ALO interview

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by sctwrestler, Jul 15, 2009.

  1. sctwrestler

    sctwrestler New Member

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    My ALO interview is approaching, so what type of questions should I be expecting? I've tried to jot down a few such as why do I want to go, strengths, weaknesses that I remember reading on the forums.
    Were there any extremly difficult questions that stick out in anyone's mind? Like I said, I trying to get my thoughts down so I don't sound as nervous as I really am:rolleyes:
    Also suit or just shirt and tie?
     
  2. bsa07eagle

    bsa07eagle Member

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    I have some of the same questions, but I have been through quite a few interviews before so I can help a bit (Eagle Scout, Jobs, etc.). I know a big thing is to eliminate the "uneducated words" such as: umm, idk, any slang that you would use in a general conversation with a friend. It is ok if you need a few seconds to think about a question, just say "that is a good question, let me think about that" instead of saying "well I don't really know, but..." Another thing that I have heard about interviews is to turn negatives into positives. Those are usually the most difficult questions: the ones that try to imply that you are not fit to be a candidate. A question about why you shouldn't be a cadet (I got asked why I shouldn't be an Eagle Scout in my Board of Review and was sweating bullets trying to answer it) or something on the negative side like that might be answered by saying "Although I am not perfect, I believe that I am prepared to be a cadet at the USAFA." I am no expert, just throwing out some ideas that I have picked up along the way. Be very polite (Sir and Ma'am would be appropriate) and give complete answers to every question that s/he asks. Have a few questions prepared to ask your ALO, they will usually ask at the end of the interview if you have any questions, and they are impressed if you do. Feel free to correct me on any of this guys, you all have much more experience than I do.

    Good Luck to all 2014 candidates
     
  3. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Every ALO will be different, some will be laid back and some will be more formal.

    For military kids you can be sure they will pay close attention to so why the SA's? They want to make sure there is no answer like my Dad went there and I want to follow in his shoes.

    All of you will most likely be given the typical what do your folks think?

    The off beat question DS got was what was the last book you read, besides school and did you like it?

    You can expect questions from what do you want to be when you grow up to what will you do if you can't be that? They will range, however, don't place an ALO interview to the level of the MOC nom. Your ALO will be your ALO, he's not going to call up the AFA and say give that kid to somebody else. If you walk in with respect and realize that they are there to assist you than you will be fine.

    For the next question, what to wear, khakis and a polo are fine.
     
  4. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Pima; you are so correct about the different ALO's. I know/have known many different ALO's. I know some that prefer the traditional questions where "The Answer" itself isn't that important to them; but rather HOW you answer it. Then I have another ALO I know who is hard core. Her, yes HER, favorite question if she discovers you might like to fly, is: "What do you think or how would you feel, knowing that you are being ordered to drop a bomb or fire a missile where you know that there's a good possibility that you might be killing some women or children?" She tries her best to make sure you know not just the good, but the not so good. And if you're going to give "Real" answers or canned politically correct answers.

    But definitely, I have never met an ALO that didn't care about their applicants. They will all do their best to make sure you have every chance to be competitive. As long as you're professional, and show the proper respect, you will be fine. First impression is very important. If you've never met your ALO in person prior to the interview, consider how you are going to dress and appear. I had an ALO (Close Friend) tell me about an applicant who came to the interview in their JrROTC uniform. First thought was; "Oh boy, aren't we ate up". Yet, another ALO might think it's cool. If you aren't sure about what to wear, it is perfectly fine to either ask your ALO directly, or if you feel more comfortable, elude to the question. I.e. "Excuse me sir, our interview is immediately after my last class at school. I really wanted to change more appropriately for my interview, but because of time constraint, would interviewing in my school clothes be acceptable?" Then make sure you wear "NICE CLOTHES" to school. On the other hand, if the interview is much later, or on the weekend, wear the type of clothes you might go to church in. "Doesn't have to be a tie and jacket".

