Pre-Interview Checklist For Cyber Security Professionals

Pre-Interview Checklist For Cyber Security Professionals

Preparing for a job interview takes time and focus. Via Resource has provided you with the best ways to prepare for an interview and provide tips to increase your chances of getting hired.
Within the checklist, you’ll find steps designed to prepare you mentally for interview questions and physically to ensure you feel your best. Above all, interview checklists address any concerns you may have about the interview, increasing your overall confidence.

1. Research

Once your recruiter sends you a role to apply for, you will likely do a little research, however when you make it to the first stage interview of the process this is when more research is required.

Now is the time to take an in-depth look to learn about the market the organisation is in, find out some specifics about the cyber security role, and even look up more about your interviewer or the CISO in LinkedIn. The more you know, the more impressive you will be.

2. Study The Job Description

Before your interview make sure you read the job description to understand the required skills and experience needed. Assess the experience you have that contributes to the role and jot down your strengths during the interview and even your weaknesses, as employers often ask about your challenges. If you have any questions on the job description reach out to your recruiter for clarity.

3. Review Your CV

Unless you have a photographic memory, you probably don’t remember everything on your CV. You don’t want to be caught out, so make sure that you review your CV ahead of time and keep a copy with you when in the interview. You want to be ready for anything the interviewer asks about the details you’ve provided.

4. Practice The Most Common Questions

While all interviews are different, there are some common questions that you can count on coming your way. For example, many interviewers will ask whether candidates are team players or why they are interested in the role. Other questions can include “Where do you see yourself in five years” and examples of how you overcome challenges in a workplace.

5. Prepare Your Questions

One of the keys to success at any interview treating it like a two-way conversation. An employer doesn’t just want to see how you can stand up to their interrogation but demonstrate how much you want the role. A few good questions can include “what would my day-to-day responsibilities be”, “what are the company’s plans for the future” and “how would you describe your ideal candidate”.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

6. Dress Professionally

Appearances and how you conduct yourself during the interview are important. If possible, research the company’s dress code to get a feel for the culture. Business casual with a neutral colour palette is normally the best suggestion. Once you’ve chosen your outfit, inspect it for any holes, stains, or pet hair before you leave for the interview.

7. Avoid Using Notes

If your interview is online do not use notes, you may think because interviewers can’t see your notes that they don’t know you’re using any. Your eyes and speaking will give it away, where it can make you seem unprepared and less believable. Keep your notes far from your reach, just like you would during an in-person interview.

8. Environment

If conducting an online interview choosing the right location is vital. Make sure it’s private and as soundproof as possible (if able try to keep children distracted during your interview so they do not interrupt), as any external noise can be a distraction for both you and the interviewer. Ensure that your backdrop is suitable (removing any distractions), and the lighting is appropriate. During the virtual interview be sure to constantly maintain a good posture and keep your body language professional, try not to touch your face or swing your chair.

9. Increase Voice And Facial Expressions

You can use your voice and facial expressions to be more interesting especially when conducting a virtual interview, your camera should focus on the top third of your body. This means you’ll lose the ability to leverage many aspects of body language. Don’t speak in a monotone with few facial expressions beyond blinking. Also, make sure you’re looking into the camera, not at the screen.

10. Thank Your Interviewer

Before you leave the interview, be sure to thank the interviewer for their time, and for considering you for the position.

11. Relax

Finally, try your best to relax and enjoy the experience. We know it’s often easier said than done, but the more confident you come across, the more likely you are to put your interviewer at ease. Plus, with the preparation taken care of, there should be nothing left to worry about.

Below are two checklists for you to download to help you on your virtual or in-person interview

Download our Virtual Interview Checklist

Download our In-person Interview Checklist

Discover Candidate’s Actions And Experiences When Applying For A New Role In The Cyber Security Industry

Discover Candidate’s Actions And Experiences When Applying For A New Role In The Cyber Security Industry

At Via Resource, we strive to provide a supportive service to our candidates and clients. In a year and half of unprecedented world disruption and change, we wanted to learn how this has impacted the Cyber Security recruitment market. Our research focused on the candidate’s views of how the recruitment process has changed, and to establish what candidates find attractive in employers and job opportunities. We carried out an industry survey from 5th – 26th July 2021, asking candidates their thoughts when applying for a new role.

