10 tough security interview questions, and how to answer them

Recently hired security leaders share what hiring execs want to know in interviews.

A businessman walks through a keyhole-shaped doorway into field of question marks.
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Anyone who’s experienced a job interview knows that one of the keys to landing a position is answering the interview questions effectively and intelligently—without sounding like a robot. It’s no different for high-level security executives. In fact, given the importance of these positions and the need for security executives to think fast on their feet, being prepared to respond to tough questions with cogent answers is vitally important to getting hired.

We asked several security executives and hiring experts to provide examples of challenging questions job candidates might expect to be asked—and their advice on crafting the right kinds of answers.

Why is now the right time for you to make a career move?

Changing jobs is all about motivations and proper timing, says Domini Clark, principal at Blackmere Consulting, which specializes in recruiting information security professionals. “I need to know early on how motivated a person is to make a career move and what sort of opportunity is going to get them off the ledge of uncertainty,” Clark says. “Do you hate your boss because he’s a micromanager? Are you tired of traveling because you’ve missed the first three years of your child’s life? Sometimes people will elude to those factors when asked about why they’re leaving their current position.”

The timing piece adds an entirely different element to the question. “I want to know what the straw looks like that broke the camel’s back,” Clark says. “That straw is the true motivator—the rest is just window dressing.”

How will you obtain and retain top security talent for our organization in this increasingly tight market?

Everyone in the industry knows how difficult it is to find skilled security professionals. Hiring officers will want to know how you plan to address the challenge.

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