Most businesses and events that have a lot of people coming in and out of restricted areas require security guards to protect the public and property. The role of a security guard is to escort people away from danger, report to authorities and essentially prevent people from dangerous situations.
It’s not always easy to find people that fit the description of a good security guard. It is not an easy job. With the right training a security guard will not only fulfill their duties but exceed them.
In my 41 years of experience in the security field, and now with LionHeart Security Services here are a few areas I suggest you look at when hiring a person to be a security guard within your company.
Possessing observation skills
The most important part of a security guard’s job is to observe and report if there is anything suspicious happening within their area of responsibility. This can be a special event, a construction site, a convenience store, or anywhere a guard may be assigned.
The guards need to have the ability to be focused and alert at all time. The key to this is to understand when something is askew. If there is a change in the surroundings, the guard needs to be able to recognize the difference and then report the change to their superiors. The speed of a guard’s reaction to a situation can be essential when reporting to police if a piece of property is stolen or damaged.
Being honest and having integrity
It’s hard to distinguish if a person has integrity or is an honest person. That is a character trait that takes time to discern. As you go throughout the training process you can weed out individuals who may not possess the character traits you desire for your guards.
These qualities include trustworthiness, patience, and a strong work-ethic. Security guards sometimes have to work by themselves and need to have an essence of solo responsibility. They also need to show how they can work within the expectations of the job when a situation arises.
A security guard needs to be proactive and understand the situation and react accordingly. This could be calling the police or actively reacting themselves to help people get to a safe place.
Ability to work within a team
Quite often security guards work together in a small group, so teamwork is a quality each member of the team should possess. Effective cooperation among the guards leads to better results and has a direct impact on the safety standards required while on the job. Cooperation skills is also essential when security guards have to work with public services such as firefighters, police officers, or emergency medical personnel.
Strong leadership qualities such as good communication skills, self-awareness, and the ability to delegate are important traits of a good security guard. Having the ability to lead is also required when performing crowd management duties, such as escorting people safely to a certain area, and any emergency where security guards need to protect people from dangerous situations.
Possessing good communication skills is essential in every part of a security guard’s job. These skills are necessary when cooperating with law enforcement and emergency services, and even in everyday contact with their colleagues and managers. In each situation involving contact with other people, security guards have to be understanding and respectful. Having the ability to talk to people; rather than at them and understand their point of view can be essential in solving the most complicated issues and prevent many threats. In fact, calmness and courteous conversation is often the most effective solution. It’s also important that they are friendly, professional, and ready to help or simply give information and directions.
Creating a conciliatory attitude
While security guards should always be prepared for the worst scenarios, their goal should be to deescalate any tense situations and prevent potential threats. As a security firm, you want to hire guards that can remain calm no matter the issue. It’s especially important when the guards work in crowded places where the risk of conflict is much higher.
Security guards often have to interact with different kinds of people. Some people may try to provoke the guards or even insult them. It shouldn’t matter if a guard is being degraded as they need to keep a conciliatory attitude which is expected from a guard in every situation. Security guards have to be able to work under pressure and should put safety first.
Having a good work ethic
Being a security guard is challenging work. Guards need to be flexible and ready to perform different duties. While on the job, they have to be able to do multiple tasks and perform multiple responsibilities including, patrolling, door supervision, operating surveillance equipment and reporting. A good security guard should always be on time; arriving 5 to 10 minutes prior to the start of their shift in order to effect a proper shift-change, and perform the duties required of them to the best of their ability according to their training. Guards also need to be self-motivated and seek ways to improve their skillset.
Being physically fit
Security guards should be physically fit, as their job entails many physical challenges. The guard’s duties may include patrolling large areas, staying up all night, or chasing a suspect. Being in good health positively affects a guard’s reactions and helps them stay focused while on the job. Security firms should require a pre-employment physical fitness test that has, among other things, a 50-yad dash and a 1 minute stair-climbing test.
Security guards should exercise regularly and care about their diet because the better shape they are in the more likely they will be able to defend themselves and ensure the safety of others in case of emergencies.
A good security guard needs to have the knowledge and experience necessary for the position. There are also certain qualities that he/she should possess if they want to perform the position’s tasks better. These include integrity, observation skills and honesty. Having strong communication skills, a conciliatory attitude and empathy are also important as they help security guards effectively resolve problems and prevent threats.
Michael Morrison is the President of LionHeart Security Services located in Tempe, Arizona. He has 41 years of experience in the security industry having worked overseas as a security manager for US Embassies, Mining, Oil & Gas companies and high-profile public figures.