Nomination Interview process....

Discussion in 'Nominations' started by bucketheadsdad, Sep 27, 2014.

  1. bucketheadsdad

    bucketheadsdad Member

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    Good afternoon everyone....

    My first post here on the board......

    My DS had his first congressional interview today. Was called in for an interview prior to the MOC's application deadline, which one would assume is a positive thing. Has the grades, courses, activities that you'd expect from a kid interested in the academies.

    We spent time going over the types of questions he might hear, but ended up coming out blindsided. Four interviewers in the room, but one dominated the interview, telling him that he'd have thrown his application in the trash if it had come across his desk.

    DS did his best to adapt to the situation, but felt devastated after the interview ended. (I haven't talked with him in person (as interview was 3 hours away), but my thought was that the interview was intended to see how he adapted to negative pressure. From what I've gathered, he didn't work directly for the MOC's office, but is brought in for the interview process.

    Anyone else's DC run into this situation before? I've told him to keep his head up, and send a thank you note to the MOC's office as soon as he gets home tonight.

    Any insight will be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Spud

    Spud BGO

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    I'd say that the interviewer was a poor one and that you are quite right, he was seeing how your son responded under negative pressure. If you think about it, based on your son''s record, there is no reason to trash his application so it was strictly a game. Your son did just fine and the thank you note is a nice touch. Tell your son welcome to the world where a..h.. are found in the most amazing places.
     
  3. bucketheadsdad

    bucketheadsdad Member

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    Thanks for the response. He just got home, and told me that the young man that came out of the same interview room prior to him going in was on the verge of tears, so I'm thinking that it may in fact confirm what I had thought.

    Thank you note in the works.....will go out in the mail in the A.M. :thumb:
     
  4. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt Member

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    Agree 100%!!!
     
  5. MiddyB

    MiddyB Member

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    Call me strange but I actually like this concept. A pre-interview with one interviewer being exceptionally negative. Nothing tears down a person being criticized who, up until this point, has been nearly flawless. I think it's a good test for an aspiring officer to go into a situation expecting one thing and that situation turning south on a dime. It's a good way to see how they respond under pressure in a negative atmosphere.


    Sent using the Service Academy Forums® mobile app
     
  6. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    My personal opinion is that the MOC needs to rethink the interview process. There are MANY productive ways to evaluate candidates.

    Yeah, I get that this sort of thing happens at SAs and at boot camp, etc. But, there it's part of a process that also includes positive reinforcement. Here, there was none.

    I MIGHT be okay with this if, at the end, the committee explained this as some sort of test But to leave a 17-yr-old feeling like you know what for no good reason . . . sorry, but I don't get it.
     
  7. Blondie1

    Blondie1 Member

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    +1! I agree!
     
  8. Basketcase

    Basketcase Proud mom of 2019 hopeful

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    This is very interesting to read. DS's MOC interviews don't start until October, but he did have his AROTC interview with a PMS at a state university near us on Friday. Same as the OP, DS has very good stats and felt comfortable going into the interview. Especially since he knew it would be one-on-one, instead of being in front of a panel. We had planned on a few interview "practices" but scheduling and life got in the way the past few weeks. So he went in fairly cold, but with documentation in hand and a good feeling of confidence.

    He came out feeling that he had totally thrown away the possibility of a scholarship. (His frustrated words) On the recount in the car on the way home, the LTC started out by asking him what DS wanted to talk about. DS, not sure how to answer that, since he was scheduled to be there for his PMS interview, handed over his resume' and said that he thought they could just go through that and go over the different points it covered as a starting point of discussion. Then the PMS asked who was interviewing who. Which threw DS off base right at the start. Later the PMS kept pushing the fact that DS needed to be SURE what he was getting himself into, and that it was a career choice and how he most likely would never get to use his degree, etc. DS explained his dad was career Army, he was familiar with the process after graduation and he did consider all the possibilities. The PMS even asked him what his plans were when he retired out of the Army after a long career. DS answered that he would hopefully find a civilian job in the engineering field, which was again evidently the wrong answer.

