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Joining Process - Officer

Hello all,

This is my first time posting here however I have been using the site for useful information regarding the joining process. This post is intended to give a basic outline of what to expect during the recruitment process for Officers. I will account my personal experience (so far) of the recruiting process and try to be as helpful and informative as I can for those who are interested in applying to join the RN. I am quite far into the application process and I am waiting for a date to attend AIB and my FAT's.

After completing my A Levels early due to Covid-19, I registered my interest to join the Royal Navy as an Aircrew Officer Pilot at the beginning of June. They processed my application quite quickly and within a few days I was required to fill out my medical questionnaire, opticians report and I also received my Officer Applicant Questionnaire. The medical process may take a while to be processed as you will have to attend an eye test and send your medical form to CAPITA so patience is key (which applies to the whole process). The questions on the OAQ are quite similar to the questions you will be asked in your SIFT interview (I will talk about this later). As I was going through the joining process during lockdown, I had to print the forms, fill them out and scan them back to my recruiting officer.

Upon completion of my forms I was required to book and complete my PJFT at my local Nuffield Health Centre. This part of the process was around 2 months after I had applied. The PJFT required me to run 2.4km in 12mins16seconds which was the time I needed to achieve for my age category (the time varies for different age groups and gender). The staff at the gym were very helpful and they will guide you on how to operate the treadmill. The test is simple and you don't have to be super fit to complete it, just make sure that you have trained for it! I would definitely encourage you to train on a treadmill if you can as running on tarmac is very different to running on the treadmill. When you train on the treadmill, ensure that it is set to kilometres and not miles as the test will be completed in kilometres. I say this so you can practise running at speeds that will allow you to complete the PJFT within the time limit.

About a month after completing my PJFT I was booked to have my SIFT interview. This would be my first ever interview for a job which made me extremely nervous. I never had a real job as, for the past 7 years, my efforts were focussed on my education. The interview lasts for about 45 minutes and I was questioned on my motivations, character and experiences (leadership, sports, moral courage). After completing my SIFT, I was told that I showed potential however, I didn't sell myself as much as I should have, which is really important! Fortunately I was given a second chance at it, as my interviewer believed that there was so much more to me that I didn't talk about at all. I took the feedback in my stride and prepared accordingly in order to better myself. 2 months later I completed my second SIFT interview and I passed, answering all the questions confidently and honestly. After the interview, I decided to change my application to Observer as I would be able to begin IOT in an earlier intake than I would as Pilot. This brings us to the present time where I await dates for AIB and FAT attendance. Here are some useful tips and expectations for the SIFT interview;

- The Royal Navy are looking to invest in you so make sure you sell yourself as much as you can. If you have achievements in sports, education or in the community, say it and use it it to your advantage. If, like me, you are not the type of person to 'boast' just remember, it isn't arrogant if it's true!
- When answering questions focus on the reasons why you are giving that answer. For example, if the question is "When was the last time you showed compassion?" explain why you showed the compassion in that situation. Focussing on the 'why' is a great display of character and this is what the interviewer is ultimately assessing you on. It's quite similar to an English essay so you can prepare by writing down some answers in an essay format as it's great practise.
- With the above tip in mind, try not to be too scripted in your answers. Be yourself in the interview and relax. As my interviewer said, they would rather you fail being yourself than pass being someone you're not!
- To help you with what to say in your interview I would suggest creating 3 spider diagrams labelled 'Leadership' 'Experience' and 'Attributes'. Around each diagram, write as much as you can about yourself as it will help you rattle other possible ideas.
- Be up-to-date on Royal Navy activity around the globe as you may well be asked about this. The news and activity section on the Royal Navy website is all you need for this and it is always updated.
- In the SIFT interview you are assessed on motivation, leadership, values and powers of communication. I would still encourage you to learn all about the Royal Navy such as the history, operations, equipment (don't forget the RM) and notable senior figures. Although you are not assessed on this it wouldn't hurt to learn about it and will definitely benefit you in the future. Everything you need to know will be on the Royal Navy website.
- Knowledge of your training pipeline is important. You will be asked about the training you will receive at BRNC and also in your specified trade. Being able to go into detail about your training shows that you are informed and that you really are passionate about a career as a Naval Officer.

