Killer Interview Question: How Do You Learn About Your Field Of Work?

This week’s KIQ comes from the CTO of global IT security company RSA.

IT security is a dynamic industry. Those who are working in it need to stay abreast of the latest security news and technological developments. It’s something that’s at the forefront of RSA CTO Zulfikar Ramzan’s mind when he’s looking for new talent to join his company.

When he’s interviewing security professionals who want to work for RSA, he will often ask the question: “How do you learn about your field?”

Razman explains to Lifehacker Australia at RSA Conference 2016 in Singapore:

“It’s a subtle question because it almost seems like ‘Well, why are you asking that?’ But to me, when I look at security, it’s constantly changing. The key to being a successful security professional is not to get a degree five years ago and say “I got this credential?”. The key is how you keep learning and how you keep improving your skills.”

The question used to gauge whether the applicant has a thirst for learning and the motivation to keep up to date with the latest information about IT security:

“If they don’t have a good answer to that question then I know they’re not suited for this industry because it changes way too fast to rely on a set of old paradigms.
“… It’s a funny question because it sounds so simple and innocuous but it can be a totally devastating interview question.”

This question doesn’t only work for IT security employers; many other organisations would be keen to hire people who are genuinely interested in their field of work and who don’t let their knowledge or skills become outdated.

The best way to respond is to talk about the relevant publications or blogs you read regularly and the industry experts you follow on social media.

How would you tackle this question? Let us know in the comments.

Spandas Lui travelled to Singapore as a guest of RSA.

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