The Top Skills Your Security Guard Hires Need in 2020
Guard managers need to be more selective than ever before in a market where industry demands and available applicants don’t always match up. An attitude of “hiring whoever is next in line” won’t work with today’s security needs and new technology. If it’s been a while since you have updated your hiring process, now is the time – and when it comes to vetting resumes or creating an online job description, we have a few requirements that you should consider emphasizing. Here’s what to look for.
Experience with Access Control Systems
Access control is now a central part of most security guard activities. In the past, this often meant keeping an eye on security cameras and understanding how security card passes work. Today the access control world is different, frequently more complex: Multiple levels of access may need to be monitored, and access technologies now include QR codes, NFC chips, Bluetooth connections, and other options.
Communication technologies involved in access control have also improved: Skype and FaceTime may be regular tools used for site inspections, check-ins, and other tasks. These developments mean it’s more important than ever for guards to have experience with the latest access control techniques, or at least knowledge about how they work. On-the-job training always aids this process, but some foundational understanding is key to adopting new systems easily.
Experience with GPS and Tracking Technologies
Another common technology used in modern security services is GPS tracking and associated location solutions. In fact, if you haven’t already invested in GPS technology, it’s probably on your priority list for upgrades: GPS is being used to track security vehicles, security guard movements, important supply transfers, timekeeping programs, and coordination with other security agents.
If your guards are going to be using this technology, then they need the basic skills to understand and use it. Experience with location software in the past (trucking, military, and similar backgrounds are good for this) can be a significant advantage for many positions. At the least, guards should be familiar with smartphones and app use, since that is how many of these systems are managed – a particularly important consideration for guards that will be patrolling or in charge of deliveries.
Customer Service and Personality
Customer service skills haven’t been high on the list for security guard companies until recent years have shifted demand. Now companies are keenly aware that the security guards they hire are also representing their brand: This includes the way they dress, how they talk to customers, the questions they need to answer, and how they communicate via emails or phones. We’re seeing more and more security arrangements include customer-facing responsibilities, sometimes even concierge-like duties for guards. Guards in turn need to be prepared for this when necessary, which means the ability to learn customer service skills and accompanying personality traits that make this possible.
A Strong Health Record
Increased risk management and expanded expectations for security guards makes health more important than ever. Along with rigorous background checks and licensing requirements, more companies are starting to ask questions about physical fitness and health issues. Certain health issues may make it more difficult for guards to perform required tasks. This application consideration does depend on local hiring laws and medical discrimination regulations, so some legal research or consultation is required. However, it’s a trend in the guard industry which may have a significant impact on applicant pools when implemented.
Flexible Time Management
As security guards are called on to perform more varying duties, including attending special events, flexible time management becomes a key skill for modern guards. Companies should look for guards that have easy access to transportation and the ability to work different shifts as needed. For these reasons, guards that can only work part-time are becoming less common in the industry.
Note that this requirement can vary based on region or security services. In urban areas, for example, transportation is much less of an issue with public transportation options more common. Businesses that specialize primarily in off hours security already have certain shift demands – and so on.
Specific Business Specialization
On a company-by-company basis, security services may specialize in certain industries – education, airports, churches, hotels, etc. These industries may have specific requirements, including certain equipment security guards need to use, threats they should be aware of, and maybe even industry-specific skills. If this is a consideration for your company, don’t hesitate to include these points in your position descriptions. While job training can often cover gaps here, past experience in certain industries can prove very useful.
Final Note: Increased Compensation
As needs shift, 2019 has seen a greater focus on technology, communication, customer service, and flexibility. Overall, more is required of security guards than ever before. This is also why we are seeing more guard positions that require an associate’s degree or similar level of education. But with these new demands, there’s also an expectation of increased compensation.
If your company hasn’t yet revisited compensation packages and adjusted them for new demands, 2020 is a great time to do so: The hiring field remains competitive, and many other security companies are increasing their wages to attract the best talent. Also remember to keep your insurance, training and certifications current for your most demanding clients.
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