ALO Interview Yesterday

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by ZoomingFalcon, Aug 26, 2009.

  1. ZoomingFalcon

    ZoomingFalcon Cadet

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    I had my ALO interview yesterday. It was nice to finally meet my ALO. We talked a little bit about the Air Force and USAFA and SS, then moved on to the actual interview.

    This is really for candidates that haven't had their interview yet, I thought I could help out. First off, most of the questions I prepared for weren't asked. Things like 'how would you handle a sexual harassment situation?' or 'how do you feel about religious intolerance?'. Most of the questions were AF scenarios. One he asked me was 'You're an F-15 pilot, and you and your wingman are flying at night and you see tracer rounds coming at you. You call for authorization to engage and destroy. There is no response. Your wingman wants to engage. What do you do?'

    He also asked me if I thought senior NCOs should have higher pay than incoming Lieutenants from USAFA or OTS, or AFROTC. I thought it was a strange question. Took me a little time to think about it.

    When I left, I thought I could have done better. A few things he said stuck in my mind. He said 'We don't look to qualify the interested, we interest the qualified.' And at the end of the interview, he said, 'don't be down if things don't work out, don't give up. There's always a means to an end.'
    That concerned me a bit. And maybe I'm reading too much into this, but it seems like he may be telling me that I might not get in this year. He has 15 other applicants, and for one Michigan ALO, that's a lot.

    What are your opinions about this? Should I be concerned or am I looking at it wrong?
     
  2. vampsoul

    vampsoul Candidate

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    Perhaps it is something he is telling all of his applicants since it's a competitive year for your area.
     
  3. bsa07eagle

    bsa07eagle Member

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    I got transfered to a different ALO after about a month, he had 26 applicants that he had to interview. My (new) ALO told me that there are a couple of them in CO Springs that have 20+. No wonder he transferred me to a different one.

    Later,

    Brian
     
  4. singaporemom

    singaporemom Member

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    He could possibly be testing your level of commitment. I would be interested in hearing other ALOs opinion regarding this.
     
  5. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I am with many others, one it is probably something he says to everyone, two to see your commitment. For example, is it AFA or nothing or are you also going to show your commitment to the AF and apply for ROTC or OCS. It also is to keep you grounded so you won't start to skate through your SR YR.

    Good luck, it is way too early to question yourself.
     
  6. ZoomingFalcon

    ZoomingFalcon Cadet

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    He asked me if I had applied to ROTC. I said I haven't because of all the paperwork the Academy needs first. I do plan on applying in case I can't get USAFA or the prep school this year, I'll do ROTC for a year and try again.
     
  7. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    He said 'We don't look to qualify the interested, we interest the qualified.' And at the end of the interview, he said, 'don't be down if things don't work out, don't give up. There's always a means to an end.'

    I wouldn't be a BIT concerned!

    This ALO was obviously (to me) looking at you from several aspects:

    a. HOW serious are you?
    b. Have you delved into what it means to be an AF officer because that's what the AFA will train you to become?
    c. How quickly do you think "off the cuff?" FYI: this gives us a VERY good feel for who you are and how "fast" you process information and, MOST importantly: WILL YOU BS US?

    His final comment about don't be down...I'm with everyone else; he probably tells all his candidates that. Guess what?

    So do I.

    Why?

    Because the chances of ANYONE being accepted to a SA are small...it's just a TOUGH TOUGH thing to do!!! So we always want the candidate to be thinking about other options, always have a backup plan.

    From your description of the interview I think it went fine. Keep in touch with your ALO, update them on ANYTHING that might make your package a little better, etc..etc..

    And the fun of the LONG WAIT begins...:thumb:

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83

    PIMA: NICE to see you back!
     
  8. ZoomingFalcon

    ZoomingFalcon Cadet

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    I'll call him a few weeks after school starts to touch base again. He has 15 others, so I don't want to interupt too much, I know it's a lot of work.

    One question that I prepared for well was 'why do you want to be an Air Force Officer?'. Strangely, that question also wasn't asked. I'll talk to him about that later as well.
     
  9. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    If you do call him, do it for a professional business reason...i.e. Sir, I just finished my AFA paperwork and I am now starting my ROTC scholarship is there any unique guidance you can give me regarding this process? Or you can say I have done my CFA, here are my scores do you believe I should submit them or continue practicing?

    Don't call for face time reasons, remember he has 14 other cadets and a "pay check job", this is a volunteer position. If everyone of his candidates called for face time every 2 or 3 weeks, he would have a candidate calling almost everyday, just for them to remind him that they exist. It can cause burnout for the ALO., especially since he is writing recs for all of those candidates and speaking with the AFA on top of returning your calls.

    I do not mean to be mean, just trying to make you understand the life of an ALO.
     
  10. jscam87

    jscam87 Member

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    Listen to Flieger83 above. It might be good he didn't ask the Officer question. Maybe it was obvious what you want to be...
    Good Luck!
     
  11. jarvin

    jarvin Member

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    Wow you're interview was intense. I have to give you props for being able to answer those questions on pressure. Pretty deep questions.
     
  12. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Remember; when you get a real tough question and don't know the answer, the correct response is: "You sure you don't want a Beer?":beer1:

    In all seriousness. If you don't know the answer, don't try and B.S. the ALO. Simply say you don't know the answer.
     
  13. jarvin

    jarvin Member

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    Damn wish I could have seen this post before I had my interview. Would've been my answer for every question LOL!
     
