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Getting ready for SIFT (mock attempt) constructive criticism welcome and appreciated


I've been reading through the forum and found lots of great information people have posted on taking their recent SIFT interviews.

I have my SIFT date a week from today. I just discovered a thread by a chap who posted a short list of some of the questions he had.

As a learning tool I have decided to attempt as many of them as I can at this point in time (doing my best to do it from memory rather than look the answers up anyway).

Anyway below I've posted my answers to what I was able to attempt, and what I couldnt I'll go away and do some more revision!

If anyone who has already taken their SIFT would care to have a quick read and tell me what they think of my answers (what is right, wrong, vague etc) and which of the more 'essay' answers (e.g. why am I joining, family reaction etc) are along the right lines or not etc I would very much appreciate it and the constructive criticism would be very welcome.

Additionally, anyone else in the same boat as me who would like to do the same and post their answers to the same sort of questions, or any others I haven't thought of, feel free :) - my answers/attempt are posted below in reply to this post :)


1. Why do you want to join the royal navy?

I want to join the Royal Navy because I am looking for more than a career at this juncture in my life. Now I have reached the level of maturity I have now, I am looking for a commitment and a way of life which I can dedicate and apply myself to for many years to come.

I crave the challenge, adventure, discipline, comradery, tasks and trial that the Royal Navy will present to me.

I look forward to the opportunity to develop my leadership skills and realise my full potential.

The rich history and the level of prestige the Royal Navy present to the world are a major reason for my application to the service and I welcome the challenge to uphold to their standards.

2. Are you familiar with the RN policy on drugs?

I am well aware of the RNs standing on drugs. Unfortunately, a member of my own family has had dealings with drug addiction. As a result I have seen first hand the devastating affects drug addiction has on a person and their family. As a result I view the use of drugs as a sign of weak character and I fully support the RNs firm zero tolerance stand point on drugs.

3. How do you feel about the taking of human life?

Taking human life, although it is something no officer should relish or look forward to, I fully realise that at times it is a necessity in order to complete a mission, follow orders, protect others, and defend Great Britain and her interests.

4. Would you ever consider working on a submarine?

I would indeed consider working on a submarine. The unique challenge the submarine service presents is of special interest to me. Submarines provide a vital role in the RN by providing our nuclear deterrent. Submariners, from what I have researched, have a long history for being elite sailors due to living within the confines of a submarine for long periods of time away from home would produce a great strain on most people both physically and mentally. As a result I would be extremely interested in proving myself able of coping with such levels of strain and pressure.

5. What is the difference between a destroyer and a frigate?

Destroyers are primarily used for anti-aircraft support and protection within the fleet. They do this by utillising their sea-dart surface to air mid range missles in addition to their phallanx gun systems.

Frigates are commonly used to attack surface targets filling the RNs artillery role to target command structures and ground troop units.

6. What classes of submarine are there?

The new Astute class, Vanguard class (which replaced Resolution class) and Trafalgar class (which will eventually be phased out and replaced with Astute class).

7. what is significant about the vanguard class submarine?

The Vanguard class submarine fills the RNs strategic submarine role and carries the UKs current nuclear deterrent, the Trident D5 missile.

After a recent refit, the Vanguard class now are fitted with PWR2 fitted with Core H reactors which will not again require refuelling during the remainder of the submarines lifespan. The Vanguard class submarine is currently the largest submarine used by any navy in the world except the USA and Russia.

8. Name as many types of vessel in the royal navy?

(I realise I have ALOT of research to do here, but here are the ones I can remember for now):

Ocean class amphibious helicopter carrier, Invincible class aircraft carrier, Frigate 22+23, Destroyer 42+45, Queen Elizabeth class (the new super air craft carrier currently in development), Astute/Trafalgar/Vanguard class submarines.

9. Families reaction to RN application?

My family have been extremely supportive of my decision to join the Royal Navy and realise that it is something I have been considering over a long period of time.

Unfortunately my father passed away earlier this year, who had a keen interest in the armed forces and their history. As a result of his influence I would like to make him and the rest of my family proud as an Officer of the Royal Navy.

