Best Practices for Hiring & Screening Security Guards
To take control of workers’ compensation costs at your security firm, it’s important to fine-tune your hiring processes. Although injuries can impact anyone – some workers have a greater chance of injury due to reckless behavior or ineptitude. Fraudulent claims are another risk. Protect your company by following best practices for hiring and screening securing guards.
EEOC Rules for Employee Screenings
Before offering a job:
- You must not ask disability-related questions or require a medical examination. If you know that an applicant has a disability, you cannot ask about its nature or severity.
- If the applicant has disclosed a disability or a disability is obvious, you can ask limited questions about any reasonable accommodations the applicant may need.
- You can ask the applicant if he or she would need any reasonable accommodations to perform a specific job duty. If the answer is yes, you can ask what those accommodations would be.
When making a conditional job offer:
- You can ask disability-related questions, provided you ask all the individuals whom you’ve selected for this job the same questions.
- You can require a medical examination, provided you require the same examination for all the individuals you’ve selected for the same job.
- Employers must provide reasonable accommodations for known mental or physical limitations unless this would result in undue hardship.
Crafting Your Job Ads
Including pertinent information in your job ads can help you attract a pool of job seekers who will be a good fit for your company. For example, if the position requires workers to lift heavy items, mention this essential job duty in your ad.
At the same time, you need to avoid language that could be interpreted as discriminatory. For example, the EEOC says a job ad seeking “females” or “recent college graduates” would be discriminatory on the basis of sex and age. A job ad looking for “strong young men” would be discriminatory for similar reasons.
Asking the Right Questions
The job interview is the perfect time to learn more about candidates and determine whether they’re a good fit. How much you learn depends on the questions you ask.
If you’re unsure of what to ask, use this list of 35 questions designed for security guard interviews from Indeed. These questions cover issues relevant to security personnel, such as whether candidates have CPR training and which procedures they use to keep crowds under control.
It is also helpful to ask job candidates how they handled issues in the past or how they would cope with specific issues in the future. This will give you an idea of what actions the job seeker considers appropriate.
Checking references is a good way to get a feel for candidates. As in other phases of the hiring process, you need to comply with regulations. SHRM advises employers to secure permission to check references and to avoid calling anyone the candidate has asked you not to contact. You should only reach out to current employers if you have permission.
Once you have someone on the phone for a reference, ask questions to gain as much specific information as possible. If the employer seems reluctant to say anything, it may be because he or she wants to say negative things but the company has a policy against doing so.
Background checks are an important way to screen employees. When jobs involve driving, motor vehicle record checks are also crucial. Make sure you follow federal and state laws when securing these checks. For example, SHRM says federal law does not prevent employers from running background checks before making an offer but that some states do prohibit this practice.
According to the FTC, employers must receive written permission before using a background reporting company. If you decide against hiring someone due to information the background check reveals, you must provide the applicant with information about the background check company and his or her rights.
Requiring Drug Tests
Pre-employment drug tests are common. They are useful for helping you avoid individuals who may be unable to perform work safely due to ongoing substance abuse.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, employers must not single out individuals who look like they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol for drug tests – their appearance or behavior could be due to a medical condition. In addition, employers must not refuse to hire someone simply because the individual has a history of substance abuse or is enrolled in a rehabilitation program.
Finally, be aware of specific state laws, especially regarding the complicated issues of off-duty marijuana use. Laws around this issue have been changing. For example, according to SHRM, a new law that goes into effect in 2024 bans Washington employers from making hiring decisions based on pre-employment drug tests that show non-psychoactive cannabis metabolites.
Establishing Probationary Periods
It’s hard to know whether someone is truly a good fit until you see the person working. This is why many employers institute probationary periods. Typically, this is a period of one to three months, during which the employer monitors the new hire carefully, provides feedback, and ultimately determines whether the relationship will work. However, there is one potential downside: SHRM warns that it may be harder to terminate an employee who successfully completes a probationary period, without good cause.
Carefully hiring and screening security guards can help you avoid risks, but you still need a robust workers’ compensation program. Tangram’s insurance program for security firms provides the coverage and safety resources you need along with proactive claims services. Learn more.