hire-meHiring a security guard company is an important decision for an organization to make.  When hiring a private security guard, many businesses decide to enter into a contractual agreement with a private security company.  A typical mistake organizations make when hiring a security guard through a private security company is that the organization tends to not care who the assigned security guard is.  The “as long as somebody is there” mentality is not an intelligent approach.  Before signing the contract, an organization should ensure that the private security company has a proper security guard screening procedure in order to ensure that qualified individuals are assigned to the site.

In the field of private security, the turnover rate for private security guards tends to be relatively high.  The turnover rate is the ratio of employees which the employers have to replace in a certain time period to the number of average employees at the company.  According to the Vulnerability Assessment Team at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, the turnover rate for security guards in the United States ranges between 100% and 300%, with the national average at approximately 150%.  The common problem that arises from private security guard companies with a high turnover rate is that the company fails to implement proper security guard screening procedures.  This is typically due to the private security company scrambling to hire new security guards in order to cover for an upcoming shift which was left vacant due to a guard who left the company unexpectedly.  The failure to apply appropriate security guard screening procedures for security guard applicants can result in careless hiring of individuals who are not suitable for the position of security guard, which could put the contracted organization at risk.

Proper security guard screening procedures should be dynamic in nature and consist of multiple procedures.  An essential tactic for hiring effective private security guards is the completion of a criminal background check, such as a CORI or a BCI, which is to be obtained by the state of residence of the applicant.  A security guard applicant should not have any criminal history because the security guard position requires the deterrence of criminal activity and also the protection of an organization’s assets.  It does not logically make sense to give an individual with a criminal background authority to protect a client’s assets, property, and people.

Another vital component during the security guard screening process is to check in with the references and previous employers of the security guard applicant.  Security guards must have the ability to consistently arrive to a site on time in order to relieve another security guard or to begin the security assignment on the client’s property.  If it is learned that a security guard applicant has a record of showing up late, not showing up to work at all, and/or showing up unprepared to work, then the security guard applicant should no longer be considered.  This is a quick and effective security guard screening strategy to help measure the reliability of an applicant while also working to reduce turnover rates for the private security company.

Psychological personality testing is making its way into the private security industry.  One of the most successful personality tests used for security guard screening is the Big Five Personality Test.  This 50 question survey is administered online and results can be printed when completed.  The Big Five Personality Test measures five components to one’s personality: Extraversion; Conscientiousness; Neuroticism; Agreeableness; and Openness.  This test is quick and easy to administer, and can provide the private security guard company management staff with relative information regarding one’s personality.  The private security company’s management team can then determine whether or not the personality type is a “best fit” for the security guard position.

Before the interview, the private security company’s management team can review the criminal background check information, the previous employer and references information, and also the information gathered from the personality test.  The management team will then have the ability to confront the security guard applicant regarding anything that has been submitted during the application process as well as the previous work experiences within the field of private security.

Finally, a simple drug test during the security guard screening process can help to eliminate the potentially risky applicants.  Additionally, the announcement during the application process that the private security company will randomly administer drug tests to the security guards will steer away many of the potentially risky applicants.  Randomly administering drug tests to security guards certifies that the private security company’s work environment is clean and dedicated to professionalism.