By: Stuart J. Visnov, Chief Executive Officer, Echelon Protection & Surveillance
Word count: 537
Hiring the proper personnel to staff a special event is a unique challenge to any security event company’s recruiting team. An individual that is seemingly perfect for your Tuesday night event, could end up being the wrong fit for the Saturday night event. So, when putting together the best team for an event detail, each event has to be viewed as its own separate function, with its own particular protocols, and needing a specific style of guard. Recruiting for a special event is truly not a one-size-fits-all style of recruiting.
By the same token, attempting to hire a full time event staff in order to handle all of your special events will present its own challenges. When compared to hiring staff for your standard, 40 hour a week, recurring security jobs, the special events staff has to be more accommodating and flexible with their schedule. The special event staff needs to have both a security guard mindset and a healthy understanding of customer service; thinking on your feet is mandatory and last minute changes in shifts and directives are the norm. Both of these skills will come in to play when working an event.
Of course, the type, size and frequency of your event will dictate just how many experienced security guards you have available to work each event. The event staff that tend to be the best fit are people who are: responsible, enjoy various types of events (musical concerts, festivals, fairs, races, celebrations, weddings, holiday celebrations, etc.) have a flexible schedule, and are customer service oriented. In addition, event staff should have training in standard event duties such as: crowd and parking control, bag checks, ID and access control, alcohol management, perimeter patrols, VIP security, and coordination with local police departments and EMTs.
That’s why college students, retirees, municipal workers, and people who work part-time often make up the majority of the typical event staff. Remember, the other main pool of event personnel will come from the full-time (and part-time) security guards, who are often tasked with providing supervisory and administration duties that require more experience, specific training or a special skill set.
The training of this style of personnel becomes a main issue, because each special event will come with its own unique challenges and protocols. Always confirm with the client exactly what they are expecting from the event staff. Is the staff member requested to be a higher-end guard or concierge type of staff? Or does the event call for a more physical, visual deterrent style of guard? Often, one cannot be expected to do the job of the other. And, as with many events, your team will most likely need a combination of the two.
The bottom line is that it becomes incumbent upon those of us in the security industry to make the necessary commitment and investment to be certain that all event staff are trained to a competent and capable level. The most successful security companies have the ability to deliver a mix of personnel to any event. That is, a staff that is well trained, groomed, and able to follow and fulfill all of the client’s directives while responding to last minute requests with professionalism and grace under pressure.