    REMEMBER: This is the "JOB INTERVIEW" of your life. But for what it's worth; my son's ALO also did his CFA exam. So, we met at the base Gym; my son did all his pushups, basketball throw, running, etc... and the Minute he got done, his ALO said; "Why don't you and your dad follow me to my office and we'll take care of the interview while you're here". So, sweatie and tired, I dropped him off at her office and I went to Burger King and hung out for about an hour while she did her interview with him. So for her, SPONTANEOUS interview answers were much more important than looking pretty. Plus, all the running and exercising during the CFA reduced all stress for my son. He said it was one of the most relaxing interviews he ever had. (But very detailed with many thought provoking questions)

    Anyway, good luck. Don't feel shy to TALK with your ALO. They understand your age and experiences, but treat them with the utmost respect. Ask them questions if you aren't sure. Work with THEIR SCHEDULE as much as possible. Be sincere. During the interview, there really aren't that many WRONG ANSWERS in the interview. Most of it is HOW you answer. Obviously, answers like; "My parents want me to go to the academy" or "I can't afford to go to college anyplace else" are probably not the right answer to give for "Why do you want to go to the academy". But other than those types of answers, be sincere. Be honest. Be yourself. I had a district ALO tell me once that they don't believe that an ALO can "GET" an applicant an appointment; but they "CAN" stop an applicant from getting an appointment. They definitely WANT you to be in the academy and air force if you really want this. They will bust their butt for you. They are on your side. They are the most important resource you have for getting an appointment. Best of luck. Mike....
     
  5. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    LOL!

    Mike (Christcorp) just described EVERY one of my 35 other ALO's in Arizona! :thumb:

    A lot of folks become all worked up about the interview and yet, as both Mike and Pima have stated (VERY accurately by the way) we are NOT the enemy!

    Also, remember, of the @ 1,800 +/- ALO's worldwide, VERY few are on active duty. MOST are AF Reserve officers (some are ANG) and have other jobs outside the AF. And that is both a benefit and sometimes a curse. We're not always the most available people! I have a FEDEX pilot that works for me. He flies in Asia. When he's on a 10 day Pacific Rim trip...he's ONLY available via e-mail. BUT...he's VERY available that way! Phone calls...for him are hit and miss. I have another 20 Southwest Airlines pilots...same issue for them.

    The interview itself? It can take MANY forms and the questions are ALWAYS different. Why? Because we have such diverse backgrounds and that plays a role in who we are and what we focus upon.

    MY interview method? Depends upon the candidate. And trust me...before I interview a candidate, I've learned a GREAT deal about them! How? I go to their school and speak to:

    a. Counselors
    b. Teachers
    c. Coaches
    d. Faculty staff (P, VP, etc.)

    This tells me a little about the person; strengths and weaknesses as seen by others, and so on. Only THEN will I be ready to interview them. BUT...I won't schedule that. The candidate must do that. It's not me that's interested in attending USAFA; been there, done that. It's the candidate and they need to show me they're serious. So I wait for them to call ME. When they were notified they were a candidate they were given my name, e-mail, phone. NOW it's in their hands. And for folks that are not "officially candidates" yet but are interested...they can contact their guidance counselors or the academy directly and they'll get the information. But for both groups...

    If they're serious, they'll call or write; if not...

    The ONE thing folks need to realize about ALOs above all else: we are NOT recruiters! We have no numbers to meet. If we don't get folks, then we don't get them. We are not going "hunting" for candidates because unless this is something they REALLY REALLY want, they won't succeed. So we "lie in wait." :cool:

    BUT...once we are called, contacted, or meet you at a school function...THEN we to into action!

    Because the ONE thing we ALOs share is a deep desire to HELP YOU ACHIEVE YOUR GOALS!!!

    I will bust my A** for a candidate if they're serious and busting theirs. I may not have all the answers BUT I have access to ALL the folks that DO!

