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I am responsible for Corporate Intelligence Services in the Forensics Risk and Compliance department of the BDO Wirtschaftspruefungsgesellschaft AG in Hamburg, Germany. My day-to-day tasks as an investigator and analyst include Fraud, Financial Crime and BrandIP investigations, Due Diligence, Pre- and post-Employment Screening, Competitive Intelligence, Asset tracing, Anti Money Laundering and OSINT training.
Every OSINT effort culminates in an intelligence product – usually a report. This report should be able to provide the recipient with information on which to base a decision. A CV i.e. resume is the first deliverable, where the candidate can show his or her report writing skill and ability to deliver a flawless finished product.
BDO has over 95.000 employees in 164 countries. Recruitment is handled by the respective HR departments, however the relevant operational unit i.e., technical department can and should assist HR operations. Visit the BDO website in your respective country (https://www.bdo.de/) for more information
OSINT is lifelong learning, when hiring, we are looking for candidates that have an inquisitive mindset.
The specific skill set we are looking for in candidates is the ability to find and mine open sources using advanced search techniques and tools to obtain reliable, validated, and valuable information and data. Intelligence is not collected; it is produced through analysis. Analytical techniques for exploration, and decision making are crucial.
Language skills are definitely advantageous. Though translation algorithms have become quite powerful, they are by no means perfect and can produce some questionable (and, at times, quite humorous) results. Being able to search in the target language and apply a distinctive understanding of how the language works, how people use it to communicate online, and the nuances that exist, is definitely an asset.
An OSINT analyst needs to be flexible and adapt, relying on good research practices and analytical thinking. Tools come and go, the right mindset for OSINT work stays. Moreover, an OSINT analysts need to be aware of bias, ego, or attitude. Every belief is a blind spot – confirmation bias, or the tendency to look for evidence that supports your point of view, can produce negative outcomes. So, we look for candidates that have the ability to question themselves. An equally important skill is the ability to communicate effectively.
If you start salary negotiations with “I want” or “I need” you have no room to manoeuvre and negotiate. There are ample resources out there where current and former employees anonymously review companies and give insights about jobs, salaries, and companies. Our suggestion to candidates is to be prepared, it shows when you are not.
What blows me away in an interview is when a candidate tells me what they are genuinely passionate about and what they are interested in. To see the passion in their behaviour when they speak about investigations and research, and what they have found. We are looking for candidates who enjoy the pleasure of finding things out. We expect candidates to come to an interview prepared with a list of questions and to take notes during an interview.
Not fully reading or understanding the job advert is the most common mistake. A CV needs to be tailored to the job advert. If the advert asks for fluency in a specific language, this means that this skill is essential. Candidates should do an OSINT on their prospective employer. Try be relaxed and yourself, your character should filter through in the interview.
As interviewers, we help the candidate relax during the interview. Bias, ego or attitude in an analyst and in an interviewer produces negative outcomes. Asking questions expecting the candidate to respond from memory is redundant if that information can be found via an OSINT search. More interesting is if the candidate demonstrates the ability to explore and learn.
A “Common Interview Questions” google search will produce a plethora of results. I would suggest searching for the behavioural interview questions from Amazon and to check out the resources from Daniel Miessler. Even though the interview questions from Daniel Miessler pertain to cybersecurity, it is a great resource that can be adapted to other fields. I would suggest any candidate to stay true.
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