Background Check for Security Guard: Why They’re Done. Becoming a security guard is an excellent idea for someone who wants to help support a local business or building and help everyone stay safe. It is a job that has a low barrier to entry, so if you are physically, mentally, and morally up to the task you can likely succeed. Security guards do have to undergo background checks which focus on a few areas.
What is a security guard?
A security guard (which may come under other job titles such as a security inspector or security officer) is a person who is employed to protect assets by a government body or a private party. These assets may be physical or human, such as property, equipment, money, or people of importance.
Although some assets may be considered non-physical (computer programs, banking details, etc.), security guards are almost always employed to ensure the physical security of valued objects. Intellectual property will be secured by other individuals.
What do I need to become a security guard?
As the barrier to entry is generally low for a security guard, there is very little that you need aside from the mandatory checks, a security guard license, and the physical ability to be a security guard. This will disqualify people with physical disabilities or those who are over a certain age from working if they cannot show they are up to the task of possibly having to use their physical presence to ensure the security of the valued assets.
Depending on the state you are living in, you may also need to acquire security guard training in order to acquire a security guard license. If you live in New York or California, for example, you will need to pass state-approved testing before you are allowed to work as a security guard professionally.
Why do I need a security guard license?
Along with the background check, a security guard license (sometimes called a guard card) covers a business that may hire you from legal challenges and lawsuits down the line due to malpractice. Licensed security guards are kept on a register, especially those who will be working as an armed guard. If you are expected to make some sort of arrests in your professional capacity as a security guard, you will be expected to be held accountable for anything that might go wrong.
Background Check For Security Guard
Before you can be issued a security guard license or start employment after you have acquired a license, you must undergo a security check that shows you are a suitable person for a role in security. This background check is to both ensure that you are an individual who is of good moral character and to protect a company that might be interested in acquiring your services.
Companies don’t want to have security guards that they can’t trust. If they can’t trust their security, they are in the same situation that they were before they hired security at all (or possibly even worse if that person may be corruptible and open to criminal collusion). Here are three reasons why a background check is important for a security guard:
Security guards must be honest individuals who can be trusted to take care of and protect valuable assets for their clients.
If there is suspicion of links to criminal activity or criminal organizations, businesses that are wanting to protect their physical or intellectual property will not feel secure that a security guard will not be in on the crime and getting a cut. Make sure that you can clearly show you have no strings attaching you to criminals or criminal organizations.
A company has to protect itself against lawsuits. If they believe that you are an individual who may have problems with controlling their temper or is untrustworthy with a firearm, they may open themselves up to malpractice cases in the future.
If a convicted criminal is hired for a security position, the guard’s background could be used against them in a court of law that could cost a company a huge amount of money.
- Validity of claims
If there are ongoing claims to insurance companies regarding theft, having a security guard who is a convicted thief will (at very least) look back for the business in question. The claim could even be dismissed entirely due to the insurance company not being able to verify for a fact that said security guard was not involved in the theft itself.
What kind of checks are carried out?
There are two types of checks that will be carried out, usually at different times. The first type is the state-mandated checks which allow an individual to gain a guard card. These checks differ from state to state, but they largely cover a quick background check which will look over your criminal background. No specifics can be given on this as it largely depends on where you live, so further investigation is necessary for your particular state.
The second type is an employer check. These are carried out whenever you start a new job and cover a number of different requirements.
What is in an employer security check?
Depending on the size of the company that you plan to be working for, you may get a rather simple and small scale background check or a very large, intrusive one.
For smaller companies, they will usually refer to state background check data and any licensing requirements that will show the guard to be of good moral character. These are usually very quickly processed and should allow you to start work after 7 to 10 days if you are successful in finding employment. In these cases, if you have a guard card, you should be practically certain to pass the check.
For larger companies, they may want to access your history relating to five areas: previous employment, criminal background check, sex offender databases, driving records, and credit checks. Previous employment and criminal background checks are the same as with small companies and should not be an issue for anyone with a guard card.
A sex offender database check will show up any sexually related crime that a potential employee has potentially ever committed, depending on the severity of the crime. If the applicant committed a non-violent sexual crime over 10 years ago, their charge may not show up on the background check so they will pass. If they committed a violent sexual crime or the allotted time has not passed, then they may want to look for a different path to employment.
Driving records, especially for guards that work on multiple sites, may be accessed if necessary. If you have a number of driving-related offenses such as speeding or parking violations, this may shine a bad light on the company if the individual does not clean up their act for professional settings.
Similarly, if you have a driving under the influence charge (or DUI), it is likely that you will be rejected. If they cannot trust their employee to drive safely and legally, there is a chance for a lawsuit further down the line.
Credit checks are extremely important for bigger companies. They need to know that their employees are responsible for money and can be trusted not to be tempted to steal assets. If a security guard is struggling with money, there is a chance that they may look to steal a high-value asset and sell it on to clear their debts.
Even worse for a company would be if the security guard becomes open to corruption – if an insurance company can prove that an individual who should not have been trusted with high-value assets was left to guard them and subsequently allowed them to be stolen, the insurance claim may be null and void.
Can a felony stop me from passing a security guard background check?
In short, yes it can. If you have a serious offense felony charge (such as murder), a felony charge relating to theft (such as grand larceny or armed robbery), or a financial crime (such as money laundering), you are unlikely to pass a security guard background check. In the eyes of those carrying out the checks, you are not trustworthy to be guarding a company or their assets. You are the first line of defense against criminal activity against a company.
You need to be controlled, calm, and have good integrity in the face of corruption. If you cannot show that you have those qualities, it is unlikely that you will be awarded a security guard license and it is extremely unlikely that you will pass an employer background check.
Practicing as an unlicensed security guard is a crime in almost all states, so trying to get around these checks is not a good idea unless you want to find yourself in a deeper hole.
Looking into gaining a pardon or expunging a crime from your criminal record could be an excellent course of action for the felon who wishes to reform themselves.
Contact local legal representatives to discuss the possibility of gaining a pardon or expungement if you believe that you have changed your life and improve your moral character since your conviction. Just because you have a felony against your name does not mean that you will be doomed to suffer the penalties that come with it for the rest of your life.
Robert Gomez was born and raised in the Bronx, New York. He currently lives in Northern California with “the wifey,” “the kids,” “the dog,” and “that cat,” 🙁 He is also a former journalist who has interviewed murderers on death row. Felonyfriendlyjobs.org was born to help ex-felons get a second chance in life.