If you decide to use contracted security guards to protect your business and people you should use the following tips to ensure that you get the quality you pay for. I will say that it may cost you more to get this quality but if you force the contracted security company to work for lower price they will deliver lower standard guards in some cases, but more importantly, if they accept your low price it means they are saving money elsewhere. These security companies will have lower quality controls and increased number of safety concerns due to poor occupational health and safety systems.
Verbal communication skills
All clients want security guards that can speak English well so their customers can understand directions and instructions clearly. Their verbal skills are also needed to resolve conflicts peacefully.
Security guards main duty is to detect security problems and safety hazards before they become an problem for your business. Most security training courses do not teach observation skills in any form. These training companies believe that people have eyes and have been using them for their entire life so they know how to observe already. Completely wrong. That is like saying that because we have been eating food all our lives we can be food critics and know how to judge a chefs product.
Deterrence of criminal behaviour
Every security company and contracted client states that the most important factor for employing security guards is their ability to deter crime and they don’t want guards to arrest of use reasonable force to control unwanted behaviour.
No security training teaches new guards how to deter criminal behaviour. So is it any reason why everyone automatically assumes that the new security guard can deter crime. I have found some clients still think that size is how guards deter people.
Competence in their performance of security skills
You as the client take it for granted that the security company has actually tested or confirmed the performance ability of all their security guards. Most never conduct performance checks in any form, and the others that do, don’t check actual security skills- they assess the guard based on how many shifts they do for the company and whether they complain about the security company.
Just because some guards have been in the industry for years doesn’t mean that they know how to provide security in your business.
Top 10 Tips
Give the security guard a test in their verbal conflict handling skills be pretending to be a complaining customer. Look for their responses.
Give the guard a written test that consists of security questions and knowledge that a level 2/3 guard must know to get their qualification.
Ask the guard exactly how much experience they have in handling security in a business exactly like yours or very similar. Ask for proof and request they demonstrate their experience in a work trial by explaining to you the most common security problems in your type of business.
Ask when the last time they had a performance assessment done on them and what type of questions did the security manager ask them. What was their performance rating.
Ask them to explain how they plan to deter criminal behaviour to leave your business. Have they thought about it or are they just relying on their size. Trust me on this- size has little impact on deterrence to most real criminals.
Give them a photograph of two people and ask them to look at it for 5 seconds. Then ask them to describe the person that you request. They need to get all the details correct. You do not want security guards that cannot even describe a photographed person. In a real event with darkness and adrenalin going they will make mistakes.
Hold interviews with all your security guards before the security company assign them to protect you. During the interview conduct the mentioned tests and questions but also ask the guard to tell you about a tell he had to deal with an assault and listen to how they dealt with it.
Pay attention to the level of verbal skills used during the interview. Especially the number of incorrect words used and lengthy pauses while they think of the words to use. This type of skills signals poor verbal ability and comprehension during normal conversation they will struggle during security incidents. If they have to repeat themselves to you so you understand what they are saying- don’t use them.
Avoid using any security guards that feel they need to have bald heads or crew cuts because they don’t want their hair grabbed during a fight. They shouldn’t need to fight if they know how to do their job properly. This goes the same for guards that refuse to wear ties in case someone grabs it during a fight. Get elastic or clip on ties. Problem solved. I prefer it if someone wants to grab my tie instead of punching me because they have just wasted the first move and not injured me. Game over.
Ask how long they have worked for this security company. Security companies have high turnover and throw inexperienced guards at clients every month or worse, they use sub-contracted guards that you have no quality control over and the security company doesn’t even know them.