SECURITY GUARD VS. SECURITY OFFICER- WHICH SHOULD YOU USE?
So, you have a position opening up in your contract security firm. Now is the time to post the job in various places using your standard job description and other boilerplate materials you use when hiring.
You know you need systems in place for this, so you arm yourself with tools like an applicant tracking software or detailed hiring spreadsheets.
The question now becomes, what should your job title be?
Security Guard or Security Officer?
Many people in the industry will tell you there is no difference in the two.
Some say an Officer is armed and a Guard is not.
Some say the Officer has greater training and/or responsibility.
As we look at today’s hiring and retention landscape, there are two main reasons you should prefer the term “Security Officer” rather than “Security Guard.”
1) “Security Officer” is Searched More Often on Indeed
Thanks to data made publicly available by Indeed, we are able to know exactly how people are searching for security jobs.
In September of 2018, “Security Officer” was searched 725,027 times.
“Security Guard” was only searched 392,036 times, nearly half that of “Officer.”
If you want your job to be seen, the first logical step is to make the title what people search the most.
But it goes deeper than just what the candidate is searching. While it might help you edge out “Guard” in the search results, Indeed is smart enough to show jobs with both titles.
Making sure you get good placement is one thing, but how many people actually click your job?
In September of 2018, jobs titled “Security Officer” received 3,688,632 clicks.
Jobs titled “Security Guard” received only 975,338 clicks.
Not only does “Officer” get nearly twice as many searches as guard, it gets nearly FOUR TIMES as many clicks.
We like to let the data speak for itself. This is one of those cases.
2) Appeal to Your Audience
The first rule of copywriting is to appeal to your audience.
Your audience (your current and prospective employees) wants to feel respected and important.
Put simply, “Officer” has an implication of greater responsibility than “Guard.”
Implications aside, perhaps you actually believe there to be a fundamental difference between the two titles.
Here’s the reality…
A good guard, officer, or watchman is alert and observant.
They are ready and able to defuse a situation with words rather than weapons.
They are helpful to others and they follow rules of the management and client.
All of these responsibilities are those of an officer, and labeling them as such works to enhance their sense of self-worth and pride in their job.
When making this decision, we ask ourselves: what’s the goal?
Is the goal to be “right” in a semantics discussion?
Or is our goal to attract the best and most talent and keep them employed on our teams?
At Kwantek, we much prefer the latter, therefore “Security Officer” is the title we recommend.
If you insist on there being a difference between the two, consider using “Senior Security Officer” and “Security Officer” job titles. The difference could mean greater retention and/or more applicants.