Thursday, June 12, 2008

Hire and build the perfect security team

The best case scenario, your company is growing and you find yourself reassessing your security team needs. In the worse case, you find yourself severely lacking the personnel required to effectively perform security functions. In either case, it is up to you to hire the perfect employee.

Find the perfect employee? Though a daunting task, it is important that you hire and build a team of excellent security managers. Never, ever settle for a warm body just to get the job done. Many of you know from experience the issues of hiring the wrong candidate bring about.

There are a few good observations about potential candidates that can further them into the hiring process. These include: What does the company value and what do you value as a security manager? We will also cover where to find potential candidates, the interview process and building the team.

First and foremost, all qualified applicants must reflect the company culture. What kind of employee does the company value? You must know this before you begin the search process. If your company values initiative, make sure your prescreen selects thinkers who can execute security functions with limited supervision.

Know yourself and what you value. Obviously your values support the company culture, but here is where you use your “gut” to identify successful people. The successful person must also be mindful of the Government regulations required for the job. For example if you need to hire someone to manage classified material, they should have an excellent knowledge of the National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual. Your job is to filter technically proficient applicants with initiative to learn and execute security procedures. Then, recommend them for the interview.

How do you find these successful people? First you identify the need and post it with the company. Review your job announcement and make sure it specifically identifies the need and requirements. If not, spend some time editing it. This will prevent wasted time reviewing unqualified resumes.

Word of mouth and networking is another great resource. You never know who might be looking for a career boosting job or different work experiences. Also, consider temporary agencies. They are a resource full of qualified potential applicants.

The next step is the interview. Alright, here is where you need to be the most prepared. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse! Here is your first impression of the applicant and vice-versa. It is important to find out everything about this applicant considering company culture and qualifications.

Tell the applicant about the job description and the company. Use this time to evaluate their posture, bearing and interest. Then use open ended questions to assess their capabilities. For company culture consider: Describe at time you made a decision; or, what security initiatives have you implemented and how were they received by management? For industrial security qualifications ask: How do you wrap classified material? Describe how you open a safe? What steps do you follow to send a visit request? Be as specific as possible. Remember, you want to identify someone who supports company culture and is capable of either learning or performing the job.
Finally, once you have made a decision to hire, assimilate this person onto the team. On day one, spend a few hours with your new hire to review company values, introduce to the team, and further outline the job requirements. Be quick to welcome this person and involve the rest of the team. Later, help foster relationships between coworkers. The best way is have them train and cross train. This builds cohesion and breaks down pre-existing barriers. Your team will communicate better and appreciate your decision to hire this applicant.

With practice and the right skills your journey to hiring the perfect candidate and building a great team will be rewarding. Know your company, your requirements, identify qualifications, rehearse and conduct the interview, then build your team.

Jeff Bennett is the founder of and currently serves as the Vice Chair of a local chapter of NCMS (Society of Industrial Security Professionals). He has written a study manual for the NCMS' Industrial Security Professional Certification. For more information on Jeff's articles and ISP Certification, please visit If you desire to schedule a speaking engagement, please contact Jeff at

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