Assessing cyber security skills using the NICE Framework powered by HireVue

October 17th, 2022
HireVue Team

It’s no secret that there are particularly difficult positions to fill in STEM fields, especially when you layer in the Great Resignation and evolving demands from workers. The race for talent gets even worse as you drill down into specific roles – did you know that there’s an estimated shortage of close to 3 million cybersecurity professionals? 

It’s a staggering number when you consider that we’re living in a world of work that is more distributed than ever with skyrocketing cybercrime. 

With increasing threats from domestic and international actors, federal agencies in particular have a mandate to bring their cybersecurity teams in-house. Agencies are doing everything they can to fill roles with qualified people as quickly and efficiently as possible. Fortunately, with HireVue’s help, they’re implementing innovative strategies to find the best and brightest to safeguard the country’s data.

Perhaps the best example of this mandate in action is HireVue’s recent work with the federal government to develop and deliver pre-hire assessments for cybersecurity – assessments that fulfill the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) developed the Workforce Framework for Cybersecurity (NICE Framework).

The assessments provide an efficient, modern and FedRAMP authorized interview experience that can screen more cyber professionals without sacrificing proper vetting or creating a process too onerous for these highly sought after candidates. And it’s all delivered on-demand so that previously overlooked workers enter the process and move through the applicant funnel with commercial industry speed.  

Policy bias is screening out qualified cybersecurity candidates 

Before we dive into the development of our federal  assessments, no conversation about cybersecurity would be complete without first making the case for why requirements for these positions need to change immediately. 

In spite of the urgency to fill critical cybersecurity roles, a full 73% of positions require prior hands-on experience to determine if a candidate is qualified. Asking for prior on-the-job experience for entry level roles is so nonsensical that just typing that statistic made a recent bootcamp or college grad tear their hair out. 

This is where we shout our mantra from the rooftops: skills over resumes! 

By implementing competency-based, structured interviews, public sector agencies can hire for the competencies that matter for success in the job and ditch requirements that are screening out skilled people desperately needed in public service. 

If you’re in a position to change these requirements in your agency, run, don't walk to make edits. And if you’re not in charge, forward this blog post to the person who makes the decisions (we’ll happily sit down with them and make the business case for you).   

More about pre-hire assessments for cybersecurity that fulfill NICE Framework standards

For the purposes of our conversation today, the NICE Framework  is important for the way it “provides a set of building blocks for describing the tasks, knowledge, and skills that are needed to perform cybersecurity work performed by individuals and teams.” HireVue’s team of IO Psychologists were able to take three roles and their attendant skills as defined by NICE, and map them to the library of interviews and rubrics within HireVue Builder. 

HireVue Builder is designed to reduce bias in the interviewing process and its contents are mapped to performance. The team was able to take the rigorous existing work and align the role requirements from NICE to build streamlined assessments for these three job families in the agency:

  • Vulnerability assessment analyst 
  • Cyber policy and strategy planner 
  • Project / program Manager  
    • Program manager 
    • IT project manager

The sample three step process below measures hard and soft skills, is backed by science, and meets NICE Framework guidelines:

  1. On-Demand interview and assessment to measure soft skills
  2. CodeVue challenge to assess hard skills 
  3. Game-based assessments to test cognitive abilities 

Let HireVue help you hire for public sector jobs

While steeper challenges may always exist for hiring in the public sector and for government agencies, the good news is that cost effective tools are readily available.

As the only FedRAMP authorized hiring platform for the public sector, we’re both FISMA compliant and integrate with USA Jobs. For more information on how you can benefit from HireVue’s comprehensive hiring platform, meet with one of our public sector experts today.