Technology in the changing world of security recruitment by James Doyle, co-founder and director, Broadstone


Finding a job used to be a buyer’s market; there were fixed places to go and look for employment, including recruitment agencies. Friendly, professional staff and a well-stocked bank of positions ensured their success.

Until the candidate evolved.

The modern candidate is likely to have a smartphone and tablet. He or she will be accustomed to using that device as their window into the world of work and as such, they will have no incentive to switch back to bricks and mortar when it comes to finding a job – in fact, they are likely to hold it against a employer if it won’t come to them on their own terms.

The modern security officer

Security officers are no different and are increasingly dictating the way they want to work; flexibly, on smart phones and for a range of different companies. They no longer want to go searching jobs boards or trekking to a high street recruiter. They want a smarter way of working that puts them in control and means they can find work, cover shifts and get paid in a much more streamlined and efficient way.

There are individuals looking for flexibility and hours that suit their lifestyles instead of a traditional nine to five. There is also a rise in demand for secondary jobs to top up regular incomes. For example, officers on zero hours or part time contracts may look for additional flexible security shifts at evenings or weekends and they need a quick and easy way to find job openings and flexible roles.

So, any security firm offering a job that doesn’t address the modern candidate is going to suffer.

As such, rather than following the traditional ‘race to the bottom’ approach, security recruitment is becoming much more candidate-driven. So, how are innovations and emerging technologies supporting this new ‘race to the top approach’?

Growth of SecTech

In the world of security technology, there are three main drivers: artificial intelligence (AI), gamification and apps. It’s not particularly revolutionary to suggest this; it’s a trend that’s clearly visible and successful in other markets and sectors.

Machine learning matching algorithms, facial recognition identity checks, automated invoice/payroll processing, AI-driven chatbots and a geolocation punch clock, gamification systems and personalised apps have all been brought to the security sector.

Security firms are using them for tasks such as interview scheduling, facial recognition, candidate screening and communication.

When deployed well, AI is an incredible boost to a security firm and its officers. AI will analyse data quickly and accurately, learn behaviours, identify trends and perform repetitive tasks much quicker than a human.

Gaming for performance and reward

Gamification is also being used to improve performance; by using game theory and designs, security firms are engaging with and motivating officers, as well as supporting the candidate screening and job application process.

Gamification is also vital to improve performance and enhance an officer’s interest and commitment to a security firm by using game theory and designs to engage with and motivate individuals. Gaming principles can include elements such as profile rating, badges awarded for certain performance related milestones, employee of the month schemes, behavioural quizzes, and community engagement. It builds meaningful relationships, boosts employee motivation and even supports training and productivity.

Critically, in a candidate-driven market, it allows security firms to reward officers for good practice, empowering them to demand higher rates of pay and driving higher standards.

For those security officers who require access to instant work, gamification can speed up the recruitment process, testing skills such as accuracy, time management, creative thinking and logic. These modern strategies are enabling firms to establish a real point of difference at a time when unemployment is at its lowest.

App-y officers

As we have established, many security officers use their mobile device to find work but firms can take this one step further by managing the employment process via a personalised app – including timesheet management and payroll systems. Apps can discreetly send push notifications that match their profile, enable messaging, and offer urgent vacancies when time is tight or for out of hours requests. This is particularly useful for temporary roles.

Security firms are operating more effectively and efficiently, reducing labour intensive tasks and streamlining processes. Officers are benefitting from instant engagement with their employer – completely overhauling the way they usually work.

Flexibility in work, and in pay

Just as security officers want a flexible approach to the way they work, many want that same level of flexibility when it comes to pay. Innovative technologies are providing temporary officers the option to drawdown on their pay when their shift is finished, another tick for the candidate-driven market powerlist.

Security officers of today have evolved and as such, the power is now in their hands. Firms must adapt if they are to meet these new expectations and digitalisation is at the centre of this with emerging technologies continuing to disrupt and challenge the traditional approach to security recruitment.

James Doyle, co-founder and director, Broadstone

Broadstone is a staffing platform that leverages Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to match job-seekers with work opportunities at some of the UK’s largest security firms. Security officers can access temporary staffing jobs, as well as permanent jobs through the app. The platform features many tech innovations including a machine learning matching algorithm, facial recognition identity checks, automated invoice/payroll processing, AI-driven chatbot and a geolocation punch clock – making the product one of the most innovative staffing platforms in the market.