4 people working together in an office environmentRosie Anderson believes recruiting on competencies and mindsets rather than just technical skills is key to bringing diverse talent to the industry.

A defence client was looking to improve diversity within their security team. whilst also looking to fill some difficult cyber security vacancies, which had been open for some time. This business is experienced at training and upskilling staff, and also offers flexibility around working hours and working locations, so had a lot of the internal infrastructure already in place for a returner programme.

Working with their recruitment partner, Rosie Anderson, they designed a potential hiring programme which would be able to reach out to a wider community of technical returners.

Over 100 applicants were approached and assessed against a wide range of transferable skills, as well as eligibility for security clearances. Faith was put in the recruitment partner to benchmark these skills, as well as suitability for the client’s defence environment, as the client would not see any cv profiles until after the assessment day, to ensure no unconscious bias.

An assessment day was then held and attended by 12 ladies, which focussed on team work to solve a murder mystery, then individual assessments to map out the engineering mindset, by focussing on a connected smart fridge to find the potential vulnerabilities. Rosie Anderson believes recruiting on competencies and mindsets rather than just technical skills is key to bringing diverse talent to the industry.

Following on from this day, two ladies were hired. Both ladies had been out of the technology industry for over 5 years and had not worked in technology or cyber security. Both ladies are now thriving within their respective businesses, despite working remotely due to COVID.

"Employers tell us again and again finding people with the right mindset and core competencies is more important than the technical skills which we can work on in-house. This was a great demonstration of how there are examples out there to accurately assess this and opens up opportunities to talent which may otherwise have been overlooked." Rosie Anderson, Independent cyber and tech recruiter, Greater Manchester