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Lifeguard Interview
Questions

28 Questions and Answers by Rachelle Enns

Updated December 28th, 2018 | Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.
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Question 1 of 28
As a lifeguard, you will be working around children and other vulnerable groups. Are you willing to provide a background check?
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How to Answer
The answer to this question should always be 'yes'! Most lifeguarding positions will require you to pass a criminal background check. It's best if you can come to your interview with a copy of your police check with you; however, if you did not have the foresight to do so before your meeting, the next best thing is to offer this to the hiring authority eagerly.
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Answer Examples
1.
As a lifeguard, you will be working around children and other vulnerable groups. Are you willing to provide a background check?
The answer to this question should always be 'yes'! Most lifeguarding positions will require you to pass a criminal background check. It's best if you can come to your interview with a copy of your police check with you; however, if you did not have the foresight to do so before your meeting, the next best thing is to offer this to the hiring authority eagerly.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I have been around children since I was a teen, working as an assistant camp counselor in the summers. I have had to perform a criminal background check every year. For this role, I am happy to comply with any police checks you require."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I went ahead and purchased a copy of my police background check for you. Please keep this copy for your records. Should there be any other background checks you require of me, I am happy to comply."
Anonymous Answer
"Yes. I have my police check, and I can give you a copy."
Rachelle's Answer
Concise and to the point. Good answer.
"Yes, I am willing to provide a background check. I have a copy of my police check with me today, which you can keep for your records."
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2.
Are you a good swimmer? Have you completed any swimming training classes?
It goes without saying - if you want to be a lifeguard, you need to be a strong swimmer. The interviewer wants to confirm that you are a good swimmer. This question is an excellent opportunity to present any certificates you have received from training and workshops. If possible, bring such documents with you to the interview.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I recently completed my 300-meter swimming certificate at my local swimming center. I also completed a lifeguard course during the holidays in which they told me I have a powerful kick and good stamina. I brought my certificate with me if you'd like to take a copy for my candidate file."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I have completed the Professional Award for Pool Lifeguard at SCQF Level 7 which covered pool rescue, CPR techniques, first aid and dealing with poolside emergencies. As far as my training and certificates go, I believe I check all of the boxes you ask for in the job posting."
Anonymous Answer
"Yes, I am a very competitive swimmer. I received medals when I was in grade school and high school. I completed the swimming training when getting my lifeguard certificate."
Rachelle's Answer
Try to be more specific on dates so that the interviewer can follow along with your swim training history.
"Yes, I am an excellent swimmer. I swam competitively in grade school and high school, receiving multiple medals and awards. In 2016, I completed my lifeguard certificate and all associated swim training."
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3.
What are the essential items to have at your pool before your shift begins?
The interviewer would like to see how full your understanding is when it comes to preparing for your shift as a lifeguard. The way you respond will also be an indicator, for the hiring authority, on how much training you have received, and how much more you may need, should you be hired. Because this is an open-ended question, be aware of keeping your response straightforward.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"As per my lifeguard training, the equipment that I would be sure to have are a life buoy to throw into the pool should someone get into trouble, a whistle to draw attention to a situation, a walkie-talk to contact colleagues in an emergency, a waterproof watch, and a first aid kit."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"In my current role, I always have with me a first aid kit, a life vest, a floatation device, and an emergency phone. In my lifeguard pack, I carry a whistle, water bottle, and a rope. Is there anything else you would require me to carry, in this role?"
Anonymous Answer
"The essentials items I have to carry before my shift begins are a storm whistle, rescue tube, first aid kit, CPR mask, walkie talkie, and water bottle."
Rachelle's Answer
Your response is bang on! Well done.
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4.
What is your understanding of the role a lifeguard performs, and the duties they undertake?
The interviewer would like to know that you fully understand what it means to be a lifeguard. When it comes to jobs often depicted in the movies, and on TV, often we can form a cloudy vision on what we think the position is, truly. Show the interviewer that you know your job won't be an episode of Baywatch; but rather, a fundamental role focused on safety.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"The role a lifeguard undertakes is to keep people safe, to provide emergency support, and to be a first responder in emergencies until a medic arrives. Additional duties a lifeguard would undertake are to control unruly behavior to minimize harm to others around. Lifeguards are there to supervise swimmers, ensuring everyone is safe and adhering to the basic rules."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"As a lifeguard, my role is to spot any hazards and prevent serious accidents. I am also to put into practice the necessary protocols in an emergency, enforce rules consistently and fairly, keep up to date with my lifeguard, CPR, and first-aid training and complete incident reports as needed."
