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What Are You Looking For?

What Are You Looking For?

I’m channeling my wife’s favorite band, U2, for this week’s blog. Why? Well, perhaps you still haven’t found what you’re looking for.

I’m not talking about an earring or a set of keys that you’re tearing your room apart trying to find. I’m talking about filling an open job position with a qualified, or perhaps an unqualified candidate for your security company.

It’s no secret that hiring good, quality security people has proven to be extremely difficult, especially during these challenging times brought on by COVID-19 as we enter year three of the pandemic.

So what are security companies doing to hire and retain good employees? Last month, I was honored to moderate a panel discussion at ESX 2022 titled “Workforce Development: Does security have a hiring problem?” Rebecca Bayne, President of Bayne Consulting & Search, Inc., and Michael Lavway, Director of Enterprise Security Risk Group Operations at ADT Commercial, engaged the standing-room-only crowd on the center stage of the Expo floor in a discussion on workforce development and the hiring problems that the security industry is facing these days.

One of the topics that came up was what do employers look for when choosing a candidate to fill a position. Is the decision based strictly on qualifications, is it how they handle themselves during the interview process, or is it something else?

For our August News Poll, we wanted to know how your company bases its decision on filling a position, and if your company is willing to train potential hires if they don’t necessarily have the skillset for the position you’re looking to fill. Let’s take a look and see how our readers responded, now that the results are in.

The first question we asked was what do you look for primarily when looking to fill a position in your company? Seventy-five percent of our respondents said that they look at qualifications first when hiring for a specific position, with the rest looking primarily at how a job candidate conducts himself/herself during an interview. One respondent noted, “We look for good attitude and a willingness to learn.”

On the topic of qualifications, we asked our readers if they seek out job candidates from industries outside of security. Interestingly, 50 percent said yes, they do look at candidates outside of the security industry when looking to fill a role in their company, while 37.5 percent said they sometimes seek out candidates from outside the industry, with 12.5 percent saying they do not look at non-industry applicants.

While in the midst of the recruitment process, we asked if you are willing to train a potential employee if that person may not have the desired skillset to perform the responsibilities needed for the position. The poll results showed that 75 percent would be willing to train a new hire if that person does not have the necessary skills required for the position, while the remaining 25 percent said that maybe they would train new employees to perform what’s required of them in their new roles.

When asked to comment on our poll questions, one respondent told us, “[We look at] Qualifications and a sense that I'm speaking to a person with integrity. We absolutely seek candidates from outside the industry with related experience, and people who are willing to learn a new trade. We're also, at this point, deeply touched if they keep their interview appointment! I've never seen a job market like this in my tenure as an alarm professional.”

That last comment is, pardon the pun, alarming. There’s no way we can predict when the labor shortage in the security industry, or other critical sectors for that matter, will turn the tide. I heard “end of 2023” or “not until 2024, at the earliest” when I asked ESX attendees when they believe the security job shortage might improve.

Let’s hope the security labor crisis subsides sooner rather than later. In the meantime, this remains a topic that, to quote Bono and his U2 bandmates, “I will follow.”



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