Security companies continually are challenged by filling needed positions at their businesses — from managers and salespeople to technicians and central station staff.

To help security company owners overcome this challenge,SDMwent to John Rose, an employment professional who specializes in the security business.

I’m having a hard time filling a vacant position at my company. How should I begin my search?

Rose:Simply put, your search starts with you. Hiring any new staff member — regardless of position — comes down to knowing the type of person you are looking for. Begin by asking yourself the following questions:
  • What does my company do well?
  • Where does my company miss the mark?
  • In what ways did the employee who just quit or was fired excel?
  • How did the employee fail in the job and with goals I originally set?
  • What could we, as the employer, have done better?
  • Do we have a written, accurate, up-to-date job description?
Armed with the answers, you now can develop an accurate and honest position description, which includes an overview of your company and your expectations of the person in that position.

Once you know what you want, it’s vital that you fully explain the job responsibilities to every potential candidate. Before making an offer, ensure that the candidate fully understands your expectations. That understanding is often the difference between a successful and unsuccessful hire.

What questions should I ask during the interview process?

Rose:In the security industry, one of the biggest roadblocks in finding and keeping good employees is that companies often search for someone familiar with the technology their company sells, installs, manufactures or distributes. However, an employee’s success or failure has little to do with the technical nature of the job. It has much more to do with core competencies, such as good interpersonal skills, time management and open communications with superiors, peers and customers.

Central stations seeking to hire a central station manager typically assume every job applicant knows what a central station manager is. They often don’t.

Based on the applicant’s understanding of the job, here are some questions to ask a central station manager applicant:
  • How many customer service associates or dispatchers did you manage?
  • What was the reporting structure of your organization?
  • Where did you find your most successful people?
  • What was your call volume per central station manager? per hour? per shift?
  • How did you control or manage turnover?
Unless someone can answer these questions, they are not qualified for that job.

What can I do to prevent my new employee from leaving my company after starting the job?

Rose:One of the main reasons employers have a hard time keeping new employees is that they usually hire the same type of people who quit or were fired.

Understanding why employees quit or why you fired them will help you properly identify skills, characteristics and traits that their replacement should or shouldn’t have. If you were in the manufacturing business and a part kept breaking, wouldn’t you want to learn why? Similarly, if you don’t know why people are leaving your company, you will continue to hire the same type of people and yet still expect different results. That doesn’t make sense.

Instead, any time somebody leaves your company, conduct an exit interview to determine the three reasons why they quit or why you fired them. Once you understand those reasons, you will be on the right path to finding replacements and hiring good people.