17 Protective Security Officer Interview Questions and Answers

Learn what skills and qualities interviewers are looking for from a protective security officer, what questions you can expect, and how you should go about answering them.

Protective security officers (PSOs) are responsible for the safety of people and property in a variety of settings. PSOs work in office buildings, retail stores, and other businesses; at airports, hospitals, and other transportation hubs; and at government buildings and other sensitive locations. No matter where they work, PSOs must be alert and ready to respond to any security threat.

When applying for a job as a PSO, you can expect to be asked a variety of questions about your experience, skills, and training. You may also be asked behavioral interview questions, which are designed to assess your ability to handle the challenges of the job.

To help you prepare for your interview, we’ve compiled a list of sample PSO interview questions and answers.

Are you comfortable working nights, weekends and holidays?

Protective security officers often work nights, weekends and holidays. Employers ask this question to make sure you’re okay with these hours. They also want to know if you have any experience working in these situations. If you do, share your experiences. If you don’t, explain that you are willing to learn.

Example: “I am comfortable working nights, weekends and holidays. In my last position, I worked the night shift for six months. It was a challenging transition at first, but I got used to it after a few weeks. Now, I actually prefer working nights because there is less traffic and more quiet.”

What are your qualifications to be a protective security officer?

This question is a great way for employers to learn more about your background and how it relates to the position. When answering this question, be sure to highlight any relevant experience you have that makes you qualified for the role.

Example: “I am passionate about protecting people and ensuring their safety. I’ve worked as a security guard at my local mall for five years now, where I’ve learned valuable skills like conflict resolution and communication. I also hold a certificate in first aid training from the American Red Cross, which has helped me respond to emergencies on site.”

How would you handle a situation where you witness a coworker or supervisor engaging in illegal or unethical behavior?

This question can help interviewers assess your integrity and willingness to report illegal or unethical behavior. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention a specific situation where you witnessed such behavior and how you reported it.

Example: “In my previous role as a protective security officer, I once saw one of the managers at the building I was guarding take an item from a tenant’s apartment. I immediately reported what I had seen to my supervisor, who then reported it to the company that employed us. The manager in question was fired, and the company implemented new policies to ensure something like this didn’t happen again.”

What is your process for handling a situation where you need to detain a hostile or aggressive individual?

Security officers often need to handle situations where they must detain individuals who are acting in a hostile or aggressive manner. The interviewer wants to know how you would respond to such a situation and if your response is effective. In your answer, describe the steps you would take to deescalate the situation while maintaining control of it.

Example: “I have experience working with people who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, so I am familiar with how to approach them without escalating the situation. When approaching an individual who is being hostile or aggressive, I try to remain calm and speak slowly. This helps me avoid raising my voice or getting into an argument with the person. I also make sure that I maintain eye contact with the individual to show that I am confident and in control.”

Provide an example of a time when you used your communication skills to resolve a conflict.

This question can help the interviewer assess your communication skills and how you resolve conflicts. Use examples from previous work experiences to highlight your ability to communicate effectively with others, as well as your conflict resolution skills.

Example: “At my last security job, I was working a night shift when two guests got into an argument in the lobby of the building. One guest was upset because they were waiting for their friend who was late, while the other guest was annoyed that they had to wait so long. The situation escalated quickly, and both guests started yelling at each other.

I approached them calmly and asked what the problem was. They explained their situations, and I told them that I understood but that we needed to keep the peace in the building. I offered to call the elevator for one of the guests if it would make them feel better about having to wait longer. After talking through the issue, they agreed to take turns using the elevator until their friends arrived.”

If you saw a suspicious person or vehicle near the location where you’re assigned to protect, what would be your course of action?

This question is a way for the interviewer to assess your decision-making skills and how you would react in a potentially dangerous situation. Your answer should show that you can make quick decisions while remaining calm and collected.

Example: “If I saw someone acting suspiciously, I would first try to get their attention by saying something like, ‘Excuse me, sir,’ or ‘Ma’am,’ depending on who they are. If they ignored my call, I would then ask them what they were doing there. If they still ignore me, I would call security immediately so we could take appropriate action.”

What would you do if you saw a coworker sleeping on the job?

This question can help interviewers understand how you would handle a conflict with a coworker. It also helps them determine whether you’re willing to report your coworkers if they’re not doing their job properly. In your answer, try to show that you value the importance of security and are willing to take action when necessary.

Example: “I’ve had this situation happen before at my previous job. I knew it was important for us to keep an eye on our surroundings while we were working so I went over to wake up my coworker. They were very apologetic and promised to stay awake from then on. If I saw someone sleeping again, I’d ask them politely to go home because I don’t think it’s safe for anyone to be in that state while working.”

How well can you see in the dark?

This question can help the interviewer determine if you have the necessary vision to perform your job duties. Protective security officers often work in low-light conditions, so it’s important that they can see well enough to identify potential threats and keep themselves and others safe. In your answer, explain how you’ve developed your ability to see in low light or describe any special equipment you use to improve your vision at night.