  14. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    CC gave a poor answer, it should be are you sure you don't want a shot of weed?

    Right CC:yay:
     
  15. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    DOH!!!! Das Weed.
     
  16. singaporemom

    singaporemom Member

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    What would be the correct response? I'm curious as to how a 17 year old who has not been trained should answer.
     
  17. jarvin

    jarvin Member

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    I'm guessing that's a type of question that an ALO would ask to probe the maturity of how a candidate approaches a problem based on how he answers the question. I'm not a psychologist so I'm just throwing it out there based on the type of question and considering the inexperience of most candidates. In all sincerity I would have responded with: "Sir, if I see that the target becomes in imminent threat I will have no choice to engage, but only after communication with base and the aircraft has failed". Or something in that matter. That's how I would approach it, and it would probably say something about how I approach obstacles.
     
  18. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    I can't give an exact number like 90%; but most questions of such nature are not asked with a "Right or Wrong" answer available. There is no right or wrong. It's strictly an opinion question. But "HOW" the individual answers it can speak volumes. Similar to asking; "Do you believe there's a God"? "Do you think abortion should be legal"? 2 very controversial questions, yet no right or wrong. However; you can tell if the individual is trying to give you an answer they THINK you want to hear; an answer that they were "Brought up on"; an answer that they looked up and memorized; OR, an answer that is truly THEIR answer.

    Yes, there are definitely some "Extremist" answers that a person could give. And those may be considered "Wrong" answers. But generally speaking, the ALO is trying to get to KNOW YOU. They are trying to learn what YOUR beliefs are. Why YOUR opinion is. etc.... They don't care or want to know what your parents, priest, teacher, or your neighbor who stayed at a Holiday Inn Express thinks. Basically, an ALO is trying to take 17-18 years of your life; condense it into an hour; and get a feel for who YOU really are.

    Steve can definitely correct me and give a more insightful answer. But I've dealt with a lot of applicants and a few ALOs. And getting to know the "REAL" applicant is the main purpose of the interview. And the ALOs are very good at it. Not because there's a right and wrong to the questions, but because they've interviewed more than enough people to know who is B.S.ing; who's giving opinions they've been indoctrinated with; giving answers they read in the news; or giving "Politically Correct" responses. They aren't trying to trick you. They aren't trying to make you slip up. They simply have a short period of time to try and determine if you are "YOUR OWN PERSON". That you are applying because YOU WANT TO and not because of others. And to determine if you are a good fit for the team concept/leader type person the academy wants. Best of luck. Mike....
     
  19. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    Mike (CC) in his last paragraph hits it perfectly in describing what we ALO's are ultimately about with questions like this and others. We are really trying to learn all we can about the candidate so that we can be their BEST advocate to the academy!

    But to answer your question: IMHO, there isn't a "right" answer for the candidate here. Why? Because they don't know what the ROE (rules of engagement) are for the situation, the situation isn't fully described (have they been fired upon, is it a "kill box" etc., were other conditions indicated, etc.)

    What I'd expect to hear from a candidate at that point would be, perhaps:

    a. "Wow...boy, I don't know. I don't know what the AF rules that govern something like this are."
    b. "If we haven't been given the clearance to attack, I don't think we can as even war has rules and we have to follow them."

    But there are literally a bunch of other things that could be said and they would all tell me about how quickly the candidate thinks on their feet when facing a situation with which they are unfamiliar and, MOST importantly, are they trying to "BS" me or simply respond to my question.

    And that's what I want to know: is this young man or woman a person of integrity; simple honesty, and willing to say "I don't know" if they don't? Or are they more concerned about looking good and will, therefore, make something up to impress me?

    Since I became a "senior" officer (age and grade) I've taken to looking at candidates with a question: "In 4 years, can I see this person as a junior officer working for ME? Is this person someone I would want to spend a LOT of money on to train and then have come to work for me, to be put in charge of a bunch of MY airmen, and do they have the integrity required?"

    If the answer is YES to that, then I need to bust my BUTT to help them. If the answer, based upon having interacted with them several times, is NO...well, you get the idea.

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  20. ZoomingFalcon

    ZoomingFalcon Cadet

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    My answer to the F-15 question was that I would definitely not engage. I don't have clearance to attack, and there may be women and children, and that kind of collateral damage is not acceptable. He said my wingman and I could potentially come back to base, having killed 4 enemy soldiers and wounded 7. wingman would buy the beer (he actually said that).
    It was a bit of role-playing too. He was my wingman trying to get me to engage, and I told him we would not engage. We're in F-15s. We can get the heck out of there instead of attacking a target we know nothing about.

    After 'radioing' back and forth, he told me that the tracer rounds were coming from Canadian soldiers.

    The pay grade question really hit me. I probably should have said I didn't know. I may have given a little of a canned response. I said that a Senior Master Sergeant with 20 years in should be payed more because they have more experience than a 2nd Lieutenant. But officers have a lot more responsibility than NCOs.

    He told me about a few airmen he knew who had said they wished they could have become officers instead of enlisted. But I told him that a lot of people say that because they want the benefits of officership (pay, rank, etc.) without the cost (added responsibility). So I think I corrected myself with what I said earlier about senior NCOs' pay. And that some have a difficulty leading others and would prefer to be given a specific task to complete.

    The situation questions were definitely difficult. Thinking back on it now, I may have BSed a little, but it wasn't atrocious. I didn't want to say 'I don't know' to a combat or human relation situation.
     

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