3 Qualities to Look for When Hiring IT Security Professionals

By Robert Half February 13, 2015 at 8:00am

In a recent survey of CIOs by Robert Half Technology, 85 percent of those surveyed said they were taking steps to improve IT security at their firms.

That’s not a big surprise, given the increasing number of security breaches.

How do CIOs plan to protect their firms’ data? Ramping up training on security issues for current employees, vetting firms with access to company data and hiring more IT security professionals are tactics they said they would employ.

However, that last point — hiring more IT security professionals — may prove challenging. Security pros are in strong demand, from information systems security managers to network security engineers. And because of this, most can also expect an increase in starting salaries, according to our 2015 Salary Guide.

If you’re planning on hiring IT security pros, here are some qualities to look for:

  1. A broad range of experience. Candidates should have a proven track record, allowing them to proactively find and address any vulnerabilities in your network. Ask candidates about their use of proven methodologies, best practices and risk intelligence in previous roles, and how they would apply them in your company.

  2. Security certifications. Current certifications — like CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional), CISM (Certified Information Security Manager) and CompTIA certifications – can demonstrate that a candidate will stay ahead in the industry. Just make sure the candidates possesses the real-world application to support their credentials.

  3. Soft skills. Whether it’s communicating potential threats or explaining policies on personal devices, IT security professionals need strong leadership and communication skills. They’ll also need an ability to collaborate effectively with departments throughout the firm.

Be sure to check out the full survey results, including sample interview questions for IT security professionals.

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