Does your recruiter help or hinder when hiring a security leader?

I’ve noticed over the past few months, more and more cyber and information security roles are being advertised via recruiters. This appeared to have dropped away a little in 2017 but seems to have had a rebirth. This begs the question if recruiters will have success in delivering the volume and quality of candidates required?

There are great recruiters out there who find themselves tasked with filling challenging security roles simply because they are on a panel and are contracted to fill any position that the employer requires. This can be frustrating to recruiters who specialise in security because they can’t provide their expertise to these organisations when they are not part of the panel process. Furthermore, if a panel recruiter cannot fill the role, the CIO may independently head out to market. This could be problematic if they haven’t first had the hard conversations internally about what is required of the new cyber leader and established what problem they are solving by bringing this leader in.

There is significant value in preparing for what the future security of the organisation will look like and therefore what type of leader you need. If you can, do this preparation and conduct the recruitment in house with your HR/talent team to support you to find the right candidate. However, if you are considering using third-party recruiters, here are some things to keep in mind:

·     When looking for a recruiter, question if they are truly aware of the state of the security market. Can they give a realistic view about your potential for successful hiring sooner rather than later?

·     Do they attend security events and understand the current security challenges facing organisations so they can assess the abilities of candidates?

·     Do you enjoy interacting with the recruiter? You need open dialogue and trust to find a stellar candidate so building a strong relationship is imperative.

·     They are not you (of course). You know in your mind exactly what you want, because you have done the hard thinking, planning, and legwork to establish what you need in a candidate. Handing the search over to someone else will always come with risks.

·     There are very few recruiters who are passionate about the security industry and the professionals involved. Those who aren’t solely focussed on security may produce shortlists of people who are not your ideal candidate.

·     How comfortable are you that they can measure culture fit when vetting applicants?

If you use a recruiter, ensure you are clear on what you want the new security leader to achieve and what experience or skills are negotiable. This can only help the recruiter deliver better against your requirements. 

Does your recruiter help or hinder when hiring a security leader?