Beyond Resumes: Uncovering Hidden Talent at the New Jersey Judiciary
Darrin StraffDarrin Straff

Beyond Resumes: Uncovering Hidden Talent at the New Jersey Judiciary

Illuminating the individual beyond the black and white

By Darrin Straff, Senior Staffing Consultant, NinjaJobs

A Deeper Dive

In my recent articles, I’ve discussed the importance of looking beyond resumes during the hiring process. Today, I want to share a personal account involving the Information Security Unit (ISU) of the New Jersey Judiciary.

Earlier this year, searching for new opportunities led me to ISU. During an initial conversation with Sajed Naseem, CISO, my background in writing surfaced and he mentioned the need for a technical writer. Would I mind writing a short technical brief to show him what I was capable of? Sure! Nailing that led me to a consultancy role, culminating in the development of a 60-page training manual for their budding cybersecurity analysts. The twist? My resume barely touched on my writing background, a testament to the power of genuine conversation.

Leadership that Dares to be Different

Given my work as a technical cybersecurity recruiter, I have noticed some distinct differences in the New Jersey Judiciary – Information Security Unit. The team is cohesive and varied, they come from backgrounds in engineering, finance, art, and various other majors. The environment is positive, collaborative, and serious when necessary. It is quite a unique environment.

From my observations, the staff include engineers as well as those who possess leadership skills. They speak their mind and are put in positions to grow in areas that would not be typical in most environments. One former intern, now a full-timer, is eyeing a lead cyber engineer role. ISU finds next level analysts and engineers from college level classroom debates. So, when talent doesn’t always shout from a resume, I mean it.

ISU’s internship program is pushing the envelope in cybersecurity training. In the past two years, ISU onboarded 24 interns. Each one secured a full-time role – some with cutting-edge cybersecurity companies and others within the very walls of the New Jersey Judiciary. This 100% placement rate showcases not just the program’s quality but the deep connection ISU fosters with its interns.

Innovative Edge

ISU is not just safeguarding data; they’re pushing the envelope with tech like AI and Big Data Analytics. While I can’t reveal all their strategies, let’s just say their data game goes way beyond basic firewalls and antivirus software. They’re not just playing defense; they’re redefining the whole game. They are adding quality and value to the New Jersey Judiciary’s mission.

The Takeaway

My experience with ISU perfectly encapsulates what I’ve been advocating in my articles – the need to look beyond resumes and recognize the whole person. ISU is a real-world testimony to the power of holistic recruiting in cybersecurity. It’s not just about filling roles; it’s about envisioning and shaping the future of cybersecurity.

About the Author

Beyond Resumes: Uncovering Hidden Talent at the New Jersey JudiciaryDarrin Straff is the Senior Staffing Consultant at NinjaJobs.  He blends insight into human behavior rooted in a bachelor’s degree in psychology with 14+ years of recruiting experience to navigate the complex landscape of cybersecurity talent acquisition. Darrin excels not just in aligning technical skills with business needs but also at understanding the critical human elements that underpin strong candidate-client relationships. His comprehensive approach extends beyond mere placements, advocating for secure and synergistic connections in our digitalized professional world.

Darrin Straff can be reached online at ( and at our company website

March 17, 2024

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