Example: “I have excellent night vision, which I attribute to my experience as a hunter. When I was younger, I spent many nights hunting with my father, who taught me how to spot animals in the dark. Now, I always carry a flashlight when working late shifts, but I rarely need it because of my ability to see in low light.”

Do you have any experience using security cameras to monitor areas?

This question can help the interviewer determine if you have experience using a variety of security equipment. Use your answer to highlight any specific skills or knowledge related to cameras and other monitoring devices.

Example: “I’ve used security cameras in my previous role as a protective security officer, but I also worked with them when I was an armed guard. In both roles, I learned how to use different types of cameras to monitor areas for suspicious activity. For example, I know that infrared cameras are useful for nighttime monitoring because they can see through darkness. However, I prefer using bullet cameras because they’re more versatile and can be mounted on walls or ceilings.”

When is it appropriate to approach a suspicious person?

Interviewers may ask this question to assess your decision-making skills and how you apply them in the field. Use examples from your experience that show you can make informed decisions about when it’s appropriate to approach a suspicious person.

Example: “I believe it is always best to approach a suspicious person with caution, as they could be dangerous. However, I also think it’s important to try to engage them if there are no other security officers present. If I see someone who looks like they’re acting strangely or out of place, I will walk over to them and introduce myself. This lets them know we’re aware of their presence and gives us an opportunity to learn more about what they’re doing.”

We want to ensure our employees feel safe and supported. How would you build a relationship with your coworkers to promote a positive work environment?

A hiring manager may ask this question to learn more about your interpersonal skills and how you would fit in with their team. When answering, it can be helpful to mention a specific example of how you have helped build relationships in the past.

Example: “I think it’s important for everyone on a security team to feel safe and supported by one another. In my last role as a protective security officer, I noticed that some of my coworkers were having trouble connecting with each other. So, I started inviting them out for coffee breaks or lunch together so we could get to know each other better. This small gesture made a big difference in our work environment, and now we all feel like a close-knit group.”

Describe your experience with first aid and emergency response procedures.

Protective security officers often need to respond to emergencies, such as medical situations. Employers ask this question to make sure you have the necessary experience and training for these types of situations. In your answer, explain what type of first aid or emergency response training you have. Share any specific skills that might be relevant to this role, like CPR certification or how you would handle a situation involving someone with a mental illness.

Example: “I took an online course in basic first aid last year. I learned some valuable techniques for responding to common injuries and illnesses. For example, I know how to apply pressure to stop bleeding and treat shock. I also understand how to interact with people who are experiencing mental health issues. I think my calm demeanor can help diffuse tense situations.”

What makes you an ideal candidate to protect our business?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your qualifications and how you can help their company. When answering, make sure to highlight the skills and experience that make you a good fit for the role. You can also mention any personal qualities that may be beneficial in this position.

Example: “I am an ideal candidate because I have extensive security experience and I’m always looking for ways to improve my skills. In my previous role, I learned how to use new technology to keep myself safe while on duty. I also understand the importance of protecting confidential information and keeping everyone safe within the facility. My communication skills are another reason why I would be a great protective security officer. I can speak with others calmly and diffuse situations before they escalate.”

Which protective equipment do you prefer to use on the job?

This question can help the interviewer determine your comfort level with different types of protective equipment. You should answer honestly, but you may also want to include a reason for your preference if possible.

Example: “I prefer using a bulletproof vest because it’s lightweight and easy to wear under my uniform. I find that vests are more comfortable than other types of body armor, so I’m able to focus on my job instead of how hot or uncomfortable I am. I’ve never had an issue with a vest getting in my way while performing my duties.”

What do you think are the most important qualities are for a protective security officer?

This question can help the interviewer determine if you have the qualities they look for in a protective security officer. Use your answer to highlight any skills or traits that you feel are important and demonstrate how you possess them.

Example: “I think one of the most important qualities is being able to remain calm under pressure. Protective security officers often work in high-stress situations, so it’s important to be able to keep your cool. I also think it’s essential to have good communication skills because we need to be able to clearly relay information to others. Finally, I believe empathy is an important quality for this role. We’re responsible for protecting people from harm, so I try to treat everyone with respect.”

How often do you perform patrols and checks on your area of responsibility?

This question can help the interviewer understand how often you perform your job duties and responsibilities. It can also show them how much initiative you take in performing your work. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention specific times when you performed a patrol or check on your own without being prompted by management.

Example: “I usually perform patrols and checks every two hours during my shift. However, I am always looking for opportunities to do these checks more frequently if needed. For example, last month there was an incident where a fire alarm went off at one of our facilities. I immediately began patrolling the facility until we determined that it was just a false alarm. After that, I continued with my regular schedule of patrols.”

There is a fire in an adjacent room. What is your course of action?

This question is a test of your decision-making skills and ability to prioritize. It also shows the interviewer how you would react in an emergency situation. Your answer should include all steps you would take to ensure the safety of everyone around you, including yourself.

Example: “I would first make sure that no one was in the room where the fire started. Then I would call for backup and evacuate the building. Once outside, I would direct people away from the danger zone and keep them safe until help arrived. If there were any injured people nearby, I would administer first aid until paramedics arrived.”


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