Interviewing for a New Club Coaching Job — A Guide for Club Coaches

Interviewing for a New Club Coaching Job — A Guide for Club Coaches
Guy Edson
American Swimming Coaches Association
Job Service


When interviewing for a new job it is important that you have the attitude that you are interviewing the club as well as being interviewed by the club. Here is a list of questions that can help you find out what you need to know about a position.

Many of these questions can be answered by good research BEFORE the interview.

This is meant as a shopping list of questions and it is not intended that a coach should use all these questions. Choose carefully.

General Questions About the Team:

  1. How many swimmers on the team?
  2. What is the age group distribution?
  3. How many workout groups are there?
  4. How many assistant coaches are currently on staff?
  5. What is the competitive record?
    How many Junior and Senior national qualifiers are there currently in the program?
    How many in recent history?
    Are there any age group top sixteen swimmers?
    How has the team placed at the local junior Olympics?
  6. What is the team travel history?
  7. What are the membership fees?
  8. Is there a team office?
  9. Is there a paid team secretary?
  10. Is there a private meeting room available for team and individual meetings?
  11. How much has the team budget expanded by over the past 3 years?
  12. What is the size of the pool(s)?
  13. Who manages the pool(s)?
  14. Where are the pools located?
  15. What are the pool hours available?
  16. Are the hours shared with any other programs?
  17. What has been the history of family involvement?

Questions about Coach and Program Stability:

  1. How many head coaches have been with the program in the last 5 years?
  2. Why did they leave?
  3. Who evaluates the coach?
  4. Is there a written procedure for evaluating the coach?
  5. Is the evaluation written?
  6. How often is the coach evaluated?
  7. Has the Board of Directors devised long range plans and short term objectives for the program?
  8. Does the Board of Directors engage in a regular review of objectives and strategies?
  9. Is the coach a member of the planning committee?
  10. What is the extent of Board initiated and parent run fund raising?
  11. Is pool use secured by written contract?
  12. Is it a multi-year contract?

Questions about Coach Authority and Responsibility:

  1. Is the coach a voting member of the board?
  2. Does the coach have sole authority in matters pertaining to the conduct of the swimming program such as practice times, groups, coaching assignments, meet and event selection, season planning, discipline?
  3. Is the coach the Chief Executive Officer of the organization?
  4. Is the coach allowed a sense of “ownership” of the program?
  5. Is the coach a permanent member of the nomination committee?
  6. What is the budget process?
  7. Is the coach a major part of the budget process?
  8. Does the coach have purchase and travel authority within the confines of the approved budget?
  9. Does the coach have sole authority for hiring, firing, supervising, training and changing all swim staff?
  10. Does the club expect the coach to work with all the swimmers in workouts and at meets?
  11. What are the expectations of the Board concerning the coach’s relationship with the entire team?
  12. What club’s attitude about sending the coach and a small number of elite swimmers to special training or competitive opportunities such as training camps, altitude training, or major regional and national meets?

Questions about Compensation and Benefits:

  1. What is the base salary?
  2. Is major medical provided for the family?
  3. What is the deductible?
  4. Is dental insurance provided?
  5. Is life insurance provided?
  6. Is liability insurance above and beyond normal coverage provided?
  7. Is the contract a single year, rolling, or multi-year?
  8. Is the contract a no cut contract, meaning that if you are fired, you are paid for the duration of the contract?
  9. What expenses are paid for swim meets?
  10. Are expenses paid per diem or actual expenses?
  11. Does the club pay for membership in USA Swimming and ASCA?
  12. Does the club pay for required safety courses?
  13. Does the club pay for travel, hotel and per diem expenses to the ASCA World Clinic?
  14. Does the club pay for expenses for other clinics and seminars?
  15. Does the club pay for subscriptions to professional periodicals?
  16. Does the club provide at least 2 weeks of paid vacation?
  17. Does the club allow for occasional personal days?
  18. Is there an incentive opportunity based on team numbers?
  19. Is there an incentive opportunity based on special projects such as a SwimAmerica learn to swim program or a triathlete’s swim clinic?
  20. Is there an incentive opportunity based on special fund raising projects initiated and run by the coach?
  21. Is there an incentive opportunity based on the competitive performance of the team?
  22. What percent of the total budget is the coaching salaries and expenses?
  23. Does the club send the coach is at least one junior or senior national meet each year even if no swimmers qualify?
  24. What are the extent of moving costs that the club will reimburse?
  25. What does the club feel about allowing the coach a short sabbatical leave after 4 years?
  26. When it comes to salary negotiation time, what about a bonus for renewing the contract or staying with the club for a certain number of years?
  27. Does the club respect the coaches right to private time with his family?

Consider saving your questions about compensation and benefits until last, rather than first. The most important part of an interview may be to first find out if you are compatible with the organization and it with you.  Then, ask about compensation and benefits after you know that you are genuinely interested in the club and the club is genuinely interested in you.

In addition to interviewing the search committee you should also attempt to speak with team families, team swimmers, Master swimmers, municipal parks and recreation officials, high school and area college coaches, pool administrators, community leaders, current staff, and former staff.

Dress, attitude, manners, and respect are always important. Visit job search web sites for advice on how to handle yourself at an interview. is one resource.

If the expenses for a potential interview are great and a club is hesitant to bring you in for an interview, consider offering to split expenses if, and only if, you are one of the top two candidates. Agree with the club to reimburse your full expenses if you are hired for the position.  Be creative and be willing to compromise if it is a good job opportunity.


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