At the Security Industry Association (SIA), we constantly hear how hard it is to attract talent for security integrators. And what’s the No. 1 job they say is hard to hire? It’s security technicians.
So I reached out to some sharp security integrators who are having success at resolving that problem to see if they would share some of their hiring magic with SIA so we could share it with you.
John Nemerofsky, chief operating officer of SAGE Integration, said that he’s found success with a little rebranding of the job title and how he refers to the industry.
“In 2021, we hired 28 technicians at varying levels — 1, 2, 3 and 4,” Nemerofksy said. “What I did that was a little different was change the name of our industry. So many of our competitors call this the ‘electronic security industry.’ I called it the ‘Sec Tec’ or the security technologies [industry]. Second, I moved away from ‘technicians’ and began calling them ‘system engineers.’”
When he did this, Nemerofsky said, “The types of people and resumes changed overnight.” Now he plans to add another 30 or more “system engineers” in 2022.
I also heard back from Christine Lanning, co-owner of Integrated Security Technologies Inc. Lanning gave me 10 tips that were so good that I am just reprinting her advice here directly.
1. BE A BEST PLACES TO WORK — It’s free and it tells potential employees that you care about them.
2. MANAGE YOUR GLASSDOOR RATINGS — Again, it’s free. Ask your current employees to submit reviews.
3. “MILLENNIALIZE” YOUR JOB DESCRIPTION — Make it fun. Boring job descriptions don’t get attention.
4. BE FLEXIBLE — There are a lot of people who may not want to work 40 hours a week. Be flexible and interested in what they are looking for.
5. TRY BEFORE YOU BUY — Allow potential employees to work for you (paid) during a week or two to try out the job with no strings.
6. CONNECT WITH LOCAL HIGH SCHOOLS AND COMMUNITY COLLEGES — I just found out that our local community college has a two-year technical electronic degree. I’ve already reached out to meet with them and see if they have any students interested in touring our facility, working as an intern, etc.
7. REFERRAL PROGRAM — It actually works. We offer $1,000 if you refer someone: $500 upon hire and another $500 after 90 days.
8. VOLUNTEER FOR LOCAL EVENTS — We volunteer for a robotics event where we are in front of high school students who like robotics. Talk about a gold mine of potential!
9. HAVE A PRESENTATION FOR POTENTIAL EMPLOYEES — I’ve invited tech applicants to lunch, and I’ve even pitched them with a PowerPoint saying I want you. Make them feel important. So many times they respond to a job ad and never hear back or only get to deal with the HR department. Make them feel special — because they are.
10. RESPOND — Always respond to job applications, regardless. Don’t leave them on the hook wondering. Even if you don’t hire them, they will tell others about the process (or lack of) that they went through.
Do these things that Nemerofsky and Lanning recommend and we think you’ll have a lot more success hiring great technicians (or “system engineers”)! And remember, you can place job listings on the Foundation for Advancing Security Talent (FAST) jobs board at https://advancingsecurity.org/. Job postings are free for SIA and Electronic Security Association members.