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Security executive interview preparation

Security executive interview preparation:  Demonstrate these 14 soft skills in your interview to prove you’re the best candidate for the job.

December often finds security professionals planning for a career change in the following year. Lack of preparation is the primary reason well-qualified candidates fail in an interview. This means security leaders should plan their job search strategies now, not next year.

One way to kick that preparation off is to understand how companies approach security executive interviews.

One common interview method is known as the iceberg model. It is designed to identify components that are visible such as observable behaviors, knowledge and skills — the tip of the iceberg. It also explores components below the iceberg’s water line, such as traits, characteristics, attitudes and beliefs. This method is used both for internal and external candidate assessments of various competencies in hiring, promotions and performance management.

The goal is to gain both an accurate picture of the candidate and the candidate’s cultural alignment with the organization.

Organizations invest heavily in training their human resources and talent acquisition teams on this interview strategy. They may also use well-documented assessment instruments designed for use in conjunction with the interview process. The goal is to gain both an accurate picture of the candidate and the candidate’s cultural alignment with the organization.

Companies using this interview method develop a specific set of selection competencies. Candidates will be asked questions designed to assess if they show those abilities the organization has determined are critical for success.

The following are common examples of soft skills you should prepare to address in a security job interview.

  • Concern for Effectiveness: An underlying concern for doing things better.
  • Initiative: Willingness to go beyond what is required. Act before being asked.
  • Enthusiasm for Work: Passion for the job. Working hard and energetically.
  • Self-Confidence: Ability to succeed, reach challenging goals and overcome obstacles.
  • Concern for Impact: Self-awareness of the impression you make on others.
  • Conceptual Thinking: Ability to draw thought-out conclusions based on assessment of experiences and observations of seemingly unrelated information. Draw analytical conclusions that are not clearly apparent.
  • Analytical Thinking: Logical thinking in seeing relationships between cause and effect. Plan to anticipate and evaluate systematically.
  • Interpersonal Astuteness: Understanding of others’ desires, strengths and weaknesses. Interpret the concerns of others.
  • Effective Communication: Ability to effectively present and engage both formally and informally. Ability to read your audience, recognize time constraints and be able to present the right amount of information needed.
  • Listening Skills: Actively being interested in what others communicate. Being interested in their message. Directly answering the questions that are asked without interjecting your message or agenda.
  • Flexibility: Willingness to shift strategies and accept other viewpoints.
  • Innate Curiosity: Desire to learn and explore. Creativity, imagination, problem-solving and adaptation.
  • Influence: Building credibility through cross-functional relationships to achieve goals and effect positive change without authority or control.
  • Customer and Stakeholder Focus: Initiative-taking engagement and understanding of others’ needs and priorities. Find opportunities to be a trusted partner/advisor.

Take time between now and the new year to think about how you would describe yourself in an interview that seeks insight into these soft skill areas. Then, meet us back here in January for insight into a multi-step interview process and what questions you should expect to be asked.

Author –  Jerry J. BrennanJoanne R. Pollock


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