A Man the Guard Firms Love to Hate

Chances are, you won't see these guards being led away in handcuffs on the evening news. In contrast to some of its larger competitors, sixth-ranked Guardsmark has nurtured a culture geared toward doing things right. Managers who neglect even the smallest screening procedure have their bonuses docked. While executives routinely job-jump among the biggest guard outfits, Memphis- based Guardsmark refuses to hire anyone who has ever worked for a rival. "I don't want their bad habits," says Ira Lipman, the firm's president and owner.

Applicants for jobs as "security officers" (a.k.a. guards) must first deal with an intimidating 24-page application form...

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