Getting a job as a security guard is easy with a little help.
The interview process begins the moment you find out that you have an interview. Being prepared and doing your research can be the difference between getting a job as a security guard or being just another applicant.
The more you know about the company you want to work for, the more information you’ll have available to show the interviewer that you’re the best person for the job. It could be something as simple as knowing how many people the company employs each year. Every little bit of information can be helpful in some way.
Doing Your Research
Doing your research prior to an interview is the key to getting a job as a security guard; here are some examples of information that any good interviewee should look into:
- Do you know anyone within the organization?
- What can they tell you about the company?
- Who are the leaders of the organization?
- Have they been featured in the news or media lately?
- What kind of online presence does the company have?
Most businesses have a web site, so make sure that you read every page of that site. Do they have a Facebook or a Twitter account? Read the latest updates and tweets. Who is the company’s competition? Does the company have a motto? Is the company growing or expanding in comparison to other companies?
No matter what questions you answer or what you talk about, it’s important to sound confident. The more you practice what you’re going to say, the more confident you’ll appear, and the more confident you appear, the more likely it is you will be getting a job as a security guard.
Practice by yourself and with other people. Friends, colleagues, and family members make excellent practice partners. Sometimes they hear things you might not notice, such as how many times you say, “Umm…”.
When preparing for the interview, one of the most obvious things to practice is how you answer interview questions. Be familiar with the most popular questions and practice answering them until you’re completely comfortable with your answers.
During the Interview
The first few minutes of an interview are imperative. People will develop an impression of you within the first 30 seconds. Confidence is key to making a good first impression.
One of the best ways to demonstrate confidence is to smile. It implies sincerity, honesty, and approachability. It tells the interviewer that you’re happy to be there and to meet them. You can also show confidence through steady, natural eye contact.
When you make eye contact with someone it tells them that you have nothing to hide. You’re suggesting that you’re an open book. It shows that you’re interested and ready to listen.
Of course, one of the most important parts of making a good first impression during your interview is your handshake. Ask friends and family if you can practice your handshake with them. Tell them to pay attention to the details. Is your grip firm enough? Are your hands clammy? Is the handshake too brief, or too long?
Be sure to take as many steps as you can to calm yourself before the interview. Being calm and prepared gives you your best chance.
For any interview, it’s a good idea to become familiar with the type of questions that are likely to be asked. Practice and rehearse your answers, until you’re comfortable answering them in a stressful setting, some are general and can be expected at any interview, while others are more specific to the security guard industry.
If you’ve done your research well, you’ll be able to come up with several answers demonstrating your knowledge of the company. You don’t want to give the impression that you’re just looking for the first job that comes along. Here is a helpful list of common interview questions, and possible answers:
Why do you want to work for this company?
- I like the fact that your company Is involved in charities.
- We share the goal of _____.
- I believe your employees can take pride in working for a company like yours since you show that community is important.
- I know [current or former employee] and they [are/were] very happy here.
Why do you want to be a security guard?
- I have good mediation skills and am able to diffuse situations.
- This is a position that protects people in our community and helps them feel safe. Family is very important to me; safe communities means safe families.
What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
This question is often asked in interviews for all types of positions because the answers can tell the interviewers a lot about the interviewee. When asked about your strengths always be honest and don’t exaggerate. Exaggeration will be noticed eventually, so be sure to only tell the about strengths that you know you have and can be seen in your everyday work.
Good strengths to mention:
- Strong work ethic
- Quick thinking skills
- Good with teamwork
- Able to work independently
- Ability to remain calm in all situations
One of the questions that can be most difficult to answer is the question about your weaknesses. The key point to remember here is that you can actually make this question work to your advantage!
Handling the weakness question:
- Turn it into a positive – if you’re impatient or tend to rush through your work, you could say “I don’t like deadlines; it’s always my goal to finish the project as quickly and efficiently as possible.”
- Demonstrate your problem-solving skills. “My biggest weakness has been organization, but recently I’ve been able to solve this by implementing a list system that helps me stay organized and be more efficient.”
- Tell them about something that doesn’t really apply to a security guard job. If you have any creative hobbies, for example, you could say “I’m a perfectionist and spend too much time making sure things are done right. It took me 9 hours to paint something that some other people might’ve completed in far less time.”
What is the meaning of ____?