    In the end there was one last question asked that if DS didn't get an academy or the scholarship, would he still do ROTC in college, and DS's answer was yes. So after hearing that, my feeling was that this gentleman was doing the same thing as in the case of the OP, trying to throw DS off guard and make sure he was weeding out those that were doing this just for the scholarship and not for the duty to country part.

    So although not near as direct and attacking as the OP's situation, but quite unsettling. DS knew he would get difficult questions and no one is there to hold his hand in any way, but he didn't quite expect a direct attack either. Geez...
     
  9. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    I guess I might be considered a hard interviewer. I ask similar questions.

    I know I am getting a second hand information, but it appears that your DS didn't answer (note I didn't say give right answers) PMS' question at all.

    My opinion, the PMS was asking if your DS wanted to become an Army officer lead soldiers.

    Dad being a career Army alone is not a good reason why someone should do ROTC/SA. I interviewed a kid once and he told me one of the reasons why he wanted to attend SA was that both his parents are active duty. I followed up with what do they do? Kid had no clue, no idea if they were officers or enlisted what their specialty were.

    "Familiar with the process after the graduation" does not answer what he is getting himself into.

    I believe the PMS was looking for something along the line of I want to become an Army officer to lead soldiers and defend our country.
     
  10. MombaBomba

    MombaBomba Member

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    Wouldn't a more effective means of weeding out candidates be extending the commitment to 8 or 10 years? Does anyone know why it is 5 years? Wasn't it 4 years sometime in the past, or am I misremembering

    Also, asking what a high school kid plans to do after retirement? Really? Is there any right answer to that one? With the advent of the Internet, these kids are aware of the retirement protocols, and they are also aware of the layoffs currently happening in the military. Many kids have been brought up knowing they need to get a degree they can find a job with if something should happen (layoff, injury). So the natural answer would be a job in engineering or whatever the degree is in.
     
  11. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    I know I must be speaking to the choir here but interviewers (military or not) often ask questions to which there is no right answer. They are looking for the respondents ability to articulate, how they handle a question on the fly, to gauge their thought processes, or whatever. The content of the answer, whether obvious and natural, or not, doesn't matter one whit.
     
  12. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    The service obligation determined by the law - 8 years total, with different combination of active and reserve. For West Point, 5 year active and 3 year reserve. ROTC, I believe either 3/5 or 4/4. My opinion, 5 year commitment is about right as for both Army and individual to figure out that they are right for each other. The number wise, according a research paper, about 20 to 30% of West Point grads stay for 20 years, by about 10 years of service less than 50% are in.

    It's hard to have factual discussion without all the facts. If the PMS was asking your DS what his plan was retiring after long years of service, nothing wrong with saying Engineering.

    Is there a chance your DS misunderstood the question? A question I ask is what do you want to do in the military after you get commission. I often get "Engineer." Not a gotcha moment, but majority of Army Engineer positions for junior officers (within first five years of service) are leadership positions, not a what civilians typically think of as "Engineer." When I follow up with what kind of Engineer, description I get is often what civil engineers do. One of roommates branched "Engineer." But he was combat "engineer" - more into blowing things up
     
  13. MombaBomba

    MombaBomba Member

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    Thanks for the expected service explanation.

    My previous observation on the retirement question was based upon Buckethead's son's experience. His son thought he answered it wrong. My son is a USAFA C4C at the moment. During my son's interviews, he was asked many challenging, unexpected and interesting questions. He shared some of them with us, and none of them I would categorize as odd (such as a retirement question). I don't know if our reaction to/assessment of my son's questions is due to the fact we aren't a military family.

    I would expect interviews to contain questions that tests "thinking on the feet", handling of "out of left field," "deep thought," "research into military life/career." I also suspect that the interviewer's assessment of the answer/situation may be different than the kid's assessment. I think there are a whole slew of questions that can serve and provide better insight than the retirement one. Using retirement just strikes me as odd. But then again, that could just be me.

