Preparing for an Information Security Job Interview

By Peter H. Gregory

Part of Getting an Information Security Job For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Interviews for security information jobs are not easy, even for the highly experienced. You have only one opportunity to make a good first impression with each person you interview, whether the interview is in person or by a phone call or a video call. Being prepared will make you more confident. To be at your best, do the following:

  • Learn about the organization. Read the company’s website, including the company’s history and significant events. Read company reviews at Glassdoor.com. Learn as much about company culture as you can.

  • Read about other open positions. Learn what you can about their technologies, practices, and growth. Usually the opening paragraph of a position posting explains why the organization is looking for more employees.

  • Get a good night’s rest and eat a good breakfast. Does it sound like your mother is talking to you? You need to be rested and not hungry, especially for an all-day interview loop. There’s no telling when they will be offering lunch, and you don’t want to run out of steam during your interview.

  • Dress for success. You’ll want to favorably impress your interviewers and others you meet during your interview. Although you don’t want to go over the top with an Armani suit (in most cases), you do want to dress a notch or two above the cultural norm for the organization.

  • Arrive early. Arriving late would be bad for you, no matter what the reason. Be aware of traffic, transportation, and parking.

  • Bring copies of your resume and cover letter. One or more of the people interviewing you might not have read your resume in advance. Or they read it weeks ago and no longer remember you. Bring plenty of copies, so that each person can have one.

  • Turn off your phone. Put your phone on silent, or turn it off.

  • Take notes and ask questions. Ask each interviewer if you may take notes. Write down their names and any other things you will need for later.

  • Follow up. Write a thank-you note to each person who interviewed you, as well as the recruiter or human resources person who made your interview arrangements. Make sure they understand your gratitude for their having spent time with you.