35 Security Guard Interview Questions (With Sample Answers)

Updated March 10, 2023

When hiring a security guard, employers seek individuals who are trustworthy and attentive to security procedures. If you're applying for a security position, you should show employers that you can keep their employees, facilities and equipment safe and secure with your conflict resolution skills and safety expertise. One way to display these skills is during an interview for a security job, so it's important to prepare ahead of time to show employers you're a qualified candidate.

In this article, we share common security interview questions and give tips and example answers to help you prepare.

Related: Learn About Being a Security Guard

General questions

These general security interview questions help an employer learn more about your personality and interest in the position:

  • Tell me a little about yourself.

  • How would your previous employer describe you?

  • Do you consider yourself an attentive person?

  • What are your interests and hobbies outside of work?

  • Why are you interested in this job?

  • What are your career goals as a security guard?

  • Explain your previous experience as a security guard.

  • What skills make you qualified for this position?

  • What is your favorite part of being a security guard?

  • What is your least favorite part of being a security guard?

  • What would you do during your downtime at this job?

  • How comfortable are you with being on the premises alone in the evening?

  • Are you able to work primarily night shifts?

Related: Learn About Being a Security Officer

Questions about security experience and background

These questions help an employer determine if you have the right experience and background for a security position:

  • What industries have you worked in as a security guard?

  • Please explain what your responsibilities were in your last security role.

  • How have your previous experiences prepared you for this role?

  • What is your greatest strength as a security officer?

  • What is your greatest weakness as a security officer?

  • Describe your experience with different security systems.

  • Do you have any previous medical or CPR training?

  • How do you help guests and employees feel safe?

  • What procedures do you typically use to keep large crowds under control?

  • How do you stay alert and attentive during a shift?

  • Have you ever dealt with a difficult visitor? What did you do in this situation?

Related: Security Guard Skills: What They Are and How To Develop Them

In-depth questions

These in-depth questions help an employer gain specific insight into your skills and qualifications as a security guard or officer:

  • What was the most challenging situation you've experienced as a security guard? How did you handle it?

  • What strategies do you use to diffuse high-tension situations?

  • What strategies would you use to protect our facility, employees and yourself?

  • How would you handle theft or vandalism?

  • What would you do if an intruder broke into the facility?

  • What would you do if someone you knew tried to enter the building without the proper credentials?

  • Have you ever had to save a person's life?

  • What would you do in a security emergency where the facility is understaffed?

  • What would you do if you noticed a fellow security guard slacking off on the job?

  • Describe a time you had to work with others to solve a security problem.

  • Describe a time when you had to collaborate with the police.

Related: Security Specialist Resume Samples

Interview questions with sample answers

Using questions from above, here are some tips and sample answers you can use as inspiration when preparing for your interview:

How would your previous employer describe you?

An interviewer may want to know what kind of relationship you had with your previous employer. This question can also help them better understand what kind of employee you are to decide whether you would be a good fit for their company. If you have a good relationship with your previous employer, reconnect and ask them how they viewed you as an employee. If you aren't as close to them or don't have time to reach out, think about how they would describe you based on the value you brought to their company.

Example: "When I left my previous company, my manager was sad to see me go. On my last day of work, they said how much they appreciated my time with the company and that they've never had a more hard-working security officer. I think they would describe me as someone dedicated to my job and willing to put in extra effort during busy times."

What is your greatest strength as a security officer?

This question helps interviewers understand how you view yourself as a candidate. They want someone confident in their applicable skills as well as their ability to effectively handle this role. To come up with a strong answer, think about what you do best as a security officer. Assess your skills to decide which ones help you keep an area safe and secure.

Example: "My ability to follow procedures is my greatest strength as a security officer. For each security job I've had in the past, I've been diligent about learning each company's policies. Likewise, I took a criminal justice course to learn about my rights as a security officer. I want to ensure that I am acting within the rules of the company and the confines of the law at all times. During my downtime, I often review the employee handbook and think about what I would do in certain situations. By being prepared and knowing the rules, I can help make this a safe environment for everyone."

What would you do if a fellow guard was slacking on the job?

As security guards or officers, you and your colleagues are likely to have a lot of downtimes. This is especially true for officers who work shifts in the middle of the night. Employers ask this question to make sure you are accountable during work hours and can influence others to stay on task. In your answer, try to remain positive and show how you would resolve the situation calmly without conflict. For example, you might say that you would encourage your coworker to get back to work by reminding them about company policies.

Example: "If I saw that a coworker wasn't doing their job, I would first politely talk to them about it. I would remind them that the safety of this facility is our responsibility and that we need to be attentive at all times. If their behavior continued, I would refer to the employee handbook to learn the procedure for these instances. For example, at my last job, the guidelines were to report these kinds of behaviors to management, which is what I would do if a colleague's work ethic became a problem.

Describe a time you worked with others to solve a security problem

Many venues and facilities need a team of security personnel, especially for large events. This question helps the interviewer determine if you have experience working well with others. Show the interviewer that you can effectively collaborate with coworkers and use teamwork to solve problems by describing a specific situation in your career when working together led to a positive outcome.

Example: "My previous security job was at a concert venue. During a rock concert, some people started to dance pretty aggressively. At first, it looked like they were just having fun, but then people started complaining. My coworkers and I worked quickly to diffuse the situation by splitting up and using our radios to communicate.

I stood on the balcony to identify the individuals who were being disruptive and communicated their locations to my coworkers. Then, they spoke to each person to tell them to stop. Most people did, but we had to work together to escort a few individuals out of the venue without causing a disturbance to other concert guests. After that, everyone else was able to enjoy the rest of the concert."

How do you stay alert and attentive during a shift?

Some security positions may require you to work long hours during late shifts. Employers want to make sure that you have strategies to stay awake and alert to properly do your job. As you prepare your answer, think of ways you typically increase your energy and stay focused, such as drinking coffee or moving around.

Example: "I am a pretty avid coffee drinker, so I always made sure to brew a few cups before each shift in my previous job. When I am feeling tired, I do some jumping jacks or stretches to get my blood pumping. I find that little bursts of exercise help me stay especially alert and focused. I've also found that deep-breathing exercises make me feel refreshed."

What industries have you worked in as a security guard?

Working as a night guard is quite different than controlling crowds at a music festival. Employers ask this question to see if you have security experience that is relevant to their open position. Mention all of the industries you have worked in, and explain any experience you have in their industry in detail. If you don't have experience working in their specific kind of security, discuss what transferable skills you have that you could use in this new role.

Example: "For three years, I worked as a bouncer at a nightclub. Though this is not directly related to working at a concert venue, I learned many skills that I could apply to this job. For example, I learned how to control crowds and maintain a safe and orderly facility. I also developed effective conflict-resolution skills, which I could use when guests become disruptive during a show."

Have you ever had to save a person's life?

Depending on certain circumstances, you may be in a position to save someone's life. Employers want to know if you have previous experience with this challenging situation. In your answer, be honest about whether you've had to save a person's life. If you have, explain the steps you took to help this person, and if not, discuss what you would do if this situation ever occurred.

Example: "When I worked as a security guard at a theater, a guest stopped breathing. Luckily, I am trained in CPR and knew what to do. I ordered my coworker to call an ambulance while I administered CPR. When the medics showed up, I helped them safely get the guest onto a stretcher, and then I began to calm other guests and diffuse any panic. I later heard back from the hospital that the individual was in a stable condition."

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