Torquil Macleod, Founder and Director of Via Resource comments:

“We are incredibly grateful to all the candidates who took the time to complete our survey as we look to understand how the market has changed. The feedback gathered will help us to improve candidate experience and help inform our clients. We want to ensure candidates receive the best experience possible with quality support, advice and guidance from Via Resource to find their perfect role.”

How Candidates Apply For A New Role

Cyber security professionals apply for roles in a mixture of ways with LinkedIn being the most popular channel with 96% of the candidates initially discovering jobs or performing job related research via this channel. We believe this is due to the fact employers use Linked in to help inform on hiring decision, It’s an easy way to fact find a candidate’s previous experience. Using a recruitment Consultancy comes second, 45% of candidates reported finding un-advertised Cyber Security roles where hiring organisations have chosen to be more discreet. Candidates also preferred not having to negotiate salary package with potential employers, this part of the process made many applicants feel uncomfortable. Other ways of applying for a new role include Indeed (31%), company website (31%), using their own personal network (18%), Jobsite (16%) and Total Jobs (16%).

63% of candidates surveyed checked company reviews before applying for a role, in particular Glassdoor. Cyber security professionals pay close attention to the ratings and reviews which can significantly influence whether they choose to move forward with the application process. On average candidates spend 24 minutes to complete each application.

A well written, detailed and accurate job description (and advert) is highlighted as the key attraction by 29% of candidates surveyed.

What Candidates Want From An Organisation

When a candidate has applied for a role on average, they would expect a reply within three working days mentioning if they have been successful to the next stage or not.

If a candidate is successful to the next stage interviews, they are happy to incorporate phone and online interviews with the final stage to be in person interviews (61%). However, some candidates (24%) are only wanting to participate with online interviews due to technology allowing us to do so. After each interview stage it is important for candidates to receive detailed feedback with 73% of candidates strongly agreeing and 37% agreeing. This is an incredibly important statistic as the importance of employer branding and candidate experience is hugely important in today’s employment market.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

What Candidates Are Looking For

Within Their Role

We asked Cyber security professionals if they had to rank the most important thing, they look for in a new role the sequence is as followed:

1. Remuneration
2. Job Title
3. Job Benefits
4. Career Progression
5. Job Responsibilities
6. Skills
7. Training

Salary is regarded as one of the most important factors while making a choice between roles, therefore putting salary ranges in job advertisements may give organisations a competitive advantage when trying to attract candidates. That’s because most candidates look first at a position’s compensation and benefits when scanning a job posting, then at the job’s required qualifications and skills.

Even with training being the lowest importance to candidates 94% of candidates surveyed would be happy to take on additional training to learn skills.

Job Benefits

When an organisation provides company benefits, this helps recruit and retain the best employees, boost morale and improve company culture and benefit from a more productive workforce. Therefore, when candidates apply for a role, they would be looking at the benefits package which could be a way to differentiate one organisation to its competitors. Due to COVID-19, the working culture has changed by providing a more flexible working culture which is important to candidates (86%) and the ability to work from home (61%). Where technology is enabling businesses to continue to function, communicate effectively and maintain positive morale through video conference calls, virtual coffee catch ups and screen-to-screen team socials.

As employees spend almost 50% of their time working, offering a health program is crucial. Health benefits can improve overall productivity at work, reduce absenteeism, improve dietary habits of employees, and promote positive behavioural patterns. This is why candidates have chosen other benefits including health insurance (41%), additional training (41%), wellness programme (20%), gym membership (14%) and vouchers including childcare or gift voucher membership like Perkbox (20%).

This insight gained from job seekers shows the new thinking when applying for a cyber security role. Which in turn helps Via Resource when speaking to organisations to guide them with the best job packages, interviewing process and onboarding successfully where candidates can fit perfectly into the role.