Anonymous Answer
"My understanding of the role a lifeguard performs is to ensure the safety of the guest. Be observant of your surroundings to prevent any hazards and prevent accidents. I make sure that I'm able to save a life by keeping myself fit, understanding the rules and regulations and keeping my lifeguard, CPR, and first aid training up to date."
Rachelle's Answer
The basis of your response is good. I recommend rewording slightly, so that your answer is easier to follow.
"I believe a lifeguard's priority is to ensure guest safety. A lifeguard must be observant of their surroundings to prevent accidents and hazards. A lifeguard should also remain physically fit, understand the industry's rules and regulations, and keep their CPR and First Aid training up to date."
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5.
Do you have experience with overall pool hygiene, testing and regulating water temperature, PH levels, and chlorine?
Part of your role as a lifeguard may be ensuring that the pool levels are sanitary and safe. Discuss with the interviewer any training and experience you have with PH levels, chlorine levels, and water temperature. If you do not have training in these areas, you can express that you are eager and willing to learn.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"In my current role I assist our maintenance team by testing the chemical levels every hour. We have a strict system for this, in which I have been fully trained. Commercial pools can see many changes in a day, depending on factors such as the hygiene of the swimmers and how many people are using the facility on any given day. I understand that it's critical to remain on top of these levels, for the safety of everyone using the pool."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I look forward to formal training in this area, seeing as the experience I bring in pool maintenance is limited. I do; however, understand that most commercial pools need monitoring at least once per hour. Hygiene and health are significant factors to the success of your business, and I will do my part in reinforcing your sanitation processes."
Anonymous Answer
"Honestly speaking, I do not have experience with pool hygiene, testing and regulating water temperature, PH levels, and chlorine but I am eager and willing to learn."
Rachelle's Answer
Good! It's great that you added you are eager to learn.
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6.
Give me an example of a time when you have had to enforce rules or policies.
Every lifeguard has to enforce policies from time to time. It isn't always easy to take control of a situation or correct people on their behavior so, for that reason, the interviewer needs to see that you are comfortable taking control under certain circumstances. Provide an example of when you enforced company protocols or rules. Be sure to provide details around why it was a necessary action, and what the outcome was.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I currently work as a part-time lifeguard for our community pool, during weekend swimming lessons. One of our rules is no food and drink near the pool area. We would never want broken glass or any cross-contamination. I had a mother who insisted on bringing in her coffee while watching her son swim. I approached her nicely, but she was insulted and became rude. So, I let her know that she was welcome to leave or find another pool to go to if she did not appreciate the importance of our rules. It is not easy, especially as a younger person, to enforce rules with older folks but I remind myself that it's my job to protect the safety of our young swim students. In the end, she chose to ditch her coffee and abide by the rules."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"When I worked at Starbucks as a manager, I was responsible for the evening cash out. I grew concerned as money went missing a couple of times in one week. I called a 5-minute briefing with the staff to express the concern and confirm that disciplinary action would take place once the cameras were checked. One of our newer staff members confessed to giving back the incorrect change a few times, but not reporting it. I had to enforce our company policies and terminated her immediately. It was not easy to do, but I did gain the respect of my team by showing them that doing the right thing is not always easy, but it needs to be done."
Anonymous Answer
"I have been working as a dive master, and I always make sure to give divers a proper briefing. One example is that I let them know they have to follow me and never go in a different direction. Sometimes they want to wander off by themselves. Then I have to ask the rest of the divers to stick together and wait for me while I'm fetching the other diver. I have to explain to him that we should be stay together as a group. As a leader, you must enforce the rules and regulations."
Rachelle's Answer
Very good example. I have cleaned up your response just a touch.
"As a leader, it's important to be able to enforce rules and regulations. When working as a dive master, I always ensured that my participants had a proper briefing on safety rules and dive policies. I had an instance where someone from the group wandered off, breaking the rules I explicitly explained in the beginning. I had to ask the rest of the divers to stick together while I went to fetch the wandering diver. In the end, I asked the person to leave the group and go up to the surface."
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7.
Tell me something about yourself that I wouldn't know from reading your resume.
The interviewer would like to get to know you apart from your resume. You are indeed not obligated to discuss personal matters such as your relationship status, for instance. Stick with a couple of fun facts to show the interviewer that you are a real person, too. Your answer should be unique so that you are a memorable candidate!

Focus on unique non-work related skills or hobbies. For instance, you might share that you enjoy beat-boxing or making origami swans. Be prepared for the interviewer to stop you and ask you to perform your skill on the spot when it's possible! (This will make you unforgettable!)

