31 Security Guard Interview Questions (+ Sample Answers)

Stepping into a security guard interview can be as challenging as the role itself, with each question serving as a test of your readiness and resolve. Meticulous preparation becomes your ally, transforming nerves into confidence.

  • For Candidates, this article serves as your tactical playbook, providing you with a clearer sightline into the kind of inquiries that test your aptitude for protecting and serving within an organization.
  • For Interviewers, it is a lens to filter through candidates effectively, searching for those gems that demonstrate not just competency but the ethos your company upholds.
  • For Mentors and Coaches, consider this a resource to sharpen the narratives of those you guide, ensuring that when the spotlight shines upon them, their responses resonate with assurance and authenticity.

In this article, we provide key interview questions and exemplary answers to help candidates shine, interviewers discern, and mentors coach effectively through the interview process for a security guard role.

Table of Contents

Skill-Level Determiner Questions

1. Describe how you would conduct surveillance on a large crowd or at a public event.

This question is relevant because it examines the candidate’s ability to monitor vast areas and manage the unique challenges posed by events with high public attendance.

A good answer should include:

  • Outline a comprehensive plan that covers positioning, use of equipment, and coordination with other security personnel.
  • Mention the importance of being aware of exit routes and any potential risks specific to large crowds.
  • Explain how you communicate with your team and use teamwork to cover all areas effectively.
Sample Answer: 

"When conducting surveillance at a public event, my first step is to familiarize myself with the layout of the venue, noting the entry and exit points. I would ensure appropriate positioning of surveillance cameras and station security personnel at strategic locations for optimal visibility. 

Constant communication with the team through radios is vital, as is keeping an eye out for any unusual behavior that could indicate a disruption. Ongoing risk assessment, along with quick responsiveness to any situation, is crucial."

2. How would you handle an unauthorized individual trying to access a restricted area?

This question determines the candidate’s capacity to enforce access control policies and handle challenging situations calmly and effectively.

A good answer should include:

  • State the importance of staying calm and professional.
  • Describe the steps to verify the individual’s identity and access rights.
  • Emphasize the necessity of following established protocols for dealing with unauthorized access attempts.
Sample Answer: 

"If I encountered someone trying to access a restricted area, I'd approach them professionally and ask for their identification and reason for entry. If they lacked proper authorization, I would explain that the area is restricted and offer to assist them in contacting someone who could help. 

If they persisted, I would follow the company's protocols for such situations, which may include escorting them to a public area and alerting my supervisor or law enforcement if necessary."

3. How would you respond to a fire alarm and ensure the safety of others during an evacuation?

This question addresses the candidate’s emergency preparedness and ability to lead others to safety during an evacuation.

A good answer should include:

  • Highlight the immediate action to confirm the fire alarm and initiate evacuation protocols.
  • Explain the importance of staying calm to guide others effectively.
  • Discuss the need to account for all personnel and provide special assistance to those who require it.
Sample Answer: 

"Upon hearing a fire alarm, I would check the alarm panel to ascertain the situation's details and then calmly begin the evacuation process, guiding people to the nearest safe exits. 

I would communicate clearly, helping everyone to remain calm and proceed in an orderly manner. Special attention would be given to those who might need additional assistance. 

After ensuring everyone is out of the building, I would check off names at the assembly point to confirm that all personnel are accounted for."

4. What methods do you use to identify suspicious activities or individuals?

This question gauges the candidate’s observational skills and ability to recognize potential threats.

A good answer should include:

  • Discuss the importance of understanding body language and behaviors typically associated with suspicious activity.
  • Mention the use of surveillance equipment to track movements and actions.
  • Emphasize the value of experience, intuition, and continuous training in threat identification.
Sample Answer: 

"To identify suspicious activities, I rely on both my training in recognizing certain behaviors and my intuitive understanding from years of experience. I watch for unusual nervousness, attire that is unfit for the season, and inconsistent stories or actions. 

I also utilize surveillance footage to monitor patterns or anomalies and stay in constant communication with other security team members to corroborate observations and decide on the best response."

5. What defensive techniques are you trained in, and how do you decide when to use them?

This question evaluates the candidate’s self-defense knowledge and their judgment regarding the appropriate use of force.

A good answer should include:

  • Outline the defensive techniques in which you are trained, such as hand-to-hand combat or restraint tactics.
  • Emphasize the priority of de-escalation and the use of force as a last resort.
  • Describe the steps to assess the threat level and the proportional response required.
Sample Answer: 

"I am trained in several defensive techniques, including non-violent restraint and basic hand-to-hand combat. My decision to use any of these techniques is based on a careful assessment of the threat. The first step is always to try de-escalation and communicate to defuse the situation. 

