25 Questions and Answers Written by Professional Interviewers
Question 1 of 25
How do you handle situations that could cause you to be late to work?
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As a detail oriented person, you are meticulous about planning your day the night before, reviewing to-do lists and laying out the clothes you'll wear. You follow your routine to ensure you are able to get to work, not just on-time, but early! What happens when something goes wrong?
"I got a flat tire on the way to work. Even though I left 15 minutes early, I knew it would set me back and I might be late. I called my coworker to let him know and then I called my boss. I ended up being late for a meeting, but everyone was understanding because I was so proactive and responsive from the minute it happened."
"I always aim to be at work thirty minutes before the start of my shift so that I can make sure that I'm refreshed and ready to start. But, things happen, so the moment that I think that there's a possibility that I may be late to work, I immediately notify my team and my superior to tell them the reason that I may be late, as well as my estimated time of arrival. If it's appropriate, I ask a colleague to take over any immediate duties that need to be handled."
Depending on the time of day, problems or distractions that could occur that might distract you. How do you respond? There are many different ways you can stay focused on the task at hand. Some people find maintaining a calendar or a schedule helpful. Others give themselves breaks every couple of hours so that they can move around and relax. What are some tools that help you stay focused?
"Studies in cognitive science say that human beings can only maintain vigilance every twenty minutes. So I take very short breaks every twenty minutes to refresh myself. If I'm in charge of a fixed post, I make sure that I keep the blood flowing by stretching or doing other small discreet exercises. I also keep checklists of everything that's important, so that I don't have to remember things, and especially because human memory is prone to error during stressful situations."
Before the interview, find out more about their requirements. If you know you will need to get a background check, get a copy of yours before they run it. You need to know if there are any infractions, major or minor, so that you can share them when they ask you about it. The worst thing that can happen is if you tell them everything is sparkling clean and then something shows up. They want to be able to trust you, and they may be okay if something minor shows up, as long as you can explain it and don't try to hide it. Do as much research as you can to find out their specific requirements and make sure you are able to meet those standards before the interview. Your response to this question should be, "A background check is no problem..." even if you do have something on your record. If you did community service or got something expunged, let them know. Share what you learned from any experiences that may show up on your record.
"A background check is no problem..."
"Of course. I have a clean record, as you can expect from someone pursuing a career in security management."
What is your greatest strength? How will it help you as a Security Manager?
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To prepare for this question, start by listing your strengths. You can narrow them down by thinking about how they help you as a security manager. Think of situations where your strengths help you shine, such as troubleshooting an access control system, or training a new employee. You could give an example of how your problem solving ability has helped you to navigate a variety of issues, listing some of the different software, tools and databases you have worked with. You could also share how you are great at dealing with conflict if it arises, referencing a situation where you used your communication and listening skills to dodge a potential blowout with a staff member. Using examples helps the interviewer get a better picture of your strengths in action.
"My greatest strength is my ability to lead a team and to be a positive influence on them. Every team that I've lead has enjoyed a significant increase in productivity and efficiency. Whether I was a cadet sergeant in military academy, a project leader in college, or a security supervisor, my team members were more loyal, saw more successes, and learned more, all because I know how to serve and lead.
This means that, if I'm hired as a security manager, you're going to enjoy improved performance from the security team."
Pro tip: Avoid listing each of your past jobs and all of your responsibilities. The interviewer has seen your resume and knows you meet the qualifications. Instead, give a brief history highlighting the relevant work you have done. If you're unsure if your past work experience is relevant, take some time to review your work history. Can you use some of your skills from another field for this role? Transferable skills can be something you learned in a completely different type of job or field but it can be used in this new role. For example, your management experience, technical knowledge and people skills are all relevant and helpful to this security manager role. You can share your last jobs, focusing on the three most recent, and then talk about what you learned, your skills and achievements.