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I am an avid marathon runner and have traveled to 10 countries in the last eight years to compete in a variety of races. I am a competitive individual and enjoy keeping fit."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I am a certified yoga instructor, and I spent three months after college traveling and doing yoga. I spent six weeks in Asia and another six weeks in Latin America, and it was a fantastic experience that helped me to grow as both a yogi and a professional."
Anonymous Answer
"I am a very outdoorsy person, and I like any water activity. I was offered a job piloting a boat from Hong Kong to the Philippines. It was a great experience that I will never forget."
Rachelle's Answer
This is an interesting answer! Try to round out your story a little bit more.
"I love any outdoor activity, especially water activities. I once blended these passions and took a job piloting a boat from Hong Kong to the Philippines. It was an exciting experience that allowed me to be on the water, learning new skills. I will never forget this wonderful experience."
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8.
Which level of CPR certification do you possess? Is your certification current and valid?
Be sure to bring a physical copy of your CPR certification with you, and offer the interviewer to take a scan or photocopy. Before your interview, ensure that your certification is still valid. If your card is expired or expiring in the next 90 days, you should have a plan for re-certification. Keep your response simple and to the point.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I have a CPR -A certification which is valid for the next six months. I have already registered to take a CPR-B course in June. It's important to me that I continue to grow my knowledge in CPR and emergency protocols. If you would like, I have my current certificate with me, and you can take a copy for my file."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I do have a CPR-B certificate however it is close to expiry. I booked a refresher course next Wednesday and can provide you with a copy of my new certification immediately after completion."
Anonymous Answer
"I have CPR certification, and it will expire in 15 months. I will make sure I will schedule a refresher course before it expires."
Rachelle's Answer
Concise response, which is great!
"My CPR certification is valid for another 15 months. I will be sure to schedule the refresher course long before this expiration date."
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9.
What has been your greatest professional achievement to date?
The professional achievement you provide may or may not link directly to your experience as a lifeguard. Either way, the interviewer would like for you to indicate what you are proud of, and why your accomplishments mean something to you. Show that success motivates you and that you strive for greatness in your career.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I was very proud when I achieved my first employee of the month award. I had worked hard on completing additional lifeguard emergency response training, so it was nice to get recognition for my hard work."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"My greatest professional achievement was when I completed my CPR Level C, allowing me to become an on-site trainer for junior lifeguards. I love to teach and train so that accomplishment opened up some exciting opportunities for me."
Anonymous Answer
"I am proud to say having my own business in the Philippines is my greatest achievement. I became successful because of all my hard work, patience and determination. Having my lifeguard certificate is my latest achievement that opens a new opportunity for me."
Rachelle's Answer
Very good achievements! Nice work.
"I am glad to say that owning my own business in the Philippines has been my greatest achievement. This goal took a lot of hard work, patience, and determination. I recently earned my lifeguard certification which is another achievement that makes me proud."
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10.
As a lifeguard, you will be on the front lines of customer service. Tell me about the last customer service skill you learned.
It is essential to a hiring company that you are someone who is willing to learn new skills. Being eager to add to your professional repertoire is an excellent way to stand out from the competition. Some new skills related to customer service can range from linguistic to communication, to software capabilities. If there is a skill that you want to learn, and have not yet taken advantage of, you can mention your interest.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"The last customer service skill that I learned included a course on dispute resolution management. I feel this course helped me a great deal when it comes to my confidence level, and working with disgruntled people who do not feel the pool rules apply to them. I want to take the advanced level of this course, as a follow-up."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"In my current lifeguard position, I was given the opportunity to take a class in empathetic listening. This skill is one that everyone should have, in a people-facing role. I learned a lot about consistent and professional messaging when dealing with customer disputes, and with children."
Anonymous Answer
"The last customer service skill I learned was my when my guest complained about the tides. I had a business in the Philippines, and we accommodated guests. It was low tide when they arrived. It took a few hours before they arrived at the bungalow. After they left, we both had a chance to review how they were as a guest and how we were as a host. She was upset because of the tides. I tried to explain politely and calmly that we listed in our guide that tides are one of the things they have to consider if they stay with us."
Rachelle's Answer
Your story is a good example; however, if feels incomplete and a touch scattered. Try to arrange your thoughts and craft this in a way that the interviewer could follow.