If an aggressive individual poses a direct threat to others or myself, I would employ the least aggressive defense technique necessary to manage the threat safely."

Other Skill-Level Determiner Questions:

  • How do you ensure that all equipment is functioning correctly before your shift?
  • What strategies do you employ to resolve conflicts before they become violent?
  • What is your understanding of the rights of the public in relation to private security enforcement?

Behavioral-Based Questions

1. Recall a time when you identified a potential security threat through surveillance. How did you respond, and what was the outcome?

This question evaluates the candidate’s attentiveness to detail, ability to recognize potential security threats, and the effectiveness of their response.

A good answer should include:

  • Describe the initial signs that indicated a potential threat.
  • Explain the steps you took to address the situation, including who you communicated with.
  • Discuss the outcome, focusing on the resolution of the threat and any lessons learned.
Sample Answer (STAR Method): 

"While monitoring CCTV footage during a night shift, I noticed an individual loitering near a secured entrance for an extended period. This was unusual for that hour, so I heightened my surveillance of that area using additional camera angles. 

Realizing he was attempting to tamper with the lock, I immediately informed my supervisor and contacted the police, as per our protocol. I then approached the individual, maintaining a safe distance, and engaged him in conversation to assess his intentions while awaiting police arrival. 

Eventually, the police arrived and handled the situation. The individual was found to possess burglary tools. My vigilance and swift response prevented a potential break-in, and it reinforced the importance of proactive observation."

2. Share an example of a time when you had to deal with someone who didn’t respect your authority as a security guard. How did you handle it?

This question probes the candidate’s ability to maintain professionalism, assert authority effectively, and handle disrespect without escalation.

A good answer should include:

  • Maintain a focus on professional behavior throughout the encounter.
  • Detail the techniques used to assert your authority calmly and effectively.
  • Highlight the resolution of the situation, keeping everyone’s safety and the respect for the role in mind.
Sample Answer (STAR Method): 

"During a music festival, I encountered a patron who refused to follow my instructions to move away from a restricted stage area. I introduced myself clearly and explained the safety reasons behind the restriction, keeping my tone firm but non-confrontational. 

When he became belligerent, I utilized de-escalation techniques, offering alternatives and seeking to understand his perspective. Eventually, he agreed to move to the designated audience area. 

By remaining calm and using conflict resolution strategies, I was able to enforce the rules without the need for force, and the event continued without further issue."

3. Share your experience with using diplomacy to enforce rules with someone who was resistant. What was the challenge, and how did you handle it?

This question assesses the candidate’s interpersonal skills and ability to manage potential confrontations diplomatically.

A good answer should include:

  • Articulate the importance of understanding the individual’s perspective.
  • Discuss how you communicate rules and consequences clearly and respectfully.
  • Describe the strategies employed to achieve compliance and resolve the situation amicably.
Sample Answer (STAR Method): 

"At a corporate office, an employee was routinely bypassing a security checkpoint. When I approached him about the issue, he was dismissive of the security policy. I patiently explained the rationale behind the checkpoint and the risks involved with non-compliance. 

I also listened to his concerns about being delayed. To address this, I suggested a compromise where we expedited his check-in process without compromising security. 

Over time, he began to respect the necessity of the procedure and complied fully. Diplomacy and understanding his point of view proved key in reaching a positive outcome while maintaining the integrity of our security protocols."

4. Discuss an occasion when you had to use your judgment to solve a problem because there was no applicable protocol. What did you do?

This question is designed to evaluate the candidate’s problem-solving skills, adaptability, and ability to act independently.

A good answer should include:

  • Think of a time when you faced an unexpected situation that required a unique approach or solution.
  • Focus on the thought process that led to your decision, showing your ability to consider various factors and potential outcomes.
  • Highlight the positive result or lessons learned from the experience that could be applied in future scenarios.
Sample Answer (STAR Method): 

"Once, I was supervising a late-night shift at a commercial building when the fire alarm system malfunctioned, creating a false alarm. There was no protocol for this specific system failure, and the building manager was unreachable. 

Assessing the situation, I decided to manually check all floors to ensure there was no fire, while simultaneously coordinating with the alarm company for remote assistance. After confirming there was no threat, I communicated with the tenants to prevent panic and explained the false alarm. 

Eventually, we disabled the faulty alarm and the issue was professionally resolved the next day. My judgment to promptly verify safety and maintain clear communication ensured the security and peace of mind of the building's occupants."

5. Share an experience where you provided first aid or emergency response while awaiting the arrival of medical professionals.

