(The man above is well dressed and look professional, a security guard might wear a branded uniform, others may where slacks blazers)
It doesn't take a suit and tie to be a professional. In the security industry you will meet many people from different backgrounds like the military, law enforcement, college students, retirees, and others working two jobs Most of the individuals are capable and willing to learn, but you will find that there are some stains on the reputation of the security profession consisting mostly unlicensed companies with unqualified staff. These companies enter business with little experience and after having done little to no research.
The easiest thing to get right or wrong is attitude and one of the things that separates someone who works in the industry and a Security Professional. We put a lot of responsibility on security guards which require critical thinking and decision-making skills on a moments notice. Sometimes this puts a high demand on people, and you can have two different reactions. Someone who likes a challenging environment would be ideal, however others who need more structure and routine may not perform well and even exhibit poor behavior on the site. For example, a guard may develop a bad attitude after getting into an argument with another employee or a client. Regardless of who is right the guard should use calm and understanding language to diffuse the situation. In this case there may be some contempt from the security guard towards the company or that individual leading to dereliction of duty or even violent confrontation.
Positive thinking people are best suited for this line of work and must place a lot of emphasis on customer service. This is after all a service industry and making sure that your client whether internal or external as well as guests are treated with a level of respect that is deserved.
There is no excuse not to use properly trained and experienced staff. Many companies see security as a cost center, and they spend the bare minimum on it. Security systems and guard services which are inappropriate for the environment only serve to expose the company to liability and lose face with employees and visitors.
I worked on a project where we used a sub-par guard service (disappointingly a national brand) which showed that they had zero competence when it comes to actually performing security duties. Thankfully, there were only authorized to observe and report and were not allowed to practice the use-of-force continuum. I have seen other companies with armed officer practice the same behaviors including falling asleep in public while open carrying a revolver.
Dress and Grooming
Many of us know that to succeed in an interview that we have to put our best foot forward and that means wearing proper business attire, proper grooming, and presenting yourself with confidence. This should be a given in most jobs, but sadly that is always the case in the realm of security. This is important to me and while it might have something to with the military it’s a telling sign and shows where there might be gaps in security. Someone who doesn’t show respect for their uniforms and personal appearance may not show care about the client’s site. I continually point this out as a deficiency in Security Risk Assessments.
Who would you rather trust a security guard with sagging pants, a dirty uniform and unkempt hair; or would you prefer to see a guard with a clean and pressed uniform and groomed hair? As the popular culture keeps changing there are certain things begin to be more accepted in the workplace for the better or worse. Tattoos, piercings, and bushy beards as well as other practices and trends are more popular even in the professional environment its important to take this into consideration as well.
Whether you are someone entering the security industry or a purchaser of security services you must take these items into account. While this article is more focused on security guards as opposed to security managers and other security personnel the same principles apply across the board. If you want to have a successful security department these should be your top priorities for companies and practitioners.