6. Where do you see yourself in five years? This is yet another example of the type of career question you can anticipate. As you think about your career plans, where would you like to be in the next five years? How will this position help you get there? Are you planning to complete a degree or continue in your training? Do you want to start your own business? Consider responding with this:
"I want to grow in my knowledge of security software and technology. In the next five years I would like to be managing a bigger team. This position will help me in my technical skills and give me the opportunity to grow in my leadership abilities." Here is an answer example: "I want to grow in my knowledge of security software and technology. In the next five years I would like to be managing a bigger team. This position will help me in my technical skills and give me the opportunity to grow in my leadership abilities." Here is an answer example: "It's good to have a plan in place, but it's also good to remain flexible. I'm working towards becoming a security director. To get there, I'm going to have to prove that I can handle more and more responsibility. I see this job as an opportunity to do that because [XYZ reasons]. My goal is to excel at this position."7. What is the most serious conflict you have faced as a Security Manager? How did you handle it? How do you handle conflict? As a security manager, you will need to be able to stay calm and collected in the face of any safety issue. You may also need to intervene with conflicts between members of your team. For technical issues, you will need to know how to troubleshoot. If you are asked this question in an interview, you may want to offer a couple of scenarios. You can share how you followed emergency response procedures to mitigate an intrusion alarm. You could also discuss how you mediated a conflict between two coworkers and helped them resolve the issue. Here is an answer example: 8. Do you work well under pressure? You are a rock star under pressure! Here's a way you can answer this:
"I have no problem prioritizing and managing a busy workload. The pressure of deadlines can be tough, but I make sure that I stay organized and on top of things so that the pressure doesn't get to me."
Sharing some ways that you deal with pressure gives the interviewer a tangible example of how you handle it. Talk about some tips or tricks for organizing your week. Delegating tasks to your team will also help you to share the workload when it gets to be overwhelming. Techniques for managing stress are also worth mentioning here. Here is an answer example: "I have no problem prioritizing and managing a busy workload. The pressure of deadlines can be tough, but I make sure that I stay organized and on top of things so that the pressure doesn't get to me." Here is an answer example: "I'm accustomed to working under pressure. I find that having that pressure focuses me and makes me more efficient than I'd be without that pressure. Sometimes, if there's suddenly a lot that needs to get done, it can seem overwhelming, sure. But I take a breather and remind myself that this is just a good opportunity for me to exercise my management skills, and that at the end of the challenge, I'll be proud that I overcame it, that it'll be another success under my belt."9. Are you a team player? What do you enjoy most about working with a team? When your team is working together well, communicating, following through and meeting deadlines, everyone wins. Explain to the interviewer how you contribute to your team: "I am definitely a team player! I love working with my staff, because we communicate well and support each other during hectic times." Share any qualities of a team player that you feel you embody. Are you a good listener? How do you communicate with your staff? As a security manager, you may also want to draw on your leadership qualities. How do you set the standard for strong team? Here is an answer example: "I am definitely a team player! I love working with my staff, because we communicate well and support each other during hectic times." Here is an answer example: "Of course I'm a team player. As a leader, you have to lead from the front and be very collaborative. You have to model and demonstrate the behaviors that you want to see from your team. I enjoy collaborating with other people when I work in a team, and this is because I get satisfaction out of seeing a team succeed. When the entire team gets to have input, they feel invested in the outcome, and that creates a situation where their individual success becomes the team's success, which is a sum greater than its parts. When you see a team operate that way, it's very rewarding."10. What is your greatest weakness? What are you doing to improve it? 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 them as opportunities to learn and grow. Give an example that shows you have put some thought into it and that you are taking a proactive approach. Here's one way to answer the question:
