To say the world is facing an uncertain time right now would be an understatement. The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the shut down of businesses, record job losses and nearly 1 million cases of the virus globally (with this number increasing daily). Industries across the board have been experiencing significant changes. Many workers have lost their jobs and are looking for alternate ways to make ends meet.
If you've been considering a job as a security guard, now might be the time to get started. Due to the recent world events, many businesses have found a new or greater need to protect their businesses. From hospitals and schools to office parks and restaurants, many business owners require increased security for their property, business assets and people.
Would You Make a Good Security Guard?
According to the Department of Labor, there are over 1.1 million private security guards employed in the U.S. If you've been considering a career as a security guard, you might wonder what it takes to be good at this job and what qualities potential employers look for in a candidate. If so, here is a shortlist of what makes a good security guard.
If you're in security, you're bound to see a lot of things going on. After all, it is your job to. One lesser-known aspect of security is protecting the reputation of your employer. That means your job should always be done with as little drama as possible. Discretion is key. That is the reason security rarely confronts a shoplifter in the middle of a store if avoidable, but instead moves them somewhere quietly to determine what action to take. It's also why every crime stopped doesn't end in arrest.
Related to discretion is having good judgment. A security guard is not a police officer. Their job isn't to make an arrest, it's to protect the property of their employer. This means they are expected to use their good judgment in determining how best to handle any incident they are presented with.
Sometimes calling the police is appropriate, whereas, at other times, it is better to handle matters discreetly and not get the law involved. For instance, few companies will want law enforcement involved over a teen shoplifter who stole a pack of gum. It's rarely worth the hassle and potential bad publicity to pursue it. Plus, you might win over a new customer if you call a parent and give them a chance to correct their child on their own. It's a careful balance between protecting your company and keeping good relations with customers.
One thing every company dreads is ending up on YouTube. Picture an angry customer getting physically removed from a store while a bystander waves a shaky cellphone to capture the moment. "Well, that made us look good!" said no company ever. That being the case, one of the most important skills you can have as a security guard is the ability to deescalate a situation to avoid those catastrophic social media moments entirely.
This one goes without saying. Your primary job is to stop crimes against your company from happening. You can't stop what you don't notice. Alertness is a keen eye for detail, watching people's behavior and interpreting it. Alertness can also be like a marathon, though. It requires a steady mindset to remain alert for long periods. Some people can't help but daydream after hours on their feet or at a post. If you intend to be a security guard, you'll have to learn to fight that urge and stay vigilant.
Here's another self-evident trait for a good security guard – honesty. You are there to keep visitors to an establishment honest. If you're not honest yourself, you can't reasonably be expected to keep other people honest. Honesty is a slippery slope. Turning a blind eye once can start you down a path to not doing your job effectively.
Now, we've discussed discretion and judgment, so don't confuse this with honesty. As a good security guard, sometimes you will let minor infractions slide by. However, you make that determination based on the best interests of your employer, not because you're not in the mood to deal with the paperwork.
At their best, security guards are an excellent visual deterrence. To do so, they need to look the part. A well put-together appearance and uniform will exude authority. You want the sight of a security guard to move a shoplifter's thoughts from "Can I get away with it?" to "I'm not even going to try."
Represent the qualities and standards of your employer
Confronting a criminal can be a public relations nightmare for a business. If you think about it, there is no positive outcome for a company. At best, there will be no notice the crime occurred; at worst, the issue will be handled poorly and bring unwanted publicity to the business. That's where security guards can protect their employers. They are on the front line during an incident and should reflect the ideals and standards of their employer.
Respectful and courteous
One of the advantages businesses like to capitalize on when they have their own security staff is enforcing polite behavior. Face it, if a business has to call the police, what you get is a complete mystery. They could be very helpful and wrap up an incident with minimal fuss, or they could be abrasive and create a mountain out of a molehill. Having your own security guards means your customers can routinely expect security on-hand to be respectful and courteous to guests.
Pursuing a career as a security guard
If you feel you may be a good fit for a position as a security guard, your next step is getting some training under your belt. There are many licensed, quality security companies for people just entering the field. They'll provide the necessary training and teach you the techniques and tricks of the trade. If you've got a good temperament, steady nerves and work well under pressure – being a security guard can provide a stable, quality career for you.
When you need security personnel who aim higher
Call Off Duty Officers, Inc. to find out how we can serve your business.
Off Duty Officers, Inc. provides armed and unarmed, off duty law enforcement and security personnel for both short- and long-term assignments. Contact us for an instant