SIFT Interview - My Experience and Advice

Discussion in 'Joining Up - Royal Navy Recruiting' started by Olly013, Oct 25, 2012.

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  1. Evening folks,

    I’ve just sat my AIB and I’ll be putting together a diary over the next few days. However, I noticed I hadn’t yet posted my SIFT interview experience which I wrote a while back. Anyway here it is, enjoy…

    My SIFT interview was conducted by a Royal Marines Captain and lasted about 45 minutes. Here are a number of the questions I can remember being asked for your reference and preparation.

    The interviewer began by briefing me on the structure and purpose of the interview and then began asking his questions.

    He began with questions regarding my motivation and personality.

    Why do you want to join the military?

    In particular, why do you want to join the Royal Navy?

    Why do you want to be an officer as opposed to a rating?

    How would you feel about serving on a submarine?

    What would you say are your strengths and give me some examples of these strengths?

    What will you do if you are not successful here today?

    Have you spoken to a serving member of the Royal Navy or visited any naval bases?

    He then quizzed me on the training at BRNC, my training pipeline and the terms of service in the Navy.

    Tell me a bit about the training structure at BRNC?

    Tell me about the structure of your training pipeline?

    What commission are you given initially?

    What other commission terms are available?

    What are the regulations regarding leaving the training pipeline?

    What is the return of service for your particular branch?

    Is your return of service the same of all other branches?

    Do you know the return of service for any other officers?

    Name me a few of the courses at BRNC?

    After this I was asked a number of questions about the ships, aircraft, weaponry and equipment in use in the Navy and the capability of said equipment.

    In size order, from largest to smallest, tell me about the different ships in service in the Royal Navy?

    What are the roles of destroyers and frigates?

    What is the anti-submarine capability of a Type 23 Frigate?

    Name 3 Type 23 Frigates for me?

    What new ships are currently coming into service or are planned for service in the Royal Navy?

    Which of these new ships will directly affect your branch?

    What is the difference between the F35-B and F35-C?

    What are the pros and cons of the F35-B and F35-C?

    Who are the First and Second Sea Lords?

    Explain to me the structure of 3 Commando Brigade?

    Tell me about the Fleet Protection Group?

    What are the names and differences of the landing craft the Royal Marines use?

    HMS Ocean is what kind of ship?

    What is the role of the Albion class ship?

    The Albion class ship is also known as a what?

    How does the Albion class ship get her Royal Marines ashore?

    I was asked to talk about any situations where I have been a leader of a team or in a position of responsibility and how I dealt with tasks, the needs of my team and the result of the tasks.

    Tell me about a situation where you had to brief a large group of people?

    Tell me about a situation where you had to lead a team in a task?

    Tell me about a failure of a task when you were the leader?

    What important lessons have you learnt from your experiences as a leader?

    Tell me about a time you have been faced with a moral dilemma?

    How would you monitor the members of your team to ensure they are doing their job correctly?

    What do you think are the pros and cons off delegation?

    When do you think delegation may not be necessary?

    How would you brief a team of people?

    Tell me about an experience in your life which has caused you to look at yourself critically and make some
    form of self improvement?

    Next, I was given a pencil and instructed to use a map on the wall to explain, from the bottom left corner outwards, the different places where the Royal Navy is in the world and why it is there. I was then questioned on the specifics of a number of current naval deployments and current affairs.

    Tell me about the uprising in the Middle East known as the “Arab Spring?”

    What political tensions are currently taking place in the south Atlantic?

    Tell me about operations in Afghanistan?

    What naval units are in Afghanistan right now?

    When did the Royal Marines leave Afghanistan? (TRICK QUESTION)

    What is currently going on in Iran and how does it affect the international community?

    How has the situation in Iran affected the Straight of Homuz?

    What other operations are taking place in the Middle East?

    What naval operation was recently in the news regarding Somali piracy?

    What is the importance of the Middle East to the UK?

