6 Best Hiring Practices in Cybersecurity

There’s a misconception among IT managers and top executives that cybersecurity is a technology issue rather than a business issue. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

The hiring and training of a knowledgeable team are vital to cybersecurity best practices, more so than a concentration on implementing the next “shiny” software update to thwart hackers. Organizations today lack an understanding of how best to create a cybersecurity culture that focuses on talent. By cultivating employees who understand security vulnerabilities, and things like what makes a hacker tick, we’re in a far better position to detect, investigate, and fend off data breaches. Once the workforce is there, the technology to get the job done can follow.

So how do we change the modern mindset in both academia and the workplace to build a powerhouse of cybersecurity talent? We first must remove obstacles in the hiring process by applying some hiring best practices.

1. Listen to Your Candidates

A good way to sell your organization to candidates is to make it easy for them to communicate with you, and you with them. Will you accept inquiries via email and phone? Are you providing enough of an explanation about the opportunity for someone to submit their resumé? If you enable your candidates to get to know your needs better and make the best showing of their fitness for the job, you’ll get a clearer indication of their capabilities and what they could bring to the position and the business.

2. Consider Wording of Job Postings

How you choose to convey your openings can make the difference in whether you receive a good influx of candidates with the right skills and talent. Be mindful to use language that is neutral and communicates a sense of community rather than bias. Consider how different groups may view your listing. Does the site where candidates input information appear to be secure and user-friendly for all?

It’s also important to provide good clarity in your skill requirements and the steps to successful employment within your organization. You want a good talent pool from which to choose but you don’t want to be viewed as an employer who may be overly demanding or who has overinflated an opportunity just to generate interest in your company. Remember, the competition for security talent is fierce so you don’t want to scare off experienced candidates who will understand what the role really entails.

3. Interview with Purpose

The interview process is a two-way street so be considerate of your interviewee’s time and energy. Your candidates will appreciate that you are organized and mindful of their schedules, abilities, and stamina as well as your own. It doesn’t do anyone any good to create an atmosphere where interviewees feel taxed, anxious, and unable to represent at their highest level.

Additionally, when you view the hiring process as a way to find hidden gems rather than weed out unsuitable candidates you have a better chance of selling potential applicants on why they should join your organization.

4. Standardize the Interview Process

In order to even the “playing field” you have to ask everyone the same questions. Determine a list of appropriate questions beforehand and ensure all interviewers stick to the script. Encourage interviewers to also take notes on the answers candidates provide, and do a review with the interview panel shortly afterward.

5. Find Allies for the Cause

You can help improve your current and future hiring options by partnering with institutions of higher learning that offer cyber literacy courses. Look for schools that focus on helping prepare individuals specifically for careers in cybersecurity or technology.

By partnering long-term with colleges and universities, you have a good chance of creating a steady stream of potential talent and getting your company in front of future leaders. It’s a way of not only seeing to it that the best candidates come your direction, but also a way of meeting up with them early in the process―before they hit the job market.

6. Make Onboarding Policies Crystal Clear

To strengthen and clarify the education for cybersecurity best practices you give your employees, you should clearly outline the requirements and expectations your company has in regard to cybersecurity when you first hire them. Make sure employment contracts and SLAs have sections that clearly define what your security requirements are and how they are implemented. You want your new talent to be gifted at keeping your organization secure from data breaches, not be the reason for a breach in security.

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