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Lifeguard Interview

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.
Question 1 of 28
What are the essential items to have at your pool before your shift begins?
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How to Answer
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.
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Top 25 Lifeguard Interview Questions with Full Content
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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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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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 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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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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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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How do you handle working with little to no supervision?
Little supervision often comes after some time, when trust is well established between yourself and your employer. The interviewer would like to know if you have worked in an environment that offers little amounts of supervision. Primarily, they are looking for proof that you can be productive even when nobody is watching or supervising you. Be sure to ask the interviewer about the level of supervision in this particular role. You want to make sure it's a good fit for you.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I am a reliable employee who works hard, no matter who is watching. You can rest assured that I deliver great work at all times. Would you say that this role is loosely, or more closely, supervised?"
Rachelle's Answer #2
"Lifeguarding at a recreation facility, there is a lot of close supervision especially when I work the same shifts as the facilities manager. With that said, I am a hard worker and would have no issues when it comes to working more independently. I will deliver more than my base expectations, regardless of the supervision level. How would you describe the level of supervision in this role?"
Anonymous Answer
"I worked in the SCUBA diving industry for a long time in the Philippines. I mostly took an individual or a group of divers. I gave them a briefing before and after diving to make sure everything is okay. I am hardworking and take full responsibility for my job."
Rachelle's Answer
Your example is good; however, work on a more complete delivery of your response.
"I work well with little to no supervision. I have been working in the scuba diving industry for many years; primarily on my own with a diver or group of divers. I can independently handle briefing divers, ensuring their safety, and taking on the other responsibilities that come with being a dive instructor."
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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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Do you have experience creating accident reports or filling out medical forms? Why is proper documentation important?
If you have ever encountered an accident or medical emergency while lifeguarding, you have had to fill out an incident report of some sort. This documentation is for medical and legal purposes, so it is essential that you are accurate and thorough. Confirm with the interviewer that you understand the importance of proper documentation and paperwork when an incident occurs.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I have helped with about four incident reports this year, related to swimming accidents. My facilities manager completed the form, but I observed what she was documenting. I also contributed when I could as I was a key witness to each of these events. Proper forms ensure that we meet our legal and medical requirements."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"In my current role as a lead lifeguard, I am responsible for reviewing all submitted incident reports. Once received, I then analyze to ensure they are completed correctly. I pull out any key information and use it for further training of my team and other lifeguards in our facility. It is vital, in all instances, that we record every detail we can remember, to meet our legal obligations."
Anonymous Answer
"I helped to document the incident reports when I was a dive master. I made sure we had the proper documentation, kept good records and met legal and medical requirements."
Rachelle's Answer
The idea is there but try to clean up the delivery a touch.
"Proper documentation is important to ensure proper records are kept, meeting legal and medical requirements. I have experience issuing incident reports from my time as a dive master."
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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?
The purpose of this question is to identify if you possess the observation skills required to be a successful lifeguard. The interviewer would like for you to confirm a time when you have detected a hazard and prevented an accident due to your keen observation. Your example can come from work or a personal setting. Be sure to tell the story, with a focus on the positive outcome.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"Just last week, I was getting on a bus, when the lady ahead of me got the belt of her coat stuck in the door. I tapped her on the shoulder to let her know, as I was worried if she went any further she may end up getting hurt or stuck. She was appreciative that I noticed and told her. I am not one for keeping my face in my phone in public situations, and do consider myself to be observant on and off the job."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"While lifeguarding this summer, I noticed a child who was looking around the pool. He wasn't making a scene, but he appeared worried. I approached the child, and he told me that he couldn't see his mom. I asked him to come out of the pool and stand at the lifeguard station with me. I asked our admin to announce over the PA so he could be reconnected with his parent. Although the child was technically not lost and wasn't panicking, I am happy that I noticed the concern on his face before panic set in."
Anonymous Answer
"My colleague and I handled a group of divers in a dive safari. Our last dive was strong current, and I noticed that she was struggling with her finning. I could see in her eyes that she needed help. I went to her and made a hand signal to ask if she was okay. She responded that she was not okay. I gave my colleague a hand signal that I would take her to the surface, and he will continue diving with the rest of the group. I didn't waste any time and took her to the clinic. She had decompression sickness. I am happy that I saved my diver's life before anything really bad happened."
Rachelle's Answer
This is a good example; however, try to keep your response a bit more organized so as to not confuse the interviewer.
"Recently, my colleague and I handled a group of divers in a dive safari. The current was strong on our last dive, and I could see that one of the divers was struggling. I signaled to see if she was okay and she did not respond with a positive signal. I gave my colleague a hand signal, letting him know I was going to be taking this particular diver to the surface. Once on land, I took her to the clinic as she was showing signs of decompression sickness. Had I not been as attentive, the event could have been very dangerous or even fatal."
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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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