Spy agency ASIS looks for new recruits with virtual reality test

Australia's next generation of spy agency recruits is asked to spot patterns, notice small details and listen carefully in a virtual reality test finding the right people for the nation's foreign intelligence service.

The Australian Secret Intelligence Service, which sends agents overseas, is looking for new spies to join its ranks with a series of unconventional questions in a test called 'The Most Interesting Job Interview' that will stump those not paying attention. 

The new online recruitment test for the next generation of spies for ASIS.

The new online recruitment test for the next generation of spies for ASIS.

In a virtual interview lasting about five minutes, prospective recruits have to figure out the missing number from a series of buttons in a lift, remember information given in background noise and extract details while listening to multiple people speak.

Their interpersonal skills, empathy and knowledge of foreign cities are also put to the test.

"As you've probably noticed, ASIS officers are great at noticing small details," the virtual interviewer says.

"In intelligence, having sharp ears is just as important as having sharp eyes."

The test is an unusually public recruitment effort from the secretive agency and indicates the qualities it wants in its spies. 

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said that for obvious reasons not many knew of ASIS' work, making it hard for the agency to find people cut out for espionage.

"Applicants are invited to take what will be the most interesting job interview they are likely to face, which will identify those smart, perceptive, empathetic individuals with the 'human intelligence' to work for ASIS," she said.

"While these qualities are special, they are not unique. The same skills are required for a variety of professions ranging from teaching to customer service. Potential applicants could come from diverse backgrounds.

"Applicants need to show they can build relationships, pay attention to detail and they must be willing to live overseas. They must also be discreet and capable of collecting foreign intelligence from human sources."

While the test is likely to get people talking about how they fared, Ms Bishop said that the process was confidential and should not be discussed.

A notice at the beginning of the "interview" also asks those taking it to wear headphones to keep it private, and those finishing it are invited to retry or apply for a job.

Take the test RIGHT HERE