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- Essential Guide to Acing Cybersecurity Manager Interviews: Prep Tips & Strategies
Essential Guide to Acing Cybersecurity Manager Interviews: Prep Tips & Strategies
Master your next cybersecurity manager interview with our comprehensive guide. Discover key strategies, insightful tips on management and leadership styles, and essential skills to impress and succeed. Perfect for aspiring cybersecurity leaders
Believe it or not, some people want to be managers.
There are few resources about how you prepare yourself to get a manager job, much less in cybersecurity. So I decided to add something that hopefully others can learn from and make their own.
This post is meant to be a concise guide to interviewing for management positions in cybersecurity, but certainly not all-inclusive.
Key Concepts for Cybersecurity Management Leadership
For the sake of this post, I’m considering a “manager position” to be one that has leadership accountability for a team of people and the HR responsibility to hire/coach/fire them.
Being a "leader" is different, and anyone at any level can do this. You'll need to be good at both managing people and leadership to be successful.
Becoming a manager in any field typically requires a person to demonstrate many skills that have nothing to do with the team of people they are leading.
But at the same time, with tech teams, you also have to demonstrate enough “street cred” to lead a team of more technical people. You have to be able to talk shop, understand enough of the “how,” and filter and translate direction and strategy outwards and upwards.
Preparing Effectively for Your Cybersecurity Manager Interview
You’ll be expected to speak about your principles and approaches on a wide range of non-technical topics for the interview.
Essential Topics to Discuss: Management and Leadership
Your management style
Your leadership style
Your perceived weaknesses
How do you motivate and lead teams
Key Summary Points: Influencing and Leading in Cybersecurity
How you drive and manage work
How do you influence and lead others
How do you motivate people
How do you engage and convince stakeholders
How do you manage expectations upwards
In-Depth Discussion Points: Your Cybersecurity Passion and Value
What you are passionate about
What kinds of problems do you like to solve
Where you feel you provide the most value
How do you get support from the people you lead
Real-World Examples: Your Impact in Cybersecurity
How you reduced risk through strategic planning
How you made security easier for your end-users
How did you enable the business in a secure way
If you recognized that, you'd be spot on.
These are softer skills; these are skills that show how you manage work and get the buy-in from everyone around you.
The higher you move up, the less it becomes about the work itself and the more it becomes about WHAT outcomes you achieved and HOW you got them done.
The rest is details.
Additional Resources for Aspiring Cybersecurity Managers
Here are some other resources to get you prepared to think and act as both a leader and a manager in the cybersecurity field:
An interesting take on management philosophy
A Twitter thread on the books that helped me the most throughout my career
Most of this is stuff you can’t fake, at least not for long.
You have to have real experience navigating these things and proving yourself, but you’ll never get the chance if you don’t sell yourself when you have a shot.
That's it! Let me know what I might have missed or what else you think is important.
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