Hiring A Cybersecurity Pro? Consider These Six Do’s And Don’ts
Written by our very own Mark Aiello, as a member of Forbes Councils, and recently seen on Forbes.com.
The need for cybersecurity professionals is high with very limited supply. These roles are vital to your business, and you may want to fill them quickly — but with a candidate who meets your requirements. Here are a few thoughts based on my experience at a cybersecurity staffing firm that might help you uncover a great fit despite the slim odds.
Don’t Be Arrogant
Listen to your interviewee. Many who work in cybersecurity say unemployment in the industry is at ground zero. The person you’re interviewing likely has a job. That means they don’t need yours. It can be tempting to talk about your company’s success, and while that’s important, you’ll win with your candidate if you put their thoughts and needs first. Ask their opinion on the security challenges your company faces.
You are an extension of how the candidate perceives your company culture. Create an interview environment where the candidate feels wanted and valued. Appreciate their opinions and ideas. Show them that you care not only about company goals, but also about the people that work for the company.
Do Give Them A Compelling Reason To Leave Their Current Position
Most cybersecurity professionals I work with are happy in their current jobs. It could take a serious carrot to overcome inertia and give them a reason to make a move. A 2018 (ISC)2 report found that only 14% of respondents in the cybersecurity industry were actively looking for a new job. This is an incredibly small percentage considering (ISC)2 estimated there were 498,000 openings in North America in 2018.
With a bounty of options available to the average cybersecurity professional, you’ll need to listen carefully to individual goals. Are they money motivated? Is working with the latest tech their biggest priority? Is it the possibility of relocating? Put yourself in their shoes, then be flexible and creative to find what it is that would equate to an opportunity they can’t refuse.
Don’t Reject Someone Because They Don’t Look Like The Perfect Fit At First
Be open to less experienced, smart candidates. My biggest pet peeve in the industry is when hiring managers don’t see the full potential of strong candidates.
Is it routinely taking you more than a few months to fill positions? Raise your hand. Maybe you’re suffering from hiring perfectionism. What if you hired someone who was a little below the desired experience level? Look for candidates that ask great questions and are smart and curious. Invest in them, and over time they will likely get up to speed and become a loyal employee.
If you are at the low- to mid-range level of compensation, consider extending an offer to someone who will view your position as a step up in their career. Their gratitude could pay off in the long run.
Do Research What Other Companies Are Doing
Those 498,000 are tipping the scales of supply and demand. You’ll need to analyze what other companies in your geography and industry are doing to attract cyber professionals. Make sure you’re competitive. Do you allow remote work? Do you allow for a flexible schedule? Do you offer extra paid time off? These are just a few of the less-costly perks that can make a huge difference in your hiring power. Find the benefits within your own culture. Ask what makes working at your company more interesting and rewarding than working with other companies. Think about how you show people that you care about their quality of life.
Don’t Search For Clones
Sometimes people look to fill a position with a person just like the one who recently departed. They might say: “We need another person like Joe.” Instead, look to implement good onboarding and training approaches for your new employee.
It can be hard to remember that Joe was not always experienced. If you are holding out for a clone of the person who just left, there is a high probability that you’re spending valuable time looking for someone who doesn’t exist.
When an experienced person leaves, so does the “glue” of the institutional knowledge they carried with them. That means someone will have to invest time into the new hire. Be realistic and pragmatic. Find ways to help the new candidate get up to speed. In my experience, the best thing you can do is fill the position as quickly as possible with someone who is capable of learning — and surround them with mentoring opportunities.
Do Speed Up Your Hiring Process
Hiring can be a slow process for many reasons. People take time to decide in part because they’re afraid of making a mistake.
Wasted time can be the biggest mistake. Today’s competitive market demands agility, especially with regards to cybersecurity.
You can increase your odds of landing that highly sought-after and hard-to-find candidate by making them an offer before anyone else does. Being the first one to ask is like being first to market. It can be a big advantage. Make it so that you are your candidate’s only offer.
About Mark Aiello
With 30 years of IT and Cybersecurity consultant and staffing experience, Mark Aiello is V.P. of Cybersecurity Operations at Signature Consultants. Aiello is an innovative strategist and marketer with a tireless passion for the cybersecurity industry and helping companies stay safe by providing expert consultants and employees. Signature Consultants is the 15th largest IT Staffing Firm in the U.S.
About Signature Consultants, LLC
Headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Signature Consultants was established in 1997 with a singular focus: to provide clients and consultants with superior staffing solutions. For the ninth consecutive year, Signature was voted as one of the “Best Staffing Firms to Work For” and is named the 15th Largest IT Staffing Firm in the United States (source: Staffing Industry Analysts). With 27 locations throughout North America, Signature annually deploys thousands of consultants to support, run, and manage their clients’ technology needs. Signature offers IT staffing, consulting, managed solutions, and direct placement services. For more information on the company, please visit www.sigconsult.com.