May 3, 2022

Finding the Right Strategy and Partner for Recruiting Cybersecurity Leaders

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As our digital ecosystem expands, so do the risks associated with it. Experts agree that cybercriminals pose a risk for virtually every organization in every business vertical.

These trends underscore why recruiting cybersecurity leaders is of paramount importance for all companies, particularly those in critical infrastructure, banking, fintech, healthcare, and insurance, as well as firms in the energy and public utilities sectors. The world is changing rapidly, and a strong and diverse cybersecurity leadership team is necessary to prepare for and address new threats as they emerge.

Recruiting Cybersecurity Leaders: Breaking Things Down

Recruiting cybersecurity leaders is not a one-size-fits-all exercise. Companies in different sectors require cybersecurity leaders with slightly different experiences, competencies, and management skills. While it's true that many of the threats are often the same the challenges will vary depending on the organization. Banks, for instance, have different exposures than do healthcare companies. Financial institutions have different needs as well. As Frankie Shuai, Director of Cyber and Technology Risk at UBS Bank, told CIO Review in a recent article about the importance of cybersecurity in the financial industry, “A cyber security leader should…be an expert to understand clearly what are the expectations from regulators and what’s the impact on the cyber security framework and implementation in the organization.” So, recruiting cybersecurity leaders with industry-specific experience is crucial - they can develop the right strategies and leverage the necessary resources to protect their organization in the unique way that is required.  

The Challenges of Cybersecurity Recruitment Today and Tomorrow

It is certainly true that recruiting cybersecurity leaders is more difficult than ever. The cyber talent shortage is real, and the “Great Resignation” is only making things worse. It is also true that creating a robust and diverse cybersecurity leadership team can be very time consuming and cumbersome, but no doubt essential! Organizations can suffer tremendously if they are the victim of a vicious cyberattack. So, preparation is key. But the current dearth of top talent raises the stakes and requires organizations in all sectors to be innovative and agile when recruiting cybersecurity leaders. When partnering with the executive search team at Wolf Hill Group, companies gain access to our extraordinary networks and the established relationships we have with both active and passive candidates. Those networks and relationships are pivotal when recruiting cybersecurity leaders for your organization.  

In short, recruiting cybersecurity leaders requires both patience and urgency. Patience is necessary in order to maximize the chances of securing the right person for the job, but urgency is required to ensure that the search is always moving, overcoming obstacles, and heading toward a successful conclusion.

Many experts agree that fostering a healthy workplace culture is critical when recruiting cybersecurity leaders. Highly coveted cyber leaders can write their own ticket in this market, but they are attracted by organizations that share their vision and values and which cultivate an inclusive culture where people feel respected, valued, and listened to. Top cybersecurity leadership recruiters like Wolf Hill Group thoroughly vet candidates to ensure not only that they have the experience and credentials to succeed at the job but will also align well with the company culture so they will remain with the organization and will not be a flight risk.

Other Considerations About Recruiting Cybersecurity Leaders

George Gerchow, Chief Security Officer at Sumo Logic, presents a compelling argument for adopting new paradigms when recruiting cybersecurity leaders. While education is certainly important when examining candidates, he remarks, companies often place a greater emphasis on the candidate’s alma mater than on the competencies that the candidate brings to the table.

“Graduating from a prestigious institution is a feather in someone’s cap, and I don’t at all mean to discount it, but it’s down my list of prerequisites. Drive, ambition, calm under pressure, team spirit and situational awareness are far more important,” he writes.

Gerchow argues that with stress and burnout so prevalent amongst cybersecurity professionals, resilience matters just as much as experience. “While past security experience is a huge plus, an ability to handle or even relish the pressure matters as much. I always tell job candidates, ‘This job is going to be a grind, it’s going to be tough. But the mission is vital.’ Some people’s eyes light up when they hear this – that’s who you want, regardless of what’s on their resume.”

Recruiting cybersecurity leaders in today’s competitive talent market requires innovation and creativity. With every search, Wolf Hill Group goes beyond the traditional pipelines and networks to ensure a robust and diverse candidate pool. Recruiting cybersecurity leaders is challenging, but when you partner with Wolf Hill Group you can be assured of a high-quality experience from beginning to end. We place a premium on confidentiality, and on prioritizing targeted sourcing based on truly understanding our clients’ needs.

At Wolf Hill Group, we are proud of the reputation we have earned as in the premier firm for recruiting cybersecurity leaders for organizations in almost all industries, including critical infrastructure, banking, financial services, healthcare, insurance, and public utilities. When you partner with us, you maximize the chances of an efficient and successful cybersecurity leadership search.

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