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Security Guard Interview
Questions

30 Questions and Answers by Rachelle Enns
Updated December 22nd, 2019 | Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.
Job Interviews     Careers     Protective Services    

Question 1 of 30

Are you CPR Certified or trained in First Aid? If not, do you plan on earning these credentials?

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1.

Are you CPR Certified or trained in First Aid? If not, do you plan on earning these credentials?

Many security jobs will require you to be CPR certified or trained in First Aid. Depending on the type of security role you are taking on, you could be the first to respond in emergencies and when dealing with the public. Talk to the interviewer about any certifications that you have or are currently acquiring. Bring certificates for your candidate file, in case the employer needs a copy. If you do not have any emergency response training, that is okay too! Just be sure to express an interest and willingness to gain these credentials.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I have been certified in CPR and First Aid for six years now. My certifications recently came close to their expiry, so I took it upon myself to renew them. I have copies with me today that you may keep for my file. It's important to me that I continue to offer a variety of skills to my employer. Part of that is knowing that I can react properly and effectively in an emergency."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"I was looking online at some options for First Aid and CPR certifications and found one at my local community college. I have enrolled and aim for full certification in 30 days. I understand the importance of this training and look forward to offering even more to your organization and those I serve in this position."

2.

Does stress and pressure ever get the best of you?

A skilled security guard should always exude confidence and never crack under pressure. You may come across situations that raise your blood pressure, and the interviewer needs to know that you will continue to perform your job as expected, even under stress. If possible, talk about a time when you were under immense stress and pressure and were able to come out on top. Show the hiring authority that you can remain calm, relaxed, and collected even when facing a challenge.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I have trained extensively, and have been in many challenging situations as a security officer. For instance, I worked as a hospital security guard for eight years in the emergency room department. No two days were the same. We would have patients who needed care immediately, and others who would become angry because they needed to wait too long. We also had some transient folk who were high on drugs and looking for a fix. I quickly learned to keep my head on a swivel and never react emotionally to anything that I saw during a shift."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"I often hear stories about violent acts against security officers and, of course, that is a concern for me. With that said, I believe that my training in hand to hand combat and my post-secondary courses in criminal psychology will lend themselves well, should I ever be in a similar situation. I am a calm person by nature, and I like to sort issues out rather than dwell in them or become panicked."

3.

Talk to me about your hours of availability. Do you have a preferred shift?

It is best if you answer this question clearly and concisely. Be upfront about what you can and cannot do. Avoid committing to hours that will put too much pressure on your personal life. It's always best to frame your response in a positive way. So, rather than telling the interviewer what you cannot do, focus your answer on what you can do.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I am looking for full-time employment and prefer working daytime or afternoon shifts. I have a young family that I would like to spend my evenings with as often as possible. Of course, should you be in a pinch and need evening coverage now and then, I am certainly willing to be a team player. Do my hours of availability meet your current needs?"

Rachelle's Answer #2

"I would like to offer a range of availability as I kick-start my career in security. I know this may mean night shifts, doubles, shift work, and even weekends and holidays; however, I am prepared to start where I can!"

4.

What is your greatest weakness? What are you doing to improve it?

First, you will want to discuss a weakness that is not a core skill for a security-related role. Take the time to recognize that you aren't great at something and acknowledging your need to improve. What is most important is that you have an action plan in place for improving on this weakness.

Maybe you are reading a book on the topic, taking a night class, or have found a mentor to strengthen yourself in a specific area. Whatever your weakness, don't be shy about expressing how you're planning to improve.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"My weakness is not delegating. I know what needs doing and how I want it done, so it's often easier to do it myself. However, it can inhibit my ability to grow. I know that I cannot take on every part of a job or security project. I need to be able to give the task or a portion of it to another team member or direct report. I've spoken with my team about this weakness, and they have agreed to step in when they see me taking on too much. By bringing awareness to it at the moment, I find my propensity to hold onto control has decreased, so I'm certainly moving in the right direction."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"My primary weakness surrounds my technical abilities. I consider myself a beginner level user in many computer programs, so I have decided to start coursework this fall to expand on skills such as typing and using Word and Excel."

