How to Hire a Security Guard

Security guard talking on radio and watching monitors from surveillance cameras.

Picture yourself entering a building or property of nearly any kind—a school, office park, commercial center, retirement community, housing complex, recreation facility, or government office. Can you picture the first person who greets you? More likely than not, it’s a security guard.

These days, unless you’re a very new startup or small business, if you don’t already have a security guard, you need one. If you have lots of foot traffic, house expensive merchandise, or operate in a high-crime neighborhood, then on-site security is a prudent investment.

As you’ve decided it’s time to learn how to hire a security guard, the five steps below can help you plan your search for this crucial hire.

1. Consider How a Security Guard Will Fit Into Your Work Setting

One size does not fit all when it comes to security officers. If you’re hiring a security guard for an elementary school or a senior living complex, then a candidate with a friendly and approachable manner is essential. But if you’re hiring someone to guard valuable merchandise in a high-crime neighborhood, you’ll want someone who conveys authority, while also showing an appropriate amount of restraint in high-stress situations.

Some settings require round-the-clock security. Residents in a planned community are likely to expect 24-hour security. On-site security can be an effective deterrent to crime, especially if your business is located in a high-crime neighborhood, and particularly if expensive equipment or merchandise is housed on the premises. Knowing how to hire a security guard is also a must if you sell or store alcohol or .

2. Decide How You Will Equip a Security Guard

One of the most important questions you will need to ask yourself before posting a job is whether you think you need a security guard who is armed. If you decide you want your security guard to be armed, then they must obtain a permit to carry a firearm. You will also want to decide if you will furnish your security officers’ uniform, firearm, and other equipment.

In some states, security guards need to undergo special training and earn a certificate. If security officers in your community do not need certification and are not required to complete firearms training, you may want to require these certifications anyway. If your preferred candidate isn’t certified, paying for the certification can be strong inducement to secure your preferred candidate.

3. How to Hire a Security Guard: Writing a Job Description

Now that you’ve taken into account how your setting will determine some of the key factors you are looking for, it’s time to write a job description for a security guard. Begin your job description with a few sentences about the setting. Make sure to describe what makes the organization your next security guard will be a part of special.

Next you will want to list their probable duties, such as:

  • Greeting visitors, having them sign into a guest book or visitor log, and directing them to their destination.
  • Maintaining safety procedures.
  • Monitoring entrances and exits.
  • Monitoring safety and surveillance equipment.
  • Directing traffic and checking credentials.
  • Reporting irregularities.
  • Detaining or restraining trespassers until law enforcement arrives.
  • Developing crisis plans and lockdown drills.
  • Archiving data from security cameras.
  • Making sure all alarms are up to date and functioning properly.
  • Undertaking perimeter checks.
  • Completing written reports after each shift.

Next, you’ll want to list some of the skills and character traits you are seeking in a security guard. For example, since they are often the first person the public sees upon entering your facility, they should be courteous and professional. They also need to be poised under pressure and capable of remaining rational in dangerous situations.

Your job description should include benefits and a salary range. You can use Monster’s free salary tool to determine a fair wage in your community. End with a call to action, encouraging applicants to submit a resume or fill out an application. For more ideas on how to hire a security guard and write your job description, you can browse through Monster’s security guard job listings.

4. Ask the Right Interview Questions

Once you’ve narrowed your applicant pool to a few promising candidates, it’s important to use your interview process to get a sense of who they are, what they value, and how effectively they can communicate. To ensure that your top applicants are patient, restrained, and fair-minded, ask questions that assess emotional intelligence.

You’ll also want to Include behavioral questions that ask how they would respond to common scenarios that might take place during the course of a shift. Their answers should match how you’d want a security officer representing your business to respond. For example, you might ask:

  • What security practices would you follow to lower risk?
  • How would you deal with a visitor who refused to follow safety protocols?
  • How would you de-escalate a tense situation?
  • How do you know when it’s time to call for law enforcement?

5. Run a Background and Reference Check

Because ethical interactions and honesty are crucial qualities in a security guard, it is essential to run a background check and contact references, including former employers. Ask former employers and colleagues open-ended questions to get a sense of how the candidate behaves in a professional setting, if they have strong interpersonal skills, and how they are at solving problems and dealing with unexpected circumstances.

If they need to use a company car to patrol the property, then you will want to check that they have a valid driver’s license and a clean driving record. The safety of your property, customers, and employees may some day depend on the person you hire, so careful vetting in essential.

Now that You Know How to Hire a Security Guard, Use a Free Job Post to Secure Your Next Hire

You’ve learned the five key steps to hiring a qualified, trustworthy security guard to protect your property and employees. Now that you know how to hire a security guard, it’s time to get the hiring process started with a free job posting from Monster.