help people feel safe. So we’re looking for excellent communicators with a warm, welcoming character and the ability to put everyone at their ease. You might have a background in customer service, retail, front of house, airport check-ins or any role where you’re used to dealing with a wide range of people and situations.

If you’re a good team player, with a keen eye for detail and the character to stay calm under pressure, you’ll fit right in. We’re also looking for an enthusiasm for learning new skills and a willingness to get stuck in. If you’re relatively fit, all the better – but we’re certainly not looking for finely-tuned athletes.

I thought you needed to be a huge body-builder type, but that’s not the case.

Training and development

You’ll join a supportive team who are always happy to help new members settle in. As well as access to a personal mentor, you’ll have extensive training in a variety of areas, from customer care, first aid and fire safety, to conflict management and our IT and CCTV systems.

We’ll also give you the support you need to study for formal qualifications (currently City & Guilds) during your first year, alongside training to gain your Security Industry Authority (SIA) licence. With potential opportunities to job shadow other roles, you’ll have plenty of scope to develop a rewarding career with us.

The collective experience in my team is really great to draw on. I’m always learning and I really feel like I’m helping to keep people safe.

Our Recruitment Process

Our transparent recruitment process can take between six and nine months. Due to the confidential nature of our work, you’ll need to go through security vetting, as well as the usual recruitment stages.

Before you apply, please check you are eligible to apply to MI5 including a minimum GCSE (or equivalent) C/4 in Maths and English Language and some basic IT skills. If you are in full time education you’ll need these qualifications before joining us but you’re welcome to apply whilst studying.

We judge all applications on merit and are committed to equal opportunities. You should only apply if you’re in the UK. If you’re not in the country, please wait until you’re back in the UK before applying. This is your chance for you to tell us why you want to work for us and your motivation for the role. We’re also interested in your people skills, how you work with others and get the best from your interactions, so try and think of some specific examples you can give us. We’ll also give you an everyday scenario to think about, where you’ll provide us with your answer and reason for the decision you take so we can understand a little bit more about how you approach problem solving.

As part of the recruitment process, we’ll test you on the competencies we’re looking for, such as:

  • Motivational fit (2 Part question)
  • Partner and customer orientation
  • Working with others
  • Written comms (assessed throughout the process)

Here you can chat to one of our friendly recruitment team, ask any questions, and we will confirm your eligibility for the role. We’ll also ask you about your motivation for joining MI5 and what excites you about a career with us. We’ll ask you some further competency questions, and you’ll have the chance to tell us all about your communication skills and how you learn and handle change within a work context for example.

The assessment centre comprises a 30-45min interview with us and someone from your prospective team, along with some short scenario-based tests and a few more competency questions. You can expect to be with us around 2 hours on the day. The interview will explore your motivation for the role a bit further, and the tests and questions are designed to replicate situations you might come across in the role and observe how you respond.

If you are successful at the assessment centre, you will be sent a Conditional Offer and put forward to vetting. We’ll ask you to fill out a detailed questionnaire and one of our vetting officers will go through your answers with you. Please try to give us as many details as possible. This process can take 3-4 months, so we advise that you don’t hand in your notice until you have completed vetting and received your final job offer.

Work-life balance

These are full-time roles and you’ll be working either day shifts, Monday to Friday, or a 24-hour shift pattern of two days and two nights, then four days off.

At MI5, we’re committed to offering flexible working where possible, so once you’re settled in, we may offer job sharing or other flexible options. The sensitive nature of our work also means that you’ll enjoy a good work-life balance. You won’t be able to take your work home, so when you leave the office, you really do leave your work behind.

One thing I didn’t expect was looking forward to my shifts – it’s like going to work with your mates, which is a real bonus.


We’re committed to rewarding the people who work for us and showing our appreciation for their vital efforts. In fact, acknowledging our staff is an important part of our success.

Our benefits include; a desirable Pension Scheme, Parental Leave, 25 days of Annual Leave, On-Site Facilities such as a gym, restaurant and coffee bar at some locations plus many more.

Our people

Whatever your idea of the kind of people who work here, you’ll find we’re just ordinary people doing extraordinary jobs. We work hard to ensure our people can bring their whole self to work. Aside from fostering a welcoming, supportive and open culture, we’ve got a range of growing affinity groups. These currently include:

  • our ethic minority network
  • a group working to achieve gender and non-binary equality
  • a network supporting staff with illnesses and disability
  • an open forum for staff with a faith, or no faith, to come together
  • our network supporting LGBT+ staff.

You’ll also find a range of sports and social groups to help you settle in and connect with like-minded people. In fact, we’ve won numerous awards for our inclusive working environment.

We aim for our people to truly reflect the diverse society we protect. Women, those who identify as female, and those from ethnic minority backgrounds are currently under-represented in our workforce, therefore we encourage applications from these groups.

If you’re good with people, don’t mind being outdoors some of the time and want to do something a bit different, then you’ll fit right in.