I have many friends serving in other divisions of the armed forces who regularly tell me that joining the service was the best and most exciting thing that they have ever done.

10. examples of leadership?

Currently I am employed by a small charity as a carer for young people with a variety of different physical and learning disabilities. In this role, I am often in a position which requires me to feed off my own initiative to motivate and engage the clients and to promote various activities such as sport and physical activity, social activities, and mental development games which aid in English and Math skills. Often the clients can prove to be challenging and display behavior characteristics that may be prove to be difficult if not dealt with in a professional manor.

As a result I conduct myself professionally and put myself into the leadership role amongst the clients without alienating anyone. I do this by displaying and promoting dignity, respect, patience and understanding and resolving conflict where ever it may arise.

This position has taught me a great deal about communicating with others and showing patience and understanding to those around me even if I may have a difference of opinion with them. I believe this skills will aid me and transfer well as I train to be a RN officer and working with a team of subordinates.

One specific example would be on a weekend holiday break for clients to the Centre Parks resort in the Lake District. Seven clients with varying levels of competence, ability and mobility with a wide range of disabilities were in attendance with only myself and another female member of staff on duty for the entire weekend. This proved to be a great challenge at times as neither I nor the other member of staff had interacted previously with many members of our group and as a result we were not aware of how best to deal with each individual and what their needs may be. Additionally one particular client present was quite severe and would normally have required two members of staff to herself. As a result I demonstrated leadership skills to keep the group motivated and together to enjoy the weekend as many of the more severe clients were not able to do what the more able clients could, yet the more able clients did not want to wait around for those less able than themselves.

This required much in the way of diplomacy, compromise and team builiding to keep everyone engaged. Additionally the park was a very far distance to the chalet we were staying in and were ill equipped for disabled visitors. As a result I took the initiative to liase with the park staff to lend us the use of one of the sites mini buses for the weekend to serve as a shuttle bus to our less able clients.

Additionally I am regularly entrusted with the physical and mental well being of clients in addition to being in charge of their medication and am expected to help them with their money/finances on a regular basis which displays that I am a trust worthy individual.
11. examples of determination?

Prior to a year ago I was 13 stone in weight and had not done a regular form of exercise in years. However last February I joined a gym and became extremely determined to keep fit and get my body into a healthier form. I am now 11.5 stone, I weight train on a regular basis and I also enjoy playing rugby, swimming, jogging and hiking on a regular basis in addition to eating healthily. I feel this determination paid off as prior to undergoing this I did not consider myself physically equipped to join the Royal Navy, however after passing my PJFT two weeks ago I feel that my level of determination and dedication to my fitness has paid off.

Additionally my studies in sound engineering at university required much determination from myself, especially during my third year dissertation which often proved gruelling and problematic, I remained determined to completion.

12. examples of teamwork?

Prior to my application to the Royal Navy, I had successfully played in a semi professional heavy metal band for many years. Although now defunct, the band gave me a greater understanding of how to resolve conflict and communicate ideas across to other people within a high stress environment. I am extremely proud of the achievements we made as a successfully toured the UK several times and released an album on an independent record label.

Additionally during my role as a carer I am often called upon to liase between a client and their social worker, their family members, other clients or other members of staff in which case I promote respect, dignity, communication, patience and understanding.

A final example of team work would also include many group projects which I was a part of at university. Although I excel working under my own initiative individually, I also recognise the importance of working with others. During these projects I learned about project and time management, delegating work loads, planning and preparation, communication, team work and leadership.

Right, thats everything I have attempted so far, I realise alot of the answers are long and abit on the waffle side, like I said I just wrote them down as soon as I read the question so feel free so add your comments and advice before I bang out another attempt...cheers again ^_^
I can't help but recall "Breathingout..'s" advice here:

Answers sound fine, but a) it's only your (mock) sift, b) your AIB will be the final decider, and c) that's just the start of your career. The wider point is that your answers will probably change as you move through the system, and in the end are unique to you. Whilst people may be able to point out factual mistakes from the above (difference between a FF and DD), I hope no-one will provide you with a "better" answer in order to pass. We want you, not an idealised set of stock answers.