This question aims to uncover the candidate’s readiness to respond to medical emergencies, their knowledge of first aid procedures, and their ability to remain calm and effective under pressure.

A good answer should include:

  • Recall a specific incident where you had to administer first aid.
  • Describe the steps you took to assess and handle the situation until professional medical help arrived.
  • Emphasize the importance of remaining composed and the impact of your actions on the outcome.
Sample Answer (STAR Method): 

"In my previous position, a visitor at an office complex where I was stationed suddenly collapsed. I immediately rushed to assist him, noticing symptoms of a stroke. 

I used my training to administer the FAST test (Face, Arms, Speech, Time), confirmed the symptoms, and promptly called for an ambulance, ensuring to provide the dispatcher with all the necessary details. While waiting for medical professionals, I made the individual comfortable and monitored his vital signs, consistently reassuring him to keep him calm. 

Upon their arrival, I provided a full report to the EMTs, which they later told me helped them act swiftly. The individual received the necessary care in time, and I was commended for my quick and effective response."

Other Behavioral-Based Questions:

  • Give an example of when you had to work as part of a team to manage a security threat. What was your role, and what was the outcome?
  • Share an experience where you used your observation skills to prevent a crime or incident before it happened.
  • Tell us about a time when you felt physically threatened on the job. How did you manage to ensure your safety and that of others?
  • Can you tell us about a time you had to react quickly to a potential security breach? What did you do, and what was the result?

Situational-Based Questions

1. How would you handle an instance where you catch a high-ranking company executive attempting to enter a restricted area without proper clearance?

This question measures the candidate’s adherence to security protocols versus their ability to handle sensitive interactions with diplomacy, particularly when dealing with higher-level management.

A good answer should include:

  • Show respect for hierarchy while maintaining security standards.
  • Communicate clearly and firmly the reasons for restricted access.
  • Demonstrate understanding of potential exceptions and describe the process for granting access if necessary.
Sample Answer: 

"I would politely inform the executive that the area is restricted and ask if they have their clearance badge. If they do not, I would explain the necessity of following security protocols for everyone's safety and offer to contact their office or a supervisor to facilitate the required access as quickly as possible."

2. Suppose a patron at an event you’re securing refuses to cooperate during a standard security screening. How do you manage this situation?

This question assesses the candidate’s problem-solving skills, patience, and ability to de-escalate tense situations while ensuring the security process is respected.

A good answer should include:

  • Stay calm and avoid escalating the tension.
  • Clearly explain the purpose of the screening process.
  • Offer alternative solutions if possible while seeking to understand the patron’s concerns.
Sample Answer: 

"I would first try to calmly explain the importance of the screening for the safety of all attendees. If the patron still refuses to cooperate, I'd ask if there is a specific concern or reason, ensuring they feel heard. 

If necessary, I would involve a supervisor or event organizer to assist, especially if any compromises can be made without compromising security."

3. In the event of a power outage that disables your surveillance and communication equipment, what steps would you take to secure the facility?

The question determines the candidate’s critical thinking, resourcefulness when technology fails, and ability to maintain security through alternative means.

A good answer should include:

  • Indicate immediate actions to ensure personal safety and the safety of others.
  • Describe how to secure the perimeter manually.
  • Mention communication alternatives for maintaining a link with the team and authorities.
Sample Answer: 

"In case of a power outage, my first action would be to conduct a perimeter check to ensure all access points are secure, relying on manual checks and locks if necessary. 

I would use a flashlight and a backup radio or cell phone to stay in contact with other security personnel and the authorities. I'd also establish a temporary post at a strategic location to monitor the situation until the systems are back online."

4. During a routine check, you find a door unlocked that should be secured at all times. There’s no sign of forced entry. What are your next steps?

The question evaluates the candidate’s ability to handle potential security breaches and their procedural knowledge in documenting and reporting security incidents.

A good answer should include:

  • Prioritize immediate securing of the unlocked door to prevent unauthorized access.
  • Investigate to see if there was an oversight or if further security action is needed.
  • Report the incident according to company policy and document the findings for future reference.
Sample Answer: 

"After discovering the unlocked door, I would secure it immediately. I’d then inspect the area for signs of unauthorized entry or any other irregularities. 

Next, I'd contact my supervisor to report the situation and check with staff who have access to the area to determine if it was an accidental oversight. Finally, I would document the incident thoroughly in the security log."

5. A suspicious package is found at the entrance of the building you’re securing. What steps would you follow to ensure safety?

This question tests the candidate’s response to potential bomb threats or dangerous items and their knowledge of the correct emergency procedures.