5.

Have you ever been terminated from a job?

Being let go from your position is an unfortunate event; however, it happens to the best of us and often for situations that are out of our control. It's best to own up to it if you have ever lost your job. Be brief in your explanation but also let the interviewer know what you learned.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I experienced a termination once before. Earlier in my career, I was not as prompt as I am today. After coming to work late a couple of times, my boss let me go. It was embarrassing, and I learned a lot from the situation. I am much more dedicated to my work now. I am reliable and have not been late for work in years."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"I have never come close to termination or been reprimanded for misconduct or poor performance. My reputation is incredibly important to me, especially as I am beginning to carve out my career."

6.

Are you able to work independently, with little supervision?

A lot of security work is independent by nature, and the interviewer would like to know that you can handle the responsibility of working autonomously. As a security guard, you may be patrolling premises in the evening, watching live surveillance footage, guarding the entrances to a building with limited access, and more. Many of these tasks can be done independently and with little supervision. Take the time to assure the interviewer that you can be trusted to deliver your most excellent performance, with or without supervision.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"In my current job I work by myself about 75% of the time, with absolutely no issue. My supervisor often comments on how he appreciates my ability to stay alert and motivated, even on quieter night shifts where I am working alone. I am not one to twiddle my thumbs or be bored. There is always something to check out, watch, and look after. You can rest assured that I would work very hard no matter the level of supervision."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"I have always held jobs where I work independently, and even a couple of temporary assignments that required me to work from a home office. I learned a lot about self-discipline during my post-secondary studies, and now I apply this discipline to my work, no matter who is around."

7.

We require that all security personnel undergo full background checks. Are you willing to comply?

Most security jobs will require you to have a clean criminal record. At the very least, you should not have a felony on your record for which you have not received a pardon. Some security guard roles require the use of weapons and even arms. Others may require you to operate a vehicle. For these reasons, your security checks will vary from company to company. If you have a mark on your criminal record, driving record, or believe that you will not pass drug tests, you need to be honest with the interviewer.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I am willing to comply with any background checks that you require. I will disclose that I have a couple of traffic infractions; however, nothing serious that would prevent me from doing this job safely and professionally."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"I am happy to comply with any background checks you require. You will find that my criminal background is clean, as will be my driving record and drug test."

8.

Why do you believe we need security, here?

The interviewer wants to see how observant you are when it comes to their needs. If you are interviewing for a direct security job, take a scan of what you believe the requirements to be when you arrive at your interview.

If you are interviewing with an agency that contracts you out to a variety of jobs, this answer will be positioned a bit differently. In this circumstance, talk about their top clients, and what those clients' security needs may be.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I believe that the clients who outsource your security guards are ones who have temporary needs. These needs include events, high peak times, or seasonal work, when hiring a full-time team member would not make sense. I have worked as a full-time dedicated officer, and as a contracted security officer. I am open to either situation and can adapt to a variety of needs and scenarios."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"I believe that you need security here because of the high volume of traffic you experience during the day. You also hold a lot of cash and sensitive goods that need 24/7 protection. Is this a correct assessment?"

9.

Talk to me about your future career goals within security.

Most hiring companies want to know that when they take a chance on hiring and training you, that you will stay with them for the long term. Nobody knows where life will take them three or even five years down the road. With that sais, this should not stop you from expressing where you would like to take your security career. You do not need to make any promises when answering this question, but you should convey an interest in growing with the company.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"My future goals within security include gaining my firearms license and ability to be an armed security officer. I have career goals that include leading a team, supporting law enforcement in every way possible, and protecting the public from harm for many years to come."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"I believe that starting my career in security will position me nicely for a full-time career in law enforcement. I plan to work part-time while attending my pre-requisite college courses and training."

10.

What type of security technology are you familiar with?

