What hiring managers are looking for with Lauren Barr

In this second interview, we asked Lauren Barr, Head of Research at Schillings Partners, for advice and insights on what candidates should do when applying for a position to increase the chances of landing an OSINT job. Find out what she has to say.

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1. Where do you work now and what are your day-to-day tasks?

I’m Head of Research in the Intelligence & Investigations practice at Schillings Partners. We are a boutique crisis management firm specialising in reputation, privacy and security issues, primarily acting for high-profile individuals and global corporates.

Our Intelligence & Investigations practice provides a range of services to clients including investigations for litigation support, asset tracing, privacy exposures, due diligence, and reverse due diligence. I lead a team of five analysts, directing research and managing cases.

On a day-to-day basis, our team works alongside other in-house experts at the firm, including leading reputation and privacy lawyers, risk professionals, cyber security analysts and digital communications advisors - this makes it a really unique place to work.

2. How can candidates stand out right away?

Candidates that display a good understanding of the firm, our values and what we do immediately impress. Researching and referencing cases the firm has worked on and displaying a good commercial understanding of our market is key.

3. What does the recruitment process look like at your organization? How many steps are there?

We do an initial CV sift, followed by a verbal reasoning/aptitude test. This leads to a shortlist for first interviews and a written test (specific to the role/language or region we are recruiting for). This is then followed by a final interview, for successful candidates. We prefer to conduct the interviews in person.

4. What kind of skill-sets are you looking for when hiring for an intelligence analyst within your company?

At Graduate Analyst level, we always look for inquisitive nature and someone who is inclined to dig deeper into a problem, taking the initiative. We frequently work in times of crisis for our clients so analysts need to be comfortable working at speed, often with incomplete information, flexibility of thought is key! For more experienced analysts, we expect to see evidence of strong research skills, knowledge of relevant resources/software and excellent written and oral communication.

5. Do you have any advice regarding salary negotiations during the hiring process? And dos and don’ts?

You should be honest about your salary expectations throughout and ensure you have done market research to manage these expectations. You should bear in mind that a job is more than just the salary, so you shouldn't be scared to ask about the career development opportunities at the firm, and the sort of work you might be doing on a day-to-day basis, to allow you to weigh up the whole package.

6. Would you be able to share any outstandingly positive interview experiences you have gone through as the hiring manager or person responsible for recruiting? What blows you away during an interview?

One strong candidate demonstrated how they had done their research into current trends in our industry and had insightful links to their own experience. They asked an interesting question about an article I had recently written which is a great way to flatter the hiring manager!

7. Is there any other useful feedback for the OSINT community that you would like to share with us? For example, what are some of the most common mistakes made by interviewees, and how can they be prevented?

It’s natural to be nervous but remember that the interviewers are just people too! Always take some notes in with you, as well as a copy of your CV and cover letter. It’s a good idea to have some questions up your sleeve about the relevant industry or field, preferably something timely or in the news – but keep the mundane pay/benefits/WFH questions for the HR team.

8. What would you recommend to recent graduates or newbies? How can they best prepare for their first interviews? Are there any resources you can recommend?

You likely won’t have much experience to talk about but you can demonstrate your interest in the field with research, keeping up to date with new trends and attending webinars/events. If you’ve been invited to interview, read up on the firm and people who you might work with: the company website is a good place to start, as are any articles they’ve published, and their social media channels.

[note: this interview has not been edited]