C-suite career advice: Eyal Benishti, IRONSCALES

What advice would you give to someone starting their career in IT/tech? “Jump right in, don’t wait until you feel ‘ready.’”

Headshot of Eyal Benishti, CEO at IRONSCALES
IRONSCALES

Name: Eyal Benishti

Company: IRONSCALES

Job Title: CEO

Location: Atlanta, GA

Eyal Benishti is the CEO and Founder of IRONSCALES, the first and only email phishing solution to combine human intelligence with machine learning to automatically prevent, detect and respond to phishing attacks in real-time. Benishti graduated with degrees in Computer Science and Mathematics with honors. His previous roles include being a Security Researcher, Reverse Engineer and Malware Analyst. In his early career, Benishti was a Java team leader and Technology leader in various technical positions for 8+ years. Benishti has deep knowledge in cyber security, malware and social engineering; and is an open source advocate.

What was the most valuable piece of career advice that you received? Always be the hardest working person in the room and don’t be afraid to take risks. If your dreams don’t scare you, they likely aren’t big enough.

What was the worst piece of business advice that you received? I once was told to ‘stay in your lane’ and I believe that you’ll always achieve the same outcome if you never approach a challenge by thinking differently or outside of the box. I encourage my team to drop the ‘we’ve always done it this way’ mentality so we can creatively attack challenges with new solutions. I also encourage cross-department feedback into challenges, for example, inviting our product team into a marketing challenge, because each person’s experience and vantage point can help come up with the best outcome.

What advice would you give to someone starting their career in IT/tech? Jump right in, don’t wait until you feel “ready.” You may never feel entirely qualified or ready, but it’s most important to jump in and start somewhere, and then continue to learn as you go. I am a big proponent of continuous learning. You will always find me sharing the latest articles, podcasts, and status quo challenger blogs with my team to encourage them to keep learning and growing.

Did you always want to work in IT/tech? Yes! I was specifically interested in Cyber security. Cybersecurity is a passion of mine and has been since a very young age. I was always breaking things in order to rebuild them and I was interested in programming and code very early on. But just because you may not have had that passion early on, does not mean that you can’t work in IT/tech. There are so many job opportunities and internships available, that I encourage you to explore the industry and seek out opportunities. It’s a challenging and yet very rewarding industry to be a part of.

What was your first job in IT/tech? I was a Software developer.

What are some common misconceptions about working in IT/tech? One of the biggest misconceptions is that it is hard to find a job in IT/Tech if you do not have any experience. There are so many opportunities available for positions and we also believe that bringing in unique and diverse industry experiences through our employees helps us to be stronger overall as a business.

What tips would you give to someone aiming for a c-level position? I think it’s important to understand the product you are representing and to be hands-on as you make your way up. For example, we have our new hires start their onboarding by spending time detecting and remediating phishing incidents in our platform so all employees understand the day in the life of our key personas. The benefits of this hands-on work are two-fold. First, our employees truly get the challenges that our personas are faced with and are better able to empathise and understand their challenges because they were in the trenches too. Secondly, it helps our employees understand the value of our product and the challenges we are trying to solve. So, my best advice is, don’t skip any steps in your process; truly make sure you are hands-on in understanding your product, benefits, and value by walking a mile in your customers’ shoes. As a final point, I try to stay very close to our teams and our customers so I have a constant feedback loop both internally and externally. This helps me lead our teams in the best way I can that align with our customers and make sure our product and teams are delivering on value.

What are your career ambitions and have you reached them yet? My aspiration is to take a company public, and we are still working towards that goal.

Do you have a good work life balance in your current role? Using the word ‘balance’ is tough because it implies that everything is always in balance at once. I prefer to think of it in terms of a work/life integration, and yes, I have a great work life integration. What I mean by that is that we are flexible so that our employees can bring their best selves to both work and home. Their schedules may look slightly different from one employee to the next, but we want our employees to feel supported both at work and in their personal lives. We don’t want our employees missing important family commitments. Work may require longer hours at times, but in general, we encourage a flexible schedule to best support our teams.

What, if anything, would you change about the route your career path has taken? Working in a start-up environment has been invaluable in my career. If I could change one thing, I would have joined a start-up company earlier in my career. You have this incredible opportunity to build something, lay the foundation for growth, and then exponentially grow that company, which has been very challenging and rewarding for me.

Which would you recommend: A coding bootcamp or a computer science degree? It depends on the person and where they are at in their career, and also their background. But I personally believe a Computer Science Degree provides more tools for personal growth and may support a more dynamic career. Bootcamps are excellent tools to sharpen a specific skill area or broaden knowledge on a new subject.

How important are specific certifications? I’m a big believer in experience, on-the-job learning, so certifications on paper are less important to me than the practical skills someone brings to their role.

What are the three skills or abilities you look for in prospective candidates? Ambition – having the motivation and drive to tackle a challenge and come up with solutions

Intellect – working in a continuous learning mode and never thinking you have all the answers

Integrity – honesty and integrity speak volumes to me

What would put you off a candidate? If they can’t articulate why they are interviewing for the specific role. I want to bring in employees who have a passion for problem solving, who want to win, and who genuinely want to help IRONSCALES win. If someone is applying for the sake of applying, then I would rather pass and find the candidate who has a passion for email security and for our IRONSCALES core values.

What are the most common mistakes made by candidates in an interview? How can those mistakes be avoided? A few of the most common mistakes made by candidates during an interview is coming without preparing. Study the company you are asking to join, be able to explain why you are excited about the role, where you see yourself growing from there, be honest, have a candid conversation about your goals and how it would align with the company’s goals.

Do you think it is better to have technical or business skills – or a mix of both? For IT/Cybersecurity, I believe having a technical background and learning the business skills is the best way to go. It is easier to learn business skills from the great training sources available today.