    What operations are taking place around the UK?

    Where did you learn your knowledge of the Royal Navy from?

    The interviewer then finished with a number of mandatory questions.

    What is the Royal Navy’s policy on drugs and alcohol?

    What is your opinion on this policy?

    How does your partner and/or your parents feel about your application?

    Do you have any large debts or loans?

    Overall, I found the interview quite challenging but I was well prepared so I managed to answer most questions. My advice would be to ensure your naval knowledge is up to date and appropriately in depth. Know your training pipeline and career structure as well as possible. Keep up to date on current affairs and understand the deeper political motivations for various operations around the world. Really understand and be prepared to articulate your motivation for wanting to be a naval officer and whatever your branch of choice is. If you really want to do the job you’ll know all these answers so make sure you can get them across to the interviewer effectively.

    Remember to relax, but not too much. I was criticized for being too professional at times and was advised to show my informal side. Think about your answers and don’t waffle or speak too quickly. If you don’t know the answer, say that. And smile. :)

    As always, preparation is key.

    Best of luck to all of you going for your various interviews, I hope this has been helpful. If you have any questions feel free to ask.

    Last edited: Oct 25, 2012
  2. Not wishing to be accused of trying to ruin a perfectly well written and helpful piece of information, I do think that the chap who was asking all those questions was a bit of a nosy git
    • Like Like x 2
  3. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    An excellent insight.

    When one considers Officer selection is entirely merit-based, it's interesting to see people are prepared to give a detailed 'heads-up' for the benefit of those who follow despite the fact they may well be competing for the same job.

    Likewise those that give a 'blow by blow' account of the intricacies of AIB should possibly be a little circumspect prior to being selected or they may well find someone that passes after them but scores better, could pip them at the post when it comes to selection.

    Not sure it's a particularly shrewd idea, but it's jolly sporting. Darwinian, in fact.
    • Like Like x 3
  4. Out of interest, what is the return of service for a warfare officer? I've tried searching for it, and can't seem to find anything definitive.
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2012
  5. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    Initial Commission (IC) on which all officers (except some re-entrants and transferees from other Services) join, whether entering from civilian life or from the lower deck. The length of the IC, is branch dependent, as follows:
    X, E, L, and MS - 12 years
    RM - 8 years

    Warfare Officers, much the same as Ratings can opt out during initial six-months training. If they complete training it's usually a 30 months return of service, followed by a "traditional" 12 months notice to quit - subject to operational requirements.
  6. Great, thanks for the help.

  7. I must admit this is a trend that has intrigued me greatly. On my pusser aqauint, someone who had just passed the AIB the week before and he was more than happy to spill the beans about everything he has experienced even though we would directly be competing for the same places.

    Conversely, when I got the AIB a week later a guy on my board was much more coy about what to expect, even though he was going for warfare. So I assume he must have thought he had some kind of advantage but he really been the only person I have experienced this from, which has surprised me.

    My own opinion is that you can know everything that is going to happen but that still doesn't help show your leadership potential. Consequently, although I passed AIB well my score wasn't good enough for selection but the original guy I was talking about has just completed the second term of BRNC. . . .
  8. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    You've pretty much nailed it.

    Believe me this particular thread topic has been the subject of animated discussion within the service at levels well above my own.

    The fact is that those who take the time to research the subject can find the answers they need, which may well give them the edge. This thread is a very good example of just that.
  9. I could very well believe it! I think the reality is thought there is actually very little an organisation can do about that sort of thing, given the powers of the internet. If someone is willing to write a whole book on passing the AIB ( although an absolutely terrible one, which will is inaccurate and actually of very little use) then I'm sure someone would stick up a new forum on it if this was taken down.

    Regardless, I think that any perceived advantage will have worked itself out by the time most people get their second shot whether that be at a SIFT or an AIB. From my own observations it was the people who showed no leadership potential that were asked not to come back and it's not a forum that's going to get you that!

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