Finding a job that is a good fit is as much about you selecting the right company as it is about them selecting the right candidate.”
One of the most exciting challenges in anyone’s professional’s career is interviewing and maybe starting a new job, but I have to admit the process of getting the job can also be incredibly stressful and demanding especially as a parent.
Ever since I decided to transition into cybersecurity, I knew at some point I would have to start interviewing for an entry-level position, and giving my experience from the past, I have always been nervous about the entire process and I have been out of practice since I have been self-employed for the last 4 years, so I have to admit it has been a huge change with me being on the other side of the table.
So if you are like me and transitioning into cybersecurity I thought I would give some insight into my journey to getting THE job in cybersecurity and how the interview process is going for me. The first thing I realized is that, it’s important not to take everything to heart, you need to find a way to build some sort of mental shield because trust me not all interviews will go your way and not all rejections are about you.
The other thing I realized is that since I don’t have a typical background It’s important to explain your trajectory and connect the dots between your past, present, and future; identify the underlying themes in your life, career and explain the unique value you can bring to the position despite your entry-level position within cybersecurity.
Virtual interactions are taking the place of in-person job interviews due to Covid-19, so I thought I would share some of my tips when virtually interviewing
- Check your tech Set up everything you will need for the interview, make sure the camera is clear enough and the room you are in is well lit. Check your microphone and headset are working. This will increase your confidence and reduce the chances of stress or failure during the interview.
- It’s important to treat virtual job interviews with the same seriousness as an in-person interview, I would suggest choosing a quiet, well-lit room if possible especially as a parent having your kids home can be challenging, my tip is I usually schedule my interviews during nap time in the afternoon or worst case scenario I hire a babysitter for a few hours.
- It is important to make sure you have the correct interview time on their calendar with the correct conferencing software the number of times my friends have called me panicking about not knowing how to use what software and had only 15mins to jump on the call, so please make sure to ask which software is being used and precheck the day before whether software needs to be downloaded first or if you can use it on your browser.
- Be open to advice from the hiring managers One of the pieces of advice I got from a hiring manager was to create a section within your CV for the different security tools and software I am familiar with, it makes things easier to find.
- Don’t take things personally I have taught myself to not take things personally let me give you an example I had a recruiter reach out to me for a position of security awareness trainer and despite me wanting a technical role I believe that you need to get in the door first and hopefully work towards where you want to be. So I accepted to have the interview and I checked with the recruiter if it was required for me to speak Dutch and I made sure to explain to her that I was currently taking Dutch lessons, and she responded that she talked to the hiring manager, and he said it was okay. So, I prepared myself and got a babysitter and I logged in 5mins early and once the hiring manager jump on the call and I turned on my camera and the hiring manager saw me he said there would be no interview and while looking at my CV he said “Ho, I see you don’t speak Dutch I need someone native who can speak and write in Dutch” and I asked him why didn’t YOU just cancel the call he responded that he didn’t want to be rude and cancel last minute. The entire interview lasted 5mins. You will deal with all types of people during your job hunt and if you take everything to heart it will destroy your confidence and your peace of mind and not even a job is worth any mental distress.
It’s important to have fun I see interviews as a way of seeing if what you learned is embedded inside your brain or not, but you also get to see where your weaknesses are, and if like me, you are transitioning I think it’s important to put forward your transferable skills from your previous career and make them see that you are not coming in empty-handed remember you took the chance to transition into a new career because you wanted a change so embrace everything that is thrown at you, have fun and try and make the best impression possible.