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Real Life Job Interview Questions For Pool Workers

Swimming pool job interview The swimming pool industry suffers from some unique challenges but one of the most difficult and costly problems that all busy pool companies have is trying to find reliable employees. Finding good workers, and then keeping them, is and will always be one of the hardest aspects of running a successful company in this industry. The pool industry thrives on a constant influx of new and mostly seasonal workers every year. These largely untrained workers are then whipped into shape and thrown into the deep end, so to speak, and this is true for all areas of employment for pools.

Whether you are a construction worker who builds pools in all weather conditions during all waking hours, or a pool maintenance worker with a nearly impossible daily list of pools to service, there simply are no easy days to be had in the swimming pool industry. Pool work is very hard. This alone excludes the vast majority of the population from ever joining, or staying, in the pool industry. Those that do choose to stay usually only do so for a few years as a great way to earn money while in college or university. Most people simply choose to do something which is less demanding, less exhausting, and less time consuming than working on pools.

Employee turnover rates for pool companies - Swimming pool companies have a much higher employee turnover rate than other similar service and skilled trades based industries. This is the nature of a largely seasonal industry. Most busy companies will devote a huge amount of money and resources towards hiring, training and retaining employees. Despite all of the traditional warnings about pool work being demanding, many new employees wash out after less than a week once they realize just how much effort you need to put into the job.

It would be great if you could weed out potential employees from the duds during the interview process. This alone would save a massive amount of money and resources and help to identify potential candidates with the "right stuff" directly from the interview stage. Unfortunately we live in a padded, protected world, and sadly these interview questions are not "appropriate" for "professional environments" and you "need to stop" or we are going to "call the police". Pfffffff. Whatever. So without further ado here are the best, most effective interview questions that you should totally not ask potential employees. Unless you don't care about hurting the feelings of a special snowflake, and you just need to find someone who can wheel in some damned concrete, in which case these questions are perfect:

throwing up in the pool

1) How bad does something need to smell before you throw up?

Stagnant pool water is shockingly foul smelling. A pool left for a year or two can be smelled in the front yard of the house on a windy day. When you actually start disturbing the water and pumping it to the street to drain the pool this can be smelled from blocks away in all directions. When you pump down a pool like this it is not uncommon to see people running away, crying, throwing up, yelling, calling the police or accusing you of poisoning the environment or a terrorist attack. Asking why someone wants to work for your company will get you nowhere. They want to work for you because they like money and not starving to death...if you want to find out who is serious about getting a job or not you gotta cut the fat with opening questions like this.

Best possible answer:

I am completely smell blind. I could place my nose into the open butt cheeks of Satan the day after a hot-wings challenge and literally smell nothing. I would not even notice if this room smelled like the inside of a possum.

being a slave to your job
2) What is the longest shift you have ever worked?

If the longest shift that someone has worked is eight hours or less then they probably are not going to cut it working on pools. It is not uncommon to work in excess of 16 hour days during the most busy times of year, and this is the worst time of year to be a person short since someone could not cut it. That means in addition to working dawn until after dusk, you now need to vet, hire and train another worker in the midst of this. What you really want is someone who has worked at least 16 to 20 hours consecutively before. These people understand the pain associated with shifts this long. Unfotunately this means pool companies are largely staffed with ex-military personnel, convicts, and insane people.

Best possible answer:

I once worked a 36 hour shift finishing concrete / fighting forest fires / performing surgery. Sure I was tired but the job needed to get done so I just put my head down and worked until we got there. Sure, it probably took an incremental amount of time off of my life from the physical and emotional stress but...

serial killer on a construction site 3) Are you a serial killer?

If they say yes, you should probably end the interview as quickly as possible without being suspicious. In the pool industry it is super duper important to only hire people who don't want to murder people. If you like to murder people a swimming pool is basically a weapon and all you need to do to start killing people is simply not close the gate when you leave the property. This is so easy that murderers can't help them selves, but this will reflect poorly on your company. Best to just ask the hiree up front whether they intend to kill people under your company banner, or if you will be able to trust them to do things like closing and latching the gate with 100% consistency.

Best possible answer:


punching a difficult customer 4) Can you refrain from punching difficult customers in the face?

The swimming pool industry is notorious for customers who scream, yell, accuse and insult. For some reason holding a swimming pool vacuum is an open invitation for people to download all of their unhappiness onto you. There is liability in hiring people who don't know how to walk away when someone is getting in their face, and it is hard to respond professionally to a one-star Yelp review accusing your employee of waterboarding them in the shallow end of the pool after a confrontation about water chemistry. You can also just hit the person during the interview. If they hit you back they are either not a suitable employee...or your next service manager.

