HOUSTON, Texas — The FBI, the nation's top domestic law enforcement agency, currently is recruiting more women to join its offices nationwide.
Houston agents Kimberly Webster and Gigi Joyner have been with the the Federal Bureau of Investigation for more than 10 years, and know what it takes to make it in the elite agency.
"We look for collaboration, interpersonal skills, communication, organizational planning, adaptability, and our big one that we look for: judgment," said Joyner.
While the current focus primarily is on hiring more women, the FBI prides itself in being an equal-employment-opportunity workplace. The Diversity Agent Recruiting program, or DAR program, is focused on gathering the best of the best from all races and genders.
"Having diversity is important because it reflects America," Joyner said. "And we, as the FBI, should reflect America."
Joyner is the applicant recruiter for the Houston division, which includes more than 40 counties, including Nueces. The entire application and interview process takes about a year, and has numerous challenges -- so it's not for the faint of heart.
"A written test, phase one; and then we go on to a fit test," she said. "Then we go on to phase two, which is oral interviews as well as another written test, and then another fit test. So you can tell fitness is very important to us. And then we do a background, polygraph and a drug test."
Joyner also is an FBI defensive-tactics instructor with martial-arts mastery, so when she offered to let me experience the test firsthand, I wasn't about to say no to a lady with her credentials.
The test consists of sit-ups, a 300-meter sprint, push-ups, and a one-and-a-half mile run. A candidate passes by accumulating enough points at each station, which vary from age and gender. It was a lot of work, but the FBI does a good job of preparing you with tips, and thankfully I passed my test.
The hardest part of working in the FBI, though, isn't always the physical demands.
"If you're going and deploying to a horrible event like what happened in El Paso, you just don't know what you're going to see or what you're going to hear from the victims and it can be very traumatic," Webster said. "The FBI's mission is something that you can get behind, right? And so the work that we do is important; it's something that you can care about; it's something that you can feel passionate about."
If you are interested in learning more about the FBI, visit their website here.