That is my experience of the joining process so far. As I said before, I am awaiting an AIB and FAT date so if anyone has experienced these please comment and let me know of what I should expect (I have an idea of what I should expect but reading about other people's experiences is extremely useful to me). I haven't yet completed my Reasoning Tests but you can take practise sessions on the Royal Navy website. Maybe I will complete this at AIB.

I have discovered so much about myself during the joining process so far and being able to talk to members of the Royal Navy has been fantastic. It has made me a much more confident person since I applied. I will attach a Royal Navy Officer Selection Process Guide which has extremely useful information and if anyone has any questions please comment and I will answer as best as I can.
 

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SeaHawk14

Midshipman
The questions on the OAQ are quite similar to the questions you will be asked in your SIFT interview

I decided to change my application to Observer as I would be able to begin IOT in an earlier intake than I would as Pilot.

- Knowledge of your training pipeline is important. You will be asked about the training you will receive at BRNC and also in your specified trade. Being able to go into detail about your training shows that you are informed and that you really are passionate about a career as a Naval Officer.
Hi Simples,

Very informative and useful post there... A few queries I have.

1) Did they go through your OAQ's at any stage and discuss them and did you prepare for the Sift Interview based on the questions that were within your OAQ's? I'm curious to know what sort of questions to expect from the Sift Interview.

2) Curiousity more than anything, did you not want to wait for a later IOT date but fly the aircraft or were you not too fussed? Either way, Observer is a cool gig but I'm curious to understand what your motivation was for the change. Also, for the second SIFT did you already by then decide you were going Observer?

3) In how much detail did you go for this? Currently I'm aware of a good amount of detail, but I don't know week-by-week for BRNC nor do I know what the stages of Flying Training are going to encompass ie. Okay, AFJT on Hawk T2 will be stuff like BFM for xxx time with xx squadrons etc.
But I've not found exactly what will be taught.
 
Hi SeaHawk,

I'm glad you found my post useful. What have you applied for and how far into the process are you? Anyway to answer your questions;

1) In my SIFT interview my ACLO did not go through my OAQ answers however I believe that they are supposed to be reviewed in your informal interview (which I also did not do). The questions on the OAQ provided me with a rough idea of what I could have expected in the SIFT interview so yes I did use it to 'revise' which I am glad I did as I was asked those questions in my SIFT. In SIFT, they will question you on your motivations, leadership experience, values and powers of communication. In my SIFT, I was asked the following;

- Why do you want to join the Royal Navy?
- Why do you want to become an Officer in the Royal Navy?
- Why do you want to join the Royal Navy instead of the other forces?
- What are 3 qualities that an Officer should have?
- Give me an example of when you had to organise something?
- Give me an example of when you have displayed moral courage?
- When was the last time you showed compassion?
- Why do you want to be a pilot in the Royal Navy?
- What type of training do you expect to receive at BRNC and in your trade training?
- What can you offer to BRNC? (Personal qualities)
- What are the Royal Navy doing around the globe? (Any recent activity, use the News & Activity section on the RN website)

To the best of my memory this is what I was asked. My second SIFT was basically a mentoring session so I wasn't asked anything new. The OAQ definitely helps as most of the questions that appear on the OAQ were asked in my SIFT.

2) Yes, I had made my mind up before my second SIFT but I was not questioned on Observer training. The reason I changed my application was to begin IOT earlier. As there are only 3 intakes a year (Jan, May and Sep) and with the Pilot role being extremely competitive and oversubscribed, I could have been waiting a long time. My main goal is to be a Royal Navy Officer, whatever trade it is (aviation is my main preference). If at the AIB they tell me that I can't be an Observer but I could be a Warfare Officer as a Submariner, (Fast track role) I wouldn't hesitate to accept it. Being able to fly would be awesome however I could always learn to fly privately and gain a Private Pilot's License later in life. I still wanted to do a role that was in the aviation branch though. I am currently looking at a May 2021, intake if everything goes as planned, however I could be waiting into 2022 if I still wanted to be a pilot but I just want to begin my career as soon as possible.

