How to Hack the Cybersecurity Talent Shortage

Most of us have received at least one notification that our data has was compromised as part of a cyberattack. The truth is, as companies expand their digital reach, they are also rapidly moving into the “target zone” where cyberattacks take place. To protect their interests and their data, companies in every sector are looking to hire cybersecurity professionals.

These employees are required to assist organizations in protecting their internal data, as well as client, consumer and partner data, from ever-increasing cyberattacks. The problem is that there aren’t enough people who can actually do that. The cybersecurity labor crunch is projected to hit 3.5 million unfilled jobs by 2021, according to CSO.

The need for knowledgeable IT security talent becomes more complicated when you consider that due to today’s increased digital business risks, every IT job requires some level of cybersecurity knowledge.

“Every IT worker, every technology worker, needs to be involved with protecting and defending apps, data, devices, infrastructure, and people,” according to the Cybersecurity Jobs Report. “The cybersecurity workforce shortage is even worse than what the jobs numbers suggest.”

With the demand for cybersecurity professionals exceeding the talent required to meet business needs, recruiters and HR departments face pressure to find qualified, talented professionals to fill these critical roles. While the task may seem impossible, organizations that use AI-driven sourcing methods, engage personally with candidates and tap into internal talent are better prepared to face the cybersecurity labor shortage.

Use AI to source active and passive candidates. Strategic organizations are taking advantage of sourcing technology driven by artificial intelligence (AI) to bolster their search efforts. An Applicant Tracking System (ATS) backed by AI provides insight and access to qualified active applicants as well as passive candidates. Rather than waiting for someone to apply, AI-driven sourcing can help identify qualified candidates around the globe based on demonstrated skills and abilities.
Top-tier ATS platforms have the capability to search online activity for passive candidates who aren’t looking for a new position but would leave for the right opportunity. This type of AI-assisted recruiting, which uses data and information available via the web, opens the door for recruiters to search and find cybersecurity professionals with the required expertise—even if they haven’t applied or shared their resume.

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Engage with interested candidates. Once recruiters have found the top active and passive candidates, the organization must be poised and prepared to engage with those candidates fully. After the AI-driven sourcing has identified top talent, connecting with them is a crucial step.

While AI-driven sourcing can find qualified candidates, human engagement is the next step to increase a candidate’s interest in a cybersecurity job. A personal connection can help encourage candidates to participate in an interview. That sense of connection will also ultimately inspire them to join the team. Organizations that leave engagement and connection to automated marketing tools and drip email campaigns fall short. After you’ve used AI to source cybersecurity talent in this market, personalized outreach is a mandatory part of the recruiting process.

Tap into internal talent. In the search for talent, organizations often forget to start by reviewing existing internal resources. Some employees may already possess some of the required cybersecurity skills, while others may be interested in additional training to obtain the required knowledge. Unfortunately, one study of more than 3,300 IT professionals found that organizations aren’t doing enough to properly equip and empower their IT employees about security. Of those polled, 43 percent said their organization provides inadequate security training resources. Not having the necessary skills and training negatively impacts employee morale and increases the risks of a breach.

To address the talent shortage of cybersecurity professionals, organizations must offer ongoing training to current IT staff. In addition to finding new talent, it’s imperative to provide existing employees with the cybersecurity knowledge they need to advance their skill set. This training can take place via various modalities, including community college programs, online courses and cybersecurity boot camps. Providing internal talent with development opportunities not only improves the organization’s security capabilities but also helps retain engaged and loyal employees.

The increasing number of cyberattacks, as well as the serious consequences when an attack occurs, makes it imperative for companies to fill open cybersecurity positions as quickly as possible. To meet these talent needs, recruiters and HR professionals are wise to adopt a sourcing strategy that is grounded in AI, includes personal engagement and leverages the internal talent base. One thing is for sure: if these jobs are left open, it can put the organization at serious risk.

Simon Oldham

Simon Oldham
Simon Oldham is the president at QJumpers, a recruitment platform.

Simon Oldham

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