Best possible answer:

Yes, I would never punch a customer in the face. I would only ever punch them in the stomach or back, or potentially smack them about the torso with a phone book, but I would never punch them in the face.

feats of strength during a job interview 5) How much can you lift?

Everything in the swimming pool industry is oversized, heavy and awkward. Whether you are running wheelbarrows of concrete or wrestling a new electric heat pump down a narrow flight of steps into the backyard, having some very strong help is extremely useful. It is not exactly common practice to make prospective new employees display feats of strength but perhaps doing job interviews in the gym is the way of the future.

Best possible answer:

Anything I want.

one day off for funerals per year 6) Are your grandparents still alive?

I am sure you don't want to come off as insensitive, and you certainly appreciate that family comes first, all jokes aside. That being said, as a business owner, you have a lot on the line on big days like concrete pouring days. You are counting on your workers to show up and give everything they have to help the day to be a success. It is shocking how many unreliable workers have grandparents that die by the half dozen every year or so...apparenty. Best to get all that nonsense out of the way right upfront by inquiring about how many living relatives your employees have.

Best possible answer:

My entire family is dead.

immunization against green pool water algae 7) Do you have a strong immune system?

Look, there are a lot of types of poops that you will encounter in the pool industry. Dog, raccoon, duck, cat, human, and mice are all possible from day to day, and some of these are going to get in your mouth, on your skin, and in your ears, eyes and nose. If you are weak and sickly then most likely you will not be able to survive working in the pool industry. It takes a healthy constitution to eat a sandwich while standing knee deep in rancid sludge.

Best possible answer:

I am obsessed with health and using natural methods to boost my immune system. For breakfast every morning I have a smoothie made of kale, bone broth, garlic, ginkgo baloba, ginseng, beets, fish oil and apple cider vinegar.

what most people consider a dream job

8) What is your dream job and why are you giving it up to work here?

Let's cut right to the chase. There are lots of great things to be proud of when you work in the pool industry, but it is nobody's dream job to work on-call every long weekend of the summer just so that other people can party in relative comfort. You might as well just have an honest conversation with your new employee to make sure that their dreams are dead enough to not leave you in a lurch while they audition for a KFC commercial or some other ridiculous half-baked idea.

Best possible answer:

My dream job would be one where I get to have work and earn money so that I can support my family and provide for a reasonably comfortable future.

my way or the highway signs 9) Will you do what I tell you to do even when you think you "know a better way" to do it?

As the owner of a pool company you get to make all of the decisions and do things any which way that pleases you. So long as you are the boss and the owner of the company, and you are responsible for providing quality products and services that you must stand behind financially, then you make the call as to how to approach technical challenges. It is very easy to end up with too many cooks on a jobsite, and workers who like to do things their own way can be like a cancer to a healthy company. You are better to just flat out ask them if they can take directions during the interview than wait until something important gets buried (literally) without you knowing about it.

Best possible answer:

Sir, yes sir! When you say jump I say how high! When you say pool I say how deep!

special snowflake is tired and needs to rest 10) Tell me about a time that you overcame your laziness and did your job despite not feeling like it.

We all have good days and bad days. But if they are the type of person that takes every second Thursday off just as "me time" then this is just not going to work out long term. If they are lazy, they should go work for a government office or a large bureaucratic company where they can hide in their cubicle and sleep all day without anyone noticing. Swimming pool work is like nightmare fuel for lazy people, and cut corners from lazy people can cost your company big time! Weed out the laz-ies by conducting all of your job interviews at the top of a mountain. If they show up...they ain't lazy.

Best possible answer

Well, if I am honest sir I have never felt even the tiniest bit lazy...but if I do I promise I will be sure to tell you about it straight away. My daddy was a farmer and he taught me that being lazy is shameful and makes you fat and die early. Gosh, I sure am sorry I was not able to answer your question better.

If you want to learn more about Steve you can read the about Steve page which includes links to the new travel blog and cooking blog where you can learn more about cooking and traveling from your favorite swimming pool expert. If you enjoyed this funny article that relates to life in the pool and spa industry then be sure to read some of these other similar articles:

6 Things you should NEVER say to your pool guy

Customer profiles you will encounter while working in the pool industry

Common personalities that work for every pool company

Famous people who could have been great pool builders

Celebrities who would be terrible at maintaining their own pools

Common mistakes that pool owners tend to make

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