Interview "Prep"

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by BigBillNY, Jul 31, 2014.

  1. BigBillNY

    BigBillNY Member

    Jun 27, 2014
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    I've been reading through a lot of the threads and a common piece of advice is to practice for the interview.
    Does anyone have a list of potential questions or topics that would be covered for an AROTC interview?
    DS is now considered an "interviewee" in the application process and is calling to set up his interview. I wanted to see if there was something that I could do to help him get ready.

  2. Strength and Honor

    Strength and Honor Member

    Jun 7, 2013
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  3. navymomwannabe

    navymomwannabe Member

    Sep 7, 2013
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    When my son's NROTC interview was scheduled last Sept. (we had very little notice) I googled the same thing and ended up on this site. It's been almost a year and I wish I had found it a lot sooner. But there is great info here and lots of knowledgeable folk willing to help.

    The best advice I read that helped my son was to take advantage of the "do you have any questions" at the end of the interview (a typical question I think.) I told him that the question needed to not be a yes/no question. We discussed a couple ideas but in the end, he came up with his own and it was great. I think it really impressed the Lt.

    9 months later he received his scholarship. A long wait but it was worth it.

    Good luck to your DS.
  4. MedB

    MedB Parent

    Dec 26, 2012
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    BigBill and others,

    First... good for you for wanting to be prepared. Here are some things you may want to keep in mind for ROTC/SA interviews:

    1) Behavorial Interviewing is the most common form of interview question. Basically this means asking the candidate to share a past situation that indicates how they might do in the future. Eg "Tell me about a time when you had to juggle different time committments..." to see if you can multi-task.
    >>> TIP: Sit down and think of several examples of different things you've done in your life/career. Then make a list of the "skills" each of those experiences allowed you to develop or showcase.

    2) Biggest X or Most Important Y are also common interview questions. Sometimes these really are important questions, however sometimes they are just tossed out by interviewers to get you to talk and find out what YOU believe is important.
    >>> TIP: First don't be intimidated by these questions; there is no "wrong" answer. Second, prepare by focusing on your strengths, or areas you believe you will shine and then list 2 reasons (no more, no less) why you feel you are strong or they are important. Note: Offering two different rationale shows you've put a lot of thought into the topic; that is one of the big keys to mastering this sort of question.

    3) Weakness or Failure questions often scare folks. They shouldn't if you handle them appropriately. The interviewer is looking for your ability to be self-reflective, honest and how you learn/grow as a result of tough experiences.
    >>> TIP: The key here is to be honest (of course) but do not dwell overlong on the negative. Instead after showing some humility, turn the conversation to what you learned or how you would handle it differently in the future; that is where you want to spend your time. Focusing on how you will be better prepared next time is the winning strategy here.

    4) Asking for your questions is pretty standard during an interview. Yes the interviewer is trying to be helpful, but they are also looking to guage your level of insight and thoughtfullness around the topic. Eg Someone considering a 9 year+ committment to the military, probably shouldn't be asking if they have to wear a uniform!
    >>> TIP: This is perhaps the easiest part of the interview to prepare for as you are in control. Prepare at least 2-3 "open ended" questions that require the interviewer to offer their own insights as opposed to easy "closed ended" questions that can be answered with a y/n, a number, or simple statement. Eg "What challenges will I face as a woman starting my military career in ROTC?" vs "Is it harder for a girl in the Army?"

    5) The surprise question, or any time you are caught off guard and aren't fully prepared. This is the dreaded moment for most interviewees, but if you master it you will win the day!
    >>> TIP: Try this simple 3-step strategy... Take a deliberate breath, praisie the question, and then rephrase it. Eg "What a great question, thanks for challening me with that. You are asking how I would deal with.... " This will buy you a moment to calm your nerves and collect your thoughts. Often too, the interviewer will then give you even more time to think, or tip their hand, by restating your restatement! When you do finally answer, be honest and let them know you haven't thought about it in "exactly those terms" but that your first thoughts are X and Y. This approach shows humility, integrity, and thoughtfullness balanced against the ability to think on your feet.

    Summary... Be honest, prepare by relating experiences / stories that you can articulate clearly, consider which characteristics those stories can be applied to, and most importantly... Do all of that so you can be yourself and the true you comes through; that's who they want to meet. :smile:

    Good luck!
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2014
  5. clarksonarmy

    clarksonarmy Recruiting Operations Officer at Clarkson Army 5-Year Member

    Mar 8, 2010
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  6. Thompson

    Thompson Member

    Dec 11, 2012
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    MedB pretty much nailed it.

    Personally out of those mentioned - I think Questions 2 & 3 are really important to know.

    Another thing that will happen, is Question 4. Some interviewers may call it the "golden opportunity" where you can ask him/her ANYTHING you want.

    Now granted, it's up to you to show your interest/maturity by asking appropriate questions.

    Some you could ask are: "what is the typical time commitment for freshman year", "if I don't get awarded a scholarship via the high school program, how does getting an on campus scholarship work", "what's PT and Lab like", etc.

    ... just stay away from asking questions that clearly have no thoughtful input behind it; ie: "what's your favorite ______"

    (I mean you could ask these questions, that's fine if you do - just don't make these the only questions you have; it may seem then that you don't fully appreciate this opportunity, or you haven't put a lot of thought into this interview)

    ... I would stay away from asking political questions.

    JCleppe also posted some great questions to ask, in the thread Strength & Honor posted above.

    Understand though - your mileage may vary. Different interviewers may ask different questions, and in varying depth.

    ... this probably isn't the greatest of examples, but it illustrates my point.

    So, I ended up having only 2 interviews total, one for Army and one for AF - both ROTC.

    My Army interview ... lasted for about, eh, 15'ish minutes. Although, I kind of cheated, since I came in the summer before and visited, and he was gracious enough to give me the exact list of his interview questions (which were, from what I can remember, at the very least Questions 2 & 3 listed above).

    The entire interview lasted one and a half hours. The remaining 1.25 hours was spent asking/answering questions from the "golden opportunity" and just BS'ing.

    On the flip side, my AF interview was pretty much all interview questions; all professional, no BS. This interview was much more complex/in depth.

    My interviewer asked me questions ranging from pulling questions from my transcript & resume to listing leadership positions to some of the ones MedB asked to hypothetical "what would you do in this type of situation." Not saying it was a bad interview, just different.

    Also if you get a chance, check out Clarkson's blog. He's got a TON of great information, ranging from the AROTC process, to what one can expect in AROTC.

    Hope this helps.

    Best of luck.
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2014

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