3) I was quite detailed in my answer for the training question. I revised from the Royal Navy website as it tells you exactly what to expect at BRNC and in your trade training. If you use that to revise you will be fine as it is quite detailed and has all the information you need. You don't need to know the training week-by-week, just a general overview of what to expect in training. For example, "As an Officer, you would receive training at BRNC for a duration of 30 weeks. Training is split into 2, 15 week terms. The first term, militarisation, consists of fitness and medical assessments, leadership, basic weapons handling, basic seamanship and four-day practical leadership assessment. The second term, marinisation, which is where I will put my leadership skills into a maritime environment. The term consists of boat handling, navigation training and also a four-day practical leadership maritime exercise." Similarly, you would then go on to talk about your trade training. I more or less rehearsed the Pilot training pipeline from the Royal Navy website and I provided more than enough detail in my interview. Again, if you just use the RN website to find out about your training you will be fine as everything you need to know will be on the website.

I hope that my answers have provided you with some additional information. Remember to be yourself, be confident and relax and everything will be great! If you have any more questions please ask. Best of luck to you!
 

Pikelet

Newbie
Really constructive post, thanks for taking the time Simples958. I'm at a similar stage with my journey also to become an Observer, albeit already booked in for the FAT's. Good luck to you, hope you get a date through soon, the waiting is the worst bit!
 

Pikelet

Newbie
Thank you, and no not yet, presume I’ll get a date through after the FATs. Im guessing they wait to see if people pass before booking them in for AIB...
 
Ah yes, I read that they discuss it with you at AIB. If all goes well then hopefully we could be in the same intake! Also, let me know what I could expect on the Observer FAT's when you've completed them. I've read a number of things about the Observer FAT's, apparently they only take about 20 minutes!
 

SeaHawk14

Midshipman
I'm glad you found my post useful. What have you applied for and how far into the process are you? Anyway to answer your questions;
Hey,

Thanks for the response. Okay, that's good. I've got the right amount of detail at them moment so that's really reassuring. I expect that AIB will expect a thorough run-down of what to expect and I'd anticipate they're going to aim to find out the boundaries of your knowledge (I imagine).

I'm applying for Aircrew (Pilot) and am doing my Sift soon. Hopefully once that's done I can get a date for FAT's very shortly after. So done everything up to Sift/Careers Discussion at the moment.


Ah yes, I read that they discuss it with you at AIB. If all goes well then hopefully we could be in the same intake! Also, let me know what I could expect on the Observer FAT's when you've completed them. I've read a number of things about the Observer FAT's, apparently they only take about 20 minutes!
Errr.... I think 20 minutes is a bit optimistic. I think you'll go through the same sort of tests as pilot bar one or two differences. The Pilot tests will take about 5/6 hours in total.

There may be an Observers specific test that is 20 minutes but I can't imagine they'd send you guys to Cranners for a 20 minute test. The impression I get from my AFCO is that Observers will be required to have a similar level of Aptitude as Pilots but with slight differences in the test itself, so I'd anticipate to spend a good 5 hours there, but I don't know for certain, I only know that Pilot is a long battery of tests.

This is a massively useful resource if you've not come across it yet and gives a good idea as to what to expect in terms of the tests:

https://rafcbat.wordpress.com/

Ha, not sure we’ll be lucky enough to be out of there in 20 mins! Will let you know though...
Hey, do you know if the FAT's are only the relevant tests for Aircrew Roles or do you think it's all the tests that RAF candidates do as well?
 

