I was working in education and looking for a career change when I came across the Vetting Officer position. I’d never considered working for the organisation before, but I was attracted to how people-focused the role is. Our job is to understand people in all their diversity and complexity. It’s up to us to work out if they can be entrusted with the UK’s most sensitive information. So, you need to be able to research and analyse information, ask the right questions, and demonstrate sound judgement.
It’s not a straightforward job, but it’s very rewarding. Before we speak to an individual, we gather huge amounts of research. You’ll need good analytical skills, attention to detail and the ability to spot patterns. The interviews can last several hours, and cover every aspect of a person’s life. In that time, you need to build rapport, trust, and know how to approach difficult topics with empathy.
A typical week for me involves preparing new cases, conducting an interview, writing it up, contacting referees and submitting the final report. Time management is critical in this role. You have a lot of autonomy, but you’ll be writing the equivalent of three dissertations a month! That’s what’s needed to capture an individual in all their complexity on the page – and ultimately decide whether they should be granted clearance.