Demonstrate your trustworthiness and knowledge of professional standards. Give the interviewer a step-by-step description of the actions you would take in response to this situation.
"Immediately I'd write down the details: a description of the person, the location of the incident, the date and time, and the item that I observed was being concealed. I would immediately report it to my supervisor."
Demonstrating your desire for professional growth shows that you're serious about this industry and will give the interviewer confidence that you have a good chance of staying in this position. Start with a strength and mention a skill or trait that you'd like to improve.
"I've been in video surveillance for 18 months now, and I'm very vigilant about watching the monitors. But now I'd like to learn how to set the cameras up and where to place them. I'd also like to learn more about physical security."
Demonstrate your observation process in a logical and step-by-step manner. Make sure that the details you note are the pertinent ones in this position.
"I developed a system that I use every day. I always make sure that I have a pad and working pen every time I come to the station. When there's an incident, I note down the second first because that changes in an instant. Then I note the minute. Next, I observe how many individuals are involved so I know how many people I need to detail. I start from the left of the screen and jot down in shorthand the most identifiable: hair, eyes, and skin color, male or female, and their height and build. [...]"
Integrity is best displayed through honesty and consistent moral values. Talk to the interviewer about the way(s) that you show your integrity in the workplace.
"In my last position, I was responsible for the cash deposit on a daily basis. There was never a discrepancy, in the 4 years that I worked there. I best show my integrity by being a consistently reliable employee."
When possible, research the needs of the company by looking at the job openings. Look on Glassdoor for information about the company. Search LinkedIn for the company name and try to draw out an organizational chart. This will help you see the possibilities in that organization. You may want to choose a position two levels separate from the one you're applying to. For example, a supervisor would be one level above yours, and a manager would be two levels above yours. This indicates to the interviewer that you have a low probability of leaving the job and a high probability of staying with the company. Otherwise, you can choose to speak on a certain aspect of the job that interests you. Connect your interest with key traits that you have and skills that you're good at.
"I'm very interested in surveillance because I'm very good at observation. I think very logically, in terms of cause and effect, and I'm very detail oriented and good at writing reports. I'm really interested to see how these skills can be used in other positions, but right now I'm focused on doing the best job I can as a surveillance operator."
Prepare a quick anecdote that illustrates key character traits that are important to the job. Start with 1-2 traits and explain how it enables you to be good at a skill. Move on to 1-2 other traits. End by tying it all together to explain why that makes you a 'natural' for the position.
"I'm a very observant person, and I'm a good judge of character. One time, when my friends were in a bar, I noticed a man who was a little bit out of place and paying attention to all the wrong things. From his body language, I thought that he might've been looking for someone to fight. I told my friends that we should move to other side of the bar to avoid any problems. And I was right: shortly after we moved, he started picking on someone and they got into a fight. That's when I took an interest in surveillance. With all those cameras, I could see more and detect more."
A good leader takes initiative, listens and communicates well with others. A good follower is good at following directions and working hard to accomplish tasks. Both have great qualities. Depending on the role, it may be more important for you to instigate solving problems and creating innovative solutions, or it may be more important to get the work done. Share some of your strengths to show you have qualities in both categories. Consider answering this question by simply saying, "It depends on the situation. I am good at listening and following directions, but I am also great with people and working as a team to solve problems. I would say I have qualities of both, and I know I would rise to the occasion if given a leadership opportunity."
"It depends on the situation. I am good at listening and following directions, but I am also great with people and working as a team to solve problems. I would say I have qualities of both, and I know I would rise to the occasion if given a leadership opportunity."
Choose 2-3 character traits that would be key to your success as a surveillance operator. Keep in mind the conditions of the position. Surveillance operators often work alone, though they may be called upon to work in a team. They work at varying shifts. They are also often in charge of detailed reporting. The role may require sitting for long periods of time in a single room.
"I'm mostly introverted, and I don't get bored easily. I tend to be quite detail oriented, so I notice things that other people might not. I'm also a positive person most of the time."
Be honest in your answers and only give information that presents you in the best light possible. Give a clear picture of how staying in this position for a minimum of one year will be necessary for you to achieve those goals. Highlight the importance of the surveillance operator in the context of the entire team. Be enthusiastic but not overzealous: it's important to be humble as you convey the importance of the surveillance operator in relation to the rest of the team.
