Security Guard Interview Questions & Interview Prep

Prepare for your security guard interview with essential tips on handling security guard interview questions. Study these to feel confident and nail your interview.

Congrats — you landed an interview for a security guard job! Read on to review the interview questions you’re most likely to be asked and get tips on providing an answer that helps get you hired. You’ll learn:

  • Why it’s essential to prepare for your interview

  • Common security guard interview questions

  • Tips for the best security guard interview

  • How to handle challenging interview situations

Why Prepare for Your Security Guard Interview?

Would you show up to work without your uniform? Your flashlight, radio, keys, ID—you wouldn’t even leave the house if you weren’t prepared to confidently fulfill your role as a security guard with all the tools you need.

Well, in this case, the interview is your job. The tools? Your experience, talent, mental fortitude, and accomplishments. You don’t want to forget those tools at home, or you won’t be able to do your job (interview) very well.

Preparing for your interview will help you show confidence, calmness, and the level-headed, proactive personality employers want in a security guard. While meeting new people and speaking in public can make many nervous, overcoming those fears and anxieties is crucial so they don’t overshadow your employable skill set.

Have you ever encountered someone who does not seem entirely up to the task, but the boss loves them anyway? Chances are, they nailed the interview and showed enough confidence, dedication, and preparation to outshine their lack of experience.

That’s not to say you don’t have the right experience — to remind you that a good interview can take you far. That 30-minute talk with your potential employer is your big shot to make your case. Remember, it’s tough for the interviewer, too. They must try to get to know a stranger and evaluate their fitness for the job based on a minimal conversation. They also have to decide between multiple candidates who usually have very similar experiences, meaning their presence in the interview can be the final deciding factor.

With that in mind, remember that your interview is your chance to help the interviewer be the best at their job — getting to know you. When you walk in prepared, you show the employer you’re a team player. Please don’t make them dig for information or pry for details. Instead, make it easy for them to understand precisely who you are and why you’re the best fit for the job.

Common Questions in Security Guard Job Interviews

Of course, you’ll need to be prepared to talk about your past work experience as a security guard (and/or other relevant jobs), but it’s not all about painting a bright picture of your background. Interviewers will throw purposefully challenging questions at you to see how you respond under pressure and if you can think on your feet. It also helps them judge if your answers are scripted or authentic.

One question you can be sure you’ll be asked: What motivated you to become a security guard? This question is personal, but you can prepare by practicing your answer. Try to look for the wholesome, positive side — like helping and protecting people — or explain how this role fits into your broader career plans.

You’ll also get other questions that are either behavioral or situational in your interview. Let’s review some common questions and what to know when answering them.

Behavioral Interview Questions

Behavioral interview questions help the interviewer understand your past behavior, using that as an indication of your future behavior or how you will react in similar situations. They’ll typically ask you for specific examples of what happened and how you handled past scenarios.

Of course, the best way to answer these is to flatter yourself with a positive retelling but also to come off as honest and authentic. If you feel like you would have done something different, you could bring that up. You can turn a scenario into a selling point by telling the interviewer what you learned or how you would handle the situation differently today. Employers know that learning from your experience is just as important as having it!

Describe a time when you had to deal with an aggressive person. How did you handle the situation?

When answering this question, aim to show how quickly and calmly you diffused the situation with minimal disruption to the business, property, and other customers. The interviewer wants to know that you can deal with difficult people in clever, safe ways. This isn’t necessarily about telling your most dramatic or dangerous story but the one that best shows off your skills in managing upset people.

Can you give an example of when you had to work under pressure? How did you manage it?

Don’t tell the interviewer you’ve never felt nervous by the pressure of the situation. They won’t buy it. Instead, give an authentic example of when you recognized a high-pressure scenario, evaluated it, and prepared yourself to respond.

The interviewer wants to know that you can handle yourself. Then, you can tell them how you helped others stay calm, ensured safety, and properly de-escalated the situation. You’ll also want to tell them what you did after the problem was resolved, such as how you took action to protect the business from future instances.

Tell me about a time you made a mistake while on duty. How did you rectify it?

No, the interviewer is not trying to make you look bad. They think you’re qualified, or they wouldn’t have invited you for an interview. But you’re human, and humans make mistakes.

Employers know this and don’t expect you never to make a mistake. However, they expect you to have grown from the situation and adequately handled the consequences. Your attitude around making mistakes is also under review. Do you get defensive and try to pin the blame on someone else, or do you take responsibility and find a solution?

