The success of any job interview is hinged upon multiple factors. Sometimes the stars align – you get the right interview slot, the right interviewer, and the right questions. Sometimes you go in a little unprepared, but you’ve still bagged that perfect role. Why chance it, though? There are so many things that can affect your success, so give yourself a leg-up and do the work before the interview even starts.
It’s often hard to know what to prepare for, however. Cyber Security is a growing and complex industry, and interviews will differ between the multitude of cyber security roles that are out there. You could have anything thrown at you. Here’s how best to prepare for your cyber security interview, so you can set yourself up for success…
What to Research
A quick Google search won’t suffice for this one. It’s important to know at least the basics about any organisation you’re interviewing for, but you need to delve a lot deeper.
What’s the reason for the vacancy? If you can get hold of this information (usually through a Recruiter or contact within the company), it can tell you a lot about what they’re looking for and, more importantly, why. Getting to grips with the look of their current cyber security team can also reveal a lot of information. What’s their cyber security incident history? What’s their current tech stack? What are their vulnerabilities? What are their plans for cyber security strategy and reporting in the future?
If you can target the organisation’s pain points with your interview answers, and solve their problems, you will tick every box they have on their checklist for the perfect candidate.
If you’re not au fait with what’s going on in the industry, now’s the time to brush up on hot topics. You need to present yourself as knowledgeable, passionate, relevant and innovative. If you can hold an informed discussion about the cyber security landscape, and how you think the future looks, you are showing how you can add value and knowledge to the organisation. You can read about the top trends in cyber security in our article here.
Brush up on the biggest threats to the organisation, and your tech knowledge as well. From phishing to DDoS attacks, and three-way handshakes to Traceroute, know your stuff, and you’ll be sure to impress.
Don’t forget, you might have an interviewer on the panel who isn’t a cyber security professional, so be careful with your technical jargon. Establish who you’re talking to at the beginning of the interview and bear this in mind. Here’s a handy article from Forbes about defining cyber security buzzwords. If you can show that you can allow for communication with non-cyber security stakeholders in your interview, you’ll get some big brownie points.
Notes on Self
You don’t want to sound like a robot when you’re answering interview questions, giving a pre-prepared spiel. However, making some notes on your skills and past experiences will mean these are at the forefront of your mind when you’re inevitably asked to discuss them.
Your skills and knowledge
Make a list of your most important and valuable skills. It will come up, and even if it doesn’t, you can work this into your answers for other questions. It might be a good idea to also note down any skills you feel you’d like to improve on. Show some ambition to develop and improve yourself as a cyber security professional. You can’t be great at everything, we’re all human, right?
Try and think of ways you can impressively show your knowledge. What should the protocol be in a ransomware attack? How would you handle a SQL injection? What is your plan to consistently assess and fix any vulnerability issues? If you’ve already prepared these beforehand, you’re less likely to miss an important point in the interview.
It’s incredibly likely that during the interview, you’ll be asked to give examples of when you’ve encountered a situation previously. Make a written or mental note of the examples you could use for these. You don’t know exactly what you’ll be asked to reflect on, but you can often use the same situation to answer multiple questions, just from a different angle.
Think about the biggest challenges you’ve encountered, and how you’ve overcome them. Make a note of your biggest accomplishments, how you achieved them and how you felt about them. What about examples of when you’ve had to communicate/interact with executives/the c-suite? How have you contributed to the overall business goals of an organisation previously? There is a shift towards the involvement of other departments, rather than just IT, in the formation of cyber security strategy. With cyber security at the forefront of many business’ minds, it’s becoming a much bigger function in organisations, and central to the achievement of business goals. If you have your examples ready of how you can help an organisation with this shift, you will be setting yourself apart from other candidates who might not have thought as far ahead.
Need some more help with your prep? Our Cyber Security Recruitment Specialists can help you secure, and ace, those interviews. Get in touch today.