Essentially, the interviewer is asking, 'Why should we hire you?' When it comes to hiring decisions, a company will choose the person that they believe will help them to solve a problem or a pain point in the business.
Consider some of the qualities and skills listed in the job description. How do you embody these factors? Think of ways you have gone above and beyond in your security career. How do you act as a problem-solving leader who takes the initiative? Elaborate on how you will add value for this position in a way that others cannot.
Security Manager Interview Questions
Why are you the best Security Manager for us?
Essentially, the interviewer is asking, 'Why should we hire you?' When it comes to hiring decisions, a company will choose the person that they believe will help them to solve a problem or a pain point in the business.
"I have worked in security for many years and am confident that I have developed the leadership abilities and security knowledge you seek in your next Security Manager. I am proactive rather than reactive, which is a critical factor mentioned in your job posting. I think on my feet and remain calm under pressure. This approach means that I can swiftly assess a situation and avoid an incident before it becomes a significant issue. I have a degree in Security Management and excelled in areas such as security strategies and security logistics. Also, I enjoy working alongside law enforcement. I have family members in law enforcement, which has helped me to understand the essential procedures surrounding police work and investigations. Between my education, career background, and managerial experience, I have a full understanding of how to do this job the right way, and I understand the risks involved in this role. Throughout my career, I've shown that I can quickly learn any new systems and that I can manage my team efficiently."
"In addition to possessing the certificate in Security Management that you require, I have also recently acquired the accreditation necessary to work as a security professional in California. I am positive by nature and will lead my team with respect as I work to build their confidence as security professionals. I also have martial arts training, primarily in Judo, which teaches the art of combat but also physical, mental, and moral strength, all critical qualities for your next Security Manager to possess."
"I am currently working in that field, and I have the required experience and knowledge pertaining to the position. I will bring integrity, dedication, dependability, initiative and a team player attitude to the organization. I am a quick learner who can adapt to any situation concerning information and security management. This will not just be a career for me but a passion to be able to assist the customers in meeting their needs in a timely manner while at the same time providing professional and reliable information."Kristine's Answer
Great start. You lay out your credentials, your skills, your passion, and what attributes you will bring to the organization. To really knock the employer's socks off, show how all of those things you mention will benefit the organization. When they hire you, what will change? I have included a powerful results-oriented message in your response that you can tailor.
"I fully meet the experience and knowledge requirements of the position, and I will bring integrity, dedication, dependability, initiative, and a commitment to my fellow team members. I am a quick learner who can adapt to any situation concerning information and security management. But what makes me the best candidate for the position is how I intend to use my knowledge and experience to produce results for your organization. I can establish higher performance standards and efficiency protocols to reduce data breaches. I can also reduce customer complaints. Meeting customers' needs is far more than just a job duty for me; it's my favorite part of the job. I get great satisfaction in meeting customer's needs and go to great lengths to make sure I'm providing them with reliable information on time."Was this answer helpful? Yes (4) or No (2)Thank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
How do you remain focused during long or overnight shifts?
Depending on the Security Manager role, and the company for which you are interviewing, you may face a variety of shifts and scheduling expectations. The interviewer would like to hear specific details of how you maintain focus if you are working long night shifts or even overtime hours.
There are many ways you can stay focused despite a challenging work schedule. These efforts can include healthy lifestyle choices and ensuring that you have a consistent approach to self-care. Discuss the tools and methods that you use to remain focused during long or overnight shifts. The more details you provide, the better your response will be received.
"I use exercise and fresh air to keep me going. As a Security Manager, I must remain alert, so activity is a healthy way to awaken my body and keep myself prepared to respond to a security issue when needed. I also prefer to work on my feet, rarely settling in and getting too comfortable at a desk. I have a stand-up desk for doing my daily documentation, which is a beneficial approach that I recently implemented. I also eat healthy so that I do not feel sluggish on the job. All of these details may seem small; however, these healthy habits that I have developed over the years have amounted to great lifestyle choices that allow me to maintain consistent energy levels."
