Jan 25, 2023 11:10:19 AM | 4 Min Read

What are attributes recruiters look for in a CISO?

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What are attributes recruiters look for in a CISO?

Chief Security Officers have a difficult job.  The expectations and responsibilities keep rising every year.  What do recruiters look for in a CISO?  How can you make sure you are getting recognized?  Here is a list of some different attributes recruiters usually look for in a CISO to help you on your job search:

1.  Previous CISO Experience is preferred

Employers expect their Chief Security Officers to possess a deep knowledge and understanding of their field.  It is a big plus if you have worked at multiple companies as a CISO.  Building your resume up like this could help you land your dream CISO position as it shows that you are a well-rounded candidate.  Employers are looking for candidates who have been in compromised/ breached positions, how they dealt with them, and what they learned from them.  While employers prefer experienced CISOs, some smaller firms are willing to give CISOs their first job.

2.  Product Security Expert

Expertise in product security and application is the most valuable skill a CISO can possess, especially if you are looking to be hired at a technology company.  Understanding that security is an actual feature of their platform is an absolute must.  It can not be treated as just a check box item.  Also, the ability to collaborate with the team at a technical level is a skill that is absolutely necessary to be able to communicate with product developers and engineers.

3.  Anticipation of Regulatory and Threat Risk

The second essential skill that CISOs need is encompassing an excellent knowledge of governance, risk, and compliance.  CISOs need to know the necessary steps for taking a company down the road of certifications such as ISO or SOC2.  When working for a larger company, it is ideal that the CISO has had experience going through this path successfully.  This way, the CISO knows what certifications the company needs and what it doesn't.

4.  Build trust with customers and partners

CISOs must show that they can assist the marketing and sales team with building trust in the security of the products and services.  It is possible/ likely that the CISO will be asked to fill out a questionnaire for the client or partner to send out to vet the company's security practices.  Therefore, the CISO needs to understand the business and the needs of the client to form a long and trusting relationship.       

5.  Obtaining Certifications and Degrees

Certifications are a plus with many employers.  In recent years, however, employers have emphasized experience and leadership skills more than certifications.  Many employers consider certifications a good continuance of education but do not base hiring someone on having specific certifications.  The only must-have is a degree in computer science.  This is the only thing that employers are really concerned about.  The extra certifications are just a bonus!

6.  Interpersonal & Social Skills

CISOs work closely with other team members and departments, so they need social skills.  Empathy is the main character trait that CISOs should possess.  A CISO needs to understand that not everyone knows cybersecurity like they do and doesn't understand their language.  In addition to empathy, employers also like for the CISO to be able to set realistic plans, goals, and deadlines for their departments.  They need to be able to explain instructions clearly in non-technical terms.

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Topics: Career Insight

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