Your staff is perhaps your most important asset, and recruiting a
top-notch team is critical. Today, aquatics operators can use a
number of time-tested strategies to find qualified
But the truth is, the most important steps you can take to create a
successful recruiting campaign have nothing to do with
Run a good program
To be a better recruiter, you need to reassess your entire program
and ask yourself, “Why would someone want to work
Create the kind of atmosphere that will attract staff to your
establishment. Pay your work force competitively, and strive to
make salaries somewhat comparable to the training and dedication
required for the job. If you pay like a fast food place, you will
get that caliber of employees.
Provide opportunities to learn
On some level, employees want to be challenged. They want to
feel that they accomplish something every day at work, and that
they are appreciated for it. If you operate a challenging,
respectful and productive work environment, you will find that the
time you spend actively recruiting will greatly diminish from year
Start by providing learning opportunities even before you bring
someone on board. Create a program that teaches swimming, then
guarding, to recruit more people into guarding.
Recognize the benefit of retention
A good program fosters a desire to return year after year, and the
fact that you have employees who have worked in your program for
several years is a great selling point for potential
To develop loyal employees, start by creating more interest and
enthusiasm for the job. It should go without saying that loyalty
starts with you being loyal to your returning staff. If you resign
yourself to believing that your staff members will only stay for
two or three years, you’ve already failed.
Accommodate older, more experienced team members when possible and
treat them as mentors for younger employees. This will go a long
way toward the success of your program. Those loyal employees will
spread the word by telling their friends.
Never pull the rug out from under your staff. Always support your
guards in the face of a complaining patron. Teenagers often see the
world in black or white, and subsequently, they do not cope well
with the hypocrisy that we as adults have been forced to accept as
Maybe in some ways they’re right. If you start bending the
rules, your staff will begin to pick and choose the rules that they
intend to enforce. It goes without saying that in most instances,
they don’t have the experience to make those decisions
Over the years, I’ve witnessed supervisors making exceptions
to policies for certain staff members. This causes morale problems,
including losing the respect of your team.
Always treat your staff members fairly. Establish a clearly
defined, realistic set of standards and enforce them to the letter
equally among all employees. Your goal is to make the whole team
achieve to that standard.
When it comes to finding new staff members, digital outlets are
great for reaching many candidates easily, but they also can
attract more questions that require time to respond. Try using a
combination of 21st century recruiting techniques and grass-roots
efforts. You’ll find that you will attract a better cross
section of your community.
First, identify places to find potential applicants, such as
schools, universities and swim clubs. Develop a relationship with
the coaches, teachers and lifeguard instructors. If you are a
certified lifeguard instructor (which you probably should be),
offer to assist in any guard testing in exchange for an opportunity
to promote your facility.
Second, reach out to potential feeder organizations, such as summer
camps, and tap current staff members. For example, you might have a
particularly enthusiastic guard attend a career fair.
Finally, master the soft sell. Provide information about applying
to your program along with direct contact information, and then
Make sure your hiring process is clear and try to avoid form
letters. Make contact as personal as possible.