Wednesday, May 15, 2013

So You Want Top Talent. Do Your Actions Match Your Words?

To Attract Top Talent

When a job candidate is unemployed and is in desperate need of a new job, they might not be highly picky about the interview process.  This person after all is out of work and needs a job.  They’ll frequently be thrilled that their phone rang and an interview has been granted.

Whether the job candidates you are working with are employed or unemployed, if they are a top-shelf talent and they have options (and they do have options), how the interview process is constructed can make all the difference in the world as to whether a talented person will want to join your team or not.

This is an all or nothing proposition.  There are no rewards for coming close to success or for trying hard.

Top Talent is attracted to Top Talent

Let’s say that your company has an articulate, engaging and well-qualified Chief Information Security Officer.  The jobs you need to fill are Director level jobs that will report directly to the CISO.  The CISO is a busy guy and he doesn't really have time to conduct interviews but he really doesn't have time to not conduct interviews. I’ll explain why.

Let’s Raise the Stakes

You’ve paid a retained search fee to a highly skilled security recruiter to find your Director level talent.  Highly specialized recruiters have invested significant time and energy over a period of decades to becoming experts in their recruiting space.  You pay part of the highly specialized recruiter’s fee up-front because you sincerely want their time and energy devoted to your project.  You put your money where your mouth is.

The recruiter you’ve chosen comes highly recommended, has loads of recruiting testimonials to offer and  is an expert in knowing where to find, knowing how to attract, knowing how to evaluate and knowing how to sell highly skilled security, risk, compliance and privacy professionals on opportunities that will be beneficial to their careers. 

Assuming that you’ve chosen the right security recruiter, they will be skilled and gifted in ways that you are not.  They’ll see things you don’t see. They’ll become your eyes, ears and magnet for talent in the marketplace.  The most talented recruiters truly do possess skills and gifts that most companies do not have in-house.  Check references and chose this partner wisely.

A highly skilled recruiter is not manipulative in any way.  He / she is an expert at asking the right questions to determine what their client really wants and needs.   He / she is an expert at absorbing the information that he / she extracted from the CISO and the information he / she derives from being an expert at researching companies.  He / she is able to synthesize the abstract pieces of information he / she has accumulated in order to build an honest and compelling picture of the CISO’s opportunities. 

People Work and for People and People Leave People

A big mistake is about to occur.  Remember the busy CISO, the engaging, highly educated, highly certified, deeply experienced person the Director candidates are contemplating going to work for because the recruiter accurately positioned the CISO in the candidate’s minds?  The CISO is now too busy to interview candidates so he delegates.

He delegates to one of his existing Directors who has been at the company for only a few months.  A nice person and a highly skilled security professional but he doesn't know how to sell the CISO’s vision and he doesn't know how to sell the company.  

The CISO also delegates to another existing Director who has been at the company for 20 years but he / she is an introvert and is very uncomfortable when they first meet new people.  The telephone is not his / her friend so the first impression this person makes is not a good one with the highly talented directly recruited top-shelf candidates.

A Huge Mistake Just Happened

Remember engaging a highly specialized recruiter because they possess skills that your company generally doesn't have in-house?  You just flushed that investment down the toilet.
A recruited candidate at the Director level will take on a new position because there is opportunity for that individual to grow their career and their skills.  Most importantly, they’ll take on the role because they’re sold on working for the CISO.  Remember, they were supposed to first meet the CISO who is now too busy for them?

After the recruited candidate meets the highly engaging, highly educated, highly certified and deeply experienced CISO and hears his vision for growing the team, the Director candidate will make a decision to join the CISO in his mission or they’ll decide that they are not compatible with the CISO and they’ll move on.  This is what interviews are for. 

If the CISO is removed from the front-end of the interview process and Director level candidates are aligned with Director level interviewers and the Director level interviewers haven’t been trained to evaluate and to attract top talent, the game is over.

So You Really Want and Need Top Talent

When you sincerely need top talent and you’re going to invest in a highly specialized recruiter whose references you’ve checked, trust the recruiter do deliver what he / she is an expert at delivering.

If you’ve paid a retained search fee, take advantage of the recruiter you’ve invested in and ask them to help you construct your interview process.  Ask your highly seasoned recruiting partner if they see anything in your interview process that might cause a top-shelf candidate to shy away from your company.  

Constructing an interview process correctly will make the difference between interviewing top talent and actually acquiring top talent.

Interview Feedback is Critically Important

When you’ve invested in a strategic outside recruiting expert, set up regular feedback for your recruiting partner after interviews have occurred.  The recruiter who is a professional sales person has started closing the top talent you’re interviewing when they made their first recruiting call to the candidates you're now interested in potentially hiring.  

The recruiter and more importantly, the candidate needs small doses of constant and timely feedback to keep the recruited candidate’s interest in your company on fire. 

Ask Yourself and Be Honest

  • Does your company know how to identify, evaluate and attract top talent?
  • Does your company have an interview process designed to attract and draw in top talent?
  • Do you have the right people involved in the interview process in order to attract top talent?

Take Action Today

When you’re really serious about adding the industry’s top information security, cyber security, corporate security, IT risk management, compliance and privacy talent to your organization, you need to call Jeff Snyder at  The phone number is 719.686.8810.'s Security Recruiter Blog