What questions do they ask at a security interview? Insider tips from a pro.


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As a Cyber Security Expert with over a decade of experience in the field, I have gone through countless interviews, both as an interviewer and an interviewee. Throughout my career, I have been asked a wide range of questions that test my knowledge, skills, and ability to handle high-pressure situations. The security interview is crucial in determining whether you are the right candidate to protect an organization’s critical assets against cyber threats.

The interview process can be daunting, especially if you’re not sure what to expect. As someone who has been on both sides of the table, I can reassure you that preparation is key. In this article, I’ll share with you insider tips on the questions that you are likely to encounter during a security interview and how to best answer them.

Whether you’re a seasoned cyber security professional or a fresh graduate eager to break into the industry, this article is perfect for you. So sit back, relax, and get ready to take notes because I’m about to reveal everything you need to know to ace that security interview.

What questions do they ask at a security interview?

During an interview for a security position, hiring managers will likely ask a range of questions that assess your skills, experience, and personality. They may ask about your work background and achievements, personality traits, interests and goals, and your specific experience within the security industry. Here are some common interview questions that you may encounter during a security job interview:

  • What would your former boss describe about your work?
  • Are you an alert person?
  • Outside of work, what are your hobbies and interests?
  • What is your motivation for applying to this position?
  • What are your long term goals as a security guard?

    As a security guard, your former boss may describe you as being vigilant, dependable, and detail-oriented. Hiring managers will want to know if you possess these critical qualities and if you have the training and experience to handle the nature of the job efficiently. They may ask about your hobbies and interests outside of work to get an insight into your character and to assess whether you participate in personal activities that are relevant to security work. Sharing your motivation for applying to the position and your long-term goals is essential to prove that you’re interested in pursuing a career in the security field. Note that each question is intended to assess your ability to handle security work and determine if you’re an excellent match for the position.

  • ???? Pro Tips:

    1. Technical Knowledge: Be prepared to answer questions related to security measures, protocols, and technologies. Brush up on your knowledge of firewalls, encryption, intrusion detection and prevention, etc.

    2. Scenarios and Situations: The interviewer may present you with hypothetical scenarios that test your problem-solving skills in real-life situations. Take your time and think through the scenario before responding.

    3. Industry Trends: Keep yourself updated with the industry trends and current events related to security. Research the company you’re interviewing with and their current cyber-security initiatives.

    4. Personal Traits: Be prepared to answer questions about your personal traits and behaviors relating to information security. Demonstrating a proactive and inquisitive attitude towards security could be a good thing.

    5. Ethical Situations: Cybersecurity involves a lot of ethical considerations. Expect to answer questions about how you managed ethical dilemmas or how you would address conflicting interests that stem from cybersecurity regimes.

    Common Interview Questions for Security Positions

    When it comes to interviewing for a security position, there are a number of questions that you should expect to be asked. To help you prepare, here are some common questions that are often asked during security interviews:

    • What made you interested in pursuing a career in security?
    • How do you handle high-stress situations?
    • Can you provide examples of times where you had to deescalate a situation?
    • How would you approach identifying and addressing a security threat?
    • Do you have experience working with security technology (e.g. security cameras, alarms, access control systems)?
    • What would you do if you witnessed a coworker breaking company policy?
    • How would you handle a situation where a customer or guest is causing a disturbance?

    Preparing answers to these types of questions in advance can help you feel more confident during your interview and showcase your knowledge and skills in the field of security.

    Sharing Your Background: Tips for Answering

    When interviewing for a security position, it’s common for interviewers to ask about your background and experiences. Here are some tips to keep in mind when answering these types of questions:

    • Be concise and clear when sharing your experiences. Avoid long-winded or overly-detailed responses.
    • Use specific examples and situations to illustrate your points.
    • Highlight skills and experiences that are relevant to the security position you’re applying for.

