Author: Sanjeev Mishra, Senior VP of Global Corporate Security, Reliance Industries.
I know that there are enough and more competent security professionals out there, looking for great opportunities to help organizations scale new heights in the VUCA world. Why is it that they fail to make the cut during an interview?
During my stint of over two decades with the top MNCs, I have faced numerous job interviews and conducted over 500 interviews, both one-on-one and the panel interviews. I also gathered perspectives from the fraternity at large in various informal discussions. Here are the insights:
The Three Ps
The hack to clearing an interview for security management roles is hidden in the three Ps:
1. Prior knowledge:
Though it sounds like as cliché, there is no alternative to knowing the company, the industry, and the person who's interviewing you.
While this is true for interview in any domain, what is different for a management position in corporate security department is that the interviews are generally taken by the leaders who have transitioned to the corporates from uniformed services.
These leaders evaluate the potential candidate based on a scale which is embedded in their sub-conscious and calibrated to the baseline qualities mandated for a uniformed services officer, also called “Officer Like Qualities or OLQs”. These qualities are planning & co-ordination, social adjustment, social effectiveness and dynamism.
Beside good domain knowledge and experience, potential candidates have to display certain non-negotiable leadership qualities like initiative, confidence, ability to influence the group and liveliness to crack the interview. Even though you may be an expert in your subject, a limp handshake, unenthusiastic bearing and inability to look in the eyes while speaking are a definite negatives in the eyes of these interviewers.
In my experience as an interviewer, lack of focused preparation has been one of the key reason for rejections. I have been in the corporate security domain now for over 22 years, but I still scout for information on how to frame responses to the interview questions to boost my confidence.
It's absolutely critical to be prepared for interviews. As I mentioned above, the preparation must include your physical appearance and a cheerful attitude.
Sufficient advance preparation by doing mock interviews with friends & peers, helps one to respond in front of interviewer. Thinking on the feet and articulating a strong response is generally challenging due to time pressure. It is vital to speak about our strengths and past successes in a memorable and convincing manner, emphasizing the most powerful things and discarding the average achievements.
A smart bearing, liveliness & confidence in the first few minutes are most important to create a lasting positive impression in the mind of the interviewer. Once into the main interview, effective use of storytelling to narrate one’s experiences is a great tool.
All of us have several powerful professional stories and appropriate and crisp stories always make significant impact. We are generally probed on projects/ assignments we've been involved in — what was your contribution/ role, how you handled deadlines, how you handled pressures and difficult team members etc. We are expected to give out specific examples and details like names of people, dates, measurable outcomes, etc. This require deep thinking, subtle recall from past experience and weaving of multiple smart story lines.
Scan the past for examples of emergency response rendered and problem-solving roles played by you in the job. Be a storyteller, storytelling is crucial in an interview.
Remember that accurate statistics that corroborate the stories, make for a very strong combination. Corporate Security department generally measure limited Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) or Success Factors and coming up with a measurable proof is not always easy.
Using measurable outcomes as listed below are concise and convincing:
93% satisfaction level of security in the annual CSI surveys conducted by HR
10% increase in the annual CSI ratings due implementation of new initiatives
33% reduction in turnaround of receipt/ dispatch of material vehicles due to check list digitization
30% reduction in visitor card processing time by process automation
20% reduction in access card issue cycle time to new joiners by integrated, online, on-boarding process
30% reduction in emergency response time due to fine tuning of drills
Less than 1% shrinkage by instituting 3 level check system
Top Five Management-Level Corporate Security Interview Questions
Now, we will discuss some common Corporate Security Interview Questions and formula for coming up with your own convincing answers.
1. Tell us why you want to work for us?
Tell a story about how you first became interested in the security domain. Point out any similarities between the job you're interviewing for and your current and most recent job. Make your passion for your work, a theme that you mention continually throughout the interview.
2. How would you be an asset to this company?
Confidence is the key to handle this one. Narrate a story about how one of your recent accomplishments and how you were praised by the top management for your contribution.
3. Give me an example of a problem you faced on the job, and tell me how you solved it?
Identify a pain point or a challenge in the current job and articulate a short story around it. The situation was "X" the action I took was "Y" and the positive outcome was "Z".
4. What's the worst mistake you ever made on the job, and what did you learn from it?
Show that you are able to learn from your mistakes, but don't offer up any negative examples concerning your past performance.
5. Tell me about a conflict you encountered and how you handled it.
This is one of the toughest interview questions and test your ability to handle conflict. Never speak negatively about anyone. The interviewer wants to see that you are mature and considerate. Compromise and working it out without external intervention are the keys.
You must have confidence in yourself, so that the employers might trust you. It helps you to land your dream job. All of us require three things to boost our confidence in the upcoming interviews; Practice, practice, practice.
All the best for your next job interview.
About the Author:
Sanjeev Mishra is the Senior Vice President of the Global Corporate Security (RGCS) at Reliance Industries Limited (RIL). With a distinguished professional career spanning over 28 years, Sanjeev is a ‘Certified Protection Professional’ (CPP). Preceding to his corporate career, Sanjeev has served in the Indian Army. Sanjeev was conferred the prestigious “Chief Security Officer of the Year -2016” award for his contribution to the Security fraternity in India by SECONA, India's independent security consultant association.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are exclusively of the author. A few minor edits have been made by the Naukri Content Team.