"In ten year's time, I'd like to be the director of loss prevention. That means that I need to know how to do a good job at each of the positions that will be reporting to me. I'm choosing to commit myself to surveillance operator at this time because I believe that surveillance plays an important part in loss prevention. After all, I can see much more than the officers can on the floor."
This question can be difficult because it requires you to know enough about the company to be impressed by what they do and what they have to offer. The only way to find out is by simply doing research. Review the company website first. If the company is more service or client focused, you can read reviews of customers and find out about their reputation. Sometimes you can even find articles or press releases to give you the low down on their latest accomplishments, innovations or company culture. Pinpoint the highlights. Know the company vision so that you can easily tell them, "I am impressed by your mission and I love how much of an impact you made on the local community." Sharing your knowledge about the latest news at their company is a great indicator that you have a vested interest and know what you are looking for in a company.
"I am impressed by your mission and I love how much of an impact you made on the local community."
Pick one of your weaknesses that is not a necessity for the role. Be candid and humble in your answer recognizing that you really aren't great at something and acknowledging your need to improve. Be sure you have an action plan in place for improving on this weakness too. Perhaps you are watching TED Talks about the weakness, reading the latest-and-greatest book on the subject, or maybe you are taking a seminar at a nearby community center in the near future. We are all human and all have weaknesses, so don't be afraid to share yours!
Example answer: "One time two monitors started blinking on and off, and then suddenly shut off. I quickly noted down the time that this happened and I called my supervisor. Since she was on the other side of the building, it would take her at least a couple of minutes to get here. I took that time to examine the cables to see if there was any damage. I also checked the electrical outlets and radioed other staff to see if they were having the same issue. I kept an eye on other nearby cameras that weren't affected by the issue to see if there were any people entering or exiting the blacked out area."
"One time two monitors started blinking on and off, and then suddenly shut off. I quickly noted down the time that this happened and I called my supervisor. Since she was on the other side of the building, it would take her at least a couple of minutes to get here. I took that time to examine the cables to see if there was any damage. I also checked the electrical outlets and radioed other staff to see if they were having the same issue. I kept an eye on other nearby cameras that weren't affected by the issue to see if there were any people entering or exiting the blacked out area."
It's best to demonstrate that you know how to properly escalate an internal situation so that you don't overburden the supervisor.
"I'd ask him if he knows that the boss wants us to keep them in chronological order. I'll remind him once or twice, but then if it keeps happening, I'll have to tell the supervisor."
As a surveillance operator, you'll be responsible for operating and maintaining surveillance equipment. This will involve an understanding of technology and how different systems interact with one another. Give an example of your comfort with navigating technology. If you don't have direct experience with the particular system that they're using, give an example of a time when you learned a technology very quickly.
"Yes, I'm very tech savvy. I'm the one that all my friends and family come to when they need help. I set up a residential CCTV security system for my aunt before. It was simple enough to hook up the cameras to the DVR and the alarm triggers."
In general, employers want to hire a person who is interested in staying within that profession. Give reasons that you would stay in the position. These reasons should be related to character traits because character traits don't change easily.
"For the next year or so, I'm looking to build a solid reputation as a surveillance operator. I enjoy the work because it requires observation, and that's something that I do very well. I naturally notice the little details."
Research the company's openings and hierarchy. You want to demonstrate that you're not a flight risk and that you have a stake in developing yourself professionally. Choose a skill that you judge to be valuable to the company and the role you're interviewing for and explain the positive impacts that training would bring to the company. Bear in mind that, depending on the company, you may have a chance to participate in this training on the company dollar.
"I'd be interested in getting further training on surveillance security. For example, I'd like to learn more about how to install cameras, where to place them [...] so that I can reduce the impacts on the company's insurance premiums."
Answer honestly. If you don't have any direct experience, give examples of times when you documented occurrences; even better if they had a real impact. Whether or not you do, demonstrate your attention to detail, integrity, and writing ability. If you have real examples, use them. If not, give a clear step-by-step view of how you would document an incident.
"I don't have any direct experience, but I've been practicing my report writing and documentation skills. I know that date and time is important, and that being concise and factual is important. For example, if there's a fight, I need to note who began the altercation at what time..."
This question would most likely be asked if you don't have a lot of surveillance experience throughout your career. Therefore you must make a strong impression that you have the necessary traits and abilities. Identify the traits and abilities that are crucial to your success as a surveillance operator. Keep those in mind as you recount your previous work experience and point out how you were able to use those traits and abilities in a surveillance-oriented manner in those other jobs.
