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Home Employers Candidate Attraction 10 Essential traits to look for, when hiring security personnel
10 Essential traits to look for, when hiring security personnel

10 Essential traits to look for, when hiring security personnel


Hiring security personnel in the UK can be fraught with problems. Many CV’s tend to be pretty formulaic. Nobody gets marked on their SIA training, so you don’t know who did well and who scraped through. You need reliable ways to sort the wheat from the chaff. 

Here are my Top Ten traits to identify.

  1. Reliability. Look at the length of service of the applicants last couple of jobs. Are there big gaps between jobs? If an applicant was with a previous employer long past what would have been a probationary period, it indicates a degree of reliability.
  2. Communication skills. How does the application or introductory letter read? With this info, do you think that the applicant would be able to draft a decent report or statement?
  3. Attention to detail. If there are spelling or grammatical errors on the CV or application, look elsewhere. We all make mistakes, but if the author of a CV doesn’t think it important enough to get it checked by someone, then that says a lot about their attitude.
  4. Enthusiasm. Any extra curricular security related training, over and above the mandatory SIA requirement, suggests someone engaged and possibly looking to make a career in the industry. Any voluntary activity outside of work, is also a good indicator of the person’s character.
  5. Politeness. This candidate will be an ambassador for your company, interacting with your client and the public alike. If the appropriate “please” and “thank yous” are missing from correspondence and phone conversations, give them a miss.
  6. Appearance. How would you know this prior to an interview? Well, some CVs have a photo featured on them, I’m not a fan, but it happens. Better still, the leading Security Industry jobs board, GuardPass, lets candidates post a 20 second introductory video. This should give you all the information you need to know about their grooming and standard of dress. (And communication skills!)
  7. Engagement. Candidates that ask intelligent and relevant questions, and that can display some prior knowledge about the company or the role, indicate individuals that have done a bit of homework and want to impress. Be impressed.
  8. Health. Now depending on the role, it can be quite feasible that those with registered disabilities may be able to perform the job effectively. In some cases however, a candidate’s health issues may preclude them. Heart and respiratory issues for example, In hiring security personnel, it may mean a candidate will not be able to do very much foot patrolling. Those with epilepsy may not be suitable to work alone. Every step should of course be taken to accommodate those with specific medical issues or requirements, but sometimes this is simply not practical.
  9. Personal Commitments. Candidates that have important personal responsibilities may not be suitable or able to work the shifts or hours required of the role. Childcare or assisting an elderly relative, will always be more important than work, and rightly so. If feasible and you value the candidate, examine the possibility of job sharing or part time work.
  10. Suitability for the role. This may seem obvious, but some people are just not going to be effective in certain roles. You have a duty of care to protect your employees and keep them safe from harm to the best of your ability. We may all be equal, but we are not all the same, or with similar abilities and attributes, so it is not discriminatory if you choose to only deploy a female officer to a residential assignment where the Wife and Children of the client are at home with the officer all the time. Like it or not, the security concierge at a “gentleman’s club”, is probably going to need to be a chap, just to avoid the wrath of Major Moustache and his friends.

If you are hiring security personnel try GuardPass. If the candidate has a profile on GuardPass, take a look. They may have obtained “skills badges”, a FREE and easy form of CPD, that indicates genuine interest in the industry. Hopefully they will have taken the time to upload that video introduction I mentioned earlier. In any event, the security specific sections on the GuardPass professional profiles will probably be more informative than the company application form that needs to be completed.