Security Careers – How To Build A Successful Career In Information and Cyber Security

Security Careers – How To Build A Successful Career In Information And Cyber Security

The number of jobs in Information and Cyber Security is booming year on year, along with salaries now often outstripping the CFO. However, this is still a young and relatively new industry, where it is rare to come across a career advisor who will know what Cyber Security entails, let alone be able to direct you on the right path. So, what do you need to know to build a successful career in Information Security?

Start The Building Blocks

It is not enough to just go to university, graduate, and hope to walk into a cyber security job. Information and Cyber Security is a specialism that requires an enormous amount of grounding. You can start building your Information and Cyber Security roots young with nothing more than PC access.

In University you can enter competitions, such as the Cyber Security Challenge which will not only give you a chance to develop your skills, but a chance to demonstrate them, and be noticed.

Get The Right Qualifications

Ideally you need to be good at different areas of technology before attempting to build a successful career in cyber security. Common entry points for Information and Cyber Security include system administration, networking and development. You need to make sure that you’ve got no gaps in your tech knowledge. Essentially you also need a firm grounding in programming. If you can’t code, then your information security career will only go so far.

Many of these skills can be self-taught using online tutorials, books and playing on computer. However, there are now industry- and employer-recognised degree routes that are valuable alongside your self-acquired skills. The two main ones to consider are Information Technology Management for Business (ITMB) and Software Development for Business. These courses are now available across a range of colleges and universities.

Get The Degree, Then Move On

Whilst there’s no doubting that an Information and Cyber Security degree will be an excellent Launchpad for your career, once you’ve got it the degree rapidly becomes less important than what you’ve done. Therefore, it is essential to have started building a showcase of your cyber security skills along the way.

You need to adopt a love of projects, delving into them and extending your skills to showcasing your abilities. To do this you need to demonstrate you can identify an Information Security problem, come up with a solution and develop the tool that is needed to be the solution.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Get Knowing And Get Known

The world of Information and Cyber Security is news-focussed. You need to stay in touch with Cyber Security news and developments and know what the problems are. There are several ways to do this.

    • You can join the IISP network affordably as an Affiliate Member, allowing you to open the door of the industry and learn from the big names.
    • You can find yourself a mentor, either through your university course or by undertaking a placement or work experience, showing a thirst to learn from the best.
    • You can attend conferences and see what the big news headlines are, and importantly, start to network.

Networking with others in the information security career world is essential, far more than for many other professions. Successful Cyber Security professionals are not just exceptional with their IT skills, but they are group problem-solvers, strong communicators and know how to think on their feet in business environments.

Gain Financial Knowledge

Information and Cyber Security is still having to make its voice heard on business boards. Understanding business strategy and risk, along with financial management, rapidly becomes essential to an individual building a career in Information and Cyber Security. Information Security professionals need to be proactive at selling the need for Cyber Security and understanding the ramifications within the business model and the business budget.

Adding these management and finance skills to your repertoire will become essential to progress beyond the starting blocks of an information security career.

Get Professional

The Information and Cyber Security industry, with its need and reliance on networking, means you need to get known and for a reputation that will stand you in good stead for years to come. So, polish that image, get professional, and take the first steps to your future.

The Future Of Information Security Careers

The future high earners are most likely going to be in the Information and Cyber Security Industry, where you can access our salary guide here for the UK and US. Business is realising their very success is down to the strength of their Cyber Security, so it’s a career worth getting started in. We hope our tips help set you on the right path.

Advantages And Disadvantages of An Artificial Intelligence Security System

Advantages And Disadvantages of An Artificial Intelligence Security System

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is making waves with a multitude of capabilities. Now, most is speculative, but progress is being made, and the future of many industries and systems is likely to change as AI continues to take ground.

Artificial Intelligent Security Systems

Artificial Intelligence in security systems aims to bring human intellect into the technology governing security systems. With AI, technology would not just mimic human behaviour but rather actively capitalise on its own assimilation of human intellect in order to improve how a system operates.

Many consider cyber security to be one of the areas to benefit from the advent of artificial intelligence. This is largely because of the central concept that AI allows the “development of algorithms designed to identify cyber threats in real time and provide an instantaneous response.”

