The Silvertrac Extra: A Blog & Podcast for the Security Guard Industry

024: Using Craigslist to Hire Quality Security Guards

Jun 22, 2015 11:45:00 AM / by Johnny Page

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On today’s episode, we discuss how security companies can hire security guards on Craigslist. Craigslist is a really great tool to get your job postings read by a high number of people and get quality responses. Chris can attest to just how difficult it was to hire quality guards before the internet.

“What I usually had to do,” he says, “was I had to jump in my car late at night and drive around to other properties or accounts. I’d look for guards, and I’d steal them. I’d watch them, see how they performed. and then offer them a job.”

That strategy may have worked for Chris at times, but it’s a pretty major hassle, and it risks getting other companies pretty upset with you. Used the right way, Craigslist and other websites make the hiring process much easier. Companies should follow three main objectives to guide their job postings on these sites.

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Deter Low-Quality Candidates

The main downside of online job sites is that they create a very low barrier for responses. It’s no good attracting applications from high quality candidates if they get buried beneath a deluge of auto-responses, unqualified individuals, spam, and unrelated solicitations. Tweet: The downside of online job sites is the low barrier for responses. Here's how to avoid all the junk http://bit.ly/1eEtOy6 @sharesilvertrac

One simple technique you can use is to tell people in the job posting to write a specific phrase, such as “I Want To Work For You”, in the subject line of their e-mail. That way, you can safely ignore the spam and applications from individuals too lazy to even read the job posting. You guarantee that you only read applications from individuals that can follow basic instructions.

With both Gmail and Outlook, you can even direct all e-mails with a specific subject line into a dedicated folder, automatically sorting all applications in your inbox and saving you time digging through to find the right one. Requiring a resume or cover letter is another good way to deter lazy applicants and only get those that are serious about the job.

Find The Right Employees

Companies in the security industry often make the mistake of including very little detail in their Craigslist job postings, just instructing people to e-mail or call if they’re interested in a security guard job. Not only does this encourage low-quality candidates, it makes it harder to identify the positive qualities you’re looking for.

Do your homework before posting a job opening. Think about where new hires will work, whether that’s a construction site, apartment complex, homeowner’s association, etc. How do these varying requirements affect the background, skills, and personality you’re looking for.

Asking applicants to include short paragraphs about why they want to come work for you and ways in which they’ve gone above and beyond in a previous job. Tweet: Ask applicants why they want to work for you and ways they’ve gone above and beyond in previous jobs http://bit.ly/1eEtOy6 @sharesilvertrac

“Just that one question right there says a lot about your culture, it says a lot about the person that you’re looking to hire: not just someone to meet bare minimum requirements, but someone that is actually looking to exceed expectations,” I tell Chris. 

Remember, though, this is not how you make the hiring decision. These questions are just a way to identify the best potential candidates that you want to bring in for an interview.

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 Follow Up 

When you do receive applications from quality candidates, you want to make sure you reply to them promptly and let them know you’ll be in contact. Even if the position has already been filled, it’s a good idea to keep in touch with prospective employees in case you get a large new client and have an immediate need for new guards.

Once you’ve identified people that meet the necessary qualifications, you want to bring them in for an interview to assess whether they’d be a good fit. Thousands upon thousands of words have been written about interviewing strategy, but there are some really simple guidelines. 

“Just hire people that you actually like,” I tell Chris. You have to work closely with officers, and if you can’t get along with them and have positive conversations, that’s going to be a tough fit.

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Johnny Page

Written by Johnny Page

Johnny is a Customer Success Enthusiast for Silvertrac Software who is passionate about business, technology, and (of course) our customers! Johnny spent time in the security industry in Business Development, Marketing, and Operations before joining the Silvertrac team.