Interviews are your gateway to employment in the security industry. Are you ready to get the job? These 13 tips are key to help you pass your security guard job interview.
The purpose of a security guard job interview
From an employer's perspective, the purpose of the interview is to find the person who is the right fit for the job. “The right fit” means that you meet the required standards according to the employer and that you can do the job. Do you have the right skills? The right knowledge? Do you have the ability to think critically? Are you someone who stays calm under pressure? In short, these are all things an employer in the security industry might look for in a potential employee.
Comparatively, for a potential employee, the purpose of the interview is for you to show your skills as an individual. The interview is your chance to impress. A job interview allows you to show your professionalism. It also provides the opportunity to test your potential employer. In that case, you have the final say over your career as a security guard. If the job seems like it’s not a good fit for you when you’re interviewing, take it as a sign to move on and set up interviews with other companies.
Mistakes that candidates make in interviews for security guard jobs
Job interviews are no walk-in-the-park. Understandably, it's easy to make a mistake that can make your potential employer second guess hiring you. Common mistakes by interviewees include being late, and not coming prepared. Good first impressions are necessary for acquiring a job, especially for a security guard. Being unprepared, not having questions, being late, or being poorly dressed are indicators that you might not be serious about the job, and you will decrease your chances of getting hired.
By and large, these are all common mistakes people make when it comes to interviews. However, that's okay; we understand interviews are stressful. That's why the following 13 tips are important for you to read.
To have a successful interview, try to keep the following recommendations in mind.
13 tips to pass your security guard job interview
1. Research the company you want to work for
First, as you prepare for your interview, it's always a good idea to learn about the company you are applying to work for. Doing this helps you find if the company aligns with your needs and beliefs as a professional.
Not only that, learning about the company helps you prepare for your interview. It's a good idea to know the company's core values. For example, Paladin Security's core value is, "We don’t make excuses. We stand by our word. And if we say we will do something, you can count on us to back it up." Knowing the company's core values will allow you to better engage with the employer.
2. Tailor your resume and cover letter to the position
One important thing to keep in mind is to tailor your resume and cover letter to the job you're applying for. Include as much experience, skills, and knowledge as you can, as long as you think that the employer would consider it useful. In your cover letter, directly address the job requirements and responsibilities. Don't overthink it, though. Write what's important to the job and how you would tackle those things.
Finally, tailoring your resume and cover letter shows your attention to detail. It communicates your level of engagement and your willingness to make an effort.
3. Show up in professional attire
When going to an interview, you must dress to impress; but this doesn't mean you need to wear a full suit and tie. It means you should dress neat and tidy, according to what's appropriate for the job. For security guard positions, we recommend business casual at the very least. Business casual often includes a button-up shirt, slacks, and nice shoes (no sneakers). You've also made sure you have personally groomed, and your clothing is clean and tidy. To learn more about business casual, you can read this LinkedIn article.
Showing up dressed professionally provides a great first impression on your potential employer. Keep this in mind when you're preparing for an interview.
4. Have questions prepared about the position and your role
For a job interview, researching goes a long way. Before your interview, read about your potential job and employer. By doing so, you can then craft some great questions to ask your potential employer. Being prepared in advance with this information helps you stand out in the interview. It shows that you care about the opportunity.
Demonstrating that you care about the opportunity will leave a positive impression. Remember, it's all about making the best impression you can.
5. Prepare a short story about when you displayed great qualities for the job.
One thing employers always ask in an interview is, "Have you ever been in a situation where you had to _____." When they ask this, they expect a story of how you displayed great skills and took care of a situation at work. A good way to avoid being surprised by this question is to prepare a story. The story should describe how you displayed great qualities. These qualities should be related to the security guard job you are interviewing for.
If you don't have any work-related stories to tell, try thinking of a personal story instead. It's okay not to have work experience. The important thing is that you tell a story about a time you displayed great qualities for the job.
The important thing in both cases is that you relate your qualities to the job you are interviewing for.
6. Prepare a list of your strengths and weaknesses
Often, employers will also ask about your strengths and weaknesses. It's important to be prepared with a list of strengths and weaknesses in your head. Being uncertain about your strengths and weaknesses does not show confidence in yourself. This could potentially create a negative impression for the potential employer, as it essentially tells them you don't have much self-awareness and therefore your ability to learn and grow may be limited.
It's also important to be able to explain to the employer how you manage your weaknesses so that they don't impact you or any jobs negatively. For example, if you tend to be late, perhaps you have learned a way to add 15 extra minutes to when you need to leave so that this is no longer an issue. This shows the employer that you are actively looking for ways to improve yourself.
7. Familiarize yourself with common industry terminology
Before your interview, familiarize yourself with some common industry terminology. These terms will help you better engage with the employer during the interview. Here are a few, for example:
Conduct: the way you act, how you behave. Professional conduct is important as a security guard.
Deterrent: something that prevents or discourages someone from doing something that they should not do. A deterrent can sometimes be the difference in a situation.
Discriminate: to treat differently, usually in a negative way. Discrimination is still common. You may experience it on the job. It's important to identify it and approach it appropriately.
MSDS: Material Safety Data Sheet. A document that outlines the hazards of a product and how to deal with that product.
8. Prepare your response to a common situation
Be prepared to be asked about potential situations you can experience on the job. These questions assess your quick thinking skills and ability to deal with situations. Thinking about this beforehand will help you during the interview. Think of your training and how you would apply it to the situation.
Potential questions could be:
What would you do if you saw a theft or fight?
How would you deescalate a violent situation?
Someone is experiencing a mental health episode, what do you do?
What would you do if you found a broken window at the building you are patrolling?
9. Prepare letters of reference from previous employers or educators referring to your honesty, punctuality, and sense of good morals.
This isn't necessary. However, it will help if you can, as not many people do this and therefore it will set you apart from the other candidates. If you have any recent employer or educator that would take the time to write you a letter of reference, take advantage of that opportunity. Having a letter can show your honesty, punctuality, and your professionalism. These references can go a long way with potential employers.
10. Sit straight, and look your interviewer in the eyes throughout your interview.
This tip calls back to that need for professionalism. Looking your employer in the eyes and actively listening to them shows your level of professionalism, confidence and good communication. A high level of professionalism translates well to a security guard job. Being a security guard means you are an authority figure over the things you are guarding. Having a high level of professionalism increases the chance that others will respect you.
11. Don’t linger after the interview.
Don't take up more time than you need to for the interview. Show confidence and say, “I’m looking forward to hearing back from you regarding your decision.” Once it's complete, leave the interview with your head up high. Remember to congratulate yourself after your interview. It's a success in itself to have an interview; you should be proud of yourself for getting this far.
12. Get a great night’s sleep beforehand to be prepared
Sleep is important! Make sure you get plenty of it and that you wake up well before your interview to get ready.
13. Practice and rehearse your interview beforehand so you’re ready!
Before your interview, make sure you go through this list of tips. You can also practice by looking at and answering some common interview questions. Reviewing your study notes from your security guard training can help. Finally, practice and rehearse your stories, strengths, and weaknesses.
All in all, if you follow this guide closely you will have a good chance of successfully interviewing for a job. The important thing is that you feel confident and being prepared helps achieve that. Are you ready to become a security guard? Good luck!