17 Head Lifeguard Interview Questions and Answers

Learn what skills and qualities interviewers are looking for from a head lifeguard, what questions you can expect, and how you should go about answering them.

Every summer, people flock to the nearest swimming pool to beat the heat. And while they’re swimming and having a good time, they’re also relying on the head lifeguard to keep them safe.

Head lifeguards are responsible for supervising the pool and ensuring that everyone is following the pool safety rules. They also need to be able to respond quickly in case of an emergency. To be a head lifeguard, you need to have excellent leadership skills, be able to stay calm under pressure, and have a good knowledge of CPR and first aid.

If you’re interested in becoming a head lifeguard, you’ll need to go through an interview process. To help you prepare, we’ve put together a list of head lifeguard interview questions and answers.

Are you certified as a lifeguard?

Employers may ask this question to determine if you have the necessary qualifications for the position. If you are not certified, consider taking a lifeguard training course or enrolling in a certification program before your interview.

Example: “I am currently enrolled in a certification program through the American Red Cross. I plan on completing my certification by the end of the summer. I’ve been working as a part-time lifeguard at a local pool and have gained valuable experience that has helped me prepare for the certification exam.”

What are the most important skills for a head lifeguard to have?

This question can help interviewers understand what you value in a head lifeguard. They may ask this question to see if your skills match the job description and expectations of their organization. When preparing for your answer, read through the job listing to identify which skills they are looking for. Then, think about which skills you have that align with those from the job posting.

Example: “The most important skill for a head lifeguard is communication. A head lifeguard needs to be able to communicate effectively with other staff members and supervisors. I also believe it’s important to have strong leadership skills. As a head lifeguard, you need to be able to lead others and delegate tasks. Another important skill is problem-solving. Head lifeguards should always be thinking critically so they can solve any issues that arise.”

How would you handle a situation where multiple swimmers needed help at the same time?

This question can help interviewers understand how you prioritize tasks and manage your time. In your answer, explain a situation where you had to multitask and what steps you took to ensure the safety of swimmers while also managing your responsibilities as a head lifeguard.

Example: “In my previous role as a head lifeguard at a community pool, I once had to simultaneously assist two swimmers who were in distress. One swimmer was having trouble breathing, so I immediately went to them and asked another lifeguard to check on the other swimmer. While one lifeguard assisted with the swimmer who needed help breathing, I helped the other swimmer get out of the water and onto their side until paramedics arrived.”

What is your process for ensuring that your lifeguards are properly trained and certified?

Interviewers may ask this question to learn more about your leadership skills and how you ensure that the staff you manage is performing their job duties in a safe and effective manner. In your answer, describe what steps you take to train new lifeguards and ensure that all employees are up-to-date on certifications and training requirements.

Example: “I require all of my lifeguards to complete annual certification testing for CPR and first aid. I also encourage them to pursue additional certifications such as water rescue and AED training. For example, last year one of our junior lifeguards completed his American Red Cross Lifeguard Certification after working with me at the pool for two summers. He was able to use those skills to save a swimmer who had gone under water.”

Provide an example of a time when you had to make a difficult decision while on the job.

When answering this question, it can be helpful to think of a time when you had to make a decision that was unpopular or not what your supervisor wanted. This shows the interviewer that you are able to make independent decisions and have the confidence to do so.

Example: “When I worked as a lifeguard at my local pool, we were told by our supervisors to keep all swimmers in the shallow end of the pool. However, there was one swimmer who was having trouble breathing because she couldn’t get her head underwater. I decided to let her go into the deep end of the pool where she could practice swimming without struggling. My supervisor wasn’t happy with my decision, but the swimmer’s parents thanked me for helping their daughter learn how to swim.”

If a swimmer was struggling, how would you determine the severity of the situation and respond accordingly?

This question can help interviewers understand how you make decisions in emergency situations. When answering, it can be helpful to describe a specific situation and the steps you took to respond.

Example: “If I noticed someone struggling while swimming, I would first assess whether they were able to stay afloat on their own or if they needed assistance. If they were unable to keep themselves above water, I would immediately jump into action by calling for backup lifeguards and other staff members who could assist me. Then, I would swim over to the person and ask them what was wrong. Once we determined that they weren’t injured, I would instruct them on proper breathing techniques and encourage them to try again.”

What would you do if one of your lifeguards was not following company policies?

Interviewers ask this question to see how you handle conflict. They want to know that you can resolve issues with your team members and ensure they follow company policies. In your answer, explain what steps you would take to address the situation and help your team member understand why it’s important to follow company policies.

Example: “If one of my lifeguards was not following company policies, I would first meet with them in private to discuss their actions. If they were aware of the policy but chose to ignore it, I would give them a warning. If they continued to break the rules after the warning, I would remove them from duty until we could have another meeting. During our second meeting, I would inform them that if they continue to disregard company policies, they will be terminated.”

How well do you work with others?

Working as a head lifeguard requires you to work with others. Employers ask this question to see if you can collaborate and communicate well with your team members. When answering, think of a time when you worked well with others on a project or task. Try to choose an example that shows you are able to lead a group while also being open to other people’s ideas.

