Military AircrewA forum for the professionals who fly the non-civilian hardware, and the backroom boys and girls without whom nothing would leave the ground. Army, Navy and Airforces of the World, all equally welcome here.
Firstly, when you failed last time, they should have de-briefed you about where you went wrong in your interview. As an overview - no matter what anyone says about 'be yourself' - be aware that the interview is designed to place you under pressure; the first question: how old are you in years and months, isn't the kind of thing somebody instantly knows (do they?), so it's designed to pressure you.
The rest of the interview is broken into 2 halves; in the first bit they'll look particularly for gaps. If you spent 6 months after your A-levels lolling around doing very little, they'll exploit that and dig into the subject. Other obscure questions about what you spent your pocket money on when you were 13 can be prepared for (again, not something I instantly remember!), so have an answer. Bottom line is, be honest with yourself and look for any potential gaps the interviewers can exploit and have an answer/explanation for them. They're not necessarily wanting to hear you spent your pocket money on walking-sticks for old ladies and you run the school bible club, but anything controversial will be latched onto. That said, something like hitch-hiking around Europe for a year can be turned to your advantage if you pitch it as expanding your horizons, self-dependence etc.
The second part is your knowledge of current affairs, the military etc. As well as knowing about your preferred branch, research what it means to be an officer - they'll ask what you think about being nobbled for dull secondary duties and want to hear how you view an officer as being 'a general decent chap who never stops thinking about the RAF'. If you've put a third choice on your application form research it! because they'll expect you to know everything about your first couple.
Learning everything you can about RAF bases and aircraft goes without saying!
Current affairs is another potential trap; they'll ask you what's in the news and, once they see you know something about a particular subject they'll cut you off and ask 'what else?' I suggest you go in-depth with about 5 main subjects (so they eventually get bored by your broad knowledge!) and, if you don't have much in the way of opinions, get some! (newspaper columns are good for opinions; just make sure they're not too radical ie. we should never have gone to war!).
Other minor tips: don't bullshit because they'll spot it and help you dig; don't waffle about something you don't know about (same result). If you don't know something, say so! Also, don't go in there with a 'begging-bowl' approach; to a point, fight back if they put you on the spot - shows spirit ahhh!
As for aptitudes and stuff, get 'Know Your IQ' by H J Eysenck as it gets you in the frame of mind for the tests and practice time/distance/speed questions, so you're under less pressure in the leadership situations. By that I mean you'll be able to concentrate on the task in hand, rather than get buried in the nuts and bolts of 'how long it will take a landrover to get from A to B via route F, avoiding the flooded road between 1000-1300, with it's speed reduced by 50% at night' kind of stuff!
Your instructors on your UAS are the best to ask especially any new QFIs who have recently been on the Short Interview Course at OASC. Take their advice on board, and ask for a practice interview with them to help prepare. We certainly brief our studes prior to their visits. If they are unsuccessful we recieve a debrief on their proformance which indicates areas for improvement, so find out where it went wrong last time!
It's been a while since you were involved with the interview, FOMere2eternity? The years and months question doesn't feature, nor has it for some time. Much of the process hasn't changed in 20+ years, but the interview has and is set for further changes in the not too distant future.
The rest of the advice you offer nickyg is generally sound, but I would add:
If you spent 6 months after your A-levels lolling around doing very little, they'll exploit that and dig into the subject.
No more so than digging in to what level you were involved in the organisation of the hockey team you claimed to play for when you were 12-16 years old etc. The gap periods are no more interesting than any other part of your life unless they are exceptionately long (a couple of years) or numerous. Be prepared to say what you were involved in at any stage of your life from age 11 until now, but don't worry just because you had 6 months out of work, going for interviews and having nothing to show for it at the end of things.
...I suggest you go in-depth with about 5 main subjects...
A good general guide would be a international story from each continent and a home affairs story for each of the pillars of government (Transport, Health, Education etc). You are trying to prove that you are interested in wider affairs, not just stories that directly affect your interests.
...just make sure they're not too radical ie. we should never have gone to war!
If that's your opinion and you have reasons why you hold that view, then be honest! Originality of thought and ability to reason are aspects that you want to be strong in, so hold true to you own opinions and expect to defend them whilst taking in to account or countering arguments that the board will raise. You cannot fail for have a 'wrong' opinion, the only questions that you can get wrong (apart from facts about your own life history) are the drugs, previous offences and attitude to warfare questions.
Other minor tips: don't bullshit because they'll spot it and help you dig...
and dig and dig and...
Finally, enjoy it - this is the last tme you'll ever have a chance to play the computer aptitude games which you already know you can beat. You've worked hard at school/college; you're at uni; you're in the UAS; you know what you want to do in life - all of this puts you in the top n% of age group. You have much to offer the RAF, so don't stress unecessarily, just continue to prep.
I don't own this space under my name. I should have leased it while I still could
Join Date: Dec 2002
They do not try to put you under pressure. You do that yourself. The years and months question was probably killed off by prune. I was taught it in 87 but as an ice breaker. Gives us time to watch you, gives you something to work out and give the RIGHT answer. Its then downhill all the way. There job is to get information out of you not terrify you, trap or trick you.
In my interview it turned out that the Sqn Ldr had had his bags stolen in Bagdad and the Wg Cdr would not let him forget it. Only 8 years later, studying the target sheets, did I find out where H3 was.
