Tips for Interviewing with a PMS

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by Strength and Honor, Jul 16, 2013.

  1. Strength and Honor

    Strength and Honor Member

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    I was cleared on my AROTC portal to interview with a PMS! I'll be scheduling it in a few days, but does anyone have any advice for the interview?

    How formal do I dress? Do they tend to really grill you, or are they fairly relaxed on the questions? Is there any paperwork or extra material I need to bring? What are some good questions to ask him/her?

    I know these sound dumb, but keep in mind this is literally the first interview of my life. So bear with me haha.
     
  2. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    Every PMS will be different so it's hard to determine just how the interview will go.

    Dress in business casual, kahki's nice shirt, maybe a tie. No need for a suit.

    Usually the interviews are relaxed but again it all depends.

    Bring with you a resume listing everything you can think of, this way you won't miss anything. This is a good time to expand on things you included in your application. There is often not much room in the application to really expand, this is your chance.

    Part of the interview is basically a check list of Academics/Leadership/Athletics, make sure you have all your information that you included on your application so you get the most points possible.

    You can google the AROTC Interview Form so you can have a chance ahead of time to see what the sections include.

    If you are having your interview at the school you want to attend then here are some things you might want to ask during the interview:

    How many cadets in the Battalion
    What type of EC's are available
    What percentage of cadets get Active Duty
    What percentage of cadets get one of their top 3 branch choices
    Do MS1's participate in all FTX's and training
    Do the MS classes count toward college credit and which ones count.
    Are there many summer training opportunities available

    Try and be relaxed, sit up straight, answer with a "Yes Sir" and "No Sir" and leave your phone in your car, you don't want it ringing or buzzing when your in your interview.

    Don't be afraid to sell yourself, this is basically a job interview, don't be cocky but don't be shy either. This is your chance to let them know all about you and why you want to be an officer in the Army.

    This is also an opportunity for you to get answers to any questions you have regarding ROTC, don't be afraid to ask.

    Above all don't be nervous, be confident, be polite, keep the aah's and um's to a minimum, speak clearly and make eye contact. The PMS is not trying to slip you up, they are trying to learn more about you.

    Best of luck.
     
  3. QA1517

    QA1517 Member

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    Agree with everything said above.

    Try to interview at one of the schools on your list, even if you have to drive a distance. This will get you in front of someone so later they might be able to put a face with a name.

    DS made a nice resume and included all the documents he had already submitted and put them in a report folder to give to the PMS.

    He wore khakis and a polo shirt (it was hot). might depend on which school you are interviewing at. Comfortable shoes, you might get a tour. DS did his official interview then talked for another 45 minutes to an hour with the PMS about things that were non-military or ROTC or even college related. Then they gave all of us a campus tour.
     
  4. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    My recommendations,

    Dress formal, suit and tie or equivalent for females. If you are going to look "goofy" in a suit and tie, better off with nice shirt and slack. You might take your APFT before or after the interview, so keep that in mind.

    Take your resume and offer it to the PMS.

    Likely questions might be (1) tell me about yourself, (2) what do you know about ROTC Program and the Army, (3) why do you want to become an Army officer, (4) what branch would like to be when you get commissioned and why, and (5) some "challenge" question (i.e. give me a situation you overcame a challenge, who is your hero, what should we do about Syria, why are you the best candidate, and etc.)

    A technique you can try is filming yourself while answering above questions. There are non-verbal aspects to an interview - maintaining eye contact, body posture, annoying behaviors (i.e. playing with fingers, saying "you know," "Uh", "Okay, Okay",).

    Good luck.
     
  5. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    All of the above advice is great.

    The biggest thing is to be ready for anything.

    MemberLG brought up a good point, bring workout clothes with you and a good pair of running shoes, make sure you hydrate a few days before. This could be a great opportunity to do the PFT, having everything with you is a good idea.

    If your parents are going with you, have them come to the office, they can meet the PMS and then take the cues from there. For my older son's interview (Done by the Asst. PMS) they wanted me to come in with him for a conversation before the interview. Once I left and the formal interview started the LCT wanted to meet with me. We had a great conversation and he asked and answered a lot of questions. Not every interview will go like this, just be prepared for whatever they want to do.