Example: “I have always been someone who enjoys working with others. I find it much more productive to work together with my team than alone. In my last position, I was the only head lifeguard at the pool. However, I still made sure to meet with all of my fellow lifeguards every day before our shifts started. We would go over any concerns they had about their job or how we could improve our teamwork. By doing this, I was able to create a strong bond with my team.”

Do you have any questions for me about the head lifeguard position?

This question is your opportunity to show the interviewer that you are interested in the position and want to learn more about it. Use this time to ask any questions you have about the job, including what duties you would be responsible for as a head lifeguard.

Example: “I am very excited about this position because I love working with people and helping them feel safe at the pool. One thing I’m curious about is how often we rotate our staff so they can work different areas of the pool. For example, I’ve worked as a regular lifeguard before, but I also enjoy being on the water slides or by the deep end. I’d like to know if there’s an opportunity to do both.”

When would you start if we offered you the job?

Employers ask this question to make sure you are serious about the position and that you can start as soon as possible. They want someone who is ready to work, so they will likely not wait for you if you say you need a few weeks to prepare. If you have other commitments that would prevent you from starting immediately, it’s best to let them know in advance so they can find another candidate.

Example: “I am available to start tomorrow if needed. I understand that there may be some training involved, but I am eager to learn and get started.”

We want someone who is willing to go above and beyond to ensure the safety of our swimmers. What would you do if you saw a parent violating our swimming rules?

This question is an opportunity to show your leadership skills and ability to make tough decisions. When answering this question, it can be helpful to give a specific example of how you would handle the situation.

Example: “If I saw a parent violating our rules, I would first approach them calmly and explain why their actions are dangerous for other swimmers. If they continued to ignore my instructions, I would ask them to leave the premises until they could follow the rules. As a lifeguard, it’s important that we set a good example for the rest of the team. We need to ensure everyone feels safe in our facility.”

Describe your experience working with children.

Lifeguarding is a job that often involves working with children. Employers ask this question to make sure you have experience working with kids and know how to keep them safe in the water. Before your interview, think about any previous jobs where you worked with children. Think of one or two examples of when you helped kids learn how to swim or stay safe in the pool.

Example: “I’ve been swimming since I was five years old, so I’ve always had an interest in teaching others how to do it too. In high school, I volunteered at my local YMCA as a junior lifeguard. During my time there, I taught several kids how to swim. I would start by getting them comfortable in the shallow end of the pool. Then, I’d help them practice their strokes and build up their confidence.”

What makes you the best candidate for this job?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your qualifications and how you can benefit their team. Before your interview, make a list of all the skills and experiences that make you an ideal candidate for this role. Focus on highlighting your most relevant skills and abilities while also mentioning any personal qualities that may be beneficial in this position.

Example: “I am passionate about water safety and have been working as a lifeguard for five years now. I love being able to help others and always put my swimmers’ safety first. In fact, I was once nominated for ‘Lifeguard of the Year’ because of my dedication to keeping everyone safe at the pool.”

Which beaches have you worked at in the past?

Employers may ask this question to learn more about your experience. They want to know which beaches you’re familiar with and how long you’ve worked there. You can answer this question by naming the beaches you’ve worked at in the past, including the locations and dates you were a lifeguard.

Example: “I have worked as a head lifeguard at Ocean Beach for three years now. I also worked as a seasonal lifeguard at Newport Beach from June through September last year.”

What do you think is the most important aspect of being a head lifeguard?

This question is your opportunity to show the interviewer that you know what it takes to be a head lifeguard. You can answer this question by listing several skills and qualities that are important for this role, such as leadership, communication, problem-solving and conflict resolution.

Example: “I think the most important aspect of being a head lifeguard is having excellent communication skills. A head lifeguard needs to be able to clearly communicate with their team members so they can give them instructions on how to do their job. They also need to be able to listen to other lifeguards when they have questions or concerns about something. I am very good at communicating with others because I always make sure to actively listen to what people are saying.”

How often do you perform safety checks on your equipment?

The interviewer may ask this question to learn more about your attention to detail and commitment to safety. As a head lifeguard, you should be responsible for ensuring that all equipment is in good working order before each shift. You can answer this question by describing the steps you take to ensure your equipment is safe for use.

Example: “I perform regular safety checks on my equipment at least once per week. I start with checking the pool’s water quality and chemical balance. Then, I check the condition of the decking and any other areas where swimmers might come into contact with the pool. Finally, I inspect all of our rescue equipment, including our first-aid kit, oxygen tanks and emergency phone.”

There is a thunderstorm approaching, but a family wants to stay on the beach. What would you tell them?

This question is a great way to test your communication skills. It also shows how you would prioritize the safety of others over their wishes. In your answer, try to show that you will always put the needs of others first.

Example: “I would tell them that I understand it’s not safe to stay on the beach during a thunderstorm. However, there are many other options for them to enjoy themselves at the beach without being in the water. I would offer to help them find an indoor area where they can wait out the storm and still have fun.”


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