A security officer works as part of a team to guard a building or premises against theft and vandalism to keep the building and its occupants safe.
They also deal with any occurrences should the safety or integrity of the building or its occupants be compromised, responding appropriately by involving the relevant authorities and taking action themselves as the issue arises.
In their role, security officers need to draw on several skills and attributes to carry out their role effectively and safely.
This article details the necessary skills and attributes common to those successful in this role as well as the tests you can use to assess individuals against to evaluate these skills. Using tests help ensure you select the suitable candidates from your applicant pool and make the best hiring decisions.
What should a security officer be able to do?
The tasks of a security officer are wide-ranging and focus on maintaining the safety and security of the building, areas, and the occupants they have been tasked to protect.
Security officers ensure that the premises they are protecting are correctly secured by locking gates and doors, activating relevant alarm systems, and carrying out regular inspections to ensure everything is as expected.
In addition, security officers monitor the entrance or departures of any personnel, the building's occupants, or visitors, enabling them to guard against theft while ensuring the security of the building and those within it.
Security officers need to regularly patrol the building, including outdoor spaces, to check for security breaches. They also need to be alert to any unusual activity, such as tampering with machinery or alarm systems. In doing this, security officers can identify potential situations of threat that could lead to the safety of the building or its occupants being compromised.
In such a situation, security officers are tasked with alerting the relevant authorities.They must also take appropriate action to safeguard the building and those within the building from unauthorised personnel. This could include issuing verbal warnings to intruders or apprehending any unauthorised individuals entering the building, using appropriate measures.
Skills to look for in a security officer
The role of a security officer requires individuals to demonstrate several skills for them to carry out their role effectively. These skills are necessary so that they can work safely and diligently in keeping the building, machinery, and occupants safe.
Ensuring that you assess individuals against these skills means that you can be confident that the individuals you recruit can perform well in their roles.
Active listening: having the ability to entirely focus on what a person is saying and ask relevant and appropriate follow-up questions to elicit the information you need is an important skill required by a security officer. This enables them to deal with incidences safely and appropriately.
Interpersonal skills: demonstrating the ability to listen, communicate with empathy and pick up on social cues. This enables security officers to judge situations and determine others' reactions, helping to identify any issues before they escalate.
Reading comprehension: understanding written passages of text and following these enables security officers to follow instructions as given.
Critical thinking: applying critical thinking skills to situations and determining the best course of action is essential if a security officer is to react in the most effective way.
Microsoft office suite: security officers need to document, using Microsoft office applications, any issues or incidences when on shift and provide daily updates and monitoring logs to their wider team and superiors. In the case of a significant incident, security officers will also need to document the situation and provide a written report to relevant authorities.
Useful abilities for a security officer
The abilities of a security officer are related to an individual's inherent characteristics and aptitudes. They encompass their natural curiosity and ability to identify problems before they arise and their ability to determine the correct course of action in problem situations.
Problem-solving: using their ability to critically evaluate a situation and use their inductive and deductive reasoning, security officers need to be able to spot problems before they happen and rectify them using the appropriate actions in the given situation
Oral communication and expression: the ability to communicate with others and use relevant expressions enables security officers to convey instruction so that others understand and act on this.
Preference for action: security officers should be able to take the initiative, act quickly and take steps to identify issues before they arise. By demonstrating a preference for action, security officers can be proactive in their role.
Attention to detail: the ability to focus their attention one task at a time enables security officers to ensure that they adequately monitor and check equipment, buildings, doors, and the premises they are tasked with keeping secure.
Which soft skills tests could I use to hire a security officer?
When hiring security officers, there are several soft skills tests that you can use as part of your recruitment process. These tests enable you to determine which individuals in your applicant pool possess the necessary soft skills to carry out their roles effectively.
Accountability skills: this test is a scenario-based test in which candidates are presented with various situations. They need to select which of the statements provided best represents how they would respond to the situation. The results from this test give you a better understanding of whether candidates are comfortable with the role's responsibilities and whether their work ethos is suited to the position and the company.
Problem-solving: being able to solve problems and make decisions as to the best course of action when under pressure is part of the role of a security officer. This test assesses candidates on their ability to solve problems and the soft skills required to problem solve, such as meeting deadlines, dealing with conflict situations, or creativity.
Communication skills: dealing with various people in often challenging situations requires security officers to be adept at using verbal and written communication skills.
Which technical or aptitude tests could I use to hire a security officer?
The technical and aptitude tests that would be beneficial to include when recruiting security officers are as follows:
Logical reasoning test: the ability to solve problems and deal with situations logically is essential for a security officer. This test enables you to assess candidates on this aptitude, whether they can understand information and use relationships and patterns in information to come to a logical conclusion on the best outcome.
Verbal reasoning test: the results from this timed test can be used to determine whether candidates can read and understand instructions or passages of text, and then use what they have learned to make informed decisions on the best course of action. This test also assesses whether candidates can apply logical thinking to what they have read.
Microsoft Word test: assessing candidates on their proficiency level in using Microsoft word to write reports, written communications, and documents relevant to their role.
Our recommended test battery for a security officer
When recruiting security officers, our recommended test battery to use in your recruitment process is:
Accountability test: determining whether individuals are aligned with the role's requirements. This test uses scenario-based questions, similar to workplace situations, to assess a candidate's integrity, discipline, beliefs, and responses as relevant to the role of a security officer.
Problem-solving: a timed test that requires individuals to work under pressure and use their problem-solving skills and abilities to determine what they believe is the correct course of action in a given situation.
Logical reasoning: is a test that evaluates candidates on their logical reasoning ability. This test requires candidates to identify patterns or relationships and use this information to reach the best outcome.
For more information, have a read through our security officer test guide.