Cybersecurity Interview Questions and Pitfalls You Should Prepare For [Part 2]

In part 2 of our Cybersecurity Interview Questions series, we continue to take deep dives into popular interview questions. This is intended to provide you with the knowledge to develop your authentic answers to help you land a cybersecurity job.

Why do you want to work in cybersecurity?

The good news is that this isn’t a trick question. There is no one right answer. However, you’ll want to think about your answer in advance. After all, you want to sound confident about why you want to get into the field. 

Let’s consider a few angles you can take. First, if you’re a career changer, you’ll want to address why you're leaving your previous career field for cybersecurity. It doesn’t need to be a lengthy explanation, but it’s good to touch upon it. One easy way to go about it, is to highlight drawbacks of your previous profession, which are the opposite of qualities you like about cybersecurity.

The good news is that this isn’t a trick question. There is no one right answer.

For example, if you like that cybersecurity is a growth industry, you can highlight a lack of growth in your previous field (or even that it’s being automated). If you like being hands on with technology in cybersecurity, highlight a lack of technology exposure in your old field. Endeavor to make the explanation of your previous career field’s drawbacks relatable. Presumably, your interviewer has no previous experience in that field.

The bulk of your answer should focus on qualities you enjoy about cybersecurity. There are two key things to focus on. Your answer should be both sincere and relevant to the job you're interviewing for. In other words, make your answer both sincere and targeted. If you have a list of five qualities you enjoy about cybersecurity, lead with the one that is most relevant to the position you're interviewing for.

Conversely, avoid talking about things which aren’t relevant to the role you’re interviewing for. For example, if you spend your time discussing your interest in malware reverse engineering, but you’re interviewing for a SOC L1 Analyst role, the interviewer is  likely to think the SOC position isn’t right for you.

Why do you want this cybersecurity job?

This is a variant of the previous question. Avoid the pitfall of simply talking about why you want to get into cybersecurity in general. The interviewer wants to know if you have a decent understanding of what the role entails and if you’ll be a good fit for it.

The honest answer might be that you’re just looking to land your first cybersecurity job and will seek to pivot after a year. Obviously, you can’t say that.

First, give a quick recap of your understanding of the target qualifications for the role. That helps provide some comfort that you know, what you’re getting yourself into. Then briefly discuss why your skills and experience would be a good fit for the role.

Here’s the counterintuitive part. Next, acknowledge that this would be your first cybersecurity role and that you think this role would be an excellent entry point into a great cybersecurity organization. State what you value about the organization. Are they a first-class cybersecurity organization, where you can learn from the best? Are they a growing organization, where you can be involved with building new programs and capabilities? Are they a smaller organization, where you can be involved with multiple cybersecurity domains? Whatever the value proposition, highlight it.

The honest answer might be that you’re just looking to land your first cybersecurity job and will seek to pivot after a year. Obviously, you can’t say that.

What you’re doing is addressing the fact that you need a first cybersecurity job, but implying that your interest is really about the organization. You’re stating that this job is a great opportunity to join their team specifically, rather than stating it’s an opportunity to get into cybersecurity in general. It makes it sound like you want to grow and progress in their organization, rather than leave for another company as soon as you have enough experience.

This can be particularly effective in explaining your interest in less exciting jobs at great organizations. No one will begrudge the fact that you need to land your first cybersecurity job. They just want some comfort that you’ll stick around for a bit if you get this cybersecurity job.

Recommended Post: