Nomination Interviews

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by lokichaos, Oct 15, 2011.

  1. lokichaos

    lokichaos Member

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    So I just finished my first nomination interview today…jeez I feel like I got grilled. The second I sat down they got straight to the point "Why do you want to go to West Point?" interview lasted 30 min. Anyone else out there have interviews coming up? Or any tips for those of us that do? :smile:
     
  2. Contrails

    Contrails Member

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    I haven't had any nomination interviews yet (by the way good job on getting so far and good luck) but two main things based on past experiences:

    - Establish a personal connection
    Kind of think about it as you trying to become their friend - their purpose in the interview is to get to know you as a person; the fact that you're sitting there is a good sign that you've been identified as a good candidate and someone they'd like to pursue. Try to find a common interest and all that social skill stuff and don't worry about where the conversation goes - if they want anything specific from you, they'll ask and a favorable impression of you as a person registers much better in their mind than an account of your most important award if they're not particularly interested in it.

    - Be prepared
    I'm not sure if you were surprised that they straight off asked you why you want to go to WP, but hopefully you had a good answer prepared (I'd imagine you've also written a million and one essays on the topic by now ;) ). Make sure that you anticipate questions like these before the interview and during it, convey all of what you want to say - don't be afraid to say something like 'give me a moment to compose my thoughts' if it would help you give a more coherent answer than rattling off whatever comes to mind.

    In general, don't sweat it that much (my philosophy at least). Like I said, by the point you have an interview, you've already been identified as a good candidate and the purpose is more to get to know you better. The nice thing about people is that they tend to like other people so unless you do something to anger or disappoint them, I'd wager that you've made a good impression. (There are also the really serious get-this-done types, but if they're treating you coldly, it's likely that they'll treat everyone else the same way.)
     
  3. BenjaminZ

    BenjaminZ Member

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    My congressional district does them around Thanksgiving, so I don't have my interview for about a month. The last interview I had to do, for eagle scout, I was pretty nervous, but in the end I was able to keep my cool. I can't speak until I've gone through it, but I feel that if you are confident on the way in, you will be confident on the way out. :)
     
  4. lokichaos

    lokichaos Member

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    I was expecting that to be one of the first questions they would throw at you but I was just a little surprised that they were so straight to the point. I agree with you on trying to humanize yourself a little to them so your not just another candidate.
     
  5. hawk

    hawk ButterBar Dad

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    This is probably skewed toward highly competitive states, but based on DS's and other's nom's we know there are a few questions you will want to have sorted as they are very likely to be asked:

    1) Why do you want to attend USMA?
    2) Why do you want to be an officer in the Army? (Or are you sure you are prepared to serve 5-10 years after graduation, etc)
    3) What is you plan B?

    #1 is a trick question, as (my read) they are waiting for you to say because it's better than ivy leagues, etc. Hint: It's not about college

    But ultimately, this is not about prepping for nom interviews. If you do not know the answers to 1-3 well, and are comfortable with them, then you need to do some soul searching ASAP.

    The boards in our area seem to view it as their duty to send the best candidates as measured by who will leave as the best officer to serve their country. IE: Who is best prepared to survive and learn what USMA needs them to, in order to serve as a high performing officer in the Army.

    Just being able to do well at USMA is not enough. Nor is excellent leadership skills but without the other aspects you have to have to survive, much less thrive at USMA.

    Some will probe on your EC's. Eagle scouts will be asked not what they did on their Eagle project, but what they learned. What was the hardest thing. What would they do different. Same for CAP, Varsity captain, whatever.

    Likewise, in competitive states you'll likely face some rank. DS faced a two star general, Full Colonel, two Majors and a Captain on one board. His lighest board had Captains to Lt Colonel, with one Merchant Marine civvy. (USMMA grad, however).

    These people are hard to BS, so don't try! :) They have seen it before!

    One other thing, I've not heard of any in our state that were hostile. :thumb: All were friendly and respectful. But they do ask hard questions.
     
  6. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    Questions I have used in the past

    Are you ready to kill someone as a soldier/sailor/airman/marine?

    What do you think about our involvement in Iraq?

    What is the biggest failure in your life so far and what did you learn from it?

    What makes you worthy of a nomination?

    Have you flown a jet/jumped out an airplane/shot guns/spend days on a ship?

    What do you know about Army/Navy/Marines/Air Force/Coast Guard?

    What military speciality would you pursue when you get comississoned?

    Other what you seen on TV/Movies, what do you about the military?

    Who is your hero and why?

    If you could go back in time and change something you did in the past, what would it be?

    I don't necessarily grade an applicant on the knowledge, rather how an applicant rationalize and/or justify his or her answer.
     
  7. BenjaminZ

    BenjaminZ Member

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    For anyone who has had an interview - were you nervous, and if so, did it wear off during the interview?

    I get pretty anxious/excited/nervous all at the same time before important events like these. I guess it's because I want it so bad.
     
  8. lokichaos

    lokichaos Member

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    I was alright because I do model UN and mock trail so speaking was ok. But ya you really want to go in there confident, but not cocky mind you. The people I had on the panel where ok, the one officer though seemed bored and I don't blame him. The people I had interviews with had been doing it since 8 am in the morning, and my interview was at around 3ish.
     
  9. Dixieland

    Dixieland Member

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    My cadet enlisted the help of his guidance counselor, a favorite teacher (retired Army), and the ROTC instructors, even though he wasn't in ROTC. He practiced his interviewing skills with them to help with his nervousness. He worked on this several weeks before his interview so he had time to polish the areas that needed attention.
     
  10. M2inOR

    M2inOR Parent

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    My son had several opportunities to prepare before his nomination interview:
    - one of his teachers has a son-in-law who is an active Army officer; a telephone discussion explored why my son wanted to be in the Army, and was he prepared to serve in tough situations
    - two of my wife's co-workers served in the Air Force, and conducted a mock-interview. One recently retired as an LTC in the Reserves after a recent deployment to Kirkuk; was commissioned from enlisted ranks and worked his way up. the other was a USAF Academy graduate who served 5 years after graduating
    - while practicing the shuttle run for the CFA in front of our house, a person driving by stopped and introduced himself; he was an 80's graduate of West Point and spent an hour with us asking questions, and offered his advice if son had any questions
    - during middle school, he learned that one of his soccer coaches was an 8-'s graduate of West Point. He too made himself available for questions and advice

    As others have said their are many ways that these nominations are handled. Sometimes there won't even bean interview. Though my son was interviewed by our Congressman's nomination committee, he also received a nomination from a senator, after he had already secured an appointment. Other than submitting his application packet to the senator, there was never any official contact from the senator's office.

    It is important to be confident and to be prepared for any question. How you handle yourself will determine how you are measured by the nominating committee, and your nomination application will be used when compared to others seeking the nomination.

    Finally, the Service Academy Forums archive helped my son a lot. I'm pretty sure he read thru all of the questions and answers over the years, though he never once made a posting here. :smile:
     
  11. armyjag

    armyjag New Member

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    My son is about to go through the congressional interview process and is looking for ideas on questions and what they may be looking for in the interview. He has a telephone interview, but if you could provide some insight to the process, I would appreciate it greatly. His name is Zachary at zacharybecker0@gmail.com. If you could help him out.
     

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