    For example, if you’re asked to describe your previous work experience, you might say something like:

    “In my previous role at ABC Security, I was responsible for patrolling the premises, monitoring security cameras, and ensuring the safety of employees and guests. I also have experience responding to emergency situations, such as medical emergencies or security breaches.”

    Being clear and direct in your responses will help showcase your professionalism and competence to the interviewer.

    How to Address Questions About Your Professionalism

    During a security interview, you may be asked questions about your professionalism and work ethic. Here are some tips to help you answer these types of questions:

    • Highlight your reliability and responsibility. Mention your ability to follow company policies and procedures, communicate effectively with coworkers and supervisors, and meet deadlines.
    • Emphasize your attention to detail and thoroughness. Talk about your ability to remain vigilant and focused during long shifts, and your commitment to identifying and addressing potential security threats.
    • Highlight your ability to maintain confidentiality. Explain your understanding of the importance of maintaining confidentiality in a security role, and your commitment to only sharing information on a need-to-know basis.

    For example, if you’re asked to describe your professionalism, you might say something like:

    “I pride myself on being reliable, responsible, and attentive to detail. I understand the importance of maintaining strict confidentiality in a security role, and I am committed to upholding company policies and procedures. I am also comfortable communicating effectively with coworkers and supervisors, and am able to remain focused and vigilant during long shifts.”

    Discussing Your Interests and Hobbies with Interviewers

    While it may seem unrelated to the job, interviewers will often ask questions about your interests and hobbies to get a better sense of your personality and character. Here are some things to keep in mind when discussing your hobbies and interests:

    • Be honest and genuine. Don’t feel the need to make up hobbies or interests that you don’t actually enjoy.
    • Tie your hobbies back to the skills or traits that are relevant to the security position you’re applying for. For example, if you enjoy hiking, you might mention that it helps you stay alert and aware of your surroundings, which could be useful in a security role.
    • Avoid discussing hobbies or interests that could be seen as controversial or offensive.

    For example, if asked about your hobbies and interests, you might say something like:

    “Outside of work, I enjoy hiking, biking, and practicing martial arts. I find that these activities help me stay alert and aware of my surroundings, which I think will be useful in a security role. I also enjoy reading and learning about different cultures and customs.”

    Explaining Your Motivation for Applying to a Security Role

    One of the most common questions you’ll be asked during a security interview is why you’re interested in the position. Here are some tips for answering this question effectively:

    • Be honest and specific about what draws you to this particular security role.
    • Focus on your desire to help keep people safe and secure. Explain how fulfilling this mission is important to you.
    • Tie your motivation back to your personal or professional experiences. For example, if you previously worked in law enforcement or the military, explain how those experiences have prepared you for a career in security.

    For example, when asked about your motivations for applying to a security position, you might say something like:

    “I’ve always been interested in a career where I can help keep people safe and secure. I think that this security position is a great opportunity for me to do just that. Additionally, my experience in law enforcement has prepared me well for this type of work, and I feel like this role would be a natural fit for me.”

    Articulating Career Goals and Aspirations in an Interview

    Finally, it’s important to be able to articulate your career goals and aspirations during a security interview. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

    • Be honest about your goals and aspirations, but also be realistic. Avoid setting unrealistic expectations for yourself or the company.
    • Tie your goals back to the position you’re applying for. Explain how this role can help you achieve your career goals.
    • Express a desire to learn and grow within the company. Highlight your willingness to take on additional responsibilities or pursue additional training or education, if necessary.

    For example, when asked about your career goals and aspirations, you might say something like:

    “In the short-term, my goal is to become a top performer in this security role and provide the best possible service to our clients and customers. In the long-term, I’d like to continue to learn and grow within the company, taking on more responsibility and potentially moving into a leadership role. Additionally, I’m interested in pursuing additional training or education to help me stay up-to-date on the latest security technology and best practices.”

    By articulating your goals and aspirations clearly and professionally, you’ll signal to interviewers that you are a serious candidate who is committed to the role and to the company’s success.