You should understand these terms and be able to explain how they apply to the job. Again, research is key.
- Alarm receiving centre (ARC),
- CCTV (closed-circuit Television),
- Open/closed sites
How does your previous experience relate to the duties that are expected of you?
Your research should tell you what duties are expected of you in this job, and you should be able to relate past experiences to them. When talking about your experiences, always be concrete and provide specific examples.
- Show don’t tell. Instead of simply saying, “In my last job I had to have quick thinking skills,” be ready to provide an example.
Have you ever lied to an employer?
Questions like these are asked in interviews across a variety of sectors, not just when getting a job as a security guard, and are done so for two reasons: (A) to test your honesty and (B) to see if you can remain calm when being confronted directly with personal characteristics.
- Remain cool and tell the truth. You don’t have to them that you told your boss a dress looked good on her when it was actually quite hideous, but you should tell them if you lied about something you did and got caught. Hopefully, this isn’t something you’ve ever done, but if you have and there’s an employer that might speak out about this event, be prepared to deal with it.
- Don’t be defensive; instead, tell them what you learned about the situation. Tell them how you would handle things differently now and why.
You learn a colleague is accessing prohibited information. What do you do?
This is a behavioural question, used to determine how ethical you are.
- If the company has a policy for such an incident, you should base your answer on that. If you don’t know or aren’t aware of any policies, give them your honest answer.
- Follow up by stating that you understand that each company has specific policies for dealing with various situations and if the company policy required you to deal with the manner you would take that into consideration first and foremost.
Tell me about a time that you had to…
The interviewer is looking for specific experiences you may have been involved with, in order to see how you responded to them. They want to know if you have experience with some situations you may encounter in the job. Some examples might include: Removing a patron from the premises, preventing a violent situation from occurring or escalating, or applying first aid.
- Be truthful. Don’t make up a story in order to impress them. If you do have experience with the situation they asked about, simply talk about how you handled it, what you noticed, and how you decided what to do.
You’re told to never leave your post but are alerted to a situation where someone is in danger. What do you do?
Like #7, the most important thing is that you are able to follow policies and procedures. Try to learn about what these are before your interview.
- If you don’t have any information on the company policies, use common sense and consider the options – Are there others that you can or should call first – Will rushing off to the person in danger resolve the situation – Could it be a distraction that would make your post at risk of becoming insecure?
- Ensure you convey your understanding that policies and procedures should be followed at all times.
Do you have any questions for us, or any concerns about the position?
The answer should never be, “no”. Asking questions demonstrates your interest in the position. Remember, the interview is a time for both you and the company to figure out if this job is the right fit.
- Ask them about things you came across in your research but didn’t get a chance to talk about, such as certain policies or standards.
- You can also ask for them to clarify anything you didn’t fully understand. – Why is this position available? Is the company growing? Did the last person quit or get fired? – What are the prospects for growth and advancement? – How would you describe a typical day for this position? – Do you have any other questions I can answer for you? Do you have any reservations about my qualifications?
After the Interview
The end of the interview is your chance to show knowledge about the company, as well as find out if the job is really the right fit for you. After all, one of the reasons to go to an interview is to help you decide if you want to work there. Here are some examples of common post interview questions:
- Who would I report to if I were offered this position?
- If I was hired for this position, what could I expect to be doing 5 years from now?
- What is the best way to advance in the company?
- What is the biggest priority for the person who is hired for this job?
- Is there an option for ongoing training once someone is hired for this position?
- What are the skills that people who advance in your company possess?
- Can I call you back in a week if I have yet to hear back from you?
Following the interview, there are several things you as the interviewee can do to set yourself apart from your competition and ensure you’ll be getting a job as a security guard.
A post-interview thank you letter can go a long way to show your interest in the position, however; it is important to approach this letter with caution – as it will be the last impression you leave on an employer, so you should ensure there are no spelling or grammatical errors.
Another possibility is a follow-up phone call, however there is some debate about the effectiveness of this method. When finishing your interview, ask the employer if they mind you calling after a week if you have yet to hear back – if they tell you they prefer no phone calls, then obviously it is in your interest to avoid calling.
Preparation and honesty are key in delivering the best possible interview, and setting yourself apart from the competition. Getting a job as a security guard can be easy with these tips from the Canadian Academy of Guard Training.