8 security guard interview questions

security guard interviewYou’ve been diligent about putting out your resumes and applying for security guard jobs, and you’ve finally scored an interview. Congratulations! Now you just have to ace it and you’ve got the job.

And if you want to ace that interview, preparation is everything. It’s especially helpful to know exactly what kinds of questions and answers that you can expect on the job.

The interview process has two purposes:

  1. To help the interviewee (you) decide if this is the job that you want and ask questions that will help you determine if this job will be a good fit for you.
  2. To help the interviewer decide if you are the best fit for the position that is available.

It really is that simple. But that does not mean that it is an easy process. From the moment that you find out you have an interview; you must be ready to be a sales person.

 

Before the Interview

Research!

Before you begin doing anything else, your first task should be to find out as much about the company as possible. And that goes back to that second rule of sales, “Know your audience.”

The more you know about the company that you are want to work for, the more information you will have available to show the interviewer that you are the best person for the job. It could be something as simple as knowing that the owner of the company has been nominated for an ABC award or knowing how many people the company employs each year. Every little bit of information can be helpful in some way.

Here is some of the information that you should look for:

  • Who are the leaders of the organization? Have they been featured in the news or media lately? What are their personal mottos, goals, and values? Where did they go to school? Have they owned other companies?   In the interview, if asked, you need to be able to name the current president/CEO of the company.
  • 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 account or a Twitter account? Read the latest updates and tweets. See how they interact with others and topics show up on their tweets and on the wall of their page.
  • Who is the company’s competition? How does the company promote themselves to stand out amongst the competition? Does the company have a motto? Is the company growing or expanding in comparison to other companies?
  • Does the company participate in volunteer events or charities? Are they involved in the community?

Any information that you can gather about the company can be helpful. The information that you learn can help you answer questions. It can also create questions that you can ask later in the interview.

 

Many security guard interview questions are actually quite routine. You may be asked to describe your training and certifications for example. But others might be a bit harder to answer. Use the guidelines below to craft good, confident, and solid answers to each of the following questions.

  • Why are you pursuing a career as a security guard?

What they want to know: They want to know that they’re not going to hire you only to have to replace you three months later because you’re desperate or coming in with a batch of unrealistic expectations. They also want to know that you aren’t trying to enter the field to catch up on your reading or your sleep.

What you should say: Stress the parts of the job that align with your personal values and goals. A good answer might stress your commitment to looking out for the well-being of other people, your trustworthiness, or any other quality which might demonstrate your commitment to the actual job.

Sample answer: When I worked in XYZ’s customer service department I learned that I was very good at diffusing so-called ‘difficult people.’ I actually had a lot of fun doing it, but I wanted to do something a little more meaningful. Since I was always the guy who watched out for the younger kids in my neighborhood and since I care about keeping other people safe I thought that this would be a good way to build on my strengths while offering me something that is a little more meaningful.

  • Why do you want to work for this company?

What they want to know: They want to know that you’ve done your research, and that you’re not just scouting to take the first job that comes along.

What you should say: At the very least you should make sure to pay attention to the company’s website. For extra credit, take a look at any recent news surrounding the company. Work this information into your answer.

Sample answer: I know that DK Security was recently awarded a 3 year contract to provide security at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport and was actually quite interested in whether there might still be some openings with that contract. In addition, I know that DK has recently made the list of West Michigan’s 101 Best Places to Work. How could I not want to work here?

  • What are your greatest strengths?

What they want to know: What do you actually bring to the table as a security guard? Do you have any of the qualities they’re looking for?

What you should say: Choose qualities that really make a difference to a security guard career: attention to detail, integrity, calm under pressure, etc. Use examples to back up any quality you claim.

Sample answer: I think my greatest strength is my sense of responsibility and honor. For example, when I worked at ABC Retail Store and we closed up shop I was always the one double checking all of the locks and making sure everything was put away. I was also the one who was consistently trusted to bring the deposit to the bank because everyone knew that I’d never steal or do anything to harm my employer.

  • What is your greatest weakness?

What they want to know: They want to know that you’re not cocky or arrogant. They also want to know that you’ve thoughtfully evaluated yourself and understand that you have room for improvement. And they do want to know if there are any potential issues, as well.

What you should say: Be honest, but talk about what you’re doing to improve the situation.

Sample answer: Sometimes I try to bite off more than I can chew. I don’t like asking for help and I’d prefer to figure things out for myself. Because this has caused me problems in the past I’m trying to address the situation by being more open with my supervisors and my team, which at least gives them the option to weigh in or give me information I didn’t have before.

  • Tell me about a time you…

What they want to know: They want to know if you can actually get the results suggested by your resume, or if you have the qualities they need.

What you should say: This is where you’d use a “challenge–action–results” story tailored to the question. This means you outline the problem, describe the action that you took and what the result was. You can do this even if you don’t have much work experience.

Sample answer: Tell you about a time I handled a particularly volatile situation? No problem. Last year at the prom two guys got into it over a girl. They were about to get into a serious fight. I was able to step in and quietly talk them down. The fight never broke out, and the girl and her date left the dance. The other guy, her ex, went home and cooled off, and the party continued.

· What is the meaning of ________?

What they want to know: They want to know if you are familiar with basic security guard terms or procedures.

What you should say: This is where you use your research of the security field, and share your knowledge with confidence. This means you state not just the answer for the term or procedure, but explain it’s basic application.

Sample answer: The meaning of SOP is Standard Operation Procedure, and is a set of guidelines and policies for a specific security guard post.

· If you learned that a colleague was accessing information that they should not have access to, what would you do?

What they want to know: This is a behavioral question, with your answer designed to see how ethical you are as well as see if you can follow company policy.

What you should say: You should consider the company policy first and then base your answer on that. If you do not know what the company policy is or do not have access to it, give them your answer to the best of your ability. Follow up by stating that you understand that each company has specific policies for dealing with various situations and that if the company policy required you to deal with the situation in a different manner you would take that into consideration first and foremost.

Sample Answer: If I knew a colleague was accessing information without proper authorization I would report it to my supervisor or HR. I also understand every company has a specific policy to handle this sort of situation, and would consult the employee handbook for guidance first.

· Do you have any questions for us?

What they want to know: Having questions for them at this point shows interest, and asking quality questions might be the difference between getting the job and not getting the job.

What you should say: This is a great time to again utilize your research, ask about a recent company expansion, ask about something that came up during the interview, or any question that demonstrates a broad understanding of the company with a desire to understand more.

Sample answer(s): Some of the questions you could ask include:

  • Who would I report to if I was offered this position?
  • What are the skills that people who advance in your company possess?
  • 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?

 

What about other questions?

It’s impossible to anticipate every question that you might receive during a security guard job interview. However, you can position yourself as the perfect candidate by considering what the employer is really trying to ascertain by asking that question. At that point, craft a confident (but not cocky) answer that gives them the information that they want while painting you in the best possible light. Good luck!

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