Chief Information Security Officer - Tech Hiring Guide

Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) Interview Questions

Everything You Need to Know About Recruiting and Hiring a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO)

Why Hire a CISO?

Do you know that by 2025, 35% of board members will have a background in Cybersecurity and by 2031, it will increase to 50%? The data from Boardroom Cybersecurity 2022 also tells why CISO or Chief Information Security Officer is imperative for every midsize to large organizations. 

Data protection is the Need of the Hour. As a forerunner, CISOs play a big role in mitigating cyber attack threats and increasing detection competencies.

As per Steve Morgan, Founder of Cybersecurity Ventures, “CEOs at every company must advocate to have a CISO on their board to protect the organization. If cybersecurity is a regular boardroom discussion, then it will trickle down to the rest of the organization.”

What is a CISO?

The senior-level executive position of CISO or Chief Information Security Officer is crucial in connecting business values of the organization with the security-related compliances. In other words, the transformational role of CISO is responsible for the implementation of ISO/IEC 27001 certification in the organization’s security landscape.

The role is challenging one as one needs to be on toes to ensure security and ethics and prevent cyber threats or any kind of data breaches.

Why are CISOs in High Demand?

The turbulent cyber attacks and ransomware events have increased in recent years. Consequently, the heightened attention for CISOs has spiked all over the world. 

According to Steven Martano, Partner at Cyber Security Practice, “At least 75% of companies preparing CISO offers are contending against one or more competing offers and/ or strong counteroffers from candidates’ current employers.”

 As a front-line in defending the enterprise’s cyber infrastructure, it has become mandatory for every company to hire a CISO. However, there is a huge talent crunch all over the world.

READ: The Tech Recruiting Hiring Guide for 2022 is here

CISO Average Pay

As per Glassdoor estimates, the national average salary for a CISO in the USA is $ 176,131 per year with an added compensation between $6,718 – $1,41,993.

Sample KPIs for a CISO:

Here are the crucial talent acquisition metrics to track a CISO’s productivity and performance:

  1. Red Teaming or evaluating the skill levels of IT security teams
  2. Vulnerability scans like data breaches or network intrusion
  3. Mean Response Time calculation like MTTD, MTTR, and MTTC.
  4. Maintenance cost as a percentage of total IT cost
  5. Security compliance rate
  6. Percentage cases where SLAs met for time to resolution
  7. Internal NPS for support cases
  8. Deployment success rate
  9. Project satisfaction survey
  10. Development cost ( actual v/s planned)


CISO Job Description

CISOs are one of the toughest job roles in the world. Their job description revolves around cybersecurity and encouraging employee awareness on ransomware and malicious software (a majority of cyber attacks begin with a compromise or leaked info) .

  1. Defining, implementing, and maintaining corporate security policy, and associated procedures.
  2. Overseeing the design, testing, and Implementation of all IT Security solutions.
  3. Day-to-day control of the maintenance and monitoring of live production environments.
  4. Planning and execution of necessary vulnerability audits, penetration testing, or forensic IT audits and investigations.
  5. Compliance with any related legislation, such as the Data Protection Act, ISO standards, or relevant government regulations.
  6. Staff training in all the latest security awareness skills, checking associated protocols, methodologies, and procedures.
  7. Budget allocations and associated financial forecasts relating to IT, Data, and Information security.
  8. Liaise with CIO, senior-level directors, the organization’s board, managers, programmers, IT Security risk-assessment staff, and other key stakeholders.
  9. Supervise integration of new IT Systems Development with the organization’s overall IT, Data, and Information Security policies.
  10. Ensure favorable RoI in staff, hardware, software, and service providers.

CISO Interview Questions

  1. How far is cloud computing risk-free?
  2. What lessons have you learned from the mistakes while working as CISO?
  3. Did any circumstance make you modify or alter a security policy? Please explain.
  4. How do you draw an action plan to incorporate IoT into an information security environment?
  5. Tell me about a time when you had to collaborate with stakeholders to establish an information security risk management 
  6. What are the latest technologies that can be implemented for information security?
  7. Name any 5 KPIs or metrics for measuring an information security program’s effectiveness.
  8. What’s your first step if there’s a need to encrypt and compress data for a transmission?
  9. How would you make a non-technical executive understand hyper-convergence?
  10. What should be the first question to ask if there’s a breach?

READ: 5 Questions to Ask during Technical Interviews

Best Practices For Hiring CISO

Hiring Chief Information Security Officers is not a cakewalk. Research suggests that recruiters are struggling to find quality talent for the role. While there is an acute talent shortage due to inadequate skills and experience, it must also be noted that most employers are still stuck in the traditional methods of hiring.

Hiring red flags like over-reliance on credentials than competencies and lack of advanced evaluation tools in skill assessments have severely limited the talent pool.

On the other hand, recruitment software like Glider AI takes candidate evaluation to the next level. Through a structured and standardized process, interviews are made candidate-friendly and also accurately assess skills and competencies. Hiring is not only bias-free but evaluated on real-world scenarios as well.

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