Additional behavior interview question examples:

  • How have you exemplified the key qualities of a security guard?

  • Describe a time you used security technology and equipment to do your job better.

  • Describe a situation where you had to work as part of a team. How did you contribute?

  • Describe a time when you had to engage emergency services. How did you handle it?

  • Tell me about a situation where you went above and beyond your regular duties as a security guard.

Situational Interview Questions

Situational interview questions help the interviewer understand how you might act in hypothetical situations. These goals are to “put you on the spot” or “in the hot seat” and assess how quickly, calmly, and effectively you make decisions. Since security guards need to respond quickly yet thoughtfully and carefully, these questions are essential to showing you can think on your feet.

What steps would you take if you noticed a fellow security guard was not following proper protocol?

This question is not about how quickly you throw your colleague under the bus or if you take your coworkers' secrets to the grave. They want to know that you’re a team player who has the best interests of your coworkers and the business in mind. They want a safe, friendly, legal, and healthy environment.

In your answer, explain how you would remain respectful to your rule-breaking coworker, give them a chance to correct their behavior, and let them know you will have to report their activities as a matter of safety and integrity (and employment).

Imagine you are on duty, and you see someone slip and fall. No one else is around. What would you do?

You probably have a pretty good answer for this. It’s a fairly standard security guard training scenario, after all. But remember that every other candidate probably has an equally adequate answer. How will yours stand out?

Consider what you do to go above and beyond, such as buying an ice cream cone for the kid who fell, reporting slippery conditions to a property owner, or sticking around to keep others from getting hurt.

How would you handle a situation where you need to secure a premise after detecting a potential threat, but a large crowd is present?

This question is a good one to customize to the establishment you’ll protect as a security guard. Is it indoor or outdoor? What kind of crowds will be present? Does the establishment serve alcohol? Can weapons be brought inside? How vulnerable are the guests?

The interviewer wants to know that you can quickly assess and handle a situation's unique challenges. They also want to know that you can proactively keep a crowd calm. A security guard who secures the exits but whips the crowd into a frightened frenzy is not the ideal employee.

Additional situational interview questions:

  • How do you stay alert during a long shift?

  • Describe how you would conduct a security patrol.

  • How would you handle a situation where an individual refuses to comply with a security directive?

  • How do you prioritize tasks during a busy shift?

  • Can you explain the steps you take to ensure thorough incident reporting?

  • How do you handle confidential information?

How can you best use these example questions to prep for your interview?

Tips for Security Guard Interview Prep

The most important advice is to review the questions above and practice, practice, practice. Some of the best ways to practice interview questions include:

  • Record your answer and play them back

  • Write your answers down — then edit them as if you were the interviewer

  • Have a friend ask you questions — tell them to act like a tough employer

  • Ask others you know how they would answer the question

For every question, put yourself in the interviewer’s perspective and imagine what an ideal answer would be for them. Then, try to frame your answer to fit the mold. Remember that the focus is not on you, exactly, but on how you will do the job for this employer. If they value friendly customer service, focus on that in your answers — even if it’s not your strongest trait.

It’s not all about answering questions, either. Make sure you are properly groomed, well-rested, and in a calm, level-headed mood. Take time to research the business and learn about its mission, founders, history, challenges, and reviews. You can also research the company on employer review sites to see what other employees and interviewees have said about the place.

The more information you have about the employer, interviewer, and job roles, the more you will feel more confident. And the more confident you feel, the more confident you will look to the interviewer.

Your security guard cover letter and resume are also essential elements of preparation. If you’ve already submitted these materials while applying, remember to review them and ensure you can answer any questions about what you’ve submitted. If you must bring your letter and resume to the interview, use the questions above to inspire what you include in your cover letter.

If your resume has any gaps, prepare for how you will explain that stretch of unemployment. If you are breaking into the security guard field, think about how your experience can be applied to this new type of role.

Finally, be sure to prepare yourself for questions about pay and benefits. Most employers will be forthcoming with this information, but if they ask you what you expect to be paid, don’t hesitate — have an answer ready. Be confident in that answer, too, with reason to back it up (research on average pay, experience, etc.). You can also prepare to negotiate higher pay if what’s offered isn’t sufficient.

You’ve Got This!

Heading into a security guard interview can be daunting, but these practice questions will help you confidently walk in. Remember to prepare by running through these questions, researching the business, and ensuring a clean and professional appearance.

Ready to ace your security guard job interview? Explore more of our expert insights and start your journey toward a successful career in security today!

Quinn Smith ·

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