A good answer should include:

  • Do not touch or move the package.
  • Clear the area and establish a safe perimeter.
  • Follow established protocols for bomb threats, such as notifying authorities and the building management immediately.
Sample Answer: 

"If I found a suspicious package, I would first cordon off the area, ensuring no one can approach it. I'd alert the facility management and call the appropriate emergency services to investigate the package. 

Meanwhile, I'd assist with the evacuation of the nearest building areas, following our emergency response plan, until professionals arrive to safely handle the situation."

Other Situational Questions:

  • You are on duty when a major weather event suddenly occurs, threatening the security and safety of the facility. What actions do you take to protect the property and people inside?
  • A VIP will be visiting the premises, and you are responsible for ensuring their safety. What special security measures might you implement?
  • During your patrol, you notice someone is following you at a distance. What would be your immediate action, and how would you proceed?

Organizational Fit Questions

1. How do you stay motivated during monotonous or routine parts of the job that may seem less engaging?

This question assesses the candidate’s intrinsic motivation, self-discipline, and mental toughness—qualities important for maintaining vigilance and effectiveness in the security field, even during repetitive tasks.

A good answer should include:

  • Emphasize the importance of the role and its impact on overall safety.
  • Discuss personal strategies to stay focused, such as setting minor goals or mental exercises.
  • Highlight previous experiences where maintaining a strong routine presence was crucial.
Sample Answer:

"I am aware that routine tasks are fundamental to maintaining a secure environment. I stay motivated by reminding myself of the bigger picture and the role each task plays in preventing safety incidents. 

In my previous job, I would often set small, attainable goals for each shift to keep myself engaged, such as extra checks of sensitive areas. Additionally, I take pride in being someone that my team and the company can rely on, which in itself is a strong motivator for me."

2. How do you handle following directives from management that you may personally disagree with?

This question examines the candidate’s ability to navigate potential conflicts constructively, showing respect for the organizational hierarchy and making decisions in the company’s best interest.

A good answer should include:

  • Address the value of professionalism and respecting job roles.
  • Mention effective ways of expressing concerns constructively.
  • Convey a willingness to comply with policies after having a healthy discussion, should disagreements persist.
Sample Answer: 

"I respect that in a security role, following established directives is often critical for the safety of all. If I disagree with a directive, I would first ensure I fully understand the reasons behind it. If I still have concerns, I'd raise them respectfully with my manager, providing my perspective and any potential alternatives. 

Regardless of the outcome, I would adhere to the final decision and execute my duties to the best of my ability, as the security and well-being of the premises are my top priorities."

3. How do you approach diversity and inclusion within the workplace, especially when interacting with individuals from various backgrounds?

This question looks into the candidate’s ability to create an inclusive environment and their understanding of and sensitivity toward cultural differences—a key aspect in today’s diverse work climates.

A good answer should include:

  • Highlight the importance of treating everyone equally and with respect.
  • Share any diversity training or experiences that have shaped your approach.
  • Reflect on the value diverse perspectives bring to a team and organization.
Sample Answer: 

"I strongly believe that embracing diversity enhances the work environment. I make it a point to treat all individuals with the same level of respect and professionalism, regardless of their background. 

In my past roles, I've participated in diversity training, which has educated me on unconscious bias and cultural competence. I actively listen and learn from my interactions with different people, which has not only broadened my worldview but has also aided me in performing my duties more effectively.

Other Organizational Fit Questions:

  • Can you describe an organizational culture in which you feel you would not thrive?
  • Describe how you maintain integrity and ethics in the workplace. Have you ever had to take a stand to uphold these principles?
  • How important is it for you to build a rapport with your fellow security team members, and how do you achieve it?

Job Interview Tips

  • Familiarize yourself with the company’s specific security needs and the day-to-day responsibilities of the security guard position for which you’re applying. Tailor your answers to show how your experience and skills meet these requirements.
  • Mention any security-related training or certifications you have, such as CPR, first aid, self-defense, or technical skills related to surveillance systems. These qualifications can set you apart from other candidates.
  • Emphasize the technical skills that are essential for a security guard, such as surveillance monitoring, report writing, and knowledge of emergency procedures.

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Brenda Calisaan is a psychology graduate who strongly desires to impact society positively. She aspires to spread awareness and knowledge about mental health, its importance, and its impact on individuals and society.

She also has a passion for working with children and hopes to dedicate her career to positively impacting their lives.

Outside of work, Brenda is an avid traveler and enjoys exploring new experiences. She is also a music enthusiast and loves to listen to a variety of genres. When she's not on the road or working, Brenda can often be found watching interesting YouTube videos, such as Ted-Ed content.