Hiring Cybersecurity Professionals

09 May 2022
5 min read
Hiring Cybersecurity Professionals article image

How to Hire Cybersecurity Professionals?

Cybersecurity talent is notoriously hard to find. Any company looking to build its cybersecurity team had better have a solid plan – a plan that goes beyond traditional means of recruiting and retention. Cybersecurity professionals have many options. If you can find candidates, how can your company stand out as a desirable place to work? Read on to learn some of the best ways to attract cybersecurity professionals.

By the Numbers

Though the global workforce shortage has decreased modestly for the last two years, there is still a worldwide shortage of 2.72 million cybersecurity professionals.

While salary is certainly not the only lever to pull, you will need to know the landscape if you want to compete. For example, in the U.S., the median annual salary for an IT security professional is $84k while the average manager earned more than $100k. Geography and experience can affect that number, so you’ll need to do some homework to make sure you make a competitive offer.

Opportunity Over Salary

Salary is only part of the employment package. Cybersecurity professionals know as well as anybody that the field is evolving quickly. They are, as a group, eager to learn the latest technology and know that continual learning is a key ingredient for career advancement. Cyber professionals look for opportunities to learn from others whether through mentorships, team projects or other networking opportunities.

Nobody wants to sign up for a dead-end job. Cybersecurity professionals want to work on varied projects that spur professional growth. They will also want to see a path to advancement within the organisation.

Culture Matters

Most job candidates prefer companies that have a positive culture. Cybersecurity professionals are no different. But what is culture and how can you promote a positive culture?

The elements described above – varied work, upward mobility – are parts of a positive growth culture – an environment where employees have opportunities, support and incentives to grow their skills.

Millenials, in particular, have high expectations about their job and their employer. They want their job to have a sense of purpose and for their employer to demonstrate values that align with their personal values. They prefer companies with a strong sense of social responsibility.

In addition to an overall company culture, many workers want to feel that they belong to a close-knit team. Workers may push themselves to perform if they feel they are valued and supported by their teammates.

Build Diversity

Diversity is a vital part of a company’s culture. If a candidate does not see anyone who looks like or speaks like them, there are unlikely to give your company a fair chance. In this sense, diversity begets diversity – it’s easier to recruit diverse candidates when you already have a diverse workforce.

Work-Life Balance

In the digital age, it can be easy to develop unsustainable, ‘Always at Work’ habits. Today’s professional wants to know that their company, and especially their supervisor, not only talks about work-life balance, but establishes clear and firm boundaries. No one wants to regularly wake up in the middle of the night with URGENT text messages and emails. If it can wait until business hours, it should wait. Failure to do so might solve short term problems…and create medium and long-term problems due to burnout and disaffection.

Widen the Net

While many employers prefer a bachelor’s degree as a qualification, is it really necessary for every cybersecurity role? There are many candidates with excellent technical skills and credentials that do not have the traditional bachelor’s degree. It’s worth giving these candidates a chance to show what they can do, and not automatically eliminate them in the early stages of recruitment.

Meet Them Where They Are

As a group, cybersecurity professionals are not the most prolific social media posters. They tend to be more cautious and keep low profiles online. This can make networking and reaching into their circles a bit trickier. You can persevere through talking with your own security team and finding out how your company might gain visibility in their world. Encouraging your current team to attend meet ups and hackathons can be a great way to publicise an opening and recruit candidates. In general, giving your current employees the support and incentives to leverage their networks can bring great recruiting results.

If you can’t find it, build it!

If you cannot find the skills you need in the market, build them from within! As mentioned above, up-skilling and continual learning are appealing to employees, and they can also be an asset to the company. Consider building relationships with training partners and give employees incentives to follow through and complete certifications. Also, provide opportunities for them to put their new skills to work.

Plan for Tomorrow, but what about Today?

These tips will work if you put the time, energy, and budget into it. For best results, you will need to develop your own plan and commit to it. And most of these strategies do not pay off overnight – they will take time.

If you need help now, a trusted partner, like Halian, can help you find talent in the short term and help you build momentum for the long term. The experienced recruiters at Halian specialise in finding in-demand tech talent. They know what works and can get your team up and running fast.

Regardless of your approach, cybersecurity hires are usually high priority. You will need to put extra resources into finding the right candidates and get them up and running as quickly as possible.

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