"As the owner of a dive school in the Philippines, I had many opportunities to learn about customer service delivery. One factor that I could not control was the ocean tides. In my tourism business listings, I address that the tides will be different, depending on the time of year that the tourists visit. One time that I recall, a guest was very upset about the tide level. I did the best I could to explain the situation and accommodate the guest during her stay. One thing I learned from this situation was that it's best to ensure all guests have clear expectations set at the time of booking."
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11.
What is your first reaction when you do something wrong at work?
How you react to an error made will tell the interviewer a great deal about you and your honesty level, and willingness to be accountable for your actions. Perhaps the mistake is one that could land you in a lot of trouble. Would you try to hide the incident, or would you tell a supervisor right away, and have the situation rectified?

Rachelle's Answer #1
"My first reaction when I do something wrong at work is to own it. How can anything be repaired if nobody even has a chance to fix it on time? That would be my line of thinking if a mistake were to occur."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I would never hide something or cover up a mistake just for the sake of saving face. I am an honest and upfront person."
Anonymous Answer
"I feel bad and disappointed in myself, but I will try and learn from my mistake. I will report it to my supervisor right away. In that case we can talk about it and solve the problem."
Rachelle's Answer
Your answer is structured well. Remove "try" to make your response more concrete.
"If I do something wrong at work, my immediate reaction is to feel bad or disappointed in myself; however, I take it as an opportunity to learn from my mistakes. I would report any error to my supervisor right away so that we can make sure to fix the mistake."
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12.
What do you think are the most important characteristics of a lifeguard?
The hiring authority would like to know which characteristics you would value in a lifeguard if you were the one making the final decision. When crafting your response, consider the characteristics asked for in the job posting. Also, be sure to recognize your strengths and include those in your response.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"In my opinion, a lifeguard needs to be consistent in their decision making, always alert, and continuously concerned about safety. They need to be confident because that split second decision could mean life or death. They need to be an excellent communicator, being clear at all times, so no one misunderstands them. I see in your job posting that these are qualities you look for in a lifeguard. You can rest assured that I possess these and more. My references would be happy to attest to this."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I believe that the most important characteristic of a lifeguard is constant readiness. In an emergency, you cannot control everything, so it's vital to come ready with the right equipment and fast-response mentality. Other skills that I possess, which are vital to being an excellent lifeguard, include clear communication, strong focus, and a desire to help others."
Anonymous Answer
"The most important characteristics of a lifeguard are being comfortable handling responsibility for guests. Their safety is in your hands. You must be focused and observant at all times and able to respond quickly in a high-pressure situation."
Rachelle's Answer
Good response! Try compacting it just a touch.
"The most important characteristics of a lifeguard are to be responsible, focused, observant, and able to respond quickly in high-pressure situations."
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13.
Our facility is open evenings, weekends, and holidays. Can you commit to a flexible work schedule?
Before answering scheduling questions, it's important to be clear on the interviewer's expectations. If you haven't had a chance to clarify their scheduling needs, now would be the perfect time to ask!

Consider asking, 'What are the scheduling expectations for this position?' If they expect you to work 12 hour days, it would be important for you to know that before you respond with, 'Absolutely! No problem!' You want to be sure that you can meet their expectations.

If it turns out their schedule expectations won't work for you, think about what you CAN offer and see if you can meet in the middle. It's much better to discuss these things in an interview than for you to commit to a schedule that won't work for you.

Keep in mind that, in most states, an employer cannot demand that an employee work more than 44 hours per week.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"If you need overtime in this role, I am happy to accommodate whenever I can. My only restriction is that I cannot work Wednesday nights as I have an evening course those days."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"As a lifeguard, I anticipate working over 40 hours per week, especially around school breaks and the summer holidays. Could you share with me the expectations for this role?"
Anonymous Answer
"I am looking for the right schedule based on my availability since I have to drop my son off at school around 8:30 am and pick him up around 3:30 pm. Between those hours are my free time during weekdays."
Rachelle's Answer
It's great that you are very specific on your hours, but this will leave the interviewer with more questions. Can you work after 3:30 pm? Are you only available from 9-3? Try to be a bit clearer on what you need.
"I am flexible with my schedule with a couple of minor exceptions. I drop my son off at school around 8:30 am and pick him up around 3:30 pm. I am available Monday through Friday from 9 am to 3 pm and anytime on the weekends."
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14.
How much do you think this lifeguard job should pay?