"Cognitive studies say that human beings can only maintain vigilance every twenty minutes. So I take very short, one minute breaks every twenty minutes to refresh myself. If I'm in charge of a fixed post, I make sure that I keep my blood flowing by stretching or doing other small discreet exercises. I also keep checklists of my most essential tasks, ensuring that my brain power is reserved for critical knowledge and primed for better reaction time, even during overnight or long shifts."
What do you enjoy most about working in a team-based environment?
When your team is working together well, clearly communicating, following through on tasks, and meeting deadlines, everyone wins! Explain to the interviewer the way you approach collaborating with others. Discuss how you support your employer through excellent teamwork.
Share the top qualities of a team player that you feel you embody. Perhaps you are a good listener, or you are an exceptional problem-solver, ready to help others. As a Security Manager, how do you set the standard for a strong team?
"I have gained many critical qualities while working in team-based environments. There have been moments of isolation in previous security jobs; however, when I get to be part of a team, I am always fully immersed in the dynamics. I like to observe the working style of others and learn from them. I take note of how other people communicate and the type of communication to which they best respond. When joining a new team, I assess where I best fit within the dynamics, and where I can make my greatest contributions. I enjoy the bond that a good team can make and appreciate the trust that we can put in each other. A great team draws out my best strengths while also challenging me to be better. I am eager to learn more about your team and the group dynamics in this Security Manager role."
"As an aspiring leader, I understand the importance of being a cohesive part of a team. I know that I am to model and demonstrate the behaviors that I want to see from others. I appreciate this collaboration and group effort, and I thoroughly enjoy seeing a group of people come together to succeed. In previous team-based experiences, I appreciate when every individual on the team gets to have input. With this approach, everyone feels invested in the outcome, and this creates a situation where their success becomes the team's success. When I see a team operate that way, it's gratifying and one of my favorite factors about working in a collaborative environment."
As a Security Manager, you will be leading a team of other security professionals. Tell me about your leadership experience and approach.
Whether you are in a position of leadership or not, you have an influence on others in the workplace. Perhaps you are a strong leader with a desire to make a positive impact on others. Or, maybe it makes you uncomfortable to talk about leadership because you don't see yourself in that light.
To work successfully as a Security Manager, you should have precision and knowledge in a variety of topics, including the guidance of others. Maybe you have managed a large team in the past or simply guided one or two colleagues in an informal setting. Either way, to positively influence others, you first need to lead by example.
Think of the ways that you have acted as a leader and a positive influence in the past. Do you show up to work on time? Do you remain positive during stressful times? Or, give an example of a time when you took the initiative to solve a problem.
"I learned a lot about leadership from my education, employment, and volunteer experiences. I have shown a natural leadership ability most of my adult life, and I also approach others with respect while being aware of the importance of clear communication. While attending college, I joined the student council and took on the task of volunteer tutoring. After my graduation, I joined the local police department as an auxiliary officer. This experience taught me a lot about leadership in the community and the value attached to serving and protecting others. As a team leader, I've supervised teams as large as twelve, and as a manager, I've been held responsible for up to 120 security personnel. Regardless of the team size, I always lead by example. I demonstrate the kind of work ethic that I expect my team members to possess. For instance, I always show up 15 minutes early to anything since I believe it's always better for me to wait for someone than to have someone wait on me. I'm also very thorough, consistent, and set clear expectations. While I take responsibility for my team, I also make sure that they understand the need to take responsibility for themselves as well. In my opinion, these are the acts of a strong leader."
"As a team leader, I've supervised teams as large as twelve, and as a manager, I've been held responsible for up to 120 security personnel. Regardless of the team size, I always lead by example. I demonstrate the kind of work ethic that I expect my team members to possess. For instance, I always show up 15 minutes early to anything: always better for me to wait for someone than to have someone wait on me, I always say. I'm also very thorough and consistent, and firm with everyone as well, because I need them to enforce the rules just as firmly. While I take responsibility for my team, I also make sure that they understand that they need to take responsibility for themselves as well. I also make sure that everyone understands that I'm there to help them succeed and make them look good."
How does this Security Manager position fit into your overall career plans?
