Officer sift interview

Discussion in 'Joining Up - Royal Navy Recruiting' started by JaFAA, Apr 16, 2009.

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  1. Right, I've made this topic in the hope I'll get a bit of into on it, and also that it might be added to the list of other info that's just been stickied in the newbies forum, because I can't find anything specific to officer applications!

    So, for the interview I've got a good general idea of things like, what my job might entail, what my training path would be (although I've heard it's changing soon), what sort of career I should expect, what I understand about the level of service expected of me, reason for joining, plus some other general service titbits.

    Are there also all the typical questions like strengths, weaknesses, examples of leadership, examples to make me sound more employable, fitness interests, etc?

    Also how in depth should my service knowledge be? I'm currently learning everything off the Navy website, but it's a bit over whelming. Should I just stick to things associated with the branch I'm going for?

    And what about general knowledge of current affairs? Is this more AIB level stuff? I'm sure there's no harm in knowing as much as possible at all times, but what information is most vital to just the sift interview?

  2. When I went for mine the Lt Asked me what type of ship the T45 was and where the navy was deployed and why etc, but nothing more complicated than that. The MoD guide to the navy is a really good book to read.
  3. I had mine a few weeks ago.

    Mainly consisted of: service knowledge (where navy and marines are deployed, what they've been doing there and why), general ship knowledge (recognising major ships, what weapons they have and what aircraft they can carry), reasons why you want to join and when you have done things that show leadership abilities, organisational abilities and motivation.
  4. Mine was laid back and not what I expected at all. Started off by asking about my background (education, work etc). He already knew I'd done six years in the TA, so he kind of glossed over the whole leadership experience as he said "You'll have enough to talk about at AIB". Then I went onto to a bit of aircraft and ship recognition, and what my job would be, and about life as an officer.

    I didn't really have anything about current affairs as such, more just about 3 places where the navy currently are in the world, and then I pointed to Somalia on the map. And that was about that.

    I kept getting cut off on my answers with him saying "ok, you know about that", so I would take that as a good sign.

    I was in for the whole hour slot, but to be honest it didn't feel like an interview at all. More like a bit of a chat! But maybe that's what it felt like to me in the end!
  5. Hi JaFAA,

    I had my sift a couple of months ago now and it was pretty relaxed. The majority of the questions asked were about me, my life and my motivations for joining the RN. I had to talk about things I did at secondary school which was over 8 years ago! So I was scratching my head a bit.

    For example:-

    Tell me about a time when you have worked as part of a team, been a leader, organised something, done something you are proud/not proud of, succeeded against the odds.

    Sports? Volunteering? Uniformed organisations? Keeping fit?

    What did you like/dislike about school/university/work?

    How do you family and friends feel about you joining? Do you understand the RN's policy on drugs? Tattoos? Debts?(All info that should have been sent with AFCO Form4 I think).

    I was asked about my career path, training and career goals.

    Loads of questions like that. It was pretty intense without being too pressured. Just make sure you have some solid examples.

    The Lieutenant then randomly pointed at the wall and asked me to identify ship/sub/helicopter/weapon systems. He then asked about current deployments and operations, and why we are there. Nothing on current affairs.

    He asked me what ships were deployed where. Future ships/subs/aircraft, nothing too detailed though. Just a general knowledge and understanding. The more you know the better obviously.

    I was expecting more of the Navy based questions but it was approx. 60% about my life and experience which I found harder to answer than the Navy specific questions (trying to make yourself sound great with coming across as arrogant is no easy task!)

    Dress a smart as possible and sit up straight. Make eye contact and smile (where appropriate!). It was commented on at the debrief.

    I hope it goes well for you. Good luck.

  6. Navy knowledge: There is a book called "The Navy Handbook" or "the bible" :) which is really good for learning about all the equipment that the RN, RM and RNR use. It is definitely worth getting and learning as much of it as you can. If you can tell the Lt: the type of ship; the weapon systems; its aircraft and their roles you will be fine at your sift interview.

    Deployment: learn the easy ones; Falklands, submarines (they could be anywhere), Fishery Protection, Patrol vessels, just in case he asks, but also try and get a good understanding of the others: North Atlantic Task Group; Mediterranean; Middle East; etc. If you can real off all of that info, you will be quids in.

    All the main questions are about yourself, which as they kept telling me, you are the expect on this subject. Don't bullshit them because they will catch you out, just be relaxed and give them honest answers. This interview will give you a taste of the questions you get asked at the AIB, so have a good think about you answers when you get home.

    One of the questions I was asked at my AIB was "When have you experienced bullying and what did you do about it?" This will probably not come up in the sift, but it is a good one to have a think about.


    Good luck!!!
  7. Right, I did my sift interview. Bloody failed. Not disheartened though. He said my service knowledge was A+ and my motivation/career expectations and fitness standards were all totally fine as well...

    This is the thing that got me and the advice I'll give to anyone else who wants it... leadership examples.

    I was told the motivation to be a leader was in me but I didn't have the examples to prove I can do it. I was asked fairly script-like questions such as, "Tell me about a time you have had to work hard to achieve something" and "Tell me about a time you have over come a problem while doing something you had planned". Pretty annoying really...dunno how much leading or responsibility the typical 20 yr old has had in his life.

