Officer Recruitment Process


Hi all. I'm presuming this question has been asked many times and I'll get the usual answer of 'use the search function', tried that and didn't find anything. In response to this could anybody give me a bit of detail into the officer recruitment process, such as SIFT Interview, AIB etc... Useful help would be much appreciated.


War Hero
Have a shufty here: Life as an Officer | Royal Navy

After having a peruse, if you can identify the areas in which you feel the detail is lacking... please, PERLEASE use the "contact us" feedback form and tell them what is missing.

I've been informing the website of glaring errors since re-launch but I rather think they view me as a vexatious complainant because they don't like being told it's shoite after spending many £K's without bothering to consult those who actually know more about the subject.

In the event you don't get the info required, I'll do my best but it's bleedin' tiresome repeating oneself on an individual basis when the "official source" should be giving you this information from the outset.

Oh yeah, good luck!


War Hero
From the RN Website:

If you want to become a Royal Navy officer you will need to attend the two day Admiralty Interview Board (AIB) at HMS Sultan in Hampshire and show us that you’ve got what it takes – both mentally and physically.

The tests are designed to assess whether you have the qualities needed to successfully become an officer once you’ve completed your training.
Before you arrive

You will receive a biographical questionnaire before you arrive for the AIB. It’s important that you complete it as fully and as accurately as you can.

When you’re done, bring this along with you and hand it in to the candidates’ reception at HMS Sultan. This will be the evening before your two day AIB. Reception will also tell you where you will stay over the following days.

AIB day one

During your first full day, you’ll need to do the following:

  • A 20-minute verbal test designed to demonstrate your general reasoning and ability with words
  • A 13-minute non-verbal reasoning test, again measuring your reasoning power, but this time without the emphasis on verbal skills
  • A 25-minute numerical test covering numerical fluency, reasoning and statistics
  • A 15-minute speed and accuracy test, measuring your concentration and mental agility
  • A 15-minute spatial orientation test, involving directions, relative positions and movement
  • A short general service knowledge test to provide the Board with an indication of your research into the Royal Navy


You will also need to choose one of four topics and write an essay within 45 minutes. This will help us assess your written communication skills.

Fitness assessment

To test your fitness you will need to do a multi-stage fitness test (commonly known as the ‘bleep test’). There is no pass or fail with this but your performance will be graded – so you need to give it your all. We will send you some preparation guidelines before you come. But it’s a good idea to start doing regular exercise as early as possible.

AIB day two

The second day of the AIB includes a practical leadership task, a planning exercise and a competency interview. You’ll find out if you have passed by the end of the day. If you’re successful you will have to stay on and take a medical exam.

Practical leadership task

Working within a team in the gym, you will have to solve a practical problem, put a plan into action and respond to difficulties as they come up. The task is designed to test your teamwork and leadership ability, your verbal powers of communication, your resilience and strength of character.

Planning exercise

You’ll get a written brief containing the details of a fictional scenario. You will have 15 minutes to study the information. We’ll then introduce a problem into the scenario setting, and you’ll have 15 minutes to discuss possible solutions with your group and reach an agreed plan. You will then present this to the Board as a group. We will question each person in your group to examine everyone’s grasp of the situation, before you individually present your final solution to the problem.

Competency interview

This involves a 30 minute interview about things you have done throughout your life. To prepare for this you should think about times when you have been a leader, organised something, been in a team and shown courage.

We will ask you why you want to join the Royal Navy, your understanding of your chosen specialisation and your hopes and ambitions. You will also need to demonstrate a wider knowledge about the Royal Navy beyond what is available in leaflets.

AIB results

You will know whether you have passed that same afternoon. If you’ve made it through you will need to stay on a little longer to complete a medical exam.

But be aware, that passing the AIB doesn’t guarantee your entry into training. Everyone is placed in order of merit. The final selection will depend on the number of vacancies available at the time and the number of successful candidates who reach the required medical and educational standards.

But whether you pass or not, most people enjoy their visit to the AIB and go away having learned something about themselves in the process.

Full hit:


Whole thing goes- Initial expression of Interest
Initial briefing (at careers office)
Psychometric tests
Sift interview

The stickies at the top of the forum will help, have a read through them. What exactly do you want to know?

The expression of interest is pretty straightforward- just bowl up, have a chat, they give you some DVDs and a couple of out of date recruitment brochures and invite you back for a presentation by an officer on life in the Royal Navy- it does cover all aspects of the Naval Service though.

If you're still interested you then come along for psychometric testing. This is multiple choice stuff, verbal reasoning, mathematical reasoning, mechanical reasoning. They key word is reasoning. I'd suggest you get some books of practice questions out from the library, or splash out and buy them. They're invaluable for getting you in the right mindset for the questions and great practice.

They'll mark them there and then (or at least, they did with me) and provided you've passed, then giving you a letter asking you to do a medical. This can take up to two months to arrange- the doctor in my area comes around every two weeks and can be quite booked up. The medical involves a hearing test (you put headphones on while bleeps come out of the headphones) an eyesight test including colourblindness test (this is just one of those books with numbers in) and he asks you to squat onto your haunches, do five press ups etc. just to check you haven't got any obvious injuries that might hold you back. He'll then go through your medical history, to check there's nothing like, oh I dunno, you're missing your head, that may bar you from entry. Bear in mind they always err on the side of caution, and fail you for anything they can think of, so it's helpful, if you had any injuries as a child (broken bones etc) to bring along letters from your doctor saying you are free from any effects of those injuries, as well as having a good knowledge of your family medical history. If you do get failed and need to appeal, you need to appeal. Don't sweat it, either you meet the standard or you don't. I was failed, requested 'clarification' and was then passed. It happens.

From there you go on to book a PJFT. This has to be done in particular gyms located around the country. This is on a treadmill, with the girl (or bloke, but for me I appreciated being able to look at something while I ran) watching you to check you're not cheating. Think it is now on flat but it used to be with a 3 degree incline. Target time is 11min 09 for 2.4km (a mile and a half) Frankly, if you can't manage that you shouldn't be joining the navy, fatty. It's not hard.

Once you've done that, be prepared for a seriously long wait. Either post your results (which the fit girl at the gym signs for you) back to the AFCO or she'll email them for you. Then for your SIFT.

This is a more formal interview- you wear a suit and tie, don't fidget, make eye contact, smile (this is the dream, remember) and answer a load of questions on Naval knowledge as well as your background, your family, reasons for joining the navy, ethical considerations (how do you feel about killing etc) and competency questions. Google competency questions. Prepare for them. Don't look like a tit. They are going to ask you about times you've lead a team, and times you've been part of a team. When you've planned something and it's gone wrong. etc. They'll tell you there and then if you've passed, although you can't see their actual report.

From there, expect another long wait (4 months for me) from SIFT to AIB. AIB has been pretty well covered in a lot of threads, again, if you can't find any detail, what are you doing, you probably shouldn't be in the Navy, you should be at home under a blanket trying not to eat your crayons.

Depending on how successful you are (i.e. how much they think they want you) they will give you an entry date either closer or further from the current date. This can change.

Hope that gives a brief outline.