When you are inspired to apply everything you learned in your university programs to protect people and assets, a Security Analyst position is a common starting point. It is also an area that companies plan to further invest in — in Ontic’s recent study on the State of Protective Intelligence, 66% of security leaders plan to hire a protective intelligence analyst in the next year.
Professionals in this role work to support stakeholders across varied business units by investigating anomalies and helping decision-makers take informed action to mitigate threats to their business. It’s one of the few roles where one day you might be helping assess the security measures in a local city and then the next day you are researching a pandemic’s implications for your supply chain.
However, landing a Security Analyst role at a top company is no small task, so knowing how to prepare for a security analyst interview is essential. Here are five entry level security analyst interview questions to help you take the necessary steps, and why they matter.
1. Describe your experience doing open source intelligence (OSINT) research.
The WHY behind this question: Because OSINT research is so central to the work that an Analyst does, many hiring managers ask OSINT interview questions to know what experience the Analyst candidate already has. Of course, this can be taught, but having a solid foundation in OSINT techniques can make a candidate stand out.
2. How have you supported stakeholders when it comes to geopolitical research?
The WHY behind this question: While not every security job is focused on researching events and places outside of the U.S., it is a common task. In a security analyst interview, a hiring manager would be interested in knowing how well-rounded an Analyst’s research skills are — are they only good at researching people? Can they research and make assessments about travel risks as it relates to executive travel or business opportunities in other countries?
3. Tell us about opportunities you’ve taken to develop professionally?
The WHY behind this question: It’s great to know what experience someone has when they show up to the interview, but hiring managers tend to care less about what you’ve done, and more about your commitment to continual development. Come prepared to answer these types of questions by sharing your vision for career progression and how you plan to make it happen.
4. What about your approach to doing security projects is different from that of your peers? And how so?
The WHY behind this question: Essentially, this question boils down to learning what makes one candidate stand out from their peers, and what value they will add to the team if hired. Be ready to discuss specific projects, your approach and the value you delivered.
5. How have you learned from past failures or unsuccessful projects?
The WHY behind this question: It’s important to learn about a candidate’s mindset and humility. This interview question for a security analyst can give a hiring manager great insight into how this candidate might fit in with the culture of the team and how resilient they are.
Planning for common security analyst interview questions is a great first step, but career preparation is an ongoing process. Check out our recent survey on Career Development in the Security Industry for valuable information on how we can advance learning in the security industry.