Recruiting for Cyber Security: A Tough Job That’s Not Getting Easier

Posted by Kathleen Smith

Recruiting cyber security candidates

Recruiting is a tricky process. Keeping up with the demands of a successful business leaves recruiters with a full plate and finding the right fit for the culture adds to the challenge. When it comes to filling cleared cyber security positions you can magnify the challenges by, well, a lot!

Cyber security spans many industries as well as many types of security – red team, blue team, white hat, black hat. As quickly as the technology changes, so do the positions you are trying to fill. Worse, you are trying to find candidates familiar with a technology that may be only months old. You are going to be constantly cultivating your talent pipeline as there will not be an end to the requirements you need to fill. Think strategically about how you source, recruit, interview and hire these candidates.

Job statistics show that 10% of all IT job openings are in cyber and the growth rate is at least two times faster than other IT jobs. Estimates indicate that by 2019 there will be over one million unfilled cyber security jobs. Industry numbers reflect that it takes 24% longer to fill openings in cyber security than other IT positions.

Hopefully some of these suggestions will help fortify your efforts.

Target Your Job Postings Effectively

It’s vital that you keep current on where the talent will be hanging out. Where will this be? Where they can get their training, or keeping up with the most recent technology. You should as well. Your brand as an organization needs to reflect that you offer a challenging and supportive environment that provides job satisfaction. Target your messages using the language of the community throughout all of your communication channels – social media, LinkedIn, job boards, job fairs, industry events and conferences. Consider a special cybersecurity or security talent “handle” for your company’s recruitment efforts and ask for a unique presence on your company’s website. Keyword ad buys can also pay off.

Spend the Time to Craft Appealing Job Postings

Most job postings will make a candidate’s eye glass over – they lose interest with a lengthy list of tasks. Yes, you should be very specific with job requirements, but don’t miss the opportunity for the sell. Candidates want to see your culture and passion in your job postings. Be quirky if that is your culture. You’re trying to stand out, so what makes you unique? Why would a candidate want to work there? What are the rewards? Just don’t be tempted to fall into a lazy pile of fluff. Take the time to think about the positive aspects of the job and the company and tell a tale that is hard to resist.

Use a Job Posting to Build a Network

Too often a recruiter will throw back the little fish into the talent pool. Don’t be shortsighted.  Every job will have a list of requirements for skills and experience. Ninety percent of the resumes you receive probably won’t fit those expectations, but there may be a gold mine of prospects in that 90%. Maybe some of the candidates only slightly miss the mark and could be trained to fit the bill. Others may have the perfect set of skills for the next opening that pops up. Treat all candidates respectfully and build a solid network from your efforts.

Improve the Interview Process

It’s important to have your ducks in a row as you begin the interview process. You will have several stages from the phone and technical interview, to the in-person interviews. Focus on what is important for your company and culture. If you’ve sourced a terrific candidate but the hiring manager is not available for interviews for several weeks, that candidate may have moved on.

Take the time during the interview process to ask more in-depth questions about the candidate’s home lab, or their experience in competitions. You may find a wealth of information in their extracurricular activities.

A good candidate experience during the interviewing process will go a long way in speaking to the culture of your organization. Disarray and fumbles will send a strong wrong message. Make sure the hiring team is on board through all phases and that the candidate is treated professionally along all steps.

Pilot the Negotiation and Steer the Job Offer

Often a company’s inability to be decisive with an offer can result in the loss of a great candidate. Be prepared with industry information on salaries, perks, and growth potential. Know the department or contract budget and what leeway there is in salary or benefits negotiation.

Be prepared to share with candidates your support of their continuing education. Will you provide them with tuition reimbursement for maintaining their certifications? Support travel and time off for those trainings? Organize all feedback from various team members. Be the driving force that is ready to seal the deal. These steps are all vital to keeping a candidate interested in your company.

The cyber security industry is a moving force that changes at warp speed. It will keep everyone on their toes well into the future and that wild dance will be ten-fold for recruiters. It’s more important than ever to keep up because a sure pace will reap the rewards.



This entry was posted on Monday, October 16, 2017 9:17 pm

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