Charts & Graphs

Membership Drive

How to recruit an OSS agent.

The Office of Strategic Services during World War II included in its training courses for agents so-called OSS Steps to Recruitment, which detail important aspects of the hiring process.

  • SURVEY THE LOCALITY: state of local opinion, industry, and occupations.

  • CONSIDER THE TYPES OF SPIES NEEDED: insiders, specialists, cutouts, accommodation addresses, couriers, collectors of imported material, stores of material, headquarters, women.
    • Survey potential agents—it is from ranks of an informant service that first recruits are most likely to be drawn—many of the remainder will be indicated by the same means.
    • Put quality first—a bad agent will jeopardize an organization. Get full information about a potential agent before approaching him, e.g., interests, weaknesses, character, religion, politics, nationality, etc.
    • Approach to potential agents—get to know your man.
      • Self-introduction.
      • Introduction by mutual friend.
      • Coming down to business—change your line of appeal to suit the case, e.g., for a priest, based on religious grounds, etc.
      • Let any concrete suggestions come from him in the first stages.
      • Test reactions thoroughly before coming out into the open.
      • Sound by half-suggestions.
      • Leave yourself a way out in the event of refusal.
      • From the first give him an impression that we are part of a powerful and well-organized body—prestige counts heavily.