In a working world where you have to find your way in a 24/7 information flow, it comes to flexibility, learning power and agility. Especially within a rapidly advancing discipline like cyber security. Within the HR, the term agility is already known in project management circles. A common complaint among HR professionals: ‘ I know what I’m looking for, but not how I recognize it from the outside or in a CV ‘. This week, HR Tech start-up BrainsFirst completed an investigation into the specific cyber security brain. “Now that customers know which brain profile they are looking for and how they can recognize it in a candidate, they find the right match faster.”
The challenge on the cyber security-job market: Search for the unknown
IT Security companies share a known problem: there is more demand for good, experienced and driven professionals than available. And still the usual IT-training courses regularly meet the demanding, constantly changing practice. This makes it difficult to determine where to look for when you are scanning a CV. “Classical IQ-scores are often used as starting point, but the brain is not easy to catch. Personality tests also prove to be of little predictive value for success on the work floor. To make a good match for specific functions you need to look for a unique set of brain functions, or brain skills. Cyber Security specialists appear to have a set of specific, corresponding brain qualities. That knowledge gives employers a lead in selection,” says Dr. Ilja Sligte, Chief Science Officer of BrainsFirst.
The cyber security Brain: lightning-fast, flexible, stress-resistant & targeted
Recent research among more than 150 cyber security specialists showed that the brains of these IT experts differ from those of other highly qualified professional groups. Also among the hackers and defenders there are big differences in the brain. The hackers react quickly, are good at anticipation, have high accuracy and can work well using protocols. On the other hand, defenders are, for example, more thoughtful, even more stress resistant and can easily and quickly change tasks.
The brain profile of a well-performing ethical hacker does not necessarily coincide with what we would refer to as classically intelligent (IQ). This means that a traditional IQ test is not able to predict this kind of job performance in real working life. The only real relevant question is: Does a candidate possess such specific brain skills? “Now that you know what you’re looking for in a hacker or defender, you’ll find it easier,” laughs Sligte.
The Brain as a toolkit for selection
Since 2012, BrainsFirst has extensive experience with the reliable measurement of brain functions to predict the fit between job and brain. Clients include aviation, finance, strategy consultancy, IT, online marketing and international top sports. For this research in Cyber Security, the company asked to test at Deloitte and others. “Our field is relatively young and very fast growing in size. It is difficult to judge from the outside whether someone is able to deliver what we ask of them,” says Tom Schuurmans, Director of Cyber Risk Services at Deloitte Nederland. “We are always looking for innovative, scientifically based ways to be able to identify talent more accurately. This fits our aim to get the best match in the right place. This Brain-based approach adds something to the toolkit to better select it.”
NeurOlympics: Take a look under the hood
The Brain-based assessment games of BrainsFirst (NeurOlympics) measure brain factors while playing. These games give an extensive overview of the brain talents, literally the biological ‘ brain building blocks ‘ of a candidate. These include skills such as attention control, automatic control, memory capacity, stress resistance, speed of thinking, anticipation and (mental) flexibility. “To be able to make a match between the brain & job, a target profile is drawn,” explains Sligte. “We look far beyond IQ and search for the individual brain skills required specifically for the work requested. The candidates are then tested as well. Only the best matching candidates will be preselected. To the company itself to make the best choice from this select group of ‘ contenders ‘ based on, for example, structured interviews, so you know if someone can do it and whether you want to see that person walking around in your company. “
Want to know more?
Curious how BrainsFirst can help you with the recognition of top talent? Please reach out to Annemarein Braakman, she happily tells you more about this.