• Insight
  • 5 min read

Human Threat Intelligence

How To Recruit Securely in the Cyber Age

Why Talk About Secure Recruiting?

These days, the media is filled with reports on the increased risk of industrial espionage. Threat actors range from qualified competitors with the capacity to use insiders as channels for information, to state actors, definitely with the capacity to use insiders over long periods of time. Sometimes these drivers overlap. Innovation-intense businesses are often in the scope of both. An organization stacked with advanced know-how and intellectual property will probably be approached from both directions or jointly. If getting a hold of plans and knowledge is an interest for both foreign state powers and foreign industry, a joint effort to get an insider in place might well be worth the relatively low level of risk involved. Some countries use that same strategy.

Important Considerations for Recruiters

With insiders as a substantial real-life threat to business interests, there’s obviously a need to prevent it from happening. There are two fundamental ways for the threat to be executed. The insider could be planted in the organization, meaning they seek employment/contract intending to steal information while on someone else’s payroll. Or the insider could “emerge” during employment. In this case, there was never any intention to do wrong, but life circumstances, privately or at work, created stressors that, through a chain of events, made the individual shift loyalties over time and start working for somebody else.

These two possibilities must be observed during the recruitment process. It’s highly recommended to seek support from vetting professionals with knowledge and experience in this special type of behavioral assessment. But at the front line – before professional vetting is often initiated – stands the recruiter.

Secure Recruiting Advice

When you, as a recruiter or as a manager who is recruiting, consider a candidate for employment or contracting, it’s always a good idea to think through the following:

  • Has this candidate had any personal experience crossing the line regarding what’s tolerated or acceptable?
    This could indicate a similar behavior in a corresponding situation in the future, given the “right” circumstances…
  • Is this candidate in a personal situation right now that might create risk at work, or are they on their way to that type of situation?
    – This could create personal stressors that can affect judgment…
  • How does this person’s “moral compass” generally work? Does their pattern of thinking create risk?
    Fundamental ways of thinking will not easily change over time…

A proper security vetting operation contains hundreds of aspects that should be investigated before an individual is considered for work that exposes vital company secrets. A first-line recruiter can provide substantial value by being aware of these aspects and considering them during early-stage interviews.

Key Takeaways

  • The security situation around us is more intense than ever, and the risk of industrial espionage is increasing. We must prevent insiders from getting let in.
  • Insiders might be planted as insiders already on someone else’s payroll or turn from loyal to disloyal because of life stressors. Both aspects can be predicted and prevented by professional security vetting.
  • First-line recruiters can come a long way in assessing this threat in their line of work by considering the above aspects during early-stage recruiting interviews.