The interviewer wants to know precisely why you believe this position will be a good fit for you now and into the future. When it comes to making hiring decisions, a smart hiring authority will ensure that both parties can see a good match far into the future. When you answer this question, the interviewer should clearly understand your career goals and how this Security Manager role fits well into your plans.
Starting with your most important career goals, think backward, and layout the milestones that you would like to experience. This position should be a step forward toward your highest career aspirations. Will this role help you to feel fulfilled now, and get you to your future goals?
"This Security Manager position fits my short and longer-term career plans very well. Over the past three years, I have gained experience training fifteen junior security officers and have delivered great results, including increasing my company's security officer retention rate by 25%. I am excited to take on the responsibilities of a new and larger team, further challenging my leadership strengths and abilities. Your firm is well established and progressive in terms of security approaches and the technology that you use. These factors will ensure that I receive much needed professional challenges while at the same time, meeting the demands of the role. In this position, I will have the opportunity to deliver exceptional results by leveraging my greatest strengths, such as increased staff retention, implementing strong documentation practices, and boosting security compliance rates. Lastly, the types of projects presented in this position are a good match now, and for the long-term. I have tailored my security-related education towards security management of large, special, and high-risk events, which I understand is the bulk of your security firms' focus."
"Private security is a topic on which I am very passionate. I consider it a privilege to be responsible for the safety and security of people. Being newer to tasks such as managing security operations, I have carefully applied to roles where I am confident I will grow at a steady pace. With your well-established firm, I will learn the right habits for long-term success. I can grow my knowledge base in large-scale security projects, and receive the opportunity to grow my career as I prove myself capable. One of my more immediate career goals is to be offered this Security Manager role. Over time, I will learn a great deal from your company and leaders, picking up knowledge that will enable me to work into a director-level role when the time is right."
Have you ever planned security for a special event? If so, describe your approach.
If you are an experienced Security Manager with special events experience, you have most likely had a hand in planning some or all of an events security plan. Walk the interviewer through your expertise, being sure to include important details around your approach. Discuss what you look for when mapping out the security needs for a special event while spotlighting the fact that you are meticulous and detailed.
"Yes, I have planned security for special events, and it can be complicated. Luckily, I have a degree in Security Management with a focus on Major Events. When planning security for a special event, I first analyze what type of risks may be present. I research the event host or event hosting organization and look into whether their past events have had security issues. I look into the overall demographic of who will be attending the event. Also, the nature of the event will determine the level of security required. Once I have completed this due diligence, I dig deeper into who will be in attendance, how many people will be there, and any potential controversy. After answering these questions, I assess potential risks when it comes to public safety, criminal activity, fire, the flow of entry and exit, and overall crowd management concerns. I look at whether the location has non-human security threats. For instance, if it's an outdoor event, potential threats such as wild animals or acts of nature. Next, I sort out proper security staffing. I am sure to go in person to the event site at least once, perhaps more, depending on the size and nature of the event."
Tell me about the most serious conflict you have faced in your security career. How did you handle the situation?
As a Security Manager, you must stay calm and collected in the face of conflict. The interviewer wants to know that you have actual exposure to conflict management. The more experience you have the better prepared you will be for a role in security management.
For this 'Tell me about a time...' style of question, be sure to give a story-based example that highlights your skills in action. You can share a story of how you followed emergency response procedures to mitigate a significant issue. Try telling your account using the STAR framework, which is an acronym for Situation, Task, Action, Result. This method will ensure that your story remains straightforward and that you provide essential details when storytelling.
"(Situation and Task) When I was a Security Officer with Company ABC, myself and 15 other officers received a crowd control assignment for a small protest that had gathered outside of our city's legislative building. The protest started calm and peaceful, but as the day progressed, so did the drama. We had to keep a presence of protection and authority, and the police officers were there to handle any serious instances. (Action) As the day progressed, the protesters became more aggressive, and we had to jump in to help the police manage the chaos while also maintaining appropriate security measures. I kept calm, ensured that I had my team members back while also utilizing crowd management techniques, such as blocking access to particular areas to ensure better crowd containment. (Result) We were able to work together to keep the protest as peaceful as possible that day. I learned a lot by observing the actions of my fellow officers and the local police. I saw how quickly a seemingly controlled situation can escalate and how important it is to keep a keen mind and eye, never letting my guard down."