    My advice for anyone who's not got much leadership/organisational experience, is to lead and organise as many things as possible. Or basically tick all the boxes to say you planned something, how you planned it, how you achieved it, any obstacles you overcame, etc.

    Anyone got any examples of what they said to prove they had leadership experience? Just so I can get an idea of what sort of criteria I need to meet for my next interview in 3 months?

    I'm thinking of one or two expedition style adventures with a crew of mates, with a lot of pre-planning of where to walk, where to camp, how long it'll take, who's coming, how much it'll cost etc. (And generally being the leader of it)
  8. Sorry, JaFAA, I know how hard you were working towards that and it's a damn shame you failed :(

    How about organising a charity even or something? It'll be tough to pull off within 3 months but if you do pull it off then it'll look good.
  9. Naaah it's not too much of a shame really, I've told a lot of people that I'm aware of how tough it is to get in, so I'm prepared to get knocked back and learn from things for when I return.

    I think my main problem was not being able to turn my experiences into good examples. The ACLO told me people had managed to go on forever about planning family meet-ups and shi*te like that, which to me is just daft, but I guess it's a case of just being able to make typical things seem extra special.

    My mum suggested doing some kind of charity thing. Maybe a sponsored walk/adventure...
  10. Sorry to hear this. Nil desperandum though.

    Could you find a role with the local Sea Cadets or Scouts or similar?

    Duke of Edinburgh's Award?
  11. My nearest Sea Cadets sort of thing is...Air Cadets! It's not my cup of tea though, I'm gonna head over to the D of E place to see about getting some kind of experience in leadership.

    My main problem is probably that I need to learn to sell myself. I get kinda modest, even if I'd led a group of blind people up Everest I wouldn't know how to give a good explanation of it, because in my head I'd just think "yeah, I did it".

    What does anyone think of this?

    If I were to get a bit of voluntary work living on my own in an African community teaching, planning fun things for the locals, etc etc, would that go down well? Just for the record, I'd not just be doing it for the sake of becoming a pilot, it actually does look quite good!
  12. I got told the exact same thing. He said being a leader in scouts/cub/beavers is perfect, and that I should go ahead and do it. It was also part of my D of E, which is another way you can improve. As for not being your cup of tea, the convinient thing rarely is. I was advised to go on assertiveness courses and everything, practise eye contact 24/7 etc, and I hated it, but it probably made me a better person.
  13. FlagWagger

    FlagWagger Book Reviewer

    If you do some judicious searching on this site, I'm sure you'll find lots of examples of what consititutes leadership in the RN. Basically, its not about making ordinary thing seems special, its actually about demonstrating that you are able to make decisions, carry them through and furthermore get people to willingly adopt your ideas.

    You might also want to look on the RNCOMM web-site. Somewhere on that site, there's a handy little book called "Leadership in the Office" that explains military leadership in a civilian context that may give you a better insight into what the RN mean by leadership.

    Edited to add: Here's the link to the booklet - it is a bit office based, but some of the words on leadership qualities should help.

    Good luck...
  14. There's nowt wrong with the air cadets....and I wouldn't imagine would be looked down upon, especially as you are going for FAA? (If there is something wrong with it then I've totally wasted 5 years of my teenage years...) Lots of flying machines and all that jazz.

    But if it's not your thing, perhaps organise an adventure training type trip for you and your mates? Doesn't have to be anything fancy...maybe a couple of days hillwalking somewhere. Plan a route, plan the kit you have to have etc etc.

    Et voila! Leadership, organisation and fitness all in one!
  15. Hey!

    How about looking for kids camps to work at over the summer?

    I spent my last summer working in America teaching kids to horse ride and my ACLO said that was the kind of stuff they're after and I know there are quite a few day camps in the UK!

  16. Cool, cheers for the advice everyone. I'd actually considered doing something like this. And also, just to cover my back, I have no issues at all with Air cadets, I just thought I might get some flak as this is a Navy website!

    I'm actually really interested now in these volunteer excursion project thingys that I mentioned earlier. I'm gonna get in touch with a few companies and see what sort of opportunities they have for building leadership etc. Plus I'd be able to demonstrate organisation what with having to raise about 3 grand somehow!
  17. What stix said about school or college, what about something as simple as breaking up a fight or helping resolve an argument?
  18. My school was a lame Christian school. I saw about 3 fights the whole time I was there, and I was in one of them haha. So no fight breaking for me. And I live in (near) Harrogate, a town of rich faggotty ponces who break up their own arguments cos they get scared if it escalates any further.

    Thing is for me, is that I've spent so long doing the most brain dead job ever, without the opportunity to tick any of the right boxes for an officer interview, that I've forgotten any of the worthy stuff I did before then, at school etc. Having said that, I didn't do much at school anyway, that was my stage of having long hair and hating the world.

    I'm dead keen on this though.

    Does anyone know how the Navy would look upon a 10 week expedition to India to help communities and habitats etc? Plus it's gonna be a hell of a job for me fundraising 3500 to do it, so there's some demonstrable organisation already. Although I'm not saying I'd do all that purely in an effort to get a pilot job at the end of it - it genuinely looks like a good thing to do. Specially compared to what I'm doing now!
  19. What sort of timeframe are you looking at now from sending all the initial application paperwork to the ACLO to getting a testing date, pjft, medical and interview etc. Its been a while since I sent my stuff in and its starting to become bloody annoying.

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