This question is much easier to answer if you have an idea of the type of technology used in this particular position. Some tech that you may have been exposed to include surveillance and CCTV equipment, metal detectors, and radios. Talk about the equipment you have used in past roles and your level of experience with each. If you are new to your security career, be sure to express your willingness to learn new tech. You can ask the interviewer for details if you are not familiar with what the expectations are. This way, you will be able to do some learning on your own time, better preparing you for your first day on the job.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I have used a variety of surveillance and CCTV equipment systems including (give specific brands and system names). I have used a variety of two-way radios, metal detectors of all types, and have performed electronic documentation via systems and apps such as (A) and (B)."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"I am tech-savvy and catch onto new processes and systems very quickly. Although my background may not include the use of security tech and equipment, I have an understanding of how CCTV systems work. I am eager to learn more during my security training."

11.

What is your greatest strength, and how will it help you as a security guard?

This question offers an excellent opportunity to make yourself a stand-out candidate. Avoid general strengths such as teamwork-oriented, organized, reliable, or detail-oriented. Those descriptors are everyone's 'go-to,' and you want to be unique! Looking at the job description, and the responsibilities of this role, what do you believe to be essential skills for success? Choose one or two strengths that you know will benefit the potential employer.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I am a very pragmatic and confident person, which I believe are incredibly important traits for a security guard to possess. These traits allow me to make quick decisions while relying on fact versus impulse."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"I am often complimented on my ability to speak and communicate with anyone. This openness and ability to hold a meaningful conversation will be helpful in this role as I work in crowds of different people every single day. Also, I am observant and remember the details of my interactions very well."

12.

How would you react if you felt that you were in physical danger on the job?

There are many reports in the news of security guards being placed in danger or experiencing situations of aggravated assault. The interviewer would like to know that you are fully prepared to face these potential risks. Show confidence in your training. Let the interviewer know that you would lean on your training and knowledge should you be placed in a situation where you felt physically threatened. If you are new to your career as a security officer, this is a great time to ask about the training you will receive with this company. Show that you are confident in your ability to react professionally in all situations.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"As a seasoned security guard, I have felt in danger a handful of times on the job. I have faced perpetrators with knives, bear spray, and one with a gun that turned out to not be loaded. In each of these situations, I leaned on my training and worked to calm the violent person down through calm conversation and reasoning. Rarely do I use force on the job. I have taken coursework on Crisis Negotiation Techniques, which was an incredibly helpful addition to my security training."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"I hope to never be in this type of situation as a security guard; however, I feel that my training will prepare me to react appropriately in dangerous situations. I am a calm person by nature and also have an ability to calm other people down, so I would certainly use that skill to my benefit if I ever found myself in a dangerous situation."

13.

Walk me through your education and how it relates to the work of a security guard.

The hiring authority would like for you to bring your education to life for them, pointing out exactly where your education and training will benefit you in a security guard role. There are many top skills that a security guard should have, and many of these are transferable regardless of your educational focus. For instance, a security guard should feel confident and prepared. They should be quick to think and take action. They should have a strong moral compass, be rational, and act as a leader at all times. Talk about the ways that your education has prepared you for the role of a security guard.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I have completed basic security training which included over 40 hours of classroom training. This coursework covered a variety of topics, including an introduction to the security industry, the US legal system, basic security patrol procedures, communication, documentation and evidence, health and safety, as well as emergency response procedures. Thanks to this training, I feel very well prepared for a career in security."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"I have a Bachelor's degree in communication and feel there are many ways that my post-secondary education has prepared me for a role in security. First, clear communication is a significant component of a job well done. I am an excellent writer and will excel in areas such as documentation. My time in post-secondary also taught me how to pay attention, be patient, and juggle multiple responsibilities and tight deadlines."

Anonymous Answer

"Yes, it has been expired, but I will make an appointment for renewal."

Nazish's Answer

I would suggest saying that you are working on getting it renewed, rather than you will make an appointment in the future to do so. Also, emphasize that you do have the skill, in the case of an emergency.

"Although my current CPR certification has expired, I am CPR trained and in the process of getting it renewed. I am, in the meantime, equipped to handle an emergency in which CPR may be needed."

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14.

As a security guard, which task do you enjoy the most? Which task do you enjoy the least?

