How Should I Prepare for a Job Interview for a Job in Cybersecurity?

The cybersecurity profession is highly competitive. If you’re in the process of pursuing a particular position in the field, you certainly understand you very well may be one of many applicants vying for that job. The reality is that you and other applicants may appear similar on paper. Thus, the job interview becomes an all-important step in the process of seeking a position in cybersecurity. You must make certain that you are well-prepared on all levels for this crucial job interview.

Practice Using Accessible Language

A significant mistake made by individuals seeking employment in cybersecurity is that they overuse technical language during a job interview. There certainly are cybersecurity employment interviews in which the broader use of technical language is acceptable. With that noted, there are many interview situations in which the representative of the employer isn’t necessarily a cybersecurity expert.

For example, the person interviewing for a larger company may be a member of the personnel team with little experience in the realm of cybersecurity. This particularly may be the case during an initial interview with a larger company, governmental agency, or other larger entity. If you get through an initial interview, you may later sit down for a session with an individual or individuals with stronger backgrounds in cybersecurity.

Understanding possible technical limitations on the part of the interviewer, you best prepare for an interview for a position in cybersecurity by practicing using more accessible language, even when discussing otherwise technical matters.

Smaller companies, with less than 100 employees, are also becoming more aggressive when it comes to their cybersecurity needs, according to Forbes. Smaller enterprises involved in seeking a cybersecurity professional for their teams may have no one on their staffs with much experience in cybersecurity. This represents another situation in which the use of accessible language during a job interview for a cybersecurity position is crucial.

Prepare to Discuss Specifics of Your Qualifications

As is the case with any job interview, an interview for a cybersecurity position will focus on prior work experience. However, you need to be prepared to go into greater detail about your qualifications and work history.

A prospective employer will be interested in knowing what types of cybersecurity certifications you obtained. Depending on the nature of the prospective employer, you are apt to be asked if you have a current security clearance.

Related Resource: What Can I Do With a Computer Science Degree?

Brush Up on Basic Questions

As part of your interview prep process for a cybersecurity position, you need to brush up on what might seem to you to be elementary questions. Some questions you’re likely to face in an interview may hearken back to your times as a student in the field. Examples of basic queries to bone up on include:

  • What are the differences between risks, vulnerabilities and threats?
  • What is a firewall?
  • What are the different methods to authenticate a user?
  • What data should be included in a solid penetration testing report?
  • What would you do to mitigate a distributed denial of service attack on a system?
  • How frequently should patch management be performed?
  • Is open-source software or licensed software better from a security standpoint?
  • How do you address a security breach?
  • In an environment that permits people to bring their own devices into the workplace, how do you handle security issues?

Undertaking a practice session for an upcoming cybersecurity job interview can be helpful. Seek out a friend, colleague, or family member that can conduct a mock interview with you in advance of the “real thing.” A practice or mock interview aids in making sure you’ve covered the primary bases in your preparation process.