Swimming is a beautiful and healthy exercise. There are no limits–one can start to swim at any age. But in order to really enjoy the fluency of movement in the water, the beauty of swimming fast and almost effortlessly, one needs to perfect their technique.

A skilled instructor can help us learn the right movements, or eliminate the wrong habits we developed while learning to swim without an instructor, guided just by our instincts, or by our father, somewhere at the lake.

Swimming teacher is a great position, especially if you enjoy spending your days in the pool or close to it. Let me show you some questions you may face while interviewing for this job, and how to answer them to satisfy the hiring managers.


Why do you want to work as a swim instructor?

Instead of talking what you want to get from the job (decent paycheck, doing what you like, working with kids–if that’s your preference), talk more about things your employer will gain from signing an employment agreement with you.

Perhaps you’ve been swimming professionally for a long time, doing triathlon or competing in the pool, on a local or national level. You’ve been coached by excellent instructors, and learned a lot from them–not only in terms of swimming technique, but also in terms of working with the students. Now you’d like to benefit from this experience as an instructor–you believe you have a lot of to offer to the students.

What’s more, you are patient, you know how to help people overcome the fear of water, and all in all you have great communication and people skills. Everything considered, the job seems like a perfect match for your experience and personality.

* May also interest you: Why do you want to be a teacher? 7 sample answers.


What certifications do you have?

In most countries, you need a certification to be able to teach swimming, even the beginners. I suggest you to bring your certification to the interview with you, or at least a copy of it, so you can show it to the interviewers.

If you aren’t certified yet, ensure them that you are already working on your certification, and applying for a job simultaneously, to be able to start as soon as you complete your training.

In some cases the employer may pay for your certification. But be sure to double check if that’s the case, once you decide to apply without having a swim instructor certificate.

Imagine that one of your students is afraid of the water. How will you motivate them to step in?

Just do not say that you will throw the student right into the water. Though it may work great in many cases, it can also result in a shock, and a complete loss of trust on their side, which can have terrible consequences for the entire class.

I suggest you to talk about taking little steps. You will firstly take them to a pool for small children, so they see how they can float, and that it is actually not so bad, or scary. Then you will give them the swim aids, for example some floaters or kick-board, and may them let to try it out in the pool for small children again.

Eventually the moment will arrive when they are not afraid anymore, and step into the big water for the first time. During that moment you will stand close to them, just to ensure them that they are safe and can in no way drown. Patiently, step by step, you will help them overcome their fear.


How will you ensure the safety of all students in your group?

First of all, ensure them that you will always stay vigilant and keep your eyes open. You won’t play with your smartphone, while the children struggle in the water.

On the contrary, you’ll be there, on the side of the pool, paying attention to what happens in then pool. You can also say that after the first lesson it is typically clear which students may struggle, and are in some danger while in the pool (at least at the initial stages of the training), and you will keep an eye on them in particular.

What’s more, you can talk about some general safety rules for the pool, depending on your future place of work.


How do you want to track the progress of your students?

Say that you want to set individual goals for each student, or at least for each group. For example, complete beginners should be able to swim at least 30 yards after first five lessons.

But you do not want to discourage either the best or the worst students. Hence the individual goals. For someone 30 yards can be a super ambitious goal. And some other student may do 200 yards after two or three lessons, without too much effort. Everything depends on their age, background, experience with sports, and other factors.

You will set the goals accordingly with each student, write them down, and then monitor their progress as the time goes by, and perhaps reevaluate the goals for each student.

Basically you should convince the hiring managers that you want to have some system in your work, and definitely plan to set goals for your students and monitor their progress.


5 other questions you may face in your swimming teacher job interview

  • How will you assist more experienced swimmers to enhance their swimming technique? Describe the steps you will take with such a swimmer.
  • Jump into the water now and swim as fast as you can, there and back. Free style.
  • One of the students in the group does not respect your authority and does not listen to you. What will you do in this situation?
  • In your opinion, what distinguishes an excellent swim instructor from an average one?
  • How do you feel about having students with special needs in your group? How will your work with them differ from your work with other students?


Conclusion, next step

Interview for a job of a swim instructor belongs to easy interviews. As long as you have your certification, show some enthusiasm for the job, and do not remain silent when they ask you their questions (which aren’t difficult), they will typically give you the job.

Try to prepare a short answer to each question from my list, and do not forget to learn something about your future place of work–types of courses they run, what sort of clients they have, working hours, etc. This will help you to answer some questions and also to connect with the interviewers–they like job applicants who care, and who did their homework… I wish you good luck!

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Matthew Chulaw
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