Security guards are ubiquitous in America.

In 5 years’ time, for instance, there will be more than 1 million of them working around the country!

The boom in this industry is hardly surprising given the turbulent nature of the world. Each and every day you hear a news story about another atrocity that’s occurred somewhere.

It’s entirely understandable that more individuals and businesses than ever before are looking for outside protection.

Unfortunately, you can’t just hire any old security guard and expect first-class service. Just like any industry, there’s a significant difference between the best and worst security guards for hire out there.

People on the hunt for security must be diligent in their hiring strategy. Fail, and you might not be as protected as you’d thought. Looking for advice on recruiting the best guards possible?

Keep reading to discover 10 top tips for choosing the right security guards.

1. Make Sure They’re Trained and Qualified

Like any new hire, you’re looking for security guards with the right training, qualifications, and experience.

These should be your basic requirements for the job.

Of course, not everyone who looks great on paper performs as well in real life. Nonetheless, particularly for certain security roles, specific training and qualifications are required.

For example, an individual or business that needs armed support must hire guards with this legal capacity. In other words, without the requisite training, someone is legally unable to carry a lethal weapon as a security guard.

The same goes for everything from event security guards to bank security guards though! The basic lesson is this:

Only ever hire people of firms who are a perfect fit for the job description.

2. Make Sure They’re Experienced

Qualifications aren’t everything though.

That’s only the first part of the equation for hiring the best security guards possible. The second is to check they have relevant experience.

Let’s stick with the armed guard example.

You could hire someone with the training and license to carry a weapon on duty. But that person might be fresh from training and had zero exposure to the reality of their job. They may never have drawn their weapon or fired one in a real-life situation.

It would be akin to being operated on by a surgeon fresh from medical school! Of course, you’d far rather have an experienced surgeon conduct the procedure.

3. Make Sure They’re Insured and Licensed

Rule number one of hiring a security guard:

Never work with any firm or individual that isn’t licensed or insured.

It’s a basic point, but no less crucial to take into account. Don’t assume that everyone you talk to will be licensed to practice in your state. If it isn’t in their interest to tell you otherwise, then they might ‘forget’ to do so!

Verify (and pursue confirmatory evidence) that their license if both valid and in date.

The same goes for insurance. Expect all kinds of trouble if the security firm you’ve hired isn’t insured and something untoward happens. Go through their insurance policy with a fine-tooth comb to ensure that you’re appropriately covered. 

4. Make Sure They’re a Strong Communicator

There are similarities between a police officer a security guard.

Both are there to serve and protect. Accordingly, they share the single greatest weapon at their disposal:

Their mouths.

That’s right, it isn’t physical strength or the authority to hold and fire a weapon (although both help). Instead, it’s the ability to stay calm and use their words to pacify a situation. They can communicate effectively, speak to a perpetrator, and avert the majority of crises without force.

Sure, if needs be they can use their physical strength to overpower anyone in the wrong. In the meantime, search for security guards with even stronger communication skills.

5. Make Sure You Do Your Research

Let’s assume you’re going to use a security firm to hire your guards.

Go above and beyond to research their credentials. It isn’t enough to find one online and assume they’re fit for purpose. Don’t fall for the persuasive sales copy and random testimonials on their website!

Instead, look to other sources for genuine reviews of their aptitude. Search for honest opinions of their level of service; for accounts of their track record.

Try to find their previous clients as well.

Get in contact with them for the best insight into their qualities. Ask about the experience of previous clients to see if they’d still recommend the company.

6. Make Sure You Like Their Uniform

This tip might sound inconsequential.

However, you want your security personnel to look the part. This is especially true for businesses that have a brand and reputation to maintain. The guard should be dressed in a suitable way.

Check with the security company whether they offer uniform variations. At the very least, verify that you’re happy with whatever uniform they do provide. Moreover, remember to ask if they can cater to any particular needs you have.

Keep in mind how many security companies are in operation. Look elsewhere if the first one you talk to doesn’t offer everything you need.

7. Make Sure You Conduct Background Checks

It’s important to do background checks on each security guard you hire.

On that note, you should know that most security firms worth their salt will have done this anyway. There’s nothing stopping you from conducting another one for your own benefit. However, you should feel confident that the guards are fit for the job.

This tip is more important for employers who cut out the middle man, hiring directly instead. All of a sudden it becomes crucial to perform a background check.

You need to know you’re bringing someone in with a history and track record you can trust.

8. Make Sure They’re Specialized

You wouldn’t use a wrench to hammer in a nail.

Sure, hitting the nail hard enough with the wrench might get the job done. Yet it wasn’t designed for this purpose, which leaves room for error. Using a hammer would do it far quicker and more effectively.

The same goes for hiring a security firm.

Check that security is their primary specialty. You’d be surprised how many companies offer it as an additional service! However, just like using the wrench to hammer in a nail, they’re unlikely to be as effective as you’d like.

Strive to hire guards with qualifications and experience that match your specific needs. For example, if you’re organizing an event, then you want event security; armed guards might be excessive.

9. Make Sure You Get the Right Price

Of course, hiring security comes with a price tag.

You’ll almost certainly be interested in striking a balance between quality and affordability. Alas, it’s tempting to err too far on the side of cost-savings.

Like most things, expect to get what you pay for. Budget Billy down the road might be affordable, but can he do the job? If history is anything to go off, then the answer is probably ‘no’.

See this hiring decision as an investment. Whether the security guards are in place to protect people or property (or both), can you afford for them to fail? The irony is that hiring a substandard guard can prove more expensive in the long run.

For one thing, bad hires are inevitably expensive in terms of HR. However, they might fail to do their job and protect you/your things in the process!

10. Make Sure They Accommodate Your Needs

When you’re paying top dollar, you want the best bang for your buck.

It goes without saying that the best security firms and self-employed guards provide that. However, let’s get more specific.

One area to pay particular attention to is their willingness to accommodate your needs. Security personnel that wants to find business will go out of their way to revolve around you.

The same goes whether you:

  • Demand 24/7 protection or particular hours of operation,
  • Need extra protection at certain times of the year,
  • Want a short term or long term contract, and so on.

All individuals and businesses have specific needs and requests. On your search for the best security possible, ensure they’re willing to cater to them.

Choose the Right Security Guards for Hire

It’s a good time to be alive for people in the security business.

With such high levels of threat in society, increasing numbers of individuals and businesses are looking to hire protection. There’s been a boom in security guard numbers as a result.

As such, finding security guards for hire isn’t a problem! The real task is sourcing the right men and women for the job. Alas, you’ll find a mighty distinction between the most and least suited to your needs.

Thankfully, though, keeping certain things in mind will ensure you choose wisely. Hopefully, this post has highlighted a selection of insights to help you do precisely that.

Are you looking for more articles like this one? Search ‘security’ on the blog now!

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