"I use to get immersed in projects at work and lose track of time. Time management has never been a strong point for me. 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 my team." Here is an answer example: "I use to get immersed in projects at work and lose track of time. Time management has never been a strong point for me. 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 my team." Here is an answer example: "I think my greatest weakness is that I can sometimes be too demanding. I have very high expectations for myself and for everyone around me. When people don't perform according to those standards, I get frustrated. I'm working on my leadership ability so that I can take an underachiever and boost them up to at least average performance, if not better than average. To do that, I regularly read business leadership articles, as well as corporate leadership books written by people with military backgrounds."11. What surveillance systems are you familiar with? Home security, video surveillance and security cameras are all just a few of the different types of equipment you will need to be familiar with. Discuss your experience with the relevant technology you will be operating. If you have noticed errors in a particular program or found solutions to a particular common problem with wireless or outdoor camera systems, share what you have learned about troubleshooting to resolve the issues. Demonstrate your knowledge by going in depth about the systems you prefer to work with, which ones are reliable and which ones have been problematic in the past. Here is an answer example: 12. Why are you the best candidate for us? Consider some of the qualities required that are listed in the job description. How do you embody these? Also think of ways you have gone above and beyond. Leadership, initiative, problem-solving, awards, achievements... these are all excellent to share when given the opportunity to show off your skills. Elaborate on how you will add value for this position in a way that others can't. How will you be an asset to the company? Here is an answer example: "I am a good balance between being highly detailed and communicative with my team. Having a combination of people skills and technical skills helps me to train my team and manage high level security." Here is an answer example: "I have all the required certifications and licenses, and I have many years of experience in a wide range of settings. But, to be honest, I'm sure there's a fair amount of people who also have those same qualifications. What I bring to the table is my experience. I have direct experience managing a team of this size in a same sized building. Over the course of my career, I've shown that I can quickly learn any new systems and that I can manage my team to efficiently handle very large user populations. My adaptability makes me the best candidate for you because it means that I can manage all of your security needs for the foreseeable future."13. Are you a detail oriented person? Do you notice bad grammar or misspelled words even when you're not looking for them? Do you pay attention to the accessories people are wearing or notice a new nail color on your coworker every week? Do you recognize patterns or when things are out of place? Most likely you are a detail oriented person! Give examples of how you have noticed details in your most recent job. Share how your attention to detail has been helpful in noticing and solving problems. Here is an answer example: Here is an answer example: "I pay attention to the smallest of details. Earlier in my career, I was assigned a roving patrol in a residential property. We'd received a bulletin from the police department about burglaries in the area, along with a description of the two suspects.
One day, on a patrol, I observed and logged a few wood splinters on a window sill. Upon examining the window frame, it appeared that someone had attempted to open the window using some kind of tool. I reported it to my supervisor and she increased the frequency of patrols in that area.
Three days later, I observed two males who matched the description of the burglars. They were loitering near the adjacent property and appeared to be looking at the windows. I reported it to the police department, and the males were apprehended. As you can see, if I hadn't noticed the splinters, the property I was assigned to might've been victimized."14. What motivates you to protect our customers, building, operations, etc? "It's my job to provide optimal security. I like helping people feel safe by securing their information."
Think of some specific reasons why your job is so important. Depending on which aspect of security you work in, you may be focused more on property or information. Share what you like about your job. What keeps you going even when you are discouraged or experiencing stress on the job. Here is an answer example: "It's my job to provide optimal security. I like helping people feel safe by securing their information." Here is an answer example: "I think of security as a vital function in modern society. The security department keeps everyone safe from fire, theft, and crime, and we're the ones responsible for everyone during emergencies. Imagine if an entire building of a thousand people had to worry about these things themselves. They wouldn't be able to function efficiently at anything that they're doing, whether they're office workers writing reports or janitorial staff cleaning the building. And not everyone has the time or inclination to learn about fire safety and evacuation procedures. So the security team has to learn all of that so that the people can stay safe and secure by following our instructions."15. How do you handle stressful situations? Take a moment to think about how you deal with stress in your life. Have you noticed that when it begins to build and you feel stress coming at you in all directions, you can get overwhelmed? Before answering this question, think of some tools that have helped you manage your stress at work and in your daily life. What will you do when you can't take a break when you need it? What situations do you find most stressful?
