One of the core aspects of businesses are their information systems and databases, and the security of these is paramount. Those working in information security manager jobs are tasked with ensuring that information held in all areas of a business is kept secure so that risk and compliance is managed effectively.

The employee will protect information systems and other assets from deliberate or unintentional disclosure, modification or destruction. Managers will be involved in selecting, designing, justifying, implementing and operating security strategies and controls.

A top recruitment company such as Randstad Technologies has wide experience of recruiting for information security manager jobs and placing IT security managers in key business areas as clients are consistently striving for the best people to protect their data.

Randstad Technologies has many connections to successful businesses in the IT world, and is able to match appropriate candidates with the best jobs available. Check the latest vacancies and use the tips below to help succeed in the interview stage.

  

General tips

It’s important to make a good first impression, so having achieved an interview thanks to a well-presented, up-to-date CV and a good covering letter, candidates should be punctual and dressed smartly and professionally. It’s also important to project confidence so firm handshakes and maintaining eye contact helps convey that to the interviewer.

Good preparation is essential, so finding out as much as possible about the company and carefully re-reading the information on the specific role required will aid that preparation. Questions asked about the CV should be answered accurately according to the information given on it. Employers like positive, ‘can do’ attitudes but it’s equally important not to be too assertive.

More specifically, candidates must demonstrate how they have helped a company in security issues in the past. Clients are looking to see the facts which prove that you are the right person for the job. Explain how you have played a role in helping a company’s security clearly and concisely. 

Further information for information security manager job applicants

This is a very important job, so managers need to be highly computer literate and excellent communicators. The high level of responsibility requires excellent organisational skills allied to a propensity for problem solving and the ability to work under pressure.

IT security managers should be prepared to discuss previous experience such as security breaches they have encountered why it happened, how it was solved and what steps were taken to prevent it from reoccurring.

Candidates should also be good people managers as they are likely to work with teams to devise security systems and protocols, and they should be confident when communicating with senior managers and CEOs.

Apart from excellent technical knowledge, information security managers will find having security certifications, such as CISSP, CISA or CISM an advantage.

Information security manager interview questions

What were your responsibilities in your previous employment and how do you think that will benefit our company?

Candidates should focus on the most relevant information and not attempt to cover the entire job description of their previous role. They should identify the responsibilities that best correlate to the key accountabilities of the new role and emphasise these.

Do you think you are good at communicating complex ideas and schematics to colleagues? Why?

It is critical to give a positive answer to this question, as this is a key skill for information security managers. The answer should be supported by an immediate example, briefly explaining a complex issue in lay terminology.

Do you consider yourself a good multitasker?

Multitasking is another key skill for information security managers, and candidates should think about situations where the tasks in question were not only technical to demonstrate a range of skills. Senior stakeholder management for example.

Give some examples from previous jobs. If there were a conflict in the workplace, how would you deal with it?

This is another great opportunity to demonstrate non-technical skills, sometimes referred to as ‘soft’ or ‘behavioural’ skills. It is important to demonstrate empathy to the individuals involved in a way that focuses on a successful outcome for all.

Why do you want this particular role?

Candidates should tailor their answer to demonstrate the specific correlations between their ambitions and the scope of the role, while avoiding anything that makes the answer sound too generic.

Which security software programmes do you know? Explain how one of them works.

Interviewees must demonstrate technical knowledge but avoid simply listing programmes, and instead pick a few that are especially relevant then focus on one in particular. It is also important to avoid too much technical jargon.

Scenario-based interview questions

What would you do in a scenario where you felt the security of a particular system had been compromised?

Such a scenario is integral to the role of an information security manager so an answer should reflect the way an individual would be expected to react to such a situation. That is calmly, carefully and decisively.

In your previous role, have you ever dealt with a data security breach?

Given the importance of this area, it is essential to have an example to discuss. If a candidate has no personal examples, they could consider situations they have been close to or observed.

Have you experienced a time when security systems went wrong? To what consequence?

Again, it is essential to have an example to discuss, ideally one that enables the interviewee to present him or herself in a positive light. It needs to be compelling and memorable and therefore told like a story, with the following areas covered.

Why did such problem occur?

When describing how they diagnosed the situation, it is acceptable for candidates to refer to their own mistakes so long as they do not dwell on them other than to emphasise what they personally learnt from the situation. Similarly, apportioning blame can appear weak and negative.

In the event that there was a security breach or that something went wrong, how did you solve the problem?

This is the area to move on to as quickly as possible. Answers should be clear, concise and demonstrate a strong combination of technical expertise and behavioural competencies such as taking initiative and personal responsibility.

What actions did you take to ensure it wouldn’t happen again?

Candidates should focus on what they did personally to make the difference, not simply the general approach taken by the organisation. They should cover both the technical and policy measures that were put in place, as well as anything they did to enhance their own competency.

These are some of the most common interview questions and answers that are likely to be touched on in interviews for information security manager roles. Support from the specialist IT recruitment experts at Randstad Technologies will help individuals find the right role and ensure they are properly prepared to answer these in the most impactful way.
 

More interview questions

  • Outline your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Why are you leaving your current job?
  • How do you keep up with the advances in security technology?
  • Which historical figure would you identify with most strongly?
  • Why do you want to work here?
  • Are there any questions you would like to as?

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