How to Hire a Security Guard

Why Hire a Security Guard?

Whether it’s a bank, a department store, or even an apartment building, most companies need someone to protect their valuable assets. Security guards are essential for making sure nothing damaging happens to a business, and more and more organizations realize this. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 15% annual growth through 2030, indicating the security industry is growing faster than average.

If your business is considering hiring a security guard, this guide will help you determine what kind of guard is right for you and give you strategies for hiring the best candidates.
Interviewing a Security Guard
Highest Education Level
Security Guards offer the following education background
  • High School or GED (36.7%)
  • Bachelor's Degree (21.9%)
  • Vocational Degree or Certification (15.8%)
  • Associate's Degree (13.9%)
  • Master's Degree (6.3%)
  • Some College (3.0%)
  • Some High School (1.3%)
  • Doctorate Degree (1.0%)
Average Work Experience
Here's a breakdown of the years of experience offered by Security Guards
  • Less than 1 year (43.9%)
  • None (38.5%)
  • 1-2 years (16.5%)
  • 2-4 years (1.1%)

What Qualifications are Needed to be a Security Guard?

Many of the qualifications you’ll be considering will depend on what kind of business you are, who will be interacting with the security guards, and what they’re guarding – but there are some universal qualifications to look for in a security guard. For example, because this is generally an entry-level position, the majority of security guards only need a high school diploma or GED. They’re also likely to have less than one year of on-the-job experience, or zero experience.

However, that doesn’t mean you can hire just anyone who applies: They’ll need a license or certification from your state. Every state has different requirements, so check out your state’s licensing requirements here. Other helpful security guard training and licenses include CPR and First Aid and OSHA certification, among others. And if the guards need to be armed, they’ll need a firearm permit. Finally, you should also be conducting thorough background checks on your potential candidates.


Skills and Specialties

Beyond the basic security guard qualifications, you may need to look for special skills depending on your situation. For example, if you expect security to interact with customers or employees frequently, they will need solid communication and customer service skills. Likewise, strong writing abilities are desirable for guards who will be writing reports each shift. And if your guards will be using specialized equipment to perform their duties, like complex computer or alarm systems, a familiarity with those systems is a huge plus.

Take a look at this sampling of skills, education, and security guard training your candidates should possess, including those trending on iHireSecurity.

Security Guard Salary Data

The median annual salary for a full-time security guard in the U.S. is just above $30,000, or about $15 an hour, but some factors could lower or raise that number. Security for special events or transportation will likely be higher, as will armed guards or guards who need more advanced skills. Hiring through a private security firm has its advantages, like faster replacement, but also significantly increases costs.

  • United States

**Data source: Bureau of Labor Statistics


Security guard wages vary significantly by location, so use our free Salary Research Tool to find the salaries in your area. 

security guard salary

Sample Security Guard Job Ad

An attractive job ad is crucial to get top candidates to apply. Use the following security guard job description template to get you started and modify it to fit your needs. Remember to keep the basics of what makes a great job ad in mind. That means making it easily readable and skimmable, between 500 – 700 words, and using bullet points.


Security Guard

ABC Company is looking for a dedicated and accountable Security Guard to join our team. As a Security Guard, you will protect our employees and customers through surveillance of the premises. Additionally, you will be responsible for detecting and preventing any illegal activity, including thefts, vandalism, and more.

Job Responsibilities

  • Patrol grounds frequently
  • Monitor workers, facilities, and equipment
  • Watch surveillance cameras
  • Detain customers accused of theft
  • Checking credentials and authorizing entrance of personnel
  • Inform supervisors of suspicious behavior
  • Respond to alarms
  • Offer assistance to people in need
  • File reports of surveillance activity

Requirements and Qualifications

  • High School diploma or equivalent
  • State licensing for Security Guard required
  • Experience writing reports
  • Excellent surveillance and observation skills
  • Experience with surveillance systems
  • Trained in First Aid, CPR, and self-defense
  • Great interpersonal and communication skills
Security Guard standing

Interview Questions for Hiring a Security Guard

The questions you ask in your interview when hiring a security guard should help you determine if the candidate has the right disposition for your business, and if they would be able to follow proper protocol when faced with suspicious activity. Use these questions to get you started:


  • What would you look for regarding irregularities when on patrol?
  • What would your process be for reporting suspicious activity?
  • How would you remove an individual from the premises?
  • How would you handle theft or vandalism?
  • Describe a time you’ve had to remain calm in an emergency or dangerous situation.
  • Have you ever had to deal with an angry person at work? Describe what actions you took and why.
  • Do you consider yourself an attentive person?
  • How would you handle the situation if someone approached you asking for help?


Start your search for qualified talent on iHireSecurity


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