Alfacharlie

War Hero
Hey,

Thanks for the response. Okay, that's good. I've got the right amount of detail at them moment so that's really reassuring. I expect that AIB will expect a thorough run-down of what to expect and I'd anticipate they're going to aim to find out the boundaries of your knowledge (I imagine).

I'm applying for Aircrew (Pilot) and am doing my Sift soon. Hopefully once that's done I can get a date for FAT's very shortly after. So done everything up to Sift/Careers Discussion at the moment.



Errr.... I think 20 minutes is a bit optimistic. I think you'll go through the same sort of tests as pilot bar one or two differences. The Pilot tests will take about 5/6 hours in total.

There may be an Observers specific test that is 20 minutes but I can't imagine they'd send you guys to Cranners for a 20 minute test. The impression I get from my AFCO is that Observers will be required to have a similar level of Aptitude as Pilots but with slight differences in the test itself, so I'd anticipate to spend a good 5 hours there, but I don't know for certain, I only know that Pilot is a long battery of tests.

This is a massively useful resource if you've not come across it yet and gives a good idea as to what to expect in terms of the tests:

https://rafcbat.wordpress.com/


Hey, do you know if the FAT's are only the relevant tests for Aircrew Roles or do you think it's all the tests that RAF candidates do as well?
My bold. You have the lingo already!! You’ll go far.
Good luck
 

Pikelet

Newbie
Hey, do you know if the FAT's are only the relevant tests for Aircrew Roles or do you think it's all the tests that RAF candidates do as well?

There is a useful post on this one:

I've spoken to an RAF recruiting officer recently who advised me (as per the above post) that the RAF wouldn't accept the RN FAT results which implies the tests are different. However, they also advised the Navy would accept the RAF results...seems odd.

From speaking to my RN ACLO, you can ask to sit the full battery of tests which cover all aircrew roles. I think the tests for Observer are the full battery anyway, but might be worth reiterating if you are unsure and thinking of switching to another aircrew role.
 
Hey,

Thanks for the response. Okay, that's good. I've got the right amount of detail at them moment so that's really reassuring. I expect that AIB will expect a thorough run-down of what to expect and I'd anticipate they're going to aim to find out the boundaries of your knowledge (I imagine).

I'm applying for Aircrew (Pilot) and am doing my Sift soon. Hopefully once that's done I can get a date for FAT's very shortly after. So done everything up to Sift/Careers Discussion at the moment.



Errr.... I think 20 minutes is a bit optimistic. I think you'll go through the same sort of tests as pilot bar one or two differences. The Pilot tests will take about 5/6 hours in total.

There may be an Observers specific test that is 20 minutes but I can't imagine they'd send you guys to Cranners for a 20 minute test. The impression I get from my AFCO is that Observers will be required to have a similar level of Aptitude as Pilots but with slight differences in the test itself, so I'd anticipate to spend a good 5 hours there, but I don't know for certain, I only know that Pilot is a long battery of tests.
Yes, at the AIB I believe that they will test to see how much you know. I'll always use the RN website and The Economist (for global affairs) to be up-to-date with everything.

I also didn't mean to imply that I would be at Cranwell for 20 minutes just to do the Observer FATs ha, sorry for that. I expect to be there for a fair amount of time. I believe that you would take the tests for all the aircrew roles in order to stream you into the role that suits you best, according to your FAT score.
 
Yes, at the AIB I believe that they will test to see how much you know. I'll always use the RN website and The Economist (for global affairs) to be up-to-date with everything.

I also didn't mean to imply that I would be at Cranwell for 20 minutes just to do the Observer FATs ha, sorry for that. I expect to be there for a fair amount of time. I believe that you would take the tests for all the aircrew roles in order to stream you into the role that suits you best, according to your FAT score.

Thanks Simples for your sharing you application insight so far,

I wondering how you were progressing, have you've had an update regarding when your FAT or even AIB is? Out of interest I am due to have my sift next month for Warfare Officer (Surface), and given covid restrictions no idea when AIB may take this year.

Regards
 
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