This question is merely another way for the interviewer to ask about your desired pay for this role. Be honest about what you are hoping to make, but you should also avoid asking for too little, or for too much. Using an online salary calculating tool, like the ones from Glassdoor or Indeed, will help you to determine the average ask for your position, years of experience, and even location. You can also use your current salary as part of the basis for your ask.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I am currently earning $15/hour and am up for a raise to $16/hour in the next couple of months. My ideal salary is $17-19/hour plus health benefits, which I believe is a fair ask for this role."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I am newer to my lifeguarding career, so I performed some research on the topic, hoping to gain an understanding of the average pay for a receptionist in this area. The ranges I saw were $11-14/hour depending on experience. Do you have an amount in mind for this position?"
Anonymous Answer
"Honestly, this is going to be my first job in the U.S. I would say you decide what's best and fair depending on my experiences."
Rachelle's Answer
Try to do some research before your interview, using an online salary tool such as payscale.com. You do not want to sell yourself short. Confirm the excellent skills you bring and ask for what you need.
"I researched the average pay for a lifeguard in this area and believe that $18-$22 per hour is the median wage. Because I bring lifeguard and divemaster certifications, along with my expertise as a diving coach in the Philippines, I am seeking compensation in the $20-$22 per hour range."
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15.
Do you meet our minimum fitness requirements?
There may be a range of fitness requirements, depending on if the role is indoor, outdoor, or beach lifeguarding. As a baseline, most lifeguards should be very physically fit with the ability to run 200 meters in under 45 seconds, swim a 400-meter pool in under 8 minutes, and swim underwater for 25 meters or more without tiring. Discuss your fitness routine and physical capabilities while also remembering to offer to take their fitness test, should they have one.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I am sure to work out every morning, which consists of cardio and weight training. I am confident that I will test in the top percentiles when it comes to underwater swimming, stamina, and running speeds."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I took note of your fitness requirements, as outlined in your job description. It is with great confidence that I say I can exceed all of these physical demands. I go for a 5-mile run every morning and perform weight training three days per week. I am an avid swimmer, training as a member of our city's swim club on a weekly basis."
Anonymous Answer
"I was an extremely competitive swimmer when I was in grade school and high school. I continue to swim to stay in good shape. I also work out in the gym five times a week using heavy weights."
Rachelle's Answer
Your response quickly shows the interviewer that you are physically fit, and ready for the job.
"I make sure to keep physically fit, working out in the gym five days per week with a mix of cardio and weights. I have been a competitive swimmer since grade school so being fit has always been an important part of my life."
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28 Lifeguard Interview Questions
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Interview Questions
  1. As a lifeguard, you will be working around children and other vulnerable groups. Are you willing to provide a background check?
  2. Are you a good swimmer? Have you completed any swimming training classes?
  3. What are the essential items to have at your pool before your shift begins?
  4. What is your understanding of the role a lifeguard performs, and the duties they undertake?
  5. Do you have experience with overall pool hygiene, testing and regulating water temperature, PH levels, and chlorine?
  6. Give me an example of a time when you have had to enforce rules or policies.
  7. Tell me something about yourself that I wouldn't know from reading your resume.
  8. Which level of CPR certification do you possess? Is your certification current and valid?
  9. What has been your greatest professional achievement to date?
  10. As a lifeguard, you will be on the front lines of customer service. Tell me about the last customer service skill you learned.
  11. What is your first reaction when you do something wrong at work?
  12. What do you think are the most important characteristics of a lifeguard?
  13. Our facility is open evenings, weekends, and holidays. Can you commit to a flexible work schedule?
  14. How much do you think this lifeguard job should pay?
  15. Do you meet our minimum fitness requirements?
  16. How do you handle working with little to no supervision?
  17. Do you have experience creating accident reports or filling out medical forms? Why is proper documentation important?
  18. As a lifeguard, you are required to be observant of your surroundings. Can you tell me of a time when you have spotted a hazard or prevented an accident?
  19. Have you ever administered First Aid? Does the sight of cuts, scrapes, and blood bother you?
  20. Tell me about the type of team members you dislike working with.
  21. Talk me through your previous experience working with children. How will this experience will help you as a lifeguard?
  22. What is the number one responsibility for any lifeguard?
  23. What do you hope to gain from working as a lifeguard? What are your future aspirations in this role?
  24. Lifeguards must be alert at all times. Talk to me about a time when you have shown the ability to focus.
  25. As a lifeguard, what is the riskiest decision you have ever made?
  26. How would you handle a situation where an adult was breaking a rule? Would you be capable of blowing the whistle, or would you just let it go?
  27. What appeals to you most about the role of a lifeguard, and why do you want to work with us?
  28. A child is lying on the ground, unresponsive. What is your initial response?
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