War Hero
Have to say I fully agree with Alf reference the sift.

The questions are about the individual & conducted by different interviewers, so whilst the pattern will be constant the questions & answers will differ.

Remember it's why you want to join, not what someone else's "ideal answer" was. Would you consider serving on submarines? With an answer like that above, you've just volunteered - fine if that's your intention, not so fine if you think it needs to be said to get to AIB.

Best of luck & sorry to hear of your recent loss - make your Mum proud.


War Hero
Book Reviewer
I too am very sorry to hear that your father passed away Pandemicman.

Having done my Sift Interview not so long ago, I would recommend you do your research on the Navy etc, but don't learn the answers like a script. I would have thought your responses, if said as detailed above, would sound far too studied. It almost sounds as if you want no room for error - and as you cannot possibly know everything about everything to do with the Navy, when you don't know an answer to a question, it will be all the more obvious.

Of course, think seriously about the "Kill question" as it is something we all need to consider. But with regard to the Drugs Policy, a simple "No, it is unacceptable" would suffice. Whilst it is sad that you saw the ravages of drug abuse firsthand, the Lt at your Sift interview wants to know as much as they can about YOU in the limited time available. Of course, what you witnessed might have influenced you greatly, but I think all they want is to know that you are aware that there is a zero tolerance policy on drugs within the RN.

As ever, Alfred and Ninja are spot on =-) Best of luck Pandemicman!

Just my tuppence =-) I shall scuttle back to my revision now and shut my trap. :study::read2:


I know you will have already completed your SIFT by now but I just wanted to put my input in incase someone else comes across this thread in preparation for theirs. I don't proclaim to be an expert or anything but from my research these are the things I found important, so feel free to let me know if you disagree. My feedback if is also suppose to be constructive only!

I think the best things for me was that I had actually found this forum and was well prepared for the types of questions I was going to be asked, although I didn't have specific answers like yours prepared beforehand. The vast majority of people that fail do so because they do not have enough leadership examples or their navy knowledge is not up to scratch, so I think it is important to pay particular attention here.

What I also thought was quite important to remember was that what they are assessing is infact your overall suitability to join the Royal Navy as an officer. So while they are not looking for the finished article, they are looking for someone who has potential. So for example, in your answers above I might question whether saying " Prior to a year ago I was 13 stone in weight and had not done a regular form of exercise in years" is appropriate to show that, in general, you are a motivated person and going to be fully committed to a physical career in the navy.

I think that the point a number of people have picked up on is the length of your answers. Remember, you are being assessed on your communication skills as well so it is important to only answer the question you are asked. For example, you've correctly noted that question regarding drugs policy is something along the lines are " Are you familiar with the RN's policy on drugs?" but have answered it something more like "What is your opinion on the RN's policy on drugs?". Sometimes you will be asked " what do you know about" something which is basically an open licence to show off just how much you know and others you'll be asked a very specific question which only requires a one word or one sentence answer. I think I was asked "How many sections is 3 commando brigade split into?" and because I just gave a short quick answer without hesitation he replied " So you obviously know your stuff there then" and didnt ask me any further questions on the RM's.

If you give too much information, you also run the risk of being factually incorrect and shooting yourself in the foot. I notice when asked what class of submarine there are, you've said the trafalgar class which is going to be replaced by the astute class, which isn't correct. The astute class, in theory, replaces the swiftsure class. The question you are answering is about which ones are in service, not which ones have historically been in service but of course for revision it doesn't harm to know as much as possible.

Lastly, a point I wanted to make and which I found helpful was to really think about your leadership examples before the interview, specifically trying to give good leadership examples as opposed to just good management examples or roles of responsibility which you've been placed in. I think the line between them is often blurred but nonetheless I think it's good to try and make the distinction. I also think it's good to give specific examples that you have volunteered for, as opposed to maybe " The many group projects I was involved in at university" which of course are mandatory and everyone is involved in. Try to show you really go out and look for opportunities!

How did you get on anyway?
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