Why do talented cyber candidates with impressive qualifications get turned down?

Why do talented cyber candidates with impressive qualifications get turned down?

Everyone says that cyber companies are desperately searching for top talent with excellent qualifications. But then why do talented, well-qualified candidates go through the frustration of getting turned down again and again for cyber positions?

Are they doing something wrong?

Here with some advice is top Swiss cyber recruiter Petra Wildemann.

Cyber companies are constantly on the look-out for good talent with solid qualifications. That said, candidates for such positions should realize that when a company says they need someone with specific qualifications, that company means what exactly it says. Often there are also hidden criteria which companies do not advertise. Candidates should not waste their time and the company’s time in applying for positions for which they are not a precise match, however talented and well-qualified they may be.

Failure to observe this rule will not only result in a time-wasting rejection but also make the candidate look unserious, thereby possibly jeopardizing their chances for a future position for which they are better qualified.

But how can a candidate be certain that they are applying for an appropriate position, especially given those hidden criteria that the company hasn’t even told them about? Here is where a good recruiter can help.

But how is a candidate to decide which recruiter is the right one for them? In making this decision, candidates need to be aware of the two most popular recruiting strategies.

The classic recruiting strategy: advertise, wait and sort:

The classic recruiting approach is to simply advertise the position, wait for applications to come in and then sort them, looking for good matches. A clear advantage to this approach is that a large number of applications can quickly be obtained and evaluated in a very short time.

But a disadvantage is that a great deal of time is then spent sifting through applications, many of which are poorly suited to the job in question and some of which don’t succeed in presenting the applicant in the proper light.

Another disadvantage to this approach is that terrific candidates who were unaware of this opportunity or perhaps hadn’t seriously given thought to making a job change will not be considered.

With these disadvantages in mind, some recruiters choose a different approach.

A different recruiting strategy: thoroughly research the position, then search for candidates in the open job market.

Nowadays, some recruiters have turned the classic strategy around. Instead of “advertise, wait, then sort”, their approach is “research, then search”.

What does this mean?

First, the research-and-search recruiter will limit themselves to jobs and industries they know inside out, from their own extensive experience. Not only do they know the people and the companies in the industry – they could even do the job themselves.

After determining that a job in this category is available, the research-and-search recruiter will carefully research the position. They will talk to the clients’ HR Department and/or hiring manager, ask lots of questions, talk to key people in their contact network, study the company’s profile, and so on. After this exhaustive preparation, they will then scour the open job market, looking for just the right candidate.

They will see at a glance what others might miss. One candidate might seem superficially a good match, but there are subtle problems (those “hidden criteria”) which the recruiter knows would sabotage their chances. A second candidate might seem good except for the lack of a certain qualification, but the research-search recruiter will see that the candidate actually has other qualifications which compensate for that lack.

And so on.

The company will know from experience with this recruiter that their candidates are to be taken very seriously, and they will be looked at with intense interest – they will not fall through the cracks.

Another important advantage of such a recruiter is that since they concentrate on their own specialized fields, recruiting for a select group of clients, they are likely to be looking for multiple positions requiring similar qualifications. So they will be in a great position to guide candidates to the best opportunities for them.

Why would a recruiter employ such a time-and-labor-intensive approach, you might ask? Well, if the recruiter is really good at this, they will find the one candidate who is just right for the job, and not waste their time or the candidates’ time in working with unsuitable candidates. So this seemingly long-and-involved process can actually be the most efficient one for all parties – again, if the recruiter is really good at it.

You must decide

If you decide to work with a recruiter, try to find out which approach they are taking and choose the right one for you. If the first attempt is not a successful one but the recruiter nonetheless strikes you as being a good one, think about partnering with them. The better they know you, the better they will be able to help you find the position that’s just right for you.

About the author: Petra Wildemann Is a partner at Dorigo AG, an HR Services company based in Zurich, Switzerland. Mrs Wildemann specializes in external recruiting for positions in the fields of cyber, risk and insurance. Her previous recruiting experience was as Head of the Global Actuarial Team at Sungard (now FIS) and as Head of an InsurTech.