When I saw an advert for a procurement role at GCHQ, I thought it sounded interesting because it offered a chance to work in an intelligence agency, doing unique and interesting work that helps to protect the UK.
The recruitment process was fairly straightforward. I had a panel interview that gave me the chance to use my procurement experience to answer questions. I heard the result within two weeks and then went through the vetting process, which was less of an issue than I expected. It took four months and I was particularly impressed by my vetting officer, who put me at ease and made the whole process run as smooth as possible. I decided I wanted this job despite having two other job offers.
One of the biggest challenges was understanding the organisation and its culture, which took some time. We’re not a typical commercial branch, although much of our commercial activity is similar to outside organisations.
I was surprised by how open and transparent the organisation is, particularly on the work we’re doing and its impact. There’s an informal culture, so when appropriate, you can meet internal customers for a coffee and catch up.
There’s a real drive and passion for continuous professional development, which is a big plus point. I’ve continued to develop both my commercial and management skills by attending workshops, seminars and training.
To succeed here, I’d say you need an open mind to new ideas and ways of working, as well as the ability to adapt and juggle priorities. I enjoy working on fast developing operational work – reacting quickly to meet customers’ commercial needs for equipment and support.This means you also get to see the results of your work and how it benefits the operation.