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The maximum for the minimum.

The Maximum for the Minimum

GOOD HIRING IS ONE OF THE BEST WAYS FOR contract security services to minimize clients' losses. Employing the right people not only reduces the chance of actual misdeeds by security officers but also lessens the likelihood of lawsuits for negligence.

Employee misconduct hurts the business community as well as the contract guard industry. Many factors contribute to such misconduct once employees are on the job. Fortunately, preemployment screening can head off problems from the start.

When hiring, most companies first ask applicants to fill in an application form. Those forms request basic information on education, employment history, and background--the facts needed for an initial interview. Some applicants give wrong information about their previous employment, while others falsify their educational status.

The general public feels anyone can do a guard's job, and most people think it is very easy to hire a guard. To some extent, they are right; a lot of security companies hire anyone who walks into their offices. Many applicants have full-time jobs but resort to security work to supplement their income. They generally do not feel obligated to their second job, and a number of them show up late to work and quit on a whim, leaving their employers in the lurch.

However, security has become a challenging profession. High technology now plays a daily role in security. Untrained, uneducated, and poorly paid old-timers are not going to survive in the security field. The breed to succeed is the well-trained, well-educated, and well-paid security officer.

EMPLOYERS SHOULD STRIVE AT HIRING TIME TO protect their businesses against malefactors--both those who steal and those whose irresponsible and negligent acts invite lawsuits. A few basic hiring steps can go a long way toward discarding bad apples before they join a company.

Long before interviewing an applicant, the interviewer should scrutinize the application and look for the sections most likely to contain fishy information, especially items that are scored out and rewritten. A glance at the form will rule out people who do not meet the position's educational or job experience requirements.

The application can also reveal something more: a job-hopper who has held a number of positions in three or four years. This kind of person is usually an employment risk. Periods of prolonged employment are good indications of stability, even if the indicator does not always prove correct.

An interviewer's concentration and probing during an interview can dig out the facts when an applicant has tried to cover up shortcomings with lies. In general, the interviewer should look for prolonged gaps between jobs. No pains should be spared to probe into the reasons for leaving a position. The interviewer should listen to the applicant's side of the story, giving him or her every chance to speak out.

In answer to the application question about the highest level of education received, most applicants circle the number 12 to show they are high school graduates. However, they typically omit the names of the institutions from which they graduated. In some cases they fail to fill in the street addresses and telephone numbers of their former employers--even when they quit those jobs barely a month back. Doesn't that sound strange?

Scrutiny of the application should not take more than 10 minutes. The interviewer should then meet the prospective employee, welcome him or her with a smile, take the person to a quiet room with no interruptions, and let the interviewer relax. During the discussion, the interviewer should keep in mind any weak points on the application and question the applicant diplomatically to elicit the facts.

The interviewer should ask only openended questions, not ones that can be answered with a simple yes or no. The body language of the individual also merits observing. The interviewer should aim to establish a good rapport and not ask offensive questions. The main aim of the interview is only to dig out any derogatory information. In most cases, when the interviewee has gained faith in the interviewer, he or she automatically comes out with the truth.

The first interview should be followed by another. This interview should include a paper-and-pencil test that assesses the applicant's psychological condition. Meanwhile, employment references as well as the applicant's residences for at least the past five years should be verified. Company personnel departments should keep written consent forms from the applicants on file. As much information as possible should be gathered from landlords and credit bureaus by telephone and in writing.

After being hired, all employees should receive comprehensive classroom training in addition to on-the-job training--to reduce the likelihood of lawsuits for negligence and insufficient training. Generally, an employee is on probation for a period of 90 days and can be dismissed if found unsuitable.

By keeping the foregoing suggestions in mind while hiring, employers can keep a lot of bad apples out of their companies. That screening process not only saves companies from having to fire employees after spending sizable sums on documentation and training but also increases their profits.

Kharaiti L. Sharma, CPP, is a security supervisor with Advance Security, a Figgie International Company, in Vienna, VA. He is a member of ASIS.
COPYRIGHT 1989 American Society for Industrial Security
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1989 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:hiring for security guard services
Author:Sharma, Kharaiti L.
Publication:Security Management
Date:Jul 1, 1989
Words:860
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