Interviewing Security Candidates in a Talent Shortage
Created by the Security Executive Council
A recent article in McKinsey Quarterly, ‘Great Attrition’ or ‘Great Attraction’? The choice is yours (Sept. 8, 2021; De Smet, Dowling, Mugayar-Baldocchi, and Schaninger), cites new research that shows a continuing trend of significant attrition across industries. Employees are leaving their jobs without new employment lined up, and for reasons their employers infrequently understand.
This means security leaders may see an increase in insider threat events stemming from overwork and low morale across the organization. It also means they may see more of their own leaving for other opportunities, which presents both an opportunity to engage with at-risk staff about their needs, and a challenge: hiring new core team members.
If you are looking to hire a new member of your core security team, you can’t let someone else do the interviewing for you. Meet eye-to-eye and have a conversation. Let the conversation reveal the things you’re looking for. Be an investigator. Listen carefully, ask the right questions, and let the candidate do most of the talking.
Our subject matter experts recommend looking for team members who are self-driven—who can take on an assignment and determine what the real and underlying issues are, resolve every aspect of those issues, and provide clear and meaningful guidance to business leaders. Look for enthusiastic people who are truly committed to learning the business and contributing to its profitability.
Is the candidate a lifelong learner?
A lifelong learner will be enthusiastic about learning a new business and will tend to treat challenges as opportunities rather than handicaps.
Does the candidate have a high level of energy?
You may ask these questions if you need team members who can get off a plane in another country and hit the ground running, or if long hours and late-night emergencies are expected. Innate energy is key in this environment.
Does the candidate want to be a business partner?
Smart security works throughout the business to deliver tangible business value and improves net profitability. Ideal candidates will embrace this mission.
Can the candidate multitask in highly complex environments?
Most security teams need to be able to multitask in an organized way, dealing with multiple inputs simultaneously without neglecting any.
Does the candidate have a strength of character?
The security team will have to stand strong when decisions are in line with Security’s values and the company’s values. But they also need to be able to listen to business partners and change tactics when it benefits the business.
What is the candidate looking for from the organization?
Pay attention to the response to this question. If the candidate joins your organization, it will give you insight into how to keep them.
For more information on this topic see Corporate Security Career: Talent Management
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Copyright Security Executive Council. Last Updated September 21, 2021