Answer directly. If the company has room for growth and encourages internal promotion, you may wish to include future plans for further education if you have any. However, a straightforward answer is sufficient.
"I have a high school diploma and I plan on working for a company that can help me with tuition because I want to get a degree in security management."
Always do basic research about the company: how long it has been in business, any specializations or awards that it has earned, etc. If it is not a security company, then research your department's role in the company. Give a reason that you're excited to work for that specific department and how you imagine that you could make a positive impact on the business as whole.
"Blackwood Casino's been in business for fifty years, and I read in the Loss Prevention Ledger that the casino has seen a small but steady rise in customer-on-customer incidents over the last three years. I want to put my skills to use and help Blackwood Casino reduce its liability and increase its safety record, that way the casino's guest reputation will improve."
Having strong attention to detail is an important aspect of being a surveillance operator due to the functions you will perform and the responsibilities and duties you fulfill through those functions. Give an honest appraisal. Even if your past positions required little or moderate attention to detail, you can highlight your desire to utilize a high attention to detail or give an example where you actually used strong attention to detail to achieve a result that is beneficial to the company.
"To be honest, on a daily basis, there weren't too many tiny details that we needed to keep track of. But there was on incident where I noticed a clerical error in one of the many reports we have to file on a weekly basis. This helped ensure that we were compliant with safety regulations for the next insurance audit."
Demonstrate good judgment by explaining your thought and decision-making process. Use if-then sentences and lay out steps in a step-by-step way.
"I exercise my judgment about what needs to be brought to my supervisor. If it's an urgent matter then I'll bring it to him or her immediately. When I make a decision, I present it as a recommendation to my supervisor and explain why. Then I wait for approval."
Simply give an example where you were expected to keep some information confidential. Show what your role was in the incident and why it was important for you to protect someone's confidentiality. Explain why confidentiality is important and what the consequence of violating confidentiality would be. This will demonstrate your understanding of the importance of confidentiality.
"I once observed a male supervisor sexually harassing a female employee. I reported it to my supervisor, who reported it to human resources. I think HR decided that it was a fireable offense because that supervisor got fired. I was told to keep this confidential because if we talked about it with anyone, we might get sued for slander."
If possible, find out ahead of time what problems that location or company has been facing. If there's an issue with theft, talk about traits that would aid in reducing theft (and therefore would improve shrinkage). If there's an issue with customer incidents, talk about traits that would help reduce the company's liability in lawsuits. Choose 1-3 character traits and/or skills and connect them to actions that would benefit the company.
"I am very reliable and flexible, which means that if you need me to cover for someone's shift when they get sick or something, I will be there for you. I'm also very attentive and responsive. One time, there was a physical altercation between two guests and I was the only one who noticed it on the monitor. I reported it to security quickly and they were able to arrive on the scene to prevent further injuries."
In the job description, you'll find key traits, attributes, and skills that they're looking for. Use this information to your advantage. As a surveillance operator, you may be expected to have knowledge of the business operations. Vigilance, integrity, and respect for confidentiality are also key traits. Connect each attribute to a real or hypothetical example and wrap it up with a benefit to the company.
A Surveillance Operator can also hold job titles such as CCTV Operator, Security Officer, or Surveillance Investigator. Using computer surveillance equipment, a Surveillance Operator spends their time observing the behavior of patrons in businesses and public spaces such as casino's, shopping malls, hotels, tourist attractions, parking garages, construction sites, hospitals, government buildings, and more.
Attention to detail and the ability to closely monitor CCTV footage is required for this role. Good judgement is important as is the ability to make important and timely decisions while under pressure. Understanding social norms and human behavior is also an important skill as a Surveillance Operator.
Strong documentation skills are needed as a Surveillance Operator may be asked to document and report any potential incidences, criminal behavior or unusual circumstances.
Formal post-secondary education is generally not required to be successfully employed as a Surveillance Operator; however, a High School Diploma or GED may be expected. To be competitive in this line of work it is recommended that a Surveillance Operator take some coursework or certification in security related matters such as Criminal Justice, Psychology, Self-Defense, CCTV operation and computer programming/ troubleshooting.
Most Surveillance Operator roles require a full criminal background check. A Security Industry Authority (SIA) licence may also be required. In order to take some of these courses, you may have to be of legal age in your State. Protective Services roles may require additional security clearance.