Security Guard vs. Security Officer — Which Should You Use?

The difference between job titles is subtle but could make a big difference in your hiring and retention.

Hiring trends have fluctuated in 2020, but it’s likely that you have at least one position currently open  at your security business. You’re probably going to post the job in various places using your standard job description and other boilerplate materials you use when hiring. But what should your job title be? Security guard or security officer?

Some people in the industry say there is no difference in the two. Others say an officer is armed and a guard is not. Still others say the officer has greater training and/or responsibility over the guard. But as we look at today’s hiring and retention landscape, there are two main reasons you should use the term “security officer” rather than “security guard.”

1. Security Officer is Searched More Often on Indeed

If you want your job to be seen, the first logical step is to use the most searched term in the title of your job post. Job poster data from Indeed shows “security officer” was searched almost twice as often as “security guard.” But it goes deeper than just what the candidate is searching.

While it might boost search results to use “officer” instead of “guard” and get you better page placement, how many people actually click your job? Not only does “officer” get nearly twice as many searches as guard, it gets nearly four times as many clicks.

2. Officer Appeals to Your Audience

The first rule of writing is to appeal to your audience. In this case, your audience is your current and prospective employees. They want to feel respected and important. Simply put, “officer” has an implication of greater responsibility than “guard.”

A good guard, officer or watchman is alert and observant. They’re ready and able to defuse a situation with words rather than weapons. They’re 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 of what job title to use over another, you must ask yourself: what’s the goal? Is the goal to be “right” in a semantics discussion? Or is the goal to attract the best and most talented and keep them employed?

To read more about engaging your workforce through technology as a means to keep them for the long term, download our quick guide.