Key Traits Employers Look for in a Security Guard

Last Updated: February 7, 2024

Security guards are the unsung heroes safeguarding our environments, ensuring safety in a world where threats can arise unexpectedly. These professionals are more than just watchful eyes—they’re dependable, quick-thinking, and resilient. But what are the essential security guard traits that employers actually look for? In this article, we’ll explore the unique blend of characteristics that can make you stand out when applying for a new position in this field.

Security guard inside a restaurant keeping watch

1. Reliability

It goes without saying—people depend on you as a security guard. This means you must be reliable and commit to duty, punctuality, and consistency. Employers value individuals who can be counted on to fulfill their responsibilities with accuracy and quality. 

Punctuality isn’t just about showing up on time; it’s about being present, alert, and ready to tackle any challenge that may arise. Consistency in following protocols, executing tasks, and handling situations with a reliable approach forms the bedrock of trust and dependability.

2. Alertness and Vigilance

Employers value those who have a heightened state of awareness and acute attentiveness. A vigilant security guard remains at the forefront, constantly scanning their surroundings and proactively identifying potential threats before they escalate. 

The ability to detect subtle changes in an environment, swiftly analyze situations and respond effectively is at the core of what security guards do. Whether you’re monitoring surveillance systems, conducting patrols, or overseeing access points, a vigilant security guard serves as a first line of defence against breaches and risks.

3. Strong Communicaiton

Clear and concise communication is vital during all aspects of a security guard’s role. Prospective employers like to see people who are capable of articulating information clearly, both verbally and in writing. This comes in handy when interacting with diverse individuals, from team members to the public, and even law enforcement when necessary. Communication can come in the form of:

  • Issuing instructions
  • Calmly resolving conflict
  • Reporting incidents
  • Collaborating with team members

4. Integrity and Honesty

Security guards must uphold high standards—their entire job revolves around handling sensitive information and protecting the safety and well-being of others. This makes integrity and honesty non-negotiable attributes. Integrity and honesty can take on various forms, like maintaining confidentiality, adhering to high moral principles, and owning up to mistakes or voicing challenges encountered on the job.

5. Critical Thinking

The nature of the job involves unpredictability. That’s why critical thinking and problem-solving abilities are vital. The capacity to analyze situations, make sound decisions, and resolve issues effectively are qualities that employers look for. 

Whether you’re handling an unexpected data breach, diffusing conflict, or managing a crowd, quick thinking allows you to assess these situations accurately and respond appropriately.

6. Team Player Mentality

Employers value those who understand the significance of collaboration. Most often, in the security world, no guard operates in isolation. Instead, a team comes together collectively to patrol or monitor various areas needing protection.

The ability to work seamlessly with colleagues, respect diverse viewpoints, and effectively communicate and coordinate within a team is paramount. Security guards often rely on each other for support during challenging situations, so it’s essential to approach this environment with increased professionalism and cooperation.

7. Training and Certifications

While not necessarily a personality trait, it’s important to note that employers generally prefer candidates with relevant certifications and proof of ongoing training efforts. The security landscape is constantly evolving, and staying updated with the latest techniques, technologies, and protocols is crucial. Showcasing your dedication to certifications and training demonstrates that you can handle emerging threats and challenges.

Training programs can offer insights into new security trends, emergency response procedures, and advanced security systems. It’s often a bonus if you receive an official certification from these courses because this validates your expertise and competence in specific areas, making employers confident in your capabilities.

8. Specialized Interests

If you have a particular interest in certain areas of the field, this might come in handy when it comes to applying for roles. Showcasing your ability to handle the basics is essential, but if you bring something extra to the table, this can set you apart from other applicants.

Employers often view specializations as assets because you’d fit nicely into other roles within the company or would be competent to take on new challenges in your existing position. Specialized interests could include cybersecurity, crowd management, or leadership roles. 

Have What It Takes? Find Your Next Security Role Today

While these are some of the most essential security guard traits that employers look for, keep in mind that no two job descriptions are alike. The best way to find success in your applications is to work on being a well-rounded individual. Like any job, having every single trait down to perfection is often not necessary; instead, the key is showing your commitment to continuous learning and improvement. 

If you know you have what it takes to become a security guard, the next step is finding the opportunities that match your interests and qualifications. At Security Guards Only, we have a job board with thousands of opportunities across various cities, catering to different levels of expertise in the security industry. Find your next role through us today.


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Jeff Ketelaars
Jeff Ketelaars
Co-founder
Jeff Ketelaars is a seasoned security expert with over 35 years in the industry. He founded two security agencies and established Security Conscious in 1990, a firm that offers high-quality training to security professionals. As a skillful negotiator, Ketelaars has secured contracts for Canada's largest security guard union, advocating for fair treatment and compensation for security personnel.

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