During every summer season, parks departments and YMCAs have the job of ensuring the safety and enjoyment of their community members at their pools. The most crucial aspect of pool safety is having well-trained and reliable lifeguards on duty. However, finding qualified lifeguards can be a challenge, especially as of late. Last year, a national lifeguard shortage impacted about one-third of public pools, and experts anticipate the same will happen this year, according to the American Lifeguard Association. This shortage has strained aquatic facilities, creating a need for additional recruitment strategies and solutions to address this safety concern.
Use these five tips to help you find lifeguards for this pool season, from leveraging relevant swim lesson data to marketing strategies.
Identify Candidates Through Data
One of the most effective ways to find lifeguard candidates is by tapping into the swim lesson data available within your organization. With the help of recreation management software, you can quickly identify individuals in your existing programs who have reached the appropriate skill level to be eligible for lifeguard certification and have shown an interest in water safety. Do you have a participant who has grown up taking swim lessons every year through your programs? Reach out to these individuals or their parents directly and present the opportunity to become a lifeguard as a natural progression to further their involvement in aquatics. This targeted approach ensures you are connecting with individuals already familiar with your programs and who have a passion for swimming.
Establish Partnerships With Schools and Universities
Engaging with local schools and universities can also be an effective strategy when sourcing prospective lifeguards. Reach out to physical education departments, swim teams, and other recreation divisions to share information about your organization’s lifeguard openings. As part of your recruitment efforts, you may offer presentations or workshops on water safety and the benefits of becoming a lifeguard to generate interest among students. As a bonus, consider providing incentives, such as discounted training or certification courses, to encourage students to pursue lifeguarding opportunities. By building relationships with educational institutions, you tap into a pool of potential candidates who are already interested in aquatic activities and careers.
Target Seniors in the Community
While youth participants and college students are traditional candidates interested in becoming a lifeguard, don’t forget about your local seniors and retirees. Senior citizens are a great group to recruit as potential lifeguards as they often have the time, experience, and dedication required to be exceptional employees. They may be retirees looking for meaningful ways to stay active and contribute to their community, or they may be lifelong swimmers who frequent your organization’s aquatics classes already. In efforts to attract qualified seniors, consider partnering with local senior centers, retirement communities, and organizations that cater to older adults. Advertise the position as an opportunity to engage in an active and fulfilling role where they can utilize their skills and provide a vital service to their community. Additionally, when available, offer flexible scheduling options that can accommodate their availability.
Employ Diverse Marketing Methods
To ensure a broad reach and attract candidates of all ages, it is crucial to diversify your marketing efforts. Leverage both online and offline platforms to spread the word about lifeguard openings. You can do this by creating a dedicated webpage on your website with information about lifeguarding opportunities. Utilize social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, to create targeted ads that reach potential candidates in your community. Post engaging content highlighting the rewarding aspects of being a lifeguard and the positive impact they can make. To ensure you’re casting a wide net, consider traditional methods such as distributing flyers at local schools, colleges, community centers, and gathering spots frequented by different factions of your local community. Lastly, consider developing a referral program. According to CareerBuilder, 82% of employers rated referrals from current employees above all other sources for generating the best candidates. Create a referral program with bonuses and perks to encourage current lifeguards or staff members to spread the word and tap into their own networks.
Offer Comprehensive Training and Incentives
To enhance the appeal of your lifeguard openings, ensure your training programs are comprehensive, accessible, and well-publicized. Highlight the valuable skills and certifications that lifeguards will gain, which can serve as valuable assets for future career opportunities, such as gaining CPR certification and other first aid skills. Consider offering competitive pay rates, flexible schedules, and attractive incentives such as uniform allowances, discounted memberships, professional development opportunities, and recognition programs. Creating a positive work environment and emphasizing the importance of teamwork and community impact will further motivate candidates to join your lifeguard team.
Find Top Candidates With ACTIVENet
Finding lifeguards can be a challenging task, but with recreation management software like ACTIVENet, it’s easier than you think. Featuring robust capabilities such as marketing and communications tools and reporting analytics, we can help your organization streamline the recruitment process and attract qualified lifeguard candidates efficiently. Click here to learn more about ACTIVENet’s capabilities and book a demo today.