"I make a point to develop positive relationships with my coworkers. When I have tight deadlines and alarms going off, I know I can depend on my team to support me."
Knowing the types of stress that trigger you and having a plan of action will help you to manage stress and ultimately be more productive at work. Sometimes explaining the problem to a coworker can help you feel more calm as you understand the issue and see that it's not as big as it feels. Here is an answer example: "I make a point to develop positive relationships with my coworkers. When I have tight deadlines and alarms going off, I know I can depend on my team to support me." Here is an answer example: "Stressful situations are common. I handle them by staying calm and observing the facts of the situation to determine what needs to be done immediately to contain it. If, for example, there's someone who gained unauthorized access to a certain part of the building, I look at the scale and impact of the breach and react accordingly. I also make sure that I train my team well and develop good relationships with them so that I know that I can depend on them. "16. Tell me about your management experience. What are some aspects of management that you excel in? If you have experience with supervising a staff, writing performance reviews, coaching employees, hiring, interviewing, terminating employees, scheduling, or motivating teams, be sure to mention these things. Share any training courses you have completed that contributed to your ability to manage teams. You may also include any experience from other fields, like the service industry or working retail. All management or supervising experience is valuable. Discuss a few examples that show you are ready to take on the challenges of this role. Here is an answer example: Here is an answer example: "I'm a very experienced manager. There's a principle in management: what gets measured gets managed. So I make sure to measure everything that's important, such as team and individual response times, the time it takes to resolve or contain a situation, the number of incidences and at what time they occur—this kind of information enables us to continually improve.
I use this management system to improve staff performance. It motivates them to do a good job because it's a transparent system that's very objective. When I interview people for a job, I tell them about this system that I use. Their reaction informs part of my decision in whether to hire them. I've seen this get good results whether I'm hiring a team for a corporate office building, residential properties, or retail stores."17. Tell me about your leadership experience. You are a strong leader with a desire to make a positive impact on others. You have are an influencer in many aspects of your life, but how do you talk about? Working as a security manager requires your precision and knowledge to maintain security systems and software. You may be managing a large team or just one or two employees performing technical support. To positively influence your team, you will need to lead by example. How have you done this in the past? Do you show up on time? Do you stay positive during stressful times? Give an example of a recent time you successfully led a team or took initiative to solve a problem. Here is an answer example: Here is an answer example: "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."18. Why did you choose to become a Security Manager? You can answer this from a more personal perspective to allow the interviewer to get to know you a bit better. Here is an answer example: "I have always loved learning about computers and how things work. I took apart my first computer when I was 13 and learned how to put it back together. Learning about security and software systems came natural to me." Here is an answer example: "I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in security when I took my first job as a uniformed security officer. I enjoyed helping people navigate the building, I liked observing and being vigilant. Eventually, I discovered that I had a strong leadership ability. I chose to become a security manager because I take security very seriously and understand its function in both business and society, and I want to multiply my effectiveness."19. Why do you want to work for our company? What interests you most about the company? Does it have a great reputation? How will it help you reach your goals? The interviewer wants to hear that you are interested enough to research and learn more about them. It's important for you to know not only what you have to offer them, but what they can do for you. While your passion and excitement about the job are important, it's always good to have some hard facts to back it up. Talk about your desires to work for a company that is committed to its values and serving its customers. If you find recent news articles or press releases that talk about the company's accomplishments, mention how it impressed you. Companies love to get buttered up by a potential employee, and now is a great time to earn some brownie points. Here is an answer example: 20. Why is security important to you? Think of all the ways security protects your customers. How do surveillance systems improve the safety of people's homes? Consider how much of an impact you are making on improving people's lives, not only by keeping them safe, but also by helping them to feel less afraid. This question is basically asking why your job is important to you. How does working in security help others? Why is that important to you? Here is an answer example: Here is an answer example: "The physical safety of others and the security of vital information is extremely important to