Skip to content
illustration of a magnifying glass looking at diverse job candidate applications

Illustration by Security Management; iStock

Why Talent Sourcing in Physical Security Needs a New Approach

When you think about your favorite sports team, you likely don’t see what goes into creating a cohesive vision for the team, building an atmosphere of trust, or ensuring the right people are in the right positions. As a kid, I always thought it would be fun to be a general manager, coach, or scout, being involved in how each team assessed talent and competed.

Now, as someone who sources talent, I get a chance to do that at scale and look for individuals who I know are going to make an impact in different ways. No team ever becomes great because they found the same type of player at the same position. They became great because they turned over every stone and found the right people with the right mindset that could help them win.

This same mindset has informed my perspective on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) initiatives for sourcing talent—especially for a company in the physical security industry.

Prioritizing DE&I initiatives can have a profound effect on a company’s bottom line. In fact, according to a study from Boston Consulting Group, diverse businesses generated 19 percent more revenue from innovation than less diverse businesses. The same study reported that diverse companies are also 70 percent more likely to capture new market opportunities.

So, where do you start? Here are some things to keep in mind about finding new sources for talent outside of the traditional recruitment strategies.

Diversify Your Perspective

Continually hiring from within a specific industry might have a negative effect on the ability of a company to innovate. Shifting toward an approach that prioritizes bringing in varied experiences outside of the industry can have a profound impact on what’s being built.

For example, several of the employees at my organization (the author is head of talent for a security technology organization) come from end user companies, and they have been on the receiving end of manufacturer products. Now, they are offering their expertise to build products with the end user in mind. Similarly, we’ve sourced consultants as part of our team because they are able to provide a consultative approach to problem-solving for our customers that isn’t typically found in physical security.

Continually hiring from within a specific industry might have a negative effect on the ability of a company to innovate.

Thinking differently in this case has helped us build a better understanding of the needs of our customers and allowed us space and knowledge to build a platform that delivers solutions to their challenges.

Start with Skill Sets

Of course, anytime you’re aiming to fill a role, you want to look at a candidate’s skill sets. But you shouldn’t be afraid to venture outside of the industry to do so. In fact, it’s a lot easier for someone to teach a professional about the ins and outs of the physical security industry than teaching them Kubernetes or a different specialized technology proficiency. Finding candidates with these skills can be done using Boolean searches for specific key phrases and words within a platform such as LinkedIn.

Look at Your Existing Team

If a team is lacking diversity, I look at the makeup of the team and aim to bring in a skillset that they’re missing or a background that might be missing from the group. For example, I’m going to avoid bringing in a bunch of people from a single university because the diversity of experience is a key component to building a successful group. If everyone on the team thinks the same way or approaches problems in the same way, innovation becomes stagnant.

Diversify Your Search

Oftentimes when I open up a job, I not only take incoming applicants, but also strive to search for potential candidates using keywords from underrepresented groups. This might be searching by historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) or by gender to truly find a diverse talent pool that can add new voices to the mix. Another way to diversify your search is by aligning with partner organizations with a robust talent pool, such as the International Organization for Black Security Executives (IOBSE), to help identify skill sets and individuals that might be a good match. 

Build Your Own Grassroots Program

There are many ways to approach building and sourcing talent pools through direct recruitment into universities, including (but limited to) internship programs. So many of the people I speak to haven’t really “seen” themselves in physical security, but once they join the company they really see the value in the work we do to keep people safe. Being able to educate a group of students about the endless opportunities in the space can become a forward-thinking way to build your own talent pool.

Prioritize Pay Transparency

Organizations can build equity by establishing pay transparency and listing salary ranges in the job description. Potential candidates view transparency as a way to know they are not being paid less than other employees in similar positions based on their race, gender, or sexual orientation. This goes a long way in ensuring we’re building an inclusive organization.

The most valuable thing you can do is ensure a space where people can see themselves as part of the team.

Build an Atmosphere of Inclusion

It’s not enough to source diverse talent into your organization; you also have to create an atmosphere of inclusion that ensures the people you’ve brought into the company feel like they belong and are contributing to its success. The bottom line is: If you focus not only on diversity, but inclusion first, you can create conditions that help people feel welcome and that they are invited to the party—even without a formal invite. The most valuable thing you can do is ensure a space where people can see themselves as part of the team.

The best way to build a solid physical security company is to think outside sourcing directly from security. So many times, there are skill sets that are applicable to building and revolutionizing the space—we just need to create a space that supports that effort. It begins with diversifying our talent pool.


Cameron Khani is head of talent for HiveWatch, a technology company reimagining how companies keep their people and assets safe. In his role, Khani is responsible for recruiting and hiring talent in line with the organization’s DE&I goals.