    My younger son's interview was quite different, he was visiting the school and asked to participate in morning PT. When PT was over the LTC asked to talk with my son, during the conversation he told him "Let's just do the Interview now" My son told him he had not brought with him any nicer clothes, the PMS said no problem and interviewed him in his work out clothes. Most of the interview was a conversation about all things not ROTC related, very casual. Son received a scholarship on the first board.

    So like I said, be ready for anything and take the advice given on this thread and you'll do just fine.
     
  6. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    +1 to all of the above. I would only expand on one aspect, using a phrase I really like that I learned from another forum member... "quiet confidence". If one can actually exude quiet confidence quietly, then that's what you want to exude. I'm sure you'll be nervous initially, but there is absolutely no need to be. Be yourself and you'll do just fine.
     
  7. armydaughter

    armydaughter Member

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    One thing to add, since you are scheduling in the summer, expect that things may be a little less "well oiled" than during the school year. For example, when my son went for his interview, the AROTC offices were being painted so we weaved around tarps and scaffolds to get to the office. :smile: Phone calls might take a little longer to be returned since cadre take leave during the summer and all the cadets that usually hang around the offices are gone too. Be flexible and don't let any of this fluster you.

    Good luck.
     
  8. sheriff3

    sheriff3 Member

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    First off congratulations are in order. Well done on taking the steps necessary to get this far. That in and of itself puts you way ahead of most. All of the advice you have received so far is excellent. I am a big fan of dressing for sucess. "Wear a suit and tie if you have one. Shine your shoes. Get your haircut and be well groomed. Make eye contact and start with a firm handshake. The PMS will be looking for confidence, intelligence and what we in the Marines used to call "bearing". Don't be afraid to smile. Relax and you will do fine". As near as I can recall this is the advice I gave DS and he was awarded 4 yr scholarship to his first (and only) choice school. Best of luck. :thumb:
     
  9. Strength and Honor

    Strength and Honor Member

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    Thanks for the input guys, tremendous help. Basically all I need to do is set up the interview, I'm pretty good with people and I'd say I can show a lot of bearing in stressful situations.

    Gosh, I really hope they run me through the PFT. I'd love to knock it out of the park in front of the PMS himself! Haha thanks again :thumb:
     
  10. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    They still call it "bearing"! :biggrin:
    I would add that not only are cadre on leave, some are on summer duty assignments. Work every communication channel you can, including all contact phone numbers and emails. We once got an email response from cadre who was on a summer duty assignment in Afghanistan. You never know which vehicle will pan out.
     
  11. Strength and Honor

    Strength and Honor Member

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    One of the USMC's core leadership traits!

    Back when I was in Young Marines, they had us memorize them as "JJ DID TIE BUCKLE" as in Judgement, Justice, Decisiveness, Integrity, etc. I try to live my life by those, although I'm not even applying for NROTC-MO!
     
  12. goaliedad

    goaliedad Parent

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    Very good advice, so far.

    A couple additional thoughts...

    With regards to the "dress code", don't dress above the level that you are comfortable. They can tell who is at ease in a suit and who isn't. And it doesn't reflect on you favorably when you dress yourself and make yourself appear "stiff".

    This isn't the time to experiment with wearing a suit for an interview for the first time. Khakis and a polo with nice leather shoes never disqualified anyone.

    And be prepared for the PMS to sell you on that school. These interviews are a two-way street. They want to attract the best candidates as well.
     
  13. Strength and Honor

    Strength and Honor Member

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    I think I'll stick to khakis and a button down shirt without a tie. I wear that to school and church often, so I think I'll be most comfortable in it versus a suit.
     
  14. Thompson

    Thompson Member

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    Some very good tips everyone has to offer. I would suggest taking a look at this thread as well ... there is A TON of good information: AROTC/AFROTC interview tips

    My personal suggestion from a wise ROO: dress for success - for me, that meant wearing a suit.

    Just to give you a better idea of what an interview COULD be like, I'll tell you about mine.

    Just a little backstory. I went in the summer before the interview, just as a meet-and-greet. There I spoke with the LTC - Deputy PMS, and a great chat. And since I took the time to come in and speak with him, he rewarded me by telling me all the questions I would ask me for my interview.