There is no doubt that AI can improve our own human capabilities, especially when it comes to tech. For example, AI in video analytics means that a machine can detect what are considered normal behaviours and as a result identify abnormal behaviours, in real-time, allowing crime to be stopped in action.

The Advantages of AI in Security Systems

The over-riding benefit of utilising artificial intelligence in security systems is its inherent ability to be scaled and therefore an inevitable efficiency and efficacy that simply cannot be achieved through human systems operation alone. For the analyst on the ground, AI can also simplify the identification, processing and response to security threats.

It’s yet to be properly tested in practice, but in theory the use of AI in security systems would result in a far more calculated approach to security, and potentially therefore, a more accurate result. By its very nature it could eliminate human error.

Additionally, a huge benefit to AI is that it can simultaneously undertake multiple tasks, monitoring and protecting vast numbers of devices and systems. It can therefore mitigate large scale attacks in a way that traditional cyber security systems can’t.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

The Disadvantages of AI In Security Systems

Artificial Intelligence in security systems has, until recently, foregone the utilisation of valuable analyst skills and therefore doesn’t benefit from human feedback. This is being addressed in systems such as PatternEx which incorporates both machine learning for catching attackers, but also calls on human analysts.

Whilst the initial concerns about the development on AI in cyber security systems may centralise on concerns about eliminating much needed human expertise, intuition and judgement, the real disadvantage of AI is its unpredictability.

Herein lies the concern of many global intellectual and technological gurus such as Stephen Hawking and Bill Gates. It is simply impossible to predict the evolution of AI. This means that further disadvantages come into the mix.

In the hands of the wrong people, AI brings a potential for even greater cyber security threats than we have now. It may even allow for a cyber-attack against the system itself. There also is the concern about where responsibility for infractions committed by AI lies.

The Future Of AI In Security Systems

The cyber security field stands to benefit enormously from AI. However, a measured approach needs to be taken, with due care, and control remaining with cyber security analysts. It must be a tool, rather than a leader.

FAQ’S For Graduates Wanting To Enter The Cyber Security Industry

FAQ’S For Graduates Wanting To Enter The Cyber Security Industry

Over the last 12 months, we have received numerous calls from graduates looking to enter the Cyber Security industry so we thought we would take the most popular and useful information in one, easy to read, place.

1. Is There A Demand For Graduates In The Cyber Security Industry?​

In short, yes! Currently the industry is seeing a huge demand for graduates and industry-movers to get into Cyber Security to close the mythical ‘Cyber Security skills shortage’. Companies and senior leaders are now understanding that there is no such shortage, there is just a need to look at graduates and those with relevant transferable skills for these open roles and provide suitable training and development as necessary.

Cyber Security is always one of the fastest growing industries globally so the number of roles available to graduates is constantly increasing.

Have your water, CV and other supplies you need for the interview readily available so I don’t have to hear the clink of glasses or the typing on your computer so can focus on your interview.

2. Do I Need A Specific Cyber Security Degree?​

Whilst a specific degree in Cyber Security is beneficial, it isn’t a must have to enter the industry. STEM degrees in general provide relevant transferable skills that some employers are looking for but, whilst these are the common degrees many in the industry have, it is not a set rule.

3. What Are The Salary Expectations For An Entry-Level Role?​

For graduate roles in the Cyber Security industry, you should expect to earn somewhere between £25k-£35k although in some cases this can be slightly higher depending on your level of education and any previous work experience.

4. What Is The Progression Like Within The Cyber Security Industry?​

Graduate Cyber Security roles are aligned very closely to standard IT & Tech graduate positions but the progression within the Cyber Security industry does seem to be slightly faster than those in other sectors. After 1 to 2 years, the average salary rises to between £35k-£45k with the overall average salary in the Cyber Security industry being over £63,000.

Depending on the area of Cyber Security you enter (Information Security included) management opportunities can be available after as little as 4 to 5 years although the average is slightly above this.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

5. Are There Any Cyber Security Courses That Are Useful And Are They Required?​

For those with degrees, many employers are willing to take on individuals without any further courses. There are however many courses that can add be beneficial at the Junior Level including CompTIA Security+, CISMP (Certificate in Information Security Management Principles), CCSK (Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge) etc.

