BGO Interview Topics


10-Year Member
5-Year Member
Jun 12, 2008
As BGO interviews are starting to become a regular topic I thought I would share some gouge on the interview. First, the facts. Here is the secret sauce of the BGO interview...drumroll please...major it goes... :eek:

There are six attributes the BGO is trying to assess about a candidate during their interview:
  • Motivation/interest
  • Leadership potential
  • Responsibility assumed
  • Organizational skills
  • Physical fitness
  • Communication skills
Now, if you take a look at these, a BGO can go anywhere with questions to probe an attribute since there are no canned questions provided by CGO. That being said, think about what the BGOs is trying to do. They want to see if you can give examples of the first five and they want to hear you think on your feet to assess the last attribute. Hopefully candidates who have gone through the interview will see these attributes are an obvious theme.

My favorite question: "If you were sent on a mission to Mars and would never come back...what three things would you bring?" Darned if it does get those wheels going in the candidate's brains. But hey, candidates are trying to get into the Naval Academy where a plebe has to pop off a chow call while getting yelled at by a second class.

So, my advice? Understand the attributes and slot your experiences into each of them. Listen to the BGO question. What are they trying to find out about you? Don't provide a canned answer, just briefly explain yourself as it relates to the attribute. Saying you are an Eagle Scout does not a potential leader make (canned answer). Great...I was never an Eagle Scout so as a BGO I don't have a frickin' clue what that means. Explaining what you did that demonstrated your leadership attributes while an Eagle Scout is much more interesting (slotting your experiences).

**Disclaimer** No disrespect to Eagle Scouts...I am merely making two points... 1) don't can your answers and 2) I really never was an Eagle Scout.

Best of luck and BEAT ARMY!
One thing candidates don't seem to know and might surprise them is that BGOs do NOT see everything they submit to USNA. In particular, BGOs do not see anything about what activities you do, what classes you take, or what sports you play. Thus, don't assume (well, you should never assume:biggrin:) that your BGO knows everything -- or even very much -- about you, unless you've been in communication over the years.

So, what does your BGO know about you? Your SAT/ACT scores, if you've submitted them. Whether you attended NASS. Which items in your application have been submitted. Whether you have received an LOA. Whether you have received a nomination. That's about it.

I've had some candidates bring me a copy of their "resume." It's not at all required but can be useful both in terms of things to talk about during the interview and as a reminder after the interview is over.

Finally, Parkhurst89 is correct when he says there are no specific questions BGOs have to ask and, thus, every interview will be somewhat different, although the themes (as stated in his post) will be the same.
I have to admit, a candidate having a simple, bulletized resume ready at an interview is just about the best thing I have heard in three years of BGO-ing and I am going to recommend this idea to my BGOs and candidates.

When BGOs conduct interviews we do our best to scratch notes down and remember each interview the best we can...the 10-15+ interviews. If a candidate had a very simple but elegant list of accomplishments (I would not over-think or game it) that fit on a page that I could take home with me...why that would be a up-check.

Just like a business interview, you want to be remembered....favorably.
parkhurst89 -

I got the idea to bring a resume from this forum two years ago. It was one of the best pieces of advice my daughter received. She and I sat at the computer one evening, I showed her how to find a resume template and we modified it.
She created a one page summary of her Academic, athletic and leadership accomplishments. We had a copy of her transcripts and her list of activities to work from.
For academics, she listed her senior courses, her GPA, SAT scores class rank and academic awards.
She listed all of her high school athletic participation, varisty and club, the level of competition and awards. For her leadership, she wrote a brief summary of the organizations she was heavily involved and provided leadership, as well as her job as a newspaper carrier and lifeguard.

To all her interviews she brought 6 or 7 copies, enough for each member of the panel and one for her lap. She was asked direct questions from her resume and felt it was part of why she had some great interviews.
If you decide to create a "resume," please remember that you are 17 years old (more or less). One page is more than adequate -- just hit the highlights such as major sports, clubs, awards, etc. You don't need to list everything you've ever done since nursery school. You don't have to mention every single volunteer/charitable/community service project you've ever participated in. You don't need to include every scouting badge you've earned. Seriously.

"Resumes" aren't mandatory, and the overwhelming majority of candidates I interview don't provide them. However, they can be helpful in terms of giving your interviewers something tangible that reminds them of your accomplishments long after you've gone.