The hiring authority wants to picture you in this role and, part of doing so is determining whether or not you will enjoy the daily tasks and responsibilities given to you. There is a significant range of security work, so be sure to have a full understanding of the company's needs and expectations.

The key to answering this question is to remain positive. Avoid jumping into a list of things you 'hate' doing. This type of response will lead the interviewer to think negatively about your work ethic and ambition. Discuss what you enjoy least but follow this up with what you do to make the tasks more enjoyable.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I would say that patrolling buildings at night by myself is a task that I enjoy the least. To combat this, I ensure that someone on my team knows where I am and how long I expect to be away from the desk. I think this is a responsible way to ensure safety while working alone. As far as the tasks that I enjoy the most, I would say greeting everyone who comes across our desk during the day. My current job requires me to communicate with a significant range of people every day, and I love the variety."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"I believe I will like documentation the least; however, that is because I am not fast at typing. I am currently taking a course on typing so that I can improve this skill. If I had to guess which task I would enjoy the most, I believe that would be patrolling the property, whether on foot or in a vehicle. I am an active person, and I like to be on the move."

15.

Good communication is a requirement as a security guard. What does good communication mean to you?

Excellent communication goes much farther than merely speaking clearly. To be a great communicator, you must also allow others to express themselves clearly in a conversation. A skilled communicator will:

- Respect the relationships around them
- Be knowledgable in the topics they are speaking about
- Spend more time listening than talking
- Recall information that is given to them because they listen actively
- Be able to read nonverbal cues such as body language and eye contact

Think of the ways that you exercise excellent communication, and be prepared to speak to the interviewer about the way that you interpret excellent communication. Talk a bit about your communication style in the workplace.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"Miscommunication is never a good thing in the workplace, especially as a security guard. In my current job, working around so many members of the public every day, I must carry a conversation clearly and precisely. Attention to detail is critical, so I must actively listen to the words and also the body language of others. Lastly, when it comes to documenting an incident, I must be able to express myself clearly in writing, which is another critical component to good communication."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"To me, good communication means being someone who listens and observes more than they speak. As a security guard, the more observant I can be with my eyes and ears, the better I will be in my job. By observing, I will be able to recall information and critical details much more clearly."

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30 Security Guard Interview Questions
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Interview Questions

  1. Are you CPR Certified or trained in First Aid? If not, do you plan on earning these credentials?
  2. Does stress and pressure ever get the best of you?
  3. Talk to me about your hours of availability. Do you have a preferred shift?
  4. What is your greatest weakness? What are you doing to improve it?
  5. Have you ever been terminated from a job?
  6. Are you able to work independently, with little supervision?
  7. We require that all security personnel undergo full background checks. Are you willing to comply?
  8. Why do you believe we need security, here?
  9. Talk to me about your future career goals within security.
  10. What type of security technology are you familiar with?
  11. What is your greatest strength, and how will it help you as a security guard?
  12. How would you react if you felt that you were in physical danger on the job?
  13. Walk me through your education and how it relates to the work of a security guard.
  14. As a security guard, which task do you enjoy the most? Which task do you enjoy the least?
  15. Good communication is a requirement as a security guard. What does good communication mean to you?
  16. Are you a detail oriented person? How well do you recall facts and small details of an event?
  17. What are the most important traits for a security guard to possess?
  18. How do you keep focused during long, or overnight shifts?
  19. Have you worked with other security guards in a team environment before? If so, how did you best communicate with them?
  20. What motivates you to protect others?
  21. Tell me about a time when you solved a security problem on the job.
  22. Describe a time when you had to deal with a security breach. How did you handle the situation, and what would you have done differently?
  23. Tell me about a time when you successfully dealt with an angry member of the public.
  24. Define integrity, what it means to you, and how you practice it in your everyday life.
  25. Break down for me the responsibilities of a security guard.
  26. Do you have experience working large events with crowds of people?
  27. Do people see you as a trustworthy and honest individual?
  28. Do you have experience as an armed guard? How do you feel about working in an armed security role?
  29. How important is being on time or early for work, to you?
  30. With which industries do you have the most security experience?
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