6 Strategies for Filling Hard to Hire Security Management Roles

Security management roles can be among the hardest to fill for any company–especially if you, as the hiring manager, aren’t familiar with the type of security experience needed, goals for your security program, certification and educational opportunities available for potential candidates.  The best advice I can share when you’re looking to fill a security role, be it a Chief Security Officer (CSO), Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) or other type of security leadership, is to talk with your current employees (or external sources) who are filling similarly specialized or hard-to-fill roles.  Ideally, you’d like to talk to someone within the field you’re hiring for.  There are several things to consider:

  • What job qualifications are essential for success?  This includes any necessary subject matter expertise within security or a particular kind of certification, especially if you’re dealing with a highly specialized field (such as Information Security/IT Security) that you don’t know much about.
  • What type of personality works best in your organization’s culture?  You want someone who will fit in well with your existing employees, not a personality that will create conflict in your workplace environment.
  • Ask what attracted individuals already in hard-to-fill jobs to the organization.  Was it the office environment?  A competitive salary or benefits package?  Something about the company and what it stands for?

In the race for today’s top-tier talent, it’s time to put aside outdated, cookie cutter job descriptions or one size fits all “Why work for us!” messaging and ineffective interview tactics.  Tailor yours to both ideal candidate mindset and organizational strengths, and you’ll give your team a distinct recruiting advantage.  Try the following strategies:

  1. Optimize job descriptions and titles to attract the right candidates.  Don’t just include a standard job title–that will land you squarely in the middle of the pack of search results when a potential employee does a job search.  Include multiple different keywords that are used to describe your open job, and certification requirements.  All of these factors will help draw traffic to your listing–including the top-tier talent that you’re hoping to hire.
  2. Interview “A Players” at your company to help attract like-minded talent.  You already know who the best employees at your company are.  Have a discussion with them about what attracted them to your company and what keeps them there.  Use their answers to develop a plan for hiring more talent at their level.
  3. Create a competitive Employer Value Proposition (EVP).  In order to attract the best possible talent in any industry, you need a competitive package that provides incentives for high-level performance. Discover what others in your industry are offering and try to at least match it if your goal is to attract the best possible candidates for your open position.
  4. Leverage company talent at hiring meet-ups and events.  Take advantage of highly-placed individuals who can use their connections to help your company, as well as those whose skills are of value to you at meet-ups and other events.
  5. Fine tune your interview process based on real-world candidate feedback.  If you find yourself being turned down by candidates that you’d really like to have working for you, discover why.  Don’t be afraid to seek out feedback at the end of the interview process, especially from someone who appears very interested in your company.  Talk to other recent hires who remember their interview process:  what stuck out to them?  What made them want to work for your company?
  6. Consider utilizing executive search consultants focused in security recruiting.  Security recruiters already know how to find an excellent individual to fill your open position, as well as how to put your company’s best foot forward while you’re searching for talent.  By using an executive search consultant focused in security management recruiting, you’re giving yourself an advantage in a highly competitive field.

By utilizing these , you’ll increase your hiring advantage, attract top-tier talent to your company, and ultimately ensure that you have the best person for your open position.

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