Where do you see your security career taking you in the next 5 years?
Thinking about your plans as a Security Manager and beyond, where would you like to see your career grow over the next five years? The interviewer wants to know about your career desires and how this position will help you to reach these goals.
Perhaps you want to expand your education, or maybe you have a specific job title that you'd like to earn down the road. Regardless of your goals, be sure to express a desire to remain with this employer for the long term while enjoying career growth, big or small!
"I have set my sights on a Security Management position with an agency like yours that is well-established and manages larger contracts. Over the next five years, I would like to lead larger teams of security professionals. I have led 5-15 people in the past, and I understand that your groups are as large as 25 people. I desire to grow my leadership skills and take continuing education courses that will benefit myself, my employer, and the security professionals that I train. These courses of interest include Business Management and Emergency Planning. Once I learn more about building emergency response plans for a variety of industries, I would like to become a specialist on this topic. I see that your agency has higher-level openings for emergency response specialists, and promotion into that type of role would be fascinating for me."
"It is important to me that I have a long-term career plan in place. However, as someone newer to my career, I believe that I must also remain flexible. I'm working towards becoming a Security Director over the years to come. To get there, I'm going to have to prove that I can handle more responsibility, and I will need to expand my education in the field of security. I see this Security Manager role as an opportunity to do that because your company has a strong history of offering continued training and promoting from within. For now, my goal is to excel in this position. From here, I will earn my way into a larger role over the years."
What is your greatest weakness as it relates to your career as a Security Manager? What are you doing to improve on this weakness?
The interviewer wants you to be honest about your weaknesses and, at the same time, they want to see that you are proactive and dedicated to improvement. Maintain a positive tone, show confidence, and display a desire for growth. Genuine vulnerability is essential, but be sure to include what you are doing to improve on the weakness.
Choose a weakness that is not a core skill for the position. Be sure to have an action plan in place for improving on this weakness. Avoid cliche answers such as I work too hard, or I am loyal to a fault. These are 'false' weaknesses that candidates use when they are unprepared. Interviewers never appreciate this approach.
Lastly, don't be discouraged by your weaknesses! One way to approach this question is to discuss a skill that you would like to develop or learn. Another way to think about it is to consider a quality or trait that you are proactively working to strengthen. Think of your weakness as an opportunity to learn and grow.
"Time management was never a strong point for me while attending school, or when I was working in an office-based role. I use to get immersed in projects at work and lose track of time. I started managing my calendar and setting alarms throughout the day so that I could be more aware of how I am spending my time. Over the past year, I have greatly improved upon my time management skills and have more time to invest in managing and training my team. As a Security Manager, I have a great deal of variety in my day-to-day activities. This variety helps me to jump in and out of tasks without being detrimentally hyperfocused on one project."
"My greatest weakness is that I can sometimes be too demanding on myself, and then that trickles down to others. I have very high expectations, and I recently realized that this comes down to a perfectionist mentality. However, what I have learned over the past few months is that perfectionism is not a point of pride. To work on this weakness, I am honing in on my understanding of perfectionism. I have been reading excellent books such as 'How to Be an Imperfectionist: The New Way to Self-Acceptance, Fearless Living, and Freedom from Perfectionism. I continue to learn and improve!"
Tell me about your experience with managing others. Who have you led, and how would you describe your management style?
When you are walking the interviewer through your existing management or leadership experience, you may want to approach the question using the Past, Present, Future framework.
- Past: Provide a brief overview of your management journey.
- Present: Discuss your current management responsibilities, as they relate to the job opportunity.
- Future: Talk about your leadership aspirations and how this future opportunity is a fit.
This framework will help you to keep your answer to this open-ended, multi-part question highly targeted and on track.
If you have experience with supervising staff, writing performance reviews, coaching employees, hiring, interviewing, terminating, scheduling, or motivating teams, be sure to mention these experiences and how you have approached them in the past.
Think about the aspects of management where you excel. What factors have contributed to your success as a manager and leader? Share with the interviewer any management or leadership training courses you have completed that contribute to your ability to manage teams successfully. Show that you are ready to take on the management challenges associated with this role.
