The 8 Personality Traits to Succeed in Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity threats are on the rise. With the rapid increase of security breaches, company hacks and data leaks, cybercrime has become one of the most significant threats to global business. Skilled cybersecurity professionals are key for the safety of companies and governments, but there is an anticipated skills shortage of 1.8 million workers by 2022. The demand for talent in this space is at an all-time high, and there are some unique personality traits that recruiters and companies need to look out for.

At Hogan, we have helped some of the world’s top IT and cybersecurity firms recruit the right individuals. Our science-based assessments and 30 years of validated research found that there are eight personality traits best suited to a successful career in cybersecurity.

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How Hogan’s Personality Assessments Improve Workplace Safety

Each year, accidents and work-related illnesses cost billions of euros in needless business expenses. In 2017, Europe lost more than €476 billion - an amazing 3.3 % of the European Union GDP. That figure can be reduced with better occupational safety and health strategies, policies, and practices.  

The easiest way for companies to reduce these costs is to assess and predict potential candidates’ likely workplace safety behavior during the recruitment process. In traditional job interviews, candidates present the best versions of themselves, and this may not accurately portray their day-to-day behavior. In safety conscious industries—e.g., oil and gas, construction and medicine—being able to evaluate and predict a candidate’s safety behavior is crucial.

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The Unforeseen and Unintended Consequences of Bans on Personality Testing

On February 13th, the Nevada assembly heard a proposal for a new bill, Nevada AB132. The bill itself is only 2.5 pages long and is pretty easy to read, but effectively has two parts:

Making it unlawful to deny employment on the basis of a marijuana screening testMaking it unlawful to condition employment on the completion, or results, of a personality test

The first part of the bill concerning pre-hiring marijuana testing has received a fair amount of local news coverage, and is outside of my areas of expertise. However, I will say it does seem odd that one can be excluded from a job for testing positive for a drug that is recreationally legal in the state. If an alcohol test could determine if you drank alcohol at any time over the past, say 30 days, should people of legal age to consume alcohol be excluded from jobs on the basis of that test result?

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Personality Assessment and Performance Management

A critical task for leaders is to ensure that their followers are working efficiently toward the organization’s goals. In business, employees whose work is aligned with the organization’s objectives are more productive. So-called “performance management processes” are intended to create alignment between the employee’s work and the organization’s goals. A typical performance management process might include planning and setting goals, monitoring progress toward those goals, development and improvement, and periodic performance appraisals (or reviews). These performance management processes could be substantially improved by the use of personality assessments.

Personality is related to every meaningful individual difference. Scientifically validated personality assessments can predict substance use and abuse, longevity, relationship satisfaction, job performance, criminality, and occupational choice, just to list a few examples. Beyond these applications, well-validated personality assessments provide individuals with insights into their own motives, reputations and destructive behaviors, many of which they may not be aware of. Employees can use such strategic self-awareness to modify their behaviors at work to be more in line with the expectations of management. Consider the following (real) example.

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Super Bowl LIII: A Lesson in Potential and Effective Leadership

In January of 2017, Les Snead, the general manager of the Los Angeles Rams, had a tough choice to make. Hired in 2013, his team had not had a winning record since 2003 and had moved from St. Louis to Los Angeles just a year earlier. Expectations in LA were high, and it was time for Snead to find a new head coach. The safe and easy choice would be a seasoned, veteran head coach who was no stranger to the biggest stage in American sports. Jon Gruden, who won a Super Bowl in 2003 (2002 season), seemed to be an obvious candidate. Or, you take a look at successful college coaches, such as Nick Saban, who has won six NCAA championships as head coach at the University of Alabama and Louisiana State University. Both of these coaches had proven records as head coaches and were realistic candidates to fill the Rams’ coaching vacancy.

Instead, Snead hired Washington Redskins Offensive Coordinator Sean McVay, who also was a former assistant wide receivers coach under Gruden in 2008. At 30 years old, McVay was the youngest coach in NFL history. The results have been tremendous. In two seasons McVay has lead the Rams to a 26-9 record (including playoff games). On February 3, just nine days after his 33rd birthday, McVay will coach his team against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LIII.

