Interviewing prospective security guards is crucial to matching the right person to the job. If you are hiring the person directly, a resume is a must. Make sure everything written down checks out -- lying on the resume should automatically disqualify the candidate. When employing a guard service company, it is still important to interview the person since he or she will be representing you.
Questions should center on previous situations encountered by the applicant and how they were handled. Avoid a person who has aggressive tendancies, anti-social attitudes, or is a police "wannabe"; they are going to get you sued if they hurt someone unnecessarily. Cool is the rule.
One tool for interviewers is a written test used to test intelligence, honesty, and personality. These tests can help weed out individuals that do not fit the job. On the Resource page is a list of sites selling these types of tests.
The guard should reflect the overall attitude of your company. If your business is retail and the guard is mainly used as a visual deterrant to shoplifters and troublemakers, he should be outwardly friendly and helpful. A business that employs guards to keep employees from stealing will need someone who is friendly, but more firm, or "official" in attitude and appearance. If your guard is responsible for watching or moving cash, then they should not be friendly and must adopt a "stay away" demeanor. Armed guards need more savvy and must have a more stable personality than someone with less responsibility.
An example would be the difference between a security guard employed by a grocery store and an armored car guard. Someone watching customers come and go, or patrolling a parking lot, should be friendly and willing to help, whether it is giving directions, assisting disabled persons, or calling AAA to jumpstart a dead battery. The armored car guard, on the other hand, should not be friendly, should not stop to talk or help anyone, should look as dangerous as possible, and should be mentally prepared for trouble. In the middle is the security guard who watches employees or is used strictly for watching for shoplifters. These guards tend to have mixed characteristics in that they have an "approachable" attitude but are very firm in their handling of any confrontational situation.
In all cases a uniformed guard should look neat and clean; a professional image is half the battle. This includes a freshly laundered, neatly pressed uniform, shirttail tucked in, hat squared away and hair neatly trimmed. A friendly and attentive look is also a must for the maximum deterrant effect. Eye contact and a smile from someone in a position of power is far more disarming than "tough" talk, which is why it is important not to hire police "wannabes". A sloppy, bored or frightened-looking guard is an open invitation for troublemakers. The guard must be able to approach and talk to people without provoking any unnecessary animosities. Confrontations are difficult enough without having the guard further antagonizing the situation. The key to success is a guard that is friendly but firm. If he can control his emotions, he will control the situation.