Security Guard Interview Questions and Answers

Security officer watching television monitors
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If you are interviewing for a job as a security guard, it's important to take the time to review the questions you will most likely be asked. 

Companies are very cautious when interviewing candidates for a security guard position. After all, the safety of their employees, equipment, and facilities depends on hiring the right person.

What the Interviewer Wants to Know

During your interview for a security guard position, you can expect a variety of questions all aimed at determining your capability to handle the role. 

For instance, interviewers will ask questions designed to uncover your technical abilities and relevant experience. But you can also expect prospective employers to be looking for insights into your character and your ability to think on your feet. 

You'll want to be thoughtful in your answers. Poor interview responses can raise red flags that could cost you the job.

Since awkward or clumsy answers could also be read as a red flag, you can improve your chances by practicing answers to common interview questions ahead of time.

In addition to job-specific interview questions, you will also be asked more general questions about your employment history, education, strengths, weaknesses, achievements, goals, and plans.

Tips for What to Say 

Be honest. Do not prepare answers designed to present a false impression. For one thing, telling your interviewer what they want to hear can backfire, because if you're caught being dishonest, the interviewer will likely assume the truth is far worse than it is, and you definitely will not be hired.

Make a match. Read the job description carefully before your interview to get a sense of what the employer is seeking in candidates. For instance, some roles may require you to stay alert while watching video, while others may involve interacting with customers.

You'll want to emphasize the skills you possess that match the employer's needs.

Skills that are frequently in demand for people working in security are technical knowledge, communications skills, conflict resolution, and problem-solving abilities. 

Give examples. In your responses to interview questions, talk about your previous experience. Use this as an opportunity to show off the skills you've used in these roles. Instead of simply saying that you have a skill, give an example of a time you've used it. But aim to keep examples relevant to the role at hand. 

Come with questions. During job interviews, it's common for interviewers to turn the tables and ask if you have any questions for them. You should have several questions at the ready (since some will likely be answered over the course of the conversation). 

What Not to Say

Don't ramble. You want to share examples and show proof that you possess the skills the company requires from a security guard. That said, keep your responses tight and to the point. (Tip: Practicing your responses in advance will help you do this with ease!)

Don't be negative. You may be asked some questions that steer you in a negative direction, such as questions about working with difficult people or members of the public. Keep your response positive and focus on what you did to solve problems or help situations simmer down. 

Don't neglect nonverbal communication. It's important in any interview to pay attention to how you carry yourself, from what you wear to how you shake hands. This is particularly key for security guards, since the role is often customer-facing. You'll want to seem both pleasant and official, since you may be called upon to enforce regulations in your role. 

Security Guard Interview Questions

Get started preparing with this sampling of interview questions that you're likely to hear during a job interview for a security guard position.

1. Describe a time when you used teamwork to solve a problem at a previous security job.

If you don't have prior experience in security, talk about how you used team-based problem-solving in some other type of position.

2. Describe a time when you had to deal with an assault. How did you handle the situation? Is there anything you would have done differently?

It is all right to discuss an assault that you experienced in your personal life if you have never encountered one professionally. If you have never experienced an assault, do not make one up, but you can ask whether describing a hypothetical situation would help.

3. Tell me about a time you successfully dealt with an angry member of the public.

This question is focused on your ability to encounter anger without becoming emotionally triggered yourself and without resorting to violence. A successful outcome in this context involves pacifying the angry person and resolving the situation. If you've ever worked in any kind of customer service role, you'll have something to share. 

Remember to focus on the outcome and what it says about your skills and abilities, rather than getting bogged down in telling a funny (or horrifying) story.

4. Describe a time when you felt as if you were in physical danger on the job. How did you handle the situation?

If you have never felt threatened at work, ask if you should discuss a threat encountered in your private life. Ideally, these threats should have come from other people, because your answer is supposed to indicate how you will respond to threats in your work as a guard. If you have never felt threatened by another human being, ask if some other form of danger (an earthquake, for example) might be considered relevant.

5. How do you spend downtime on the job?

Security guards have little to do during periods when no threat occurs — the job is mostly to be on hand in case something happens. Your interviewer will want to assess whether you are likely to become distracted or even cause trouble during these periods. Tailor your answer to show that you're able to react quickly when required.

6. How comfortable are you using computers?

As a security guard, you'll have to use software associated with CCTV cameras. If you have experience using CCTV equipment, say so. Otherwise, demonstrate computer literacy and an ability and willingness to learn to use new systems.

7. What are some of your strengths on the job?

Prepare an answer that emphasizes the skills and requirements outlined in the job listing. Match your abilities to the company's needs and goals, and focus your reply on what makes you stand out from the competition.

8. Are you currently CPR/First Aid/AED certified?

This question will warrant a "yes" or "no" answer, although you can feel free to mention if you're currently enrolled in a class and working toward achieving certification. It's also a good reminder to familiarize yourself with the general requirements of a job when you begin interviewing. Your research will tell you what skills are expected for someone in this role.

9. Imagine you have been called to handle an emergency on the 10th floor of a building, but six guests are waiting to be checked in at the front desk. It's late at night, and you are momentarily alone at the front desk. What would you do?

This question is designed not to have a "right answer." The point is to assess how you deal with situations that have no good options. The details of the hypothetical situation might, of course, be different, but prepare yourself for this type of trick question. You could also get hypothetical questions that do have right answers, to test your understanding of the job.

10. Look at these two photos of two different people for five seconds. Then, put the photographs down and describe those two people to me.

This question could test either your powers of observation or your biases about people. If this type of question is difficult for you (some people cannot recognize faces well, for example), you should have yourself evaluated ahead of time to ensure that you can function as a security guard. Be prepared to discuss your condition with your interviewer.

Key Takeaways

PREPARE BEFOREHAND: By practicing your responses to common interview questions, you'll feel confident during the interview. 

BE READY FOR QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR SKILLS AND CHARACTER: For this type of role, both your on-the-job experience and your character are deeply important. 

SHARE EXAMPLES.  As you respond to questions, look for opportunities to share examples of times you've used relevant skills for the role in the past.