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10 ways to prep for -- and ace -- a security job interview

George V. Hulme | Jan. 16, 2014
You've landed an interview for that security job you've had your eye on. Now prepare to land the job with these 10 techniques to get noticed and make an impression

He says most would be surprised at how valuable sharing such information can be to the interviewer. "I always find something security-relevant that can be achieved with those skills," Amit says. And he adds that it helps to assure the interviewer that the candidate isn't a one-trick-pony that is entrenched with Nessus or Metasploit and can't be really used in a real-life pentest," he says.

Also prepare to answer tough questions regarding your status at your current or previous position, but be careful here. "Obviously, you're dissatisfied with your current job, and maybe you were even demoted or let go under less-than-charitable circumstances, otherwise you wouldn't be interviewing somewhere else. An interviewer will pick up on that dissatisfaction, and may even ask you to speak openly about why you're leaving," says Moyer. "Resist the urge to air all your dirty laundry and try to keep things neutral. Keeping it classy when talking about your last job shows you're willing to do the same thing in your new job as well," he advises.

When it comes to hard technical skills, show passion, and don't fake it
"I look for an understanding of the OSI model and TCP/IP. I [also] would look for how they are advancing their knowledge. What blogs and resources are they familiar with? Finally, I would look for where their passion is within technology [and they should] be ready to answer technical questions, show technical proficiency, and creativity in solving technical challenges as they relate to the job description," says Fishnet's Yerrid.

Whatever you do, don't fake it. It's one of the worst moves a candidate can make, says Amit. "I immediately had candidates disqualified for faking it. I'm dangerous enough in multiple fields of practice to know when the BS is being shoveled, and I've had candidates, who after taking a hacking course or watching some online video, thought they were uber-hackers. If you don't know something, don't try to make up for it with BS," he says.

Finally, it's not always what happens during the interview that can break one's chances, but also shortly after the interview. Here's a surprising anecdote from Fisher: "One person didn't so much mess up during the interview as allowed it to die in a fire later. It was a couple of days later when their Mom called to get feedback. Yeah, not so much," he says.


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