Attracting and Retaining Cybersecurity Talent
For more than a year, labor shortages have been in the headlines, affecting our daily lives, as this crisis translates into supply chain issues, business closures and, in the together, longer wait times for customers in all industries. In this week’s episode, cybersecurity matchmaker Mimi Gross shares tips and tricks for attracting and retaining top talent juggling your prized teams.
Looking at her background, Mimi has been a “matchmaker” long before it was her career. Prior to focusing on assisting cybersecurity organizations, she worked with nonprofits to connect donors, grant recipients, and individuals who wanted to contribute to the given cause. “I’ve always loved connecting people with purpose,” Mimi said. As her career progressed, she discovered that the field of cybersecurity was exciting, dynamic and vital in the fight for “good” against “evil”. “I think it’s the personality of these good and bad personalities that attracts people.”
Addressing Today’s Talent Shortages
While all sectors are feeling the shortage of talent, cybersecurity is part of a larger technology ecosystem that demands expertise in a narrow skill set. This means that employers have to get creative to lure people away from where they’ve already settled.
“Removing someone who excels at their job from a current position is much more difficult than it has ever been. It’s the number one challenge facing employers,” Gross said. “It’s just a greater collective risk aversion. People are like, ‘We don’t know what tomorrow will be.'” That sentiment follows years of the COVID-19 pandemic, supply chain issues, economic uncertainty and geopolitical instability. In the past, people may have jumped at an exciting opportunity even if success was not guaranteed. Today, with hybrid work-from-home models and familiarity with the video conferencing, people are not going to leave a comfortable situation in exchange for uncertainty.
Mimi added that if companies want to attract talent, they have to accept that this is the current market. Posting a job on a popular board no longer cuts it like it used to.
Leadership gets wiser
As the skilled labor market began to experience the “big quit,” companies that wanted to retain employees made sure to do so in a big way.
In the past, companies dictated work hours and set ever-higher performance expectations. Today, employees spend most of their time working from the comfort of their own homes, where they can care for their children, take breaks when needed, and be productive in a way that matches their natural pace. If a team works best at a time that was previously reserved for travel, they will want to keep that time slot for brainstorming – and companies will be happy to comply.
As companies responded to employee demands for greater flexibility and higher standards, workers got comfortable. This works in favor of the employer as it significantly reduces the resources needed by HR departments as they spend less time managing employee onboarding and turnover. But the resource-intensive recruiting process cannot be fully automated.
HR professionals need to use the human touch to pique a prospect’s interest. Once in contact with them, they must consider not only their skills but also their potential to integrate into the current team.
What Big Businesses Can Learn From Small Businesses When Recruiting
Traditionally, large companies relied on paper-based recruiting – posting, reviewing credentials, and making decisions based on experience.
This impersonal approach makes large companies less desirable to prospects because they can’t directly grasp the culture of the company. “What startups do that I think companies could build on is real employer branding. Really thinking about creative and strategic ways to personalize the process – and that takes authenticity,” Gross said. “You can’t just have a production team write a script and then come and advertise about working with you. You have to get your real people talking about that. what it’s like to work there.
Once startups and small organizations have captured the attention of prospects, they can begin to combine the candidate’s experience with their personality to predict how they will connect within the larger culture. “At the end of the day, it’s chemistry, regardless of the size of the company,” Gross continued. “You have to want to learn from this person. You must feel this. They should be someone you want to talk to every day; Someone to whom you want to entrust your problems; someone whose problems you want to take. Listen to the chemistry, listen to the red flags, if there are any red flags.
The future of cybersecurity talent recruitment
Gross explained that ultimately many of the skills needed to be successful in cybersecurity cannot be taught in school. It’s the soft skills and life experience, such as experience hacking systems, that can make a candidate stand out, even if the hard skills aren’t necessarily listed on their resume.
If companies want to continue to attract top talent, they need to lower the barrier to entry, such as requiring a college degree and staying aware of the state of recruiting right now.
During a strong market, candidates will come to your company. In a tougher recruiting market, companies need to be comfortable “courting” a candidate, just as they would for dating. This approach creates a balance, allowing both parties to understand what they offer and facilitating the transition to a new role.
Written by David Leichner (CMO), Shlomi Ashkenazy (Head of Brand) and Rafi Spiewak (Director of Content) at Cybellum