Cyber security is a major buzz trend in digital circles, and, with platforms like Facebook forced to up their game in the wake of GDPR and the 'fake news' epidemic, looks set to become an indispensable part of the online anti-terror toolkit. The Daily Squirrel caught up with Dan Paine, Security Recruiter at Facebook in London to discuss the challenge of recruiting cyber security specialists at the world’s best-known social media platform.

What is your role at Facebook?

I’m a recruiter hiring for Facebook’s new cyber security teams in London. We’ve traditionally had a lot of security presence in America but now we’re looking to ramp up here. There are a couple of different teams I work with; one of them is dealing with internal and external threats, so for example if an incident occurs through a third-party cyber attack or someone clicking a suspicious link.

The other team is more focused on product security; they’re basically working with our engineering teams who are building all of our products, and are focused on ensuring that the applications are built with security in mind.

How would you sum up your ideal approach to recruitment?

It’s about bringing everything back to basics and seeing where you can make the most of nothing. So if you’re hiring for a startup or building a brand new team, what small things you can do to have the most impact and be the most effective with the least effort and spend.

“Move fast and break things” is a slogan that was coined a number of years ago at Facebook and is extremely relevant in recruitment terms – you’re moving fast, so you’re acting less like a traditional corporate organisation and breaking obstacles that might be in your way to keep moving and being as efficient as possible.

It’s really about having the basics and building processes to scale, rather than just sitting there and being reactive.

The name ‘Facebook’ carries exciting and progressive connotations. How does Facebook differ from other recruitment environments you’ve worked in?

How we recruit and what we do isn’t really that different to anywhere else. It isn’t anything revolutionary or truly innovative. We just hire great recruiters and sourcers who really know their stuff, and that’s what makes it what it is, because the people are passionate and take huge amounts of ownership. We have some pretty cool internal tools too.

At other companies I’ve worked at recruitment is just seen as an HR function, but here it’s seen as something that’s truly needed and all the managers have bought into it. The people here really take ownership over the process.

So what’s it like to work at Facebook – how would you sum up that way of working?

It’s about extreme proactivity and extreme ownership. If you asked anyone in an interview they would say they’re proactive and take ownership, but to actually have living proof of that is another thing.

People think of Facebook as massive and compare us to Google and Amazon, but realistically we’re about a fifth of their size. We’re not there yet, so a lot of our people do two or three different roles in one. You’ve got to be very proactive and able to diversify yourself, and be very agile to go and try something different.

You can’t pass the buck at Facebook and people who work like that have struggled. That’s the environment, you have to be super proactive and take responsibility always – but be honest with yourself if you’re struggling and ask for help. It’s like a very well-financed startup.

Do you use any particular digital tech to support your recruitment drive?

Anything from Google searches and LinkedIn to some other tools… Being a technology company we’ve built some of our own sourcing tools to help us find people quicker and be more effective about it. It’s nothing crazy or massively new, just the basics done very well.

Usually people buy things like ATSs and database systems, but we build our own. Some new tech will help with the fluidness of everything, from posting a job to booking interviews.

Click here to read Part 2 of this interview