    So...don't worry about the interview. Give honest answers to questions; don't be afraid to say "I don't know" if you truly don't know. Do NOT try to 'blow smoke' at us. That is something that will instantly turn us off.:hammer:

    As for dressing for the interview...I tell my candidates to decide based upon the time and location. I've interviewed students at school, at Starbucks, after football practice, in their home with their parents in the room, etc...etc...the dress was dictated by the location and time. Just be smart about it. Do NOT show up at a formal interview in shorts, ratty t-shirt, and flip-flops like one student did at a congressman's board. He was VERY lucky...he was scheduled for a later interview; took one look at everyone there, and raced home to change.

    Okay....REALLY long post over. Bottom line?

    Be yourself. :rockon:

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  6. lil3laiin3laiin

    lil3laiin3laiin Member

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    If my ALO were to ask me that question the honest answer would be that my parents are very much against me going to an academy and that they are doing their best to prevent me from going. Would that work negatively against me?

    Or should I just tell my ALO that I am in the process of hopefully changing their minds?
     
  7. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    No, it won't turn an ALO against you. It might generate a few more questions such as:

    a. "Okay...your folks are very much against this...why?"
    b. "If you pursue this...how will your folks react? How will this impact/affect you?"
    c. "Are you willing to continue this process realizing that you're going against your parents wishes/desires? Why?"

    Those are the ones that come to my mind immediately.

    Don't get me wrong. I've had candidates that were in your precise position. I've also had one that was the son of a grad, 3 of his uncles were grads, his GF was a USMA grad, as were two of his great uncles (all USMA). As his mother told me: "ALL the XXXXXXX men serve their country, it's something this family requires and expects."

    The young man slipped me a note: "Sir, I do NOT want to go to USAFA, I want to go to YYYYY(VERY prestigious engineering school in CA) but can't tell my folks that."

    I won't go into details but suffice it to say when he wasn't selected for USAFA (he would have been had he wanted it) his folks were totally convinced he just wasn't picked, the incoming class was just that strong...but satisfied he had done a great job in trying.

    So he took a full-ride to that engineering school!!!

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  8. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Personally; before the ALO interview, you should have "Made Peace" with your parents. Either they are for it or at least supports your decision. If they are totally against it; but you will be 18 or older at the time of signing papers and your parents don't have a legal say so; then be honest with your ALO.

    Simply say: Sir/Ma'am; my parents aren't too thrilled about the idea. They aren't against the military or serving one's country; but like many parents, they don't want "THEIR" kids to be the one in harm's way". That's good enough. And if your parents are totally "Anti-Military", then I probably wouldn't go too deep into that. Just my opinion. Mike....;
     
  9. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Steve, you are soooooo correct. I can't remember if it was last year's class or 2011; but a basic specifically asked the cadres, ACO, and anyone else that would listen, if they could come up with some "Medical" reason that he can't finish BCT and be a cadet. He basically gave in all the way for his parents. He NEVER wanted to be there. He didn't have anything against the academy, military, etc...; just that it wasn't for him. But at the same time, he didn't want to disappoint his parents and come home in "Disgrace". I know he got out, I can't remember how/why, or what he was able to tell his parent.

    You're making a decision that will affect at minimum, the next 9 years of your life. It has to be a decision that YOU truly want. In a traditional college, your parents maintain a lot of rights/responsibilities. They are probably paying partially; they can claim you on taxes; they support you; etc... In the academy; ANY involvement your parents have with you, your education, and your future are totally voluntary on yours and their part. The academy will NEVER EVER EVER call your parents for any permission, advice, etc... that has to deal with you. You will make ALL DECISIONS affecting you and your life. Choose the academy because it's what YOU want. NEVER for anyone else. Best of luck.... Mike....
     
  10. lil3laiin3laiin

    lil3laiin3laiin Member

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    Thank you for your advice Christcorp and Flieger83. I know that I want to go to an academy and I will explain to my ALO that my parents are just worried about my safety. Thanks!
     
  11. jarvin

    jarvin Member

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    I am in the same exact situation you are in. I understand how hard it is to convince your parents, but I suggest that if you really want it, its very possible to convince them. I am still in the process of convincing them, but I think there at the point where they are ready to accept my decisions. (Forcing them to accompany me to a usafa workshop helped a lot.) Good luck!
     