Whilst they can cost a little bit of money, self-funding Cyber Security courses do show a real willingness to invest in yourself and highlights your passion for the industry.

6. What Type Of Companies Hires Graduates?​

Commonly graduates in Cyber Security were hired by large consultancy firms such as the Big 4 but we have seen a real shift, with clients in a wide range of industries are willing to take on graduates and provide the training and development required.

We work with Large Consultancies, Tech Start-Ups and FTSE100 organisations all willing to take on graduates.

7. What Do I Need To Think About Before Applying For And Accepting A Role In Cyber Security?​

There are several things you should consider,  firstly, we always recommend graduates think about what exactly they wish to do in the industry. Whilst Cyber Security can be seen as quite a niche sector, there is a wide variety of roles and specialisms all with different career paths including GRC (Governance, Risk Management and Compliance), Security Operations, Engineering, Architecture, Penetration Testing and many more. Having an idea of what specific area you wish to work in will help you apply for and accept the right role for you.

Secondly, don’t just accept the first role that you are offered unless it is the right one for you. As mentioned in the beginning, there are several roles available for graduates and you should only accept a position if it is truly right for you. Few questions you can ask yourself:


    1.  Is the company in an industry you want to work in?
    2. Does the role have the right responsibilities and career progression?
    3. Can the company offer the right training and development?
    4. Is the Hiring Manager the right individual for you to work under?

All these things need to be taken into account before accepting any positions.

We know there are probably many more questions that could be answered with regards to entering the industry, but we hope that these few provide some advice and guidance that you find useful. We have set up a group on LinkedIn called ‘Cyber Launchpad’ where we connect graduates and industry-movers with Hiring Managers completely free of charge. You will also see regular advice and guidance on Cyber Launchpad that you may find useful. 

Top 6 Telephone Interview Mistakes to Avoid

Top 6 Telephone Interview Mistakes to Avoid

More and more organisations are turning to telephone interviews as their ideal way of screening candidates. Aside from treating telephone interviews the same as a regular interview, how can you make sure you’re best prepared when you get the first initial call? Here at Via Resource have listed the top six telephone interview mistakes you should avoid.

1. Noisy Background

If there is background noise it can make it even harder to hear or focus on the call. Therefore, make sure you’re in a quiet spot for your interview. If you live with family or friends warn them in advance that you need some quiet. Minimise background noise by closing windows and turning off televisions or radios. Put electronic devices on silent to avoid being distracted.

Have your water, CV and other supplies you need for the interview readily available so I don’t have to hear the clink of glasses or the typing on your computer so can focus on your interview.

2. Low energy

Phone interviews can cut off your energy level therefore it is important to convey enthusiasm and excitement over the phone. Ways to help are to stand up for a phone interview – when you’re seated you lose all that energy. Plus knowing about the job role you applied for and the company can help with showcasing passion. In addition, try to sound positive, avoid yawning or mumbling your responses.

3. Don't forget what you've applied for

If you’re applying for many roles, make sure you manage your time, so you know who’s calling and when. If you get a call at 10am on a Thursday, make sure you’re up in plenty of time, know the name of the person who’s calling, the job role you applied for and the company name. Otherwise, it can give the impression you’re the wrong candidate for the role. 

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

4. Eating

There is a time and a place for snacking. However, during your phone interview isn’t it. You might think you’re being quiet – but chances are that you aren’t. A mumbled answer because you have your mouthful is memorable, but for the wrong reasons.

5. Interrupt

Without body language, there’s no way of knowing whether the interviewer has finished talking. The easiest way to avoid interruption is always leaving a pause by waiting, to prevent awkward interruptions from both sides. Not only will it give you time to think of a coherent response, but also means you don’t speak over the interviewer you’re trying to impress.

6. Don't be afraid to ask for clarification

If you miss a particular question don’t try to second guess what it might have been. Apologise and politely ask the interviewer if they can repeat it. They are more than happy to repeat the question.

If you make it to the second round of interviews, we have created a handy virtual and in-person checklist on the best ways to prepare for an interview and provide tips to increase your chances of getting hired.