"I have been a part of leadership teams since I was young. I was the captain of my soccer team, and in high school, I put together a team of volunteers to do neighborhood clean up on the weekends. When I was a Security Lead for a small firm, I guided teams of security officers deployed to festivals, concerts, and large sporting events. I felt challenged by the sheer scale of the event and met these challenges by using open and consistent communication with my team of 8 security officers. I am currently coaching a self-defense program for youth in my community. All of these experiences have taught me about effective leadership, and I am eager to take on even more management responsibilities as a Security Manager. Overall, I describe my leadership and management style as transparent, actionable, and honest. I know that with everything I do, someone is watching my example. For that reason, I am sure always to exude discipline and good character. There's a principle in management that I live by, and that is, 'what gets measured gets managed.' So I make sure to measure everything necessary, such as team and individual response times, the time it takes to resolve or contain a situation, and the number of incidences in a shift. This kind of information enables me to continually improve my knowledge as a Security Manager but also provide better-targeted training to those whom I lead."
"In University, I displayed management and leadership by leading many group projects, study groups, and even a couple of campus community volunteer efforts. I enjoyed the chance to put groups of people together to make a difference in the lives and habits of others. Currently, I lead a small team of security officers. I train them on best practices and ensure they are fully onboarded and comfortable in their role. I also act as a point of contact should they have questions about policy and procedures. Moving forward, I am excited to join a firm like yours in the role of Security Manager. I will bring my best management and leadership skills to this role, which include listening openly and showing a dedication to the growth and learning of others."
There are many Security Manager jobs available in our area. Why do you want to work for our security company, specifically?
The interviewer wants to hear that you are interested enough in this opportunity to research and learn more about them. You need to know what you have to offer the hiring company, but also what they can do for you.
While your passion and excitement about the job are essential, it's always good to show that you have done your research. You could talk about your desire to work for a company that is committed to its mission and values. If you find recent news articles or press releases that talk about the company's accomplishments, mention how the media release impressed you.
Be sure to show the hiring company that you foresee a terrific two-way benefit, should you be hired.
"I would like to join your firm largely in part to your company's reputation and longevity in the security industry. I read that your security firm has been in business for over 35 years and that your average employee tenure is more than ten years, which is remarkable. I also came across an online article highlighting your company as being incredibly innovative when it comes to security management techniques. I believe there will be a lot of room for me to learn while moving up in the organization as I prove myself to be reliable and trustworthy. Lastly, you are a private security firm and not a government agency, so I believe you will offer greater benefits and wages, which will help me to reach my personal and professional goals. I am seeking a positive place to work where I can do what I love, which is protecting the public, while also providing my family with the stability that comes with working for a well-established organization."
How do you handle situations that could cause you to be late or absent?
As a Security Manager, many people rely on you to be present at work when expected. You will be leading others, and you must set the stage for your team members to be responsible and accountable for their work. Share with the interviewer that you are honest, trustworthy, and reliable. Discuss the fact that you would never miss work unless an unexpected issue arose.
Perhaps you are meticulous about planning your day the night before, reviewing to-do lists, and leaving early to account for unexpected traffic. Maybe you follow a strict routine to ensure you can get to work, not just on-time, but early! If you have an example of a time when you were late or absent to work, take the interviewer through the situation, and highlight your approach.
"My approach first depends on my employer and the policies in place. For instance, I have worked for companies that required employees to have their shift covered, and then give notice of the absence along with the information of the person covering. Other places I have worked utilize an online system where 24 hours notice is required for automatic shift coverage. I have also worked temporary positions where I am the person who covers last minute employer needs. Last week I got a flat tire on the way to work. Even though I left 15 minutes early, I knew the situation would set me back for about one hour. I called my coworker to let him know I was late, and then I called my boss to clarify my lateness. Everyone was understanding because I was so proactive about the situation. Other than an emergency, I am not someone to be late or absent. I am reliable and present when expected."