  12. Drew_22

    Drew_22 USAFA Cadet

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    I'm in a totally opposite boat. My dad was in the Military for 28 years and he is all for it. My mom is a little bit scared because I want to fly but she is getting over it.
     
  13. nick0094

    nick0094 Member

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    Same here lol. What do you want to fly?
     
  14. Drew_22

    Drew_22 USAFA Cadet

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    I want to fly cargo planes. A little wierd because everyone wants to fly fighters. But I prefer to fly something like the c-17 or c-5.
     
  15. lil3laiin3laiin

    lil3laiin3laiin Member

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    Thanks...good luck to you too...so far I took my dad to an information meeting about all the academies involved my mother locking my dad and I out of the house for two days...I still have a long ways to go before I can convince them fully :p
     
  16. Perpetual Motion

    Perpetual Motion Member

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    I really hope you're not serious! That's extreme!
     
  17. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Me too!

    How does your Dad now feel, has he changed his mind?

    Also for those wanting to fly heavies, please realize that they are the most deployed for flyers. I recall for several yrs as the most deployed. The AWACS top the list. It is not unusual for them to be gone 200 days out of the yr. This was a couple of yrs ago, so it may have changed, but I doubt it.
     
  18. lil3laiin3laiin

    lil3laiin3laiin Member

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    I am serious...my dad and I were locked out of the house for two days. My dad's not happy about my decision but he says as long as I am happy then he will support me.

    My mother has her own opinions and even though I know what she wants for me is what she thinks is best for me I think my decision to apply a service academy is better.
     
  19. lil3laiin3laiin

    lil3laiin3laiin Member

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    It was my mom that was and is still against the thought going to an academy.
     
  20. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    I'm not one for "Conning" parents. Well,,,,,, maybe I am. Anyway; if she's such an extremist to have locked you and your father out of the house, then reasoning with her about it being "your" decision probably isn't going to help. But what you might try is coming at it from a different position.

    1. Make sure that she knows that you are also actively applying to other traditional colleges. (You are, Right?) The academy isn't a guarantee, and I emphasize that every person applying to the academy should also be applying to some big name schools. Not just state U. Nothing against state; but if you think; and are; qualified to be attending the air force academy; then you're qualified to be at Yale, Harvard, Stanford, Brown, etc... Anyway; let her realize that you are taking your education seriously.

    2. Mention often how only approximately 14% of those applying to the air force academy will get in. Let her know that these are the same stats as many of the Ivy League schools. And that you understand that your chances of getting in are slim. It will at least realize that you are quite aware of process, odds, and commitment of attending the air force academy.

    3. MOST IMPORTANTLY: Emphasize the FACT that you realize that you are still a young man, and that what you "Think" you might like or want today, could possibly change in the future. And emphasize the FACT that the academy realizes this also; and allows any cadet up to 2 FULL YEARS to realize that this might not be for you. You are free to leave at any time up to 2 years. And that you haven't wasted anything, because your credits can transfer to another school if the academy doesn't work out.

    What is so important, is that you show your mom through words and actions that you are reviewing your educational options maturely and not only out of emotions. If you show her and ask her assistance with some of the other college applications; she will realize that she can't really complain about your thought process.

    Don't try and argue with her about this being YOUR LIFE. Trust me; that means very little coming out of a teenager's mouth when as parents, we have seen ALL OF YOU change your mind about things at least 10 times a day. (And don't take offense; we parents did the exact same thing when we were your age). Instead, you need to SHOW her that you understand your educational and career opportunities and options. Leave a lot of civilian universities AND Air Force Academy literature around. Let her see all of it. Let her see scratch paper work sheets where you are figuring out the COST of the civilian schools; VS the 9 year commitment of the academy. Let he SEE that you aren't taking any of this lightly. Don't TELL her this; it doesn't count. You have to show her, WITHOUT ACTUALLY SHOWING HER. And again, DON'T FORGET TO ASK HER ASSISTANCE with the college applications, essays, recommendations, filling out financials, etc... Best of luck... Mike.....
     

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