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Three Sources for New Security Talent

Not all security recruits need to be security experts. With the talent gap widening and necessary skill sets skewing toward business acumen, leaders are looking to other industries or departments to find fresh insight.

1. Reporting experts. Phil Melcher, CPP, director of security for the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium, recruits insurance claims adjusters and people with similar experience to be reporting specialists. They respond to incidents around the stadium—from slip and falls to fan behavior and ejections from the ballpark—collecting evidence in a digital reporting system to substantiate or negate claims. “They are skilled at interviewing witnesses and capturing complete information. They have a thorough understanding of liability and have excellent written and oral communication skills,” Melcher says. “We have seen that the voracity of claims against our organization has gone down since we began capturing more complete data.”

2. Financially fluent MBAs. Security leaders who seek to quantify their risk mitigation strategies, budget, and ROI need to have financially fluent recruits on their side. Recent MBA graduates can fill these roles and bring additional value to the security department and the organization, according to Mike Hartnett, director of country risk product management for IHS Markit. “They don’t have necessarily a background in security, but they have that financial acumen and capability,” he says. Alternatively, security leaders can identify financial risk experts within other parts of the organization and bring them into security—either by matrix management or cherry-picking them from other departments. “The bonus you get for that is they already understand the risk mechanisms and the way that the company looks at and manages risk globally,” he adds.

3. Business-savvy colleagues. The crisis management team at Spire Inc., a natural gas company based in St. Louis, Missouri, is made of a crossfunctional, multitalented group of individuals within the company who are engaged in every phase of crisis management: preparedness, prevention, mitigation, response, and recovery. “The strength of the team really comes from a diversity of backgrounds and experiences,” says Mike Schormann, Spire crisis management lead. Spire identifies individuals in the right roles with the right skill sets throughout the company to be a part of the crisis management team. “However, it was important to include one or more team members who have backgrounds in security, business continuity, emergency or crisis management, risk management, or intelligence because those individuals typically have experience gathering and analyzing threat-related information,” Schormann adds.