"I aim to be at work 20 minutes before my shift and ready to start my day on the right foot. I understand that extenuating circumstances can happen. Should an emergency arise, I would immediately notify my superior, explain the situation, and give a clear ETA. If appropriate, I would ask a colleague to take over any immediate duties until my arrival."
Are you willing to comply with all required background checks?
Before your interview, find out more about the background requirements of this potential employer. You must be sure that you can meet these employment standards before the job interview.
The interviewer wants to be able to trust you, so it is up to you to be completely transparent about your history and any possible marks on your background that they may uncover during their due diligence process.
"A background check is no problem, and I am happy to comply with any due diligence that you may require. I did receive a DUI when I was seventeen years old; however, this infraction is not on my adult record. You will find that my criminal record is clean, and I have no history with drugs. If you'd like to perform an education verification check, I am fully compliant."
"I have a clean record, a factor that has been very important to me as I pursue a career in Security Management. I am willing to comply with any background checks that you require."
What is your greatest strength, and how will it help you as a Security Manager?
To prepare for this question, start by jotting down some of your strengths. Think of situations where particular qualities helped you to shine in the workplace. Perhaps your problem-solving skills have helped you to navigate away from a risky situation on the job. Maybe your communication and listening skills helped you to dodge a potential security issue. Talk about your strength, and how you have honed it, and then discuss how the quality will help you to succeed in this role, should you be hired.
"My greatest strength is my ability to lead others. I make sure to recognize the strengths in those that I lead, which makes them feel encouraged and fosters a desire in them to work even harder. I genuinely enjoy leading a team and acting as a positive influence on others. Every team that I've led has enjoyed a significant increase in productivity and efficiency. When I was a Cadet Sergeant in the military academy, my team members were loyal, saw personal successes, and were the most diligent of all. I believe this is because my leadership style empowered them and made them feel that they were part of something bigger than themselves."
"My greatest strengths are [list 1-3 most important skills according to the company's needs]. These strengths help me to [discuss how these skills ensure peak performance in the workplace]. I can see that [discuss what you believe are the company's greatest needs]. The skills that I mention will be a great fit [discuss the ways that your greatest strengths will benefit the hiring company]."
Tell me about one security-related situation where you wish you would have reacted differently.
The interviewer wants to hear a real-life example of a time when you wish you would have reacted differently during a security-related situation. The most critical piece of this question is to highlight what you learned from the case and how you leveraged it to improve, personally, and professionally.
This style of question is considered a scenario or situational interview question, and you can approach it by using the STAR framework. STAR is an acronym for Situation, Task, Action, Result. Try giving your story-based answer utilizing this framework. Be sure to set the stage of your story with the necessary details and provide an appropriate resolution.
"(Situation & Task) When I was working for a temp security firm while attending college, I thought that being a security officer was a pretty easy job. Being stretched thin between school and work, I did not take the training as seriously as I could have. As a result, I let down my employer and co-workers. (Action) One day, I was working security at a concert when a violent altercation occurred. My teammates pulled most of the weight during the altercation. Due to my lack of attention during training, I was frozen at the moment and did very little to help. After the situation was resolved, I realized the err of my ways. I apologized to my coworkers for letting them down and promised them that I would immerse myself in training and be better prepared to act and respond in a way that supported them and made them feel safer on the job. (Result) In the end, I was one of the most engaged team members, and even helped to train new security officers from time to time."
Do you work well under pressure? Provide an example of a time when you reacted appropriately when others may not have.
With which surveillance systems are you most familiar?
What motivates you to protect people and property?
Are you a detail oriented person? If so, provide an example to support your response.
How do you respond in high-pressure or dangerous situations?
Why did you initially choose a career as a Security Manager?
Why is security an important career for you? What motivates you to do a good job?
What type of security issues do you most commonly face, and how do you typically respond?
In which security technology do you bring the most experience and knowledge?
There are many niches in the security industry. In which industries or sectors do you have the most security experience?
What do you enjoy most about your current role? What would you change if you could?
Walk me through your security-related education and training.
Describe a time when you successfully trained a new staff member on security procedures.
How do you remain in-the-know on new security measures and helpful tools?
How do you ensure that your team remains diligent and compliant with the security measures you put into place?