    Fast forward to the interview day. Dressed up, and good to go. Brought with me my resume and transcripts (note: from reading previous posts in the past, your interviewer may require you to bring certain papers/documents; my interviewer did not, I brought it just in case, or to reference it). I was nervous as heck since it was my first ever interview that actually mattered - but was partly consoled by the fact that I already knew my interviewer (the LTC) - and the fact that he was a really nice, easy going person. First we went over that checklist that was previously mentioned, and then asked his questions (that he told me about from the summer). And finally the best/last part, where the interviewer will tell you that they will give you that golden opportunity to ask ANYTHING you want. Do not waste this chance/blow it off. Show your genuine interest in ROTC by asking good questions - such as the ones JCleppe mentioned. You also might want to specifically mention that you are not in it for the money, but rather ____. Also, please note, the LTC allowed my dad to stay through the entire speech - which completely surprised me. In hindsight, I guess it might be due to the fact that he wanted to show that there was nothing to hide, and/or calm any fears. Interview went well, the interview itself probably only lasted 15 minutes, the remaining hour + was spent discussing the golden opportunity.

    Also, for that essay that you wrote on the application - just remember what you wrote about, your interviewer may question you about it, or make a reference from it - my interviewer did.

    OBTW - just something to consider when interviewing. Try to conduct the interview at a school where you are considering attending - why you might ask? Human nature. Just for the sake of discussion, say you went to ERAU to hold the interview - you do well, but you tell the interviewer that you are looking to going to Drexel. He/she may be a little reluctant to pass you with flying colors; versus interviewing at Drexel to begin with - where he/she will most likely pass you with flying colors since you want to go there. See what I mean? Don't go crazy over this - just something to think about. I know I certainly didn't think about this until my interviewer mentioned that during my summer visit.

    On a side note; does taking the PFT happen much on the Army side? Haven't really seen anyone here post much about that; I know it happens for the waterborne warriors (not SEALs the other ones) - Marines.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2013
  15. clarksonarmy

    clarksonarmy Recruiting Operations Officer at Clarkson Army

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  16. KarenH

    KarenH Member

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    Try to interview at your first choice school, if at all possible. Effort here shows commitment. DS interviewed at his first choice SMC, wore suit and tie, interview took 20 minutes and was kept strictly professional and business like. We parents dropped him in front of building and disappeared (told him to call if cadre wanted to meet us - DS would have preferred doing the whole thing, including 7 hour drive, without us!) Result: 3 year AROTC scholarship and one happy DS.
     
  17. Jkaz

    Jkaz Member

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    When you are trying to contact potential PMS's to interview with, like others said it is best if you interview at a school that you are applying to. Unfortunately for me, I was applying to schools all over the west coast and live in DC. This was a bit awkward when the question came up, Why aren't you applying here? I had thought about this question and was ready for it thanks to this forum.

    Secondly, like others have stated a lot of cadre are on summer assignments. I would recommend calling a few battalion's to try and see what you can set up. I attempted phone calls, emails and I felt time was running out. Once the school year starts it will be difficult to get an interview. I eventually got to the point where I got in my car, dressed nicely with a resume and went to 3 local battalion's in person to get something set up. The first battalion which was closest (again I was applying on a different side of the country) the PMS was at LDAC for the majority of the end of the summer and wouldn't be there. The second battalion, the recruitment officer, on behalf of the PMS, set a date and remembered me calling and emailing but had been busy with upcoming cadets for the school year.

    Bottom line, be persistent and if need be, look at a variety of options for the interview. Also having the PFT done before helps a lot (mine was done) in the eyes of the PMS. He looked at the score. As others have stated, having workout cloths with you helps a lot and the PFT only takes about 30 minutes. Be sure to look up the standards if you think this might happen so you can be sure what you need to do in order to max.
     
  18. Strength and Honor

    Strength and Honor Member

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    Interview tomorrow afternoon at Purdue University! Wish me luck! :thumb:
     
  19. Thompson

    Thompson Member

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    Hey Good Luck! You'll do great! Just remember to have fun too!
     
  20. Future2LtMom

    Future2LtMom Member

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    Wow -- how awesome! Best of luck!

    (And be prepared to have your brain picked on this forum when you get back! :shake:)
     

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