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VIDEO: Bob Hogan on the Nature of Human Nature

According to Hogan Assessments founder Robert Hogan, life is about competition. There’s competition within groups to attain status, and those who win generally are those with good social skills. There’s also competition between groups, and the groups with the strongest leaders win in this arena.

Competition within groups is what fascinates and entertains people. However, competition between groups, such as the increasing rivalry between the United States and China, has real worldwide consequences.

In a new video, Robert Hogan takes on these topics and more, in “The Nature of Human Nature.”

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Humility: The Cure for a Know-It-All

No one likes a know-it-all.

They’ve annoyed us all by talking down to us about anything and everything, even when it’s obvious they know far less than they believe. But know-it-alls don’t just ruin watercooler gatherings and dinner parties. When they rise to positions of power, they can wear away at productivity and trigger costly mistakes.

Joann S. Lublin wrote an entertaining article on the subject in the Wall Street Journal. She interviewed a number of self-professed former know-it-alls that caused major problems for themselves and their companies, such as losing over $2 million on a home purchase, hiring an unsuitable job candidate, and not asking subordinates for their input.

The know-it-all causes all kinds of professional headaches. They don’t try to learn about an issue or ask for help, which leads to poor decisions. They ignore some people or are condescending to others, which leads to a toxic work environment. They project a false aura of power and knowledgeability, which gets them promoted into jobs they might not actually be able to perform.

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Election Day: What Are the Ideal Characteristics of a Successful Politician?

Political passions are running white-hot in the United States right now. Between Supreme Court nominations, immigration, racial issues, and health care, both sides of the political spectrum are fighting fiercely to win. It’s easy to believe we’re more divided than ever.

With so much at stake, you’d hope the most qualified candidates would rise to the top. Let’s just say that doesn’t always happen. Far too often, people will elect candidates with low qualifications, unworkable ideas, and downright questionable mental capabilities such as (insert the name of an elected official you personally don’t like here).

Since analyzing job fit is what we do, we started wondering what the ideal characteristics of a successful, generic, non-partisan politician would be. However, researchers have produced few studies examining work-specific personality aspects of U.S. politicians, and we didn’t want to just dictate our idea of the ideal politician. This is a democracy, after all.

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The Value of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

The Personality Brokers, Merve Emre’s interesting new book, is a kind of feminist treatise focusing on the lives and work of the two amazing women, Katharine Briggs and her daughter Isabel Myers, who developed and promoted the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). The MBTI is the best known and most widely used personality “instrument” in the world. I never met the authors, but I knew pretty much everyone responsible for the development of the MBTI in the 1960s—both the critics and the proponents. It might be informative to reflect briefly on the pros and cons of this remarkably successful assessment product. In my view, there are five aspects of the MBTI that are positive and worth remembering.

First, the original goal of the MBTI is both worthy and honorable: It was intended to be used to improve the lives of working people by providing a rational basis for aligning people with jobs. It was designed to be used as a placement tool, a convenient and easy-to-use method for sorting employees in ways that maximized their happiness and the productivity of organizations. Who would not be in favor of maximizing individual happiness and corporate productivity?

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Does Personality Change? On the Stability of Personality Assessment Scores

Does personality change? This is a question we receive regularly from our clients, along with a lot of hypotheses about when and why scores shift. Answering this seemingly straightforward question actually requires addressing three related questions:

How often do scores on assessments change?When scores on assessments change, how large are those changes?Why do scores on assessments sometimes change? How often do scores on assessments change?

Personality assessments—like the ones we create at Hogan—measure patterns of behavior. Decades of research have demonstrated that personality assessments predict future behavior, including workplace performance. A major reason why personality assessments work so well at predicting future behavior is because personality is quite stable; that is, people do not change very much. For example, in one study elementary school teacher ratings of students’ personalities predicted how those students behaved as adults 40 years later! The best method for quantifying personality stability is the test-retest correlation: you take a test now and we see how well it predicts your scores on the same test in the future. The short term (14-21 day) test-retest correlations for the Hogan Personality Inventory scales range from .69-.87. The long term (8-year) test-retest correlations range from .30-.73. A meta-analysis of 3,217 (7-year) test-retest correlations ranged from .30-.70. The point here is this: personality test scores are highly stable. Thus, most of the time, a person retaking a personality assessment will get very similar results.

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