    (What dose PMS stand for in this context? I figured it is some sort of military service member)
     
  14. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    PMS = Professor of Military Science. Another way to refer to the military commander of the ROTC unit. For Navy it's PNS. Not sure what Air Force might use or if they just use PMS too.
     
  15. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    If the question is what are you planning to do after your retire after a long service, I also think that is an odd question.

    Perhaps the interviewer was looking for something along the line of "I don't know as I am not even sure if I will have a long service in the Army. I can't predict what will happen 25 years from now. However, I do know that right now I want to be an Army officer to serve my country and I know my service obligation is 5 years active duty."

    Usually what matter is not the answer, rather how the answer was formulated and the ability to justify it.
     
  16. Basketcase

    Basketcase Proud mom of 2019 hopeful

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    I do wish I could have been a fly on the wall during DS's interview. It came to my mind that he was so stressed that he assumed he did poorly. He commented that he was trying to impress that his main goal is to serve his country as an Army officer, but questioned whether he really got a chance to get that across with the stressful questioning strategy. The talk kept coming back to his major, which was not DS's intended focus of the interview.
    DS realizes that he most likely wouldn't touch a true Engineering job until he was at the 5 year mark at the earliest. His dad was Airborne Infantry for his first 7 years until the Army sent him for a Masters in his undergrad major (Computer Science) then he was switched to Acquisition Corps and started working within his original degree. DH just retired after 28 years service.
    DS's main concern was that he really didn't feel like he got that understanding across with all of the off-guard questioning. Who knows, maybe he looked great to the PMS interviewer. I assured him that the interview, although important, is only one part of the overall WCS. All he/we can do is sit back and wait at this point.
     
  17. MombaBomba

    MombaBomba Member

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    I had a nice long response, and then I ended up deleting it because technology hates me and I screwed up. So to put this in a nutshell, cause I know my computer is out to get me....

    Thank you kinneman and MemberLG for your responses.

    Basketcase, being a fly on the wall isn't always a good thing. And in time, some things that are stressful may seem funny.

    (PS anyone have any suggestions for new computers and operating systems?)
     
  18. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt Member

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    I have done my fair share of interviews and would consider myself fairly competent. In my opinion, this wasn't a very appropriate interview technique for several reasons.

    1. These are high school seniors with little or no interviewing experience.

    2. Advising a candidate that you would have "tossed the application in the trash" is not a question - it is a ruse to create pressure.

    Sometimes it is not the question but how it is positioned and phrased.

    I agree with usna1985 on all his points here.

    A skilled negotiator asks questions that elicit thoughtful answers. There are designed to separate one candidate from another. I just don't agree with the approach that was described by the OP.

    I readily admit that as candidates mature and job functions increase in level, that interviewers have to change their approach to fit the circumstances. An atmosphere of pressure can be useful in some situations. For instance, I interview candidates for very senior sales roles. They are all very polished, used to high pressure and have "seen it all." These interviews are significantly different than entry level sales roles.

    By the way, I understand Admiral Rickover's interview of the Nuclear Navy Officers was a very high stress process. I suppose it should have been.

    Anyway, it is what it is and the OP's son is over it. Now he waits to hear the outcome. Good luck!
     
  19. bucketheadsdad

    bucketheadsdad Member

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    A little bit of an update for the original DS of the thread. He did, in fact, get a thank you note to the MOC in the mail the next morning. It may not make any sort of difference, but he (and I) felt that he should show his appreciation of being considered for an interview.

    This afternoon, he has his interview with his Blue and Gold officer today. Fortunately they are meeting at the public library since I've been working 15 hour days for the last 3 weeks, and wouldn't have had the house cleaned. :eek:

    He had a chance to meet the B&G officer at an Academy presentation in the Spring. Seems like a very nice gentleman.
     
  20. Basketcase

    Basketcase Proud mom of 2019 hopeful

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    Good luck to your DS! This interview is most likely going to be a lot less stressful.
     

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