Frequently asked questions - Careers

CSE as an employer of choice

Is CSE an equal opportunity employer?
CSE encourages applications from women, Aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities, and members of visible minority groups.

CSE employees part of the Public Service of Canada?
CSE employees are part of the Public Service, but are employed by CSE, a separate agency of the Government of Canada.

Selection process

What can I expect during the selection process?
Candidates should expect skill test(s) and interview(s) in addition to the security screening process.

How much time does the selection process take?
The length of time varies depending on several factors, such as the number of applicants, the time required for the assessments and the availability of applicants for interview, assessment and testing. It can take up to one year in some cases.

Who can I contact if I have questions about my application?
Due to the volume of applications we receive, only those selected for further consideration are contacted by a CSE Human Resources representative.

What happens if I withdraw from a competition?
The assessment process is stopped and the applicant's name remains in the un-assessed inventory. The person must submit a new application to apply for another position in the future.

How do I get my Top Secret Security Clearance?
During the recruitment process, CSE provides candidates with the security clearance application forms. Once these are filled out and returned by the candidates, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) conducts its background investigation. To prepare for the security clearance application forms in advance of meeting with a Security representative, we suggest compiling all your residential, employment, and travel information from the last 10 years beforehand. Once you’ve received your Top Secret clearance, it’s good for five years.

What are the salaries?
CSE offers competitive salaries that vary depending on the position. All salary ranges are outlined in the job profiles that are listed on our website.

Personal qualifications

Can life experience be a substitute for work and educational experience?
Life experience is not a substitute for our basic recruiting criteria.

Does CSE hire people with disabilities?
CSE is proud to employ a diverse range of Canada’s most talented employees. We ask that candidates with disabilities inform us of any accommodations they may need for their job interview.


Do I have to meet the educational requirements?
CSE hires only the best candidates and our recruiters adhere to the essential qualifications listed in each job profile.

Do I need a university degree to work at CSE?
Certain positions do require a university degree, but CSE also hires people with college diplomas for many of our job postings.

Will CSE request my post-secondary transcripts?
For student positions, please submit your transcripts as soon as possible, ideally when submitting your application. Your Co-op Placement Office may be able to assist you.
If you are applying for a full-time position, the online job posting will provide specific instructions for any requirements for documentation. If a transcript is required, you will be notified. Please note that you may also be required to provide proof of graduation.

Official languages

Do I have to be bilingual to apply?
Certain positions require candidates to be bilingual, but others do not. All linguistic requirements are detailed in the specific job postings on our website.

I have not taken the second language test. Is there a web site that can give me more information on the subject?
The Public Service Commission site has guidelines and information on second language testing, including a description about competency levels.

Can I do the second language tests on my own time?
No, CSE is responsible for arranging a second language evaluation.

Residency and citizenship

Do I have to be a Canadian citizen to apply?
Yes. In order to meet Top Secret Security Clearance requirements, CSIS must be able to verify your whereabouts for the past 10 years. You should keep records of any significant period of time spent abroad.

How to apply

How long does CSE keep a résumé on file?
Candidates who have not been contacted within four to six months after submitting an online application are encouraged to submit an updated résumé if they are still interested in employment with CSE.

If I submitted my application in one of the inventory postings, do I need to resubmit another one if I see a new job in the latest job postings?
Yes, you should submit an application for each listed job posting in which you are interested.

You've been hired!

Are there opportunities for advancement?
CSE holds internal competitions on a regular basis that are available to employees. CSE also offers a variety of training opportunities including leadership development programs for those seeking management positions.

What are the employee benefits?
CSE offers you a career with a difference and a comprehensive benefits package that provides flexibility for the diverse needs of our employees, including: three weeks of vacation, sick leave credits (fifteen days per year), compassionate leave, health and dental plans, and a pension plan. If you have an existing pension plan, you may be eligible to transfer your accrued pension benefits.

Restrictions for candidates

Can I still apply if I have a criminal record?
You may be considered even if you have a criminal record. However, the details of the offence will be evaluated during the screening process and the circumstances may affect the outcome of your application for a Top Secret Security clearance.

Can I still apply if I have used drugs in the past?
The use of illegal or recreational drugs is a criminal offense. Drug use is a significant factor that is subject to evaluation when considering the reliability and suitability of the candidate during the security screening process.

Can I still apply if I have declared bankruptcy in the past?
Yes, however, this would be a significant factor that is subject to evaluation when considering the reliability and suitability of the candidate during the security screening process.

Rejected candidates

What happens if I fail to receive the security clearance?
If an applicant fails to receive a Top Secret clearance to CSE standards, an employment offer cannot be made.

I applied for CSE in the past and was rejected. Can I apply again?
Yes, you may re-apply for a position with CSE if you were unsuccessful in the past.