17 Lifeguard Interview Questions and Answers

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

A lifeguard’s job is to ensure the safety of people who are swimming in a pool or at the beach. They are responsible for watching the swimmers and making sure they are safe. Lifeguards also need to be able to rescue people who are in danger.

If you are looking for a lifeguard job, you will need to know how to answer lifeguard interview questions. In this guide, you will find questions and answers that will help you prepare for your interview.

Common Lifeguard Interview Questions

Are you comfortable working in a public setting?

Lifeguarding is a public service position, so the interviewer wants to make sure you’re comfortable interacting with large groups of people. Your answer should show that you are confident in your ability to work with others and can handle stressful situations.

Example: “I have worked as a lifeguard at my local community pool for the past two summers, so I am very familiar with working in a public setting. During my first summer, we had an incident where a child was missing in the water for several minutes before anyone noticed. The parents were frantic, but I helped them calm down while our staff searched for the child. We found the child within five minutes, and everyone was safe.”

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

This question can help the interviewer determine if you have the skills necessary to be a lifeguard. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention some of the specific skills that are listed in the job description and how those skills helped you succeed as a lifeguard.

Example: “The most important skill for a lifeguard is communication. Lifeguards need to be able to communicate with swimmers, other lifeguards and emergency personnel. Another important skill is problem-solving. Lifeguards often encounter challenging situations where they need to think quickly and find solutions. Finally, I believe physical strength is an important skill because it helps me perform my duties more efficiently.”

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

This question can help interviewers understand how you prioritize tasks and manage your time. Your answer should show that you are able to multitask effectively while still maintaining the safety of swimmers in your area.

Example: “If multiple swimmers needed my attention at once, I would first assess each situation individually before acting. For example, if one swimmer was drowning and another had a cut on their leg, I would attend to the person who was in more danger first. Once they were safe, I would then tend to the other swimmer’s needs. This ensures that everyone is safe and no one gets left behind.”

What is your process for checking in swimmers and verifying their swimming ability before they enter the water?

This question can help the interviewer understand your process for ensuring the safety of swimmers. You can answer this question by describing a specific method you use to check in and verify swimming ability, as well as how you communicate with other lifeguards about who is allowed into the water.

Example: “I ask each swimmer their name and age before they enter the pool area. I then compare that information to the list of registered swimmers to ensure we have no duplicate entries. Next, I look at their driver’s license or state-issued ID card to make sure it matches the information on the registration form. Finally, I take note of their swimming ability based on the color-coded wristband they are wearing.”

Provide an example of a time when you had to use your communication skills to resolve a conflict between two guests.

Lifeguards often have to resolve conflicts between guests. Employers ask this question to make sure you can handle these situations effectively. In your answer, explain how you used your communication skills to solve the conflict and keep everyone safe.

Example: “At my previous job as a lifeguard, I had two teenage girls who were constantly arguing with each other. One of them was always trying to get attention from boys by splashing around in the pool. The other girl would tell her to stop because it was distracting for her. Eventually, they got into an argument that turned physical.

I asked both girls to come up to me so we could talk about what happened. They apologized to each other and promised not to do it again. Then, I explained to them that if they ever needed anything, they should let me know. I also told them that if they saw someone else doing something dangerous, they should report it to me.”

If you saw a parent abusing their child in the water, what would be your course of action?

This question is a way for the interviewer to assess your judgment skills and how you would react in an emergency situation. Your answer should show that you are willing to intervene, but also understand when it’s best to stay out of a situation.

Example: “If I saw a parent abusing their child in the water, my first course of action would be to call over another lifeguard or supervisor to help me remove the family from the pool area. If there was no one else available, I would ask the parents to leave the premises immediately and report the incident to management.”

What would you do if you saw a child struggling to swim without a parent or guardian present?

This question can help interviewers understand how you would handle a potentially dangerous situation. In your answer, try to show that you have the skills and knowledge necessary to keep children safe in the water.

Example: “If I saw a child struggling to swim without a parent or guardian present, I would first make sure they were within my line of sight at all times. Then, I would ask another lifeguard for assistance if needed. If there was no other lifeguard available, I would calmly approach the child and explain that it’s important to stay with an adult while swimming. I would also offer to teach them some basic swimming techniques so they could feel more comfortable in the water.”

How well can you see in low light conditions, such as early in the morning or late in the evening?

Lifeguards need to be able to see clearly in low light conditions, so employers ask this question to make sure you have the visual capabilities needed for the job. If you’ve had any vision problems in the past, consider sharing them with your interviewer and how you overcame them or worked around them.

Example: “I have 20/20 vision, but I do wear glasses when I’m not at work. When I was a lifeguard my first summer of college, I lost my glasses on duty one day. I didn’t want to leave my post, so I used my cell phone as a flashlight to check the pool for swimmers. Luckily, I found my glasses before anyone got hurt.”

