How to Hire a Security Guard

Does your growing business need a security guard? A security guard is of the utmost importance to keep clients, guests and employees safe. The right candidate will be a mix of stern and authoritative, while not coming across as brash to passersby.

Here are some tips to help you find great security guard candidates and make the right hire for your business.

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Security Guards Searching for Jobs on Indeed*


Job seekers that clicked security guard jobs


Resumes for job seekers with security guard experience on Indeed


Security guard jobs that received clicks

What is the cost of hiring security guard?

  • Common salary in US: $12.07 hourly
  • Typical salaries range from $7.25$23.20 hourly
  • Find more information on Indeed Salary

*Indeed data (US) – March 2021

As of March 2021, security guard jobs in the US are moderately competitive compared to other job markets, with an average of 32 job seekers per security guard job.

Why hire a security guard?

Hiring a security guard is critical in this day and age. A security guard will keep the people on the premises safe and ensure a comfortable work environment for your employees.

• Provide safety for employees and visitors
• Develop a crisis management plan
• Protect against theft or damage to the property

What are the ranks of security guards?

There is no official ranking for security guards. The biggest distinction in security guard hierarchy is whether the guard is armed. Specific firearms training is required to hold an armed guard position. There are also hierarchies within these two distinct categories.

  • Unarmed Security Guard: In this entry-level position, the guard carries no weapons. Training requirements are minimal.
  • Unarmed Security Officer: This rank requires a college degree or a minimum of 80 hours of security training. These security officers may carry self-defense weapons, like tasers or night sticks.
  • Armed Security Officer: These security professionals have training that allows them to carry firearms.
  • Public Safety Officer: A college degree, law enforcement training and firearms training are among the prerequisites for this ranking. Some PSOs also have advanced firearms training.
  • Senior Security Officer: The training and experience of this senior staff are more extensive than that of the lower ranks. Emergency services training may be in their resume, as well. These officers may perform training duties but aren’t likely to hold a supervisory position.

Where to find security guards

To find the right security guard for your business, consider trying out a few different recruiting strategies:

  • Security training institutions: Aspiring security guards often turn to programs and classes that provide training in this field. Reach out to local security training schools for likely job candidates.
  • Other businesses: Speak with the HR departments of other businesses in your area. If they use security services, ask for recommendations.
  • Website careers page: Advertise your security job openings on a dedicated career section or job openings page on your company website.
  • Social media: Highlight your security guard job search on your company’s LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other social media accounts. Link to your website jobs page.
  • Post your job online: Try posting your security guard job on Indeed to find and attract quality security guard candidates.

Skills to look for in a great security guard

A great security guard candidate will have skills, attributes and work experience that reflect the following:

• Security guard certification
• Familiarity with developing emergency plans
• Self-defense and civilian protection skills
• Quick thinking
• Attention to detail
• Reliability 

Writing a security guard job description

A thoughtful description is important to finding qualified security guard candidates. A security guard job description includes a compelling summary of the role, a detailed list of duties and responsibilities and the required and preferred skills for the position.

When writing your security guard job description, consider including some or all of the following keywords to improve the visibility of your job posting. These are the most popular search terms leading to clicks on security guard jobs, according to Indeed data:

  • Security
  • Security officer
  • Security guard
  • Hiring immediately
  • Allied Universal
  • Unarmed security guard
  • Overnight
  • Unarmed security
  • Immediately hiring
  • Guard

Interviewing security guard candidates

Strong candidates for security guard positions will be confident answering questions regarding:

• Crisis management plans
• Responses to typical security scenarios
• Appropriate demeanor

Need help coming up with interview questions? See our list of security guard interview questions for examples (with sample answers).

FAQs about how to hire a security guard

Are security guards licensed?

Yes, state-specific licensing and certification are standard for security work. Higher security guard rankings typically maintain elevated security level certifications.

Do security guards have official authority?

Security guards have limited authority. They protect your property by patrolling the grounds, controlling access and responding to security breaches and other emergencies. Security guards work closely with law enforcement, notifying them of suspicious activity and following established protocols.

Are there actions a security guard should not perform?

Security guards are not law enforcement officers and should not pose or act as one. They may neither search someone’s person or belongings without the individual’s permission nor take someone’s property. Security guards may not forcibly detain anyone unless they perform a citizen’s arrest, and to do so, they must have convincing evidence that the detainee committed a crime.

What are some benefits of hiring a security guard?

Having on-site security guards helps discourage and prevent criminal activity. If a crime or emergency arises, your security guard usually provides a quick response while waiting for the police to arrive. These advantages help heighten security and enhance customer relations.

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