society as a whole. When people are safe, when they don't have to worry about whether or not a fire might burn the building down and kill them in it, or whether a convict might sneak into the building and assault someone, then they can focus on doing whatever job they've been hired to do and being a great asset to their company. That's why security is important to me: because it's an essential function of civilized society."21. How have you responded to serious situations in the past? First take a moment to define serious. What would a serious situation be in the security business? Think of an example, like a breach in security that could affect a company's financial assets. Or maybe a break in that resulted in property damage and valuables being stolen. Whatever the situation, explain what happened and how you responded. As soon as you saw the alarm, did you alert the cops? Did you fix the glitch in the system immediately when you noticed an error message? You need to be quick on your feet and be able to think quickly to resolve emergency situations. Show off your critical thinking skills and your ability to make sound, informed decisions in the face of serious matters. Here is an answer example: Here is an answer example: "In the security industry, a serious situation demands a serious response. All infractions must be dealt with quickly and thoroughly. First, I have to determine the impact and the scale of the incident. Then I have to interpret the situation, decide on a course of action, and then act on it. Most of the time, speed is essential to contain the damage or risk."22. How does this position fit into your career plans? What is your career plan? This is a great question to prepare for before your interview! Starting with the goal, think backwards to lay out the milestones. This position might be a step forward toward your goal of becoming a security manager. A good way to frame it in answer form would be to say, "I'm excited to get started on my path towards becoming a security manager. The knowledge and experience I will gain from working with your team will give me the tools to be successful in the field, and help me to reach my goals." Here is an answer example: "I'm excited to get started on my path towards becoming a security manager. The knowledge and experience I will gain from working with your team will give me the tools to be successful in the field, and help me to reach my goals." Here is an answer example: "Security management is something that I'm passionate about, and I consider it a privilege to be responsible for the safety and security of people. Being a security manager is something that I can see myself doing for foreseeable future, anywhere from 5 years or more. Along the way, I expect that I'll learn a great deal, picking up knowledge that might eventually enable me to be a security director."23. What security systems do you have the most experience with? Whether you have worked with alarm systems, keyless entry systems, video monitors or complex surveillance systems, you will want to share as much relevant technical knowledge as you can. Be sure to review the job description and make a note of all of the different systems they are currently using and an additional technical skills they require. Here is an answer example: Here is an answer example: "From my time as a security manager of a corporate office building, I have extensive experience with surveillance systems, electronic access control systems, and alarm systems."24. What experience do you have in security? Share your professional background referencing some of the highlights of your experience. Draw from the job description for direction. You may want to focus on some of the software and equipment you are familiar with. Start by discussing systems you have used to demonstrate your knowledge. Talk about any accomplishments, promotions or specific problems you have solved to show your competency. Whether you are an expert in facility management software, policies or safety procedures, this is your opportunity to share how your experience applies to the job and how you will add value to the company. Here is an answer example: Here is an answer example: "In my career so far, I've worked in retail and corporate environments. I have experience with a wide range of security functions, such as loss prevention, access control, and surveillance. I also have XYZ certifications and my fire safety director license. I've supervised teams as large as 15 officers."25. What do you enjoy most about your job? Share a few aspects of the job that you like and explain why. You can incorporate some of your strengths in your answer as well. For example, are you energized by problem solving and troubleshooting technical issues? Why is that? Delve deeper into explaining how you are detail oriented and enjoy helping people and resolving issues as it is a natural talent. Do you enjoy managing others? Of course you do! You are a leader and you take pride in building solid teams and training others. Explain what you know about the job that you find stimulating and interesting, either from your education or experience. Here is an answer example: Here is an answer example: "I enjoy building relationships with my team. I always have an eye for long-term success and performance, and that means I have to show my team that I care about them and that I'm invested in their personal and professional success. When an employee is happy in life, he or she is happy at work, and it becomes a feedback loop. The more satisfied they are when they come to work, the more productive they are, the longer they stay. And seeing team members grow is extremely rewarding."
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