Do you have experience using a whistle to signal swimmers to come to the deck?

This question can help the interviewer determine if you have experience using a whistle and how comfortable you are with it. If you don’t have any experience, you can explain that you’re willing to learn.

Example: “Yes, I’ve used a whistle in my previous position as lifeguard at City Pool. When swimmers were too far away from the deck for me to call out to them, I would use the whistle to get their attention. It’s important to be able to signal swimmers without disrupting other people who may be enjoying the pool.”

When is it appropriate to remove a swimmer from the water?

This question can help the interviewer determine your understanding of when to remove a swimmer from the water and how you would handle that situation. Use examples from your experience or explain what steps you would take if you had not encountered this situation in the past.

Example: “If I notice someone is struggling, I will first ask them if they need assistance. If they say no, I’ll continue watching them for any other signs of distress. If they are unable to answer me or seem confused, I will immediately remove them from the pool and check their breathing and pulse. If they are unresponsive, I will administer CPR until emergency medical services arrive.”

We want to promote a fun and safe environment for our swimmers. How would you encourage swimmers to follow pool rules?

The interviewer wants to know how you can keep the pool safe and fun for everyone. Show them that you have a way of encouraging people to follow rules while still being friendly and positive.

Example: “I believe it’s important to be firm but fair when talking to swimmers about safety rules. I would first make sure they understand why we have certain rules in place, such as no running or diving in shallow water. Then, I would encourage them to follow the rules by offering rewards like free ice cream or time on the slides.”

Describe your process for monitoring swimmers from a high vantage point.

This question is an opportunity to demonstrate your attention to detail and ability to multitask. When answering this question, it can be helpful to describe a specific situation in which you used your process for monitoring swimmers from a high vantage point to save someone’s life or prevent injury.

Example: “When I’m on duty, I always make sure to keep my eyes moving so that I can monitor the entire pool area at once. If I see something out of place, like a swimmer who appears to be struggling, I’ll immediately call for help and then move down to the water level to assess the situation more closely. In one instance, I noticed a swimmer who was having trouble staying afloat. I moved down to the water level and helped them get back to their feet before calling for medical assistance.”

What makes you a good fit for this swimming facility?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your qualifications and how you can contribute to their team. Before your interview, read through the job description to see what they’re looking for in a lifeguard. In your answer, share two or three skills that match what they’re looking for. If there are any requirements you don’t meet yet but plan on working toward, explain how you’ll achieve them.

Example: “I’m a strong swimmer with CPR certification. I’ve worked as a lifeguard at my local pool for the past two summers, so I have plenty of experience watching swimmers and responding to emergencies. I also know how important it is to keep records of who’s using the facility and when. This summer, I started tracking all of our attendance data in an Excel spreadsheet, which will help me get familiar with the software if I ever need to use it here.”

Which swimming strokes do you prefer to use when rescuing a swimmer in distress?

This question is an opportunity to show your knowledge of swimming techniques and how you can use them to save a swimmer’s life. You should list the strokes that you are most comfortable using, as well as why you prefer them.

Example: “I am most comfortable with the butterfly stroke because it allows me to cover more distance in the water than other strokes. I also find it easy to perform this stroke while keeping my eyes on the distressed swimmer at all times. The breaststroke is another stroke that I feel confident performing when rescuing someone from drowning. This is because it helps me move quickly through the water without having to take too many breaths.”

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

This question is an opportunity to show the interviewer that you understand what it means to be a lifeguard. You can answer this question by explaining which skills and qualities are most important for the job, such as communication, problem-solving or leadership.

Example: “The most important aspect of being a lifeguard is safety. I think it’s essential to have a strong understanding of first aid and CPR so you can react quickly in emergency situations. Another important skill is communication because you need to be able to clearly explain instructions to swimmers and other staff members. Finally, I think it’s important to be a good decision maker who can solve problems on their own.”

How often do you think a lifeguard should check their surroundings to ensure their area is safe?

This question can help an interviewer determine how often you check your surroundings and ensure the safety of swimmers in your area. When answering, it can be helpful to mention that lifeguards should always keep their eyes on the pool or beach they’re watching at all times.

Example: “I think a lifeguard should constantly scan their surroundings for any potential dangers. I know from experience that even if you only look away for a few seconds, something could happen. For this reason, I make sure to keep my eyes on the pool or beach at all times so I can react quickly if someone needs help.”

There is a line of swimmers waiting to get into the water, but a single swimmer has pulled their leg rope. What is your response?

This question is designed to test your decision-making skills and ability to prioritize tasks. Your answer should include a step-by-step process for how you would handle this situation, including the order in which you would complete each task.

Example: “I would first ask the swimmer with the leg rope if they are okay. If they say yes, I would then tell everyone else waiting that there will be a slight delay. Then, I would remove the swimmers from the line and take them aside so I can check on their safety. Once I am sure they are okay, I would return them to the end of the line.”


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