When we think of a security guard, we often think about the physical aspects required for the role. Whilst this is important, physicality is only one element of a security officer’s job. In fact, a good security guard will know that physical intervention is only necessary as a last resort.
If you are considering hiring security guards or a manned guarding team, there are other qualities and characteristics that make your guard’s valuable assets; where they can de-escalate potential disturbances, act quickly and decisively in an emergency, and present themselves in a calm, authoritative and professional manner. Read our guide on ‘what makes a good security guard’ below.
1. Attention to Detail and Proactivity
Fortunately, most guards do not deal with life-and-death situations every day and primarily act as a deterrent against crime, trespass, theft, unlawful entry and other unwanted behaviours. That being said, a high-quality guard is never complacent and is always ready to act immediately when they need to.
Guards should have excellent observational skills and be able to identify if something happens outside of the norm, such as a non-staff car parked for several hours at a time, visitors returning to the premise multiple times, or an individual entering the site from a restricted access entry point.
Trained security guards use good judgement to decide whether something is out of the ordinary and warrants further investigation. They can respond swiftly when a detail is out of place and presents a possible threat.
2. Communication Abilities in Security Guarding
A major aspect of working as a security guard is the ability to communicate quickly, effectively and without the potential for any confusion – for example, guards may need to:
- Explain to visitors why they are not permitted to use a certain door, conduct vehicle or bag checks, or challenge those entering a business without ID credentials.
- Liaise with other on-site security teams, the property owner or manager, personnel and visitors, including delivery people and service providers attending call-outs.
- Evacuate a building or premise without any likelihood that their instructions will be ignored or misunderstood.
A professional guard can double as a customer relations officer, where a guard can provide directions, advise visitors, and remain aware of their audience, particularly when defusing a potentially volatile situation.
The attitude and tone a guard uses when speaking to a member of the public can be influential in the outcome of a situation; where a tense environment, a conflict between two individuals, or a dispute between an employee and a customer could potentially become a far more serious issue.
Security guards should keep a cool head and be trained in numerous interactions, whether persuading an intruder to engage in a conversation, supporting an individual who has been injured or exposed to violence or intimidation, or contacting emergency services to respond to a crisis.
3. Credibility and Reliability
Businesses depend on security officers to arrive on time, carry out important work to the best of their abilities, communicate any issues or concerns, and be trusted to deal directly with employees, visitors and the general public.
Most security guards will have a set of keys, electronic codes, or swipe passes and access to high-value/business-critical areas of a building, such as server rooms, storage bays and warehouses. They must be trusted to safeguard the integrity of these areas.
Security guards may also be tasked with monitoring CCTV surveillance footage, investigating alarm signals from elsewhere on the premises, checking the identity of all visitors, or making sure service providers and delivery people have vacated the site, so they need to have the confidence to deal with all manner of people and situations.
4. Teamwork in a Security Guarding Setting
Companies, public sector facilities and private landowners hire security guards for a number of situations. In many cases, one guard will work with other colleagues or might be posted to a guarding role with a regular schedule alongside other guards, security supervisors or business managers.
Working in a security guarding team is a somewhat different prospect from guarding individually and independently, so security professionals should have excellent teamwork skills, particularly for larger sites or compounds where multiple guards may be employed.
That might mean delegating duties between colleagues, taking responsibility for visitor logs or incident reporting, deciding who responds to an alarm signal or security threat, and working together to address emerging issues.
The communication skills necessary for security guards not only form an important part of a team but also translate into how a guard interacts with the general public or addresses an individual.
5. The Willingness to Work Flexibly and On-Demand
Security guards will know that two days are rarely the same. Despite break-ins, attempted thefts and aggressive behaviour being unusual, a competent guard will adapt to the situation and be flexible in what they are asked to do.
For example, across a working week, a guard might:
- Carry out patrols around a property boundary and inside the premises.
- Lock up and open doors for employees at the start and end of the working day.
- Supervise deliveries or reception desks and check visitor passes.
- Monitor security alarms and check sensors and alarms are working properly.
In some guarding scenarios, such as event guarding, security personnel may be even more flexible, whether checking entry tickets, recording vehicle number plates, inspecting bags for illicit substances and dealing with crowd control.
6. Fitness and Reaction Times
While some security roles are primarily based around monitoring and surveillance, a proficient guard should be able and willing to move fast when necessary, whether responding to an emergency lone worker alarm, chasing an intruder, contacting the police or fire service, or responding to suspicious body language before an incident occurs.
Security guards also often work night shifts and may cover long distances on foot, particularly when working with K9 patrols, so they must have the endurance and ability to remain alert and responsive from the start to the end of every shift.
Hiring Reputable Security Guards for Your Business or Event
Partnering with Clearway assures the hire of excellent guarding services, with all security guards fully trained and licensed, with the knowledge necessary to de-escalate, communicate, respond and recognise alerts quickly and efficiently.
If you’re looking to hire security guards with all of the traits mentioned in this article, you can get in touch with Clearway here, or speak to our security guard hire team by calling 0800 085 8695.