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Interview Questions for a Security Department Manager

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Managing a security department requires excellent judgment and quick thinking. Not only must security department managers know how to solve security issues such as theft, disorderly conduct and discontented employees, but they must also know how to handle employees and management. Interview questions must include information about both aspects of the job.

Company Practices and Culture

Ask security department managers how their past experiences will help your company, and what role the security department plays in the management structure. Ask candidates how they feel they'll fit into the company culture. To answer these kinds of questions, applicants must research your company thoroughly before an interview. Applicants must show more than surface knowledge of how your company operates, what areas may be security problems and how to address them. They must understand your company's mission and objectives.


Include questions about the vision the candidate has for the security department. Ask what plan the candidate has for the security at the company and how the candidate will improve the department. Ask questions that will show whether the candidate for the security department manager position has a grasp of the big picture -- for example, ask the candidate about what the primary challenges in security are today and what the most important quality for a security director is.

Specific Situations

Include at least one theoretical example in the interview. For example, ask what measures the applicant would take in the case of a visiting dignitary. Or, ask how the security director would handle a suspected case of embezzlement, or how the security director would respond to a confirmed case of theft, including any discussions with the media. The answers to these kinds of questions will indicate whether candidates have broad knowledge, can think quickly and know best practices upon which they can draw upon.


Ask potential security department managers questions relating to managing staff. Trust and positive interpersonal relationships are vital for a security director. Ask candidates how they would handle personnel issues such as scheduling, establishing relationships with law enforcement and reporting to superiors. To determine how an applicant would handle relationships, again ask questions about specific scenarios, such as a how a security manager would influence an employee to change to more security-friendly ways.

Compliance Knowledge

Ask candidates to explain how they will help the company stay in compliance with laws and regulations and ensure the company suffers no problems. Candidates must be able to converse about basic physical and information technology security such as compliance, Sarbanes-Oxley and SAS 70.


Rachel Murdock published her first article in "The Asheville Citizen Times" in 1982. Her work has been published in the "American Fork Citizen" and "Cincinnati Enquirer" as well as on corporate websites and in other online publications. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism at Brigham Young University and a Master of Arts in mass communication at Miami University of Ohio.