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Security Think Tank: Guidelines for improving the effectiveness of IT security recruitment

What strategies can organisations use to ensure that they are able to hire the information security professionals they need and that good candidates are not being missed or overlooked?

The information security sector is growing at a rapid pace, and it is vital that organisations are equipped to grow their own talent streams.

Businesses need to be adaptable to the changing nature of the profession, have an understanding of information and have a strategy for risk management.

A 2015 BCS survey about recruitment found that the aspects participants feel are working least well are: Human resources (HR) departments’ understanding of IT skills requirements (23%) and recruitment agencies matching IT skills requirements to candidates (19%).

As the research shows, the recruitment process could be working more effectively to suit all needs.

There are some things that you can do to enhance your recruitment strategy. The most important thing is to ensure you identify the right skills you require and have them clearly outlined in your job descriptions to effectively meet your objectives.

In addition, there are measures you can take to ensure you recruit a diverse workforce, such as removing names and photos from CVs, as well as including explicit inclusivity statements on internet sites and recruitment advertisements.

It is also important to train recruiters in unconscious bias so they have this knowledge to equip them in their selection process. Diversity is a commercial necessity – the more diverse the team, the better the outcome.

Collaborative working is the way forward for many organisations and an effective method used to build greater capability.

Today, we are often looking for a multitude of skills. One solution may be to build job share opportunities, bringing together two people who combine their business and technical experience.

Equally, there is a real opportunity for organisations to look in their existing connections and networks to find the right calibre of candidates. Forging strong partnerships with other organisations can help strengthen your networks and widen the talent pool in the search for prospective employees.

Organisations are beginning to blend capability with partners and suppliers, utilising secondments into those organisations. This grows the skills and knowledge of their workforce and allows for an interesting career path that challenges and rewards employees.

Recruitment is changing, some companies are already looking at staffing very differently; they are relying more on blended teams, moving from a fixed to a variable labour paradigm, managing workforce levels in IT more closely and leveraging external subject matter experts.


Adam Thilthorpe is director of professionalism for BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT.

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