How to Find a Good Security Guard

Whether you’re running a school, a housing complex, a retail store, a rec center, a retirement community, or a government office, good security guards are a must. A security guard provides such an important service that it’s essential for you to take your time and find a qualified one. An unqualified or unscrupulous security guard could really compromise your business and alienate your customers.

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So, you need to take special care when it comes to hiring a security guard. If you’re managing a large security staff or have high turnover, continuous interviews can help you find the best candidates and eliminate the need to scramble for staff. You should perform drug tests and thorough background checks, as well as testing candidates’ writing skills and technological aptitude. Here’s what you need to do.

Write a Good Job Posting

The first thing you should do when you’re looking for a good security guard (or guards) is write a clear and concise job posting that will help attract the best candidates to your position. Describe the setting candidates will be working in and what makes your organization a unique and desirable place to work. List the personality traits you need in a security guard – someone who is calm under pressure and copes well in high-stress, dangerous situations.

You should also list the duties a security guard in your organization will perform, such as:

  • Greeting customers or visitors, having them sign in, and helping them when necessary
  • Writing incident reports and reporting anything unusual
  • Monitoring surveillance and safety equipment
  • Checking credentials
  • Following safety protocol
  • Keeping an eye on the exits
  • Handling lockdowns and crisis situations
  • Detaining suspects until law enforcement can arrive
  • Archiving security camera footage and other data
  • Checking the perimeter
  • Filing reports after each shift
  • Performing patrols

You should also list the salary and benefits for each position in your job description. Good candidates are more likely to apply if they have this information up front. You should also make sure to provide desirable benefits like paid time off, life insurance, and long-term disability insurance.

Perform Background Checks and Drug Tests

You obviously need to make passing a drug test a condition of employment – candidates should pass one before hiring and at random intervals while employed. Criminal background checks are also essential, as they can help weed out unscrupulous candidates who may use a security guard position to commit crimes against your organization. In many states, security officers have to pass a criminal background check in order to perform security guarding services.

Test Candidates for Aptitude

In addition to making sure that candidates are honest and drug-free, you should make sure they have the skills for the job. You can tell a lot about a potential candidate’s skill set by interviewing them – and different organizations may require different skill sets. For example, a residential facility or school will require security personnel to be friendly and approachable, but if you’re hiring someone to guard a remote facility in an isolated area, a keen eye for detail may be more important. Pay careful attention to such things as whether a particular candidate commands authority or has the ability to put visitors at ease.

Good security job candidates also need technical skills, namely the ability to write well and learn new technology easily. Security guards will have to write end-of-shift reports and incident reports, so they should be able to write clearly and concisely, with a demonstrated ability to include all relevant details in a report. You’ll also need to make sure that any candidate you hire is good at learning new technology, because security guards typically need to use security guard reporting software, closed circuit security monitoring systems, and guard tour tracking apps or devices.

Perform Interviews on a Continuous Basis

The most difficult part of hiring security guarding services is finding someone when you need them. A high turnover rate or an unexpected resignation could leave your facility without the security services it needs to remain safe.

You can get around this in one of two ways: either use a security guard service in order to delegate the work of keeping good candidates on standby, or perform continuous security guard interviews instead of waiting until you need someone. The second option has its drawbacks – while it lets you take your time in choosing the best candidates, it could also mean that many qualified candidates go to work somewhere else after being interviewed, and therefore are no longer available when you need them. Using a security guarding service may be the better option, and it can also be cheaper, since it gives you the option to choose between patrol services and dedicated guarding services.

A good security guard can be hard to find, and it may be easier to outsource the work to a security guarding service. Whether you hire your security guards directly or bring in an outside company to provide those services, it’s vital that you choose the best candidates to protect your valuable facilities, inventory, and people. It could be the very thing that keeps you in business long-term.

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Christophe Rude

Christophe Rude

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