Increased global connectedness through technology is fast becoming the norm these days. Video conferencing and “face to face” meetings are happening daily in real-time across the world.
As an industry that prides itself on having the edge over our adversaries, we are falling below our own standards when it comes to utilizing the technological resources at our availability to their fullest potential.
The protection industry may still be in its infancy; however, the demand for qualified security personnel, continues to grow at an exponential rate. The industry is showing linear growth due to ever-increasing incidents of violence and enhanced political turmoil. Meanwhile, Executive Protection schools have responded to this emerging need by continuing to crank out “qualified” practitioners. These new practitioners saturate the market and look to fill competitive job vacancies, which are readily available.
However, the most notable issue is not an unduly competitive market or a lack of available jobs. A more significant problem rests with the employer and their operational procedures. Namely, that they fail to take advantage of all available technological resources when it comes to sourcing and managing qualified employees.
When it comes to contacting, contracting, and hiring people, the best practices of many employers’ is sorely lacking. Many recruiters will, at best, conduct phone interviews, while many others are prepared to hire outright based on what they read in a resume. As a nonverbal communication guy, I think that this is woefully inadequate, and leaves a lot to be desired. Of all the details I’ve worked on, only once was I required to take part in a video call, and this was for one of the larger EP firms several years ago.
The internet has changed the game and created opportunities that did not previously exist. This increased global connectivity means there is as much new blood on the employer side as there is on the contractor side of the house. Facebook groups such as “Executive Protection Lifestyle” and “Bouncers, Nightclub Security and Private Security Personnel” post a plethora of job openings across the industry. Gone are the days of waiting for an email from the training course you attended to hear about new opportunities. Instead, it’s become a numbers game for those companies looking to fill their positions. But this way of conducting business can leave you horribly exposed.
Those who’ve been on the circuit for a while understand that your reputation is your most valuable commodity. Reputation and integrity will be indispensable when it comes to getting any position. It’s not only agents who should be concerned about reputation; agencies will struggle to attract the top talent and win the best contracts if they’re not equally as protective of their standards.
The utilization of available technology to vet a prospective contractor or employee before giving them the go-ahead for a gig is paramount. All the routine background checks, due diligence, and verification of licenses are still necessary. However, on their own, these steps may not be enough to identify more profound issues.
Communication is a crucial soft skill when working with any team, and it’s also the first skill which diminishes when the stresses of the job ramp up. Taking the time to have a video conference with the prospective employee or client will prove to give a good sense of the person on the other side of the transaction. Being able to see, hear, judge, discern, and assess 100% of what is being communicated (both verbal and nonverbal) gives both parties the chance to understand what they are getting themselves into.
There needs to be a shift in the mindset of all who operate in this industry. Communication is a vital skill, it’s not only what’s said and the tone used, but also the nonverbals behind it. Making the deliberate effort to seek out a full understanding from all sides will create the best platform for success. Adopting, rather than denouncing, technology should be the new approach, especially when it comes to recruitment.
If the security industry wants to push for higher standards in all areas, then utilizing the technology available is the only answer. That will not only distinguish the true professionals, but it will also give way to better communication and build the platform for a reliable team.
Leveraging Technology in Industry Hiring
By Luke Daniel
This article was written by Luke Daniel of Primary Security & Consulting, LLC. Luke’s experiences as a Global Executive Protection Agent, Instructor at Tony Scotti’s Vehicle Dynamics Institute, and a student of behavioral analysis/non-verbal communication have led him to work with Fortune 1000 companies as a leader in human assets, “buy in,” and business resiliency.