Get a map of the world. Find out where the RAF and the rest of the forces are in the world. The map helps your confidence.
Like where is Basra? Umm Quasr, Kuwait, Seeb, Masirah, Ascension etc.
If you come up with an obscure hobby don't worry, we know how to data mine the facts. Really? How do you further your hobby? Have you any interesting examples? How do you rate your espertise? etc. By the end of that topic they will know just how much you really know about taxidermy or whatever.
I have to agree with H-D. Speak with your instructors. You will also have a Liaison off at OASC who may be able to help. Oh, and during the fitness test - run till you bleed! There a 4 points available. You need to get 11.4 or thereabouts to get excellent.
We don't do any paperwork unless our studes get GOOD at the FT.
Fitness test excellent is 11.7. They've just increased it in the last month or so. It is the only area of selection that you should go to OASC knowing that you will get 4 marks for. Remember that it is ultra competitive this year due to the white paper. 59 pilot bursaries awarded last year, that is going to be significantly cut this year. You need to score VERY well in every aspect of the selection. Also, be prepared, if you perform well, to be accepted for DE. It is a real possibility. I applied in December and am on the shortlist for exactly the same application (Bursary/DE). Lastly, Good luck! TMA.
In actual fact the level you must reach in the MSFT is 10.6, they stop you after this for "health and safety reasons"!
Furthermore, the fitness is not the be all and end all, I fell short on the day and was still offered direct entry, with no shortlisting. It is, however, the area where you can be most confident with suitable preparation.
Read quality papers. Get the Times and Telegraph every day including Sunday. Read the editorials and see what opinions they are proffering. As said before, read all about the world's hotspots, not just confined to where the RAF are involved, but current topics, like famine, the India/Pakistan conflict, etc.
Get on the net. Get into the habit of spending an hour each evening looking for info from, say, America to get their viewpoint (they're our closest allies and invariably lead nation in international conflict, especially against terrorism).
Also find out about and form an opinion on the military and the EU - it's a continuing subject and all about jointery at an international level.
Find out about joint service operations and procedure in the British Military. OK, you want to join the RAF, but are you aware, for example, the Army controls the RAF transport fleet? Or that the Harrier Force's primary job is close air support of the troops on the battlefield? Or that the E3D fleet is assigned to NATO, who have first call on the crews and assets? And so on.
Ok, so you've got a couple of months to prepare. Think about this: if you work yourself into the ground for the next 2 months, the preparation you will have done could set yourself up for a life in the biggest and most exclusive Club in the world - Professional Aviation. Worth sacrificing pub crawls, parties, visits home, etc. Explain to your girlfriend, too, what you're going to do and why, and she will understand that 2 months of neglect will pay vast dividends later.
Chinese Vic, I am choosing my words with extreme care to avoid insulting anyone.
It is sometimes difficult for someone to formulate ideas that could be considered 'informed', especially if you haven't thought much about a particular subject. I am really remembering my early years where informed conversation was way over my head. The newspapers actually helped, because it gave me a mature view on particular aspects of the news of the day.
Once one regurgitated the informed view [straight from the editorial column] I found that people were prepared to engage in sensible conversation. Eventually, I was able to hold my own as I matured and my knowledge base improved.
I am not suggesting for one single solitary second that nickyg is in the same situation that I found myself; indeed, I would doubt it, because in those days [umptyplunk decades ago!] I was relatively immature, straight out of 6th form and wet behind the ears. These days, young people are far more wordly wise than we were then.
However, if nickyg can get some ideas from the editorial comments, then good for him!
Another trick I know they use is the obscure question that gives them information without you knowing it.
eg How far was it to your school ? or How did you get to school?
If you relied on the School Bus because you lived 5 miles away then your ability to join after-school clubs would be limited (and therefore not your fault); but if you only lived 1/2 a mile away and did b@@G** all then what do they surmise about you??
Also, once you've told them that you were a member of the ...eg 'Learned Society for Commsssioned Officers...' they will ask you how it was run? and How many people were on the committee? All answers tell them whether you had the ability to be a part of the 'leadership or management' without giving you the chance to boast about the position you had or dress it up to something it was not.
Must say that your situation is almost identical to mine this time last year.
Second shot at OASC was, for me, much less daunting than the first, once I was actually there and settled in doing the tests etc.
All the advice here is great but don't forget your own impressions of how OASC was for you last time you went. It's best to improve any personal weaknesses that OASC highlighted to you. So, as has already been suggested, get yourself a debrief, work on the areas that need it and go back to OASC with confidence. Your squadron have seen some potential in you now you just need to show OASC more of the same!!
Remember your UAS is a great source of good gen on OASC as alot of people have been there quite recently.
PS - OASC rep. visited my UAS last week and said that fittness test is still a best effort so don't expect to be stopped at 10.6!
Location: uk mostly, desert lots, searching for lost posts
At least as useful (and more user-friendly and cheaper) as all the papers every day is a weekly digest/summary magazine called "The Week" [hope this doesn't count as an advert Danny]
Gives varied extracts from different papers on the same subject [surprisingly Telegraph and Guardian agree on little] plus commentary and comparisons with foreign quality papers. Worth a look to see if it suits you.
SR - Honestly, do expect to be stopped at 10.6, thats the way they did it for me when I was there in December, and thats the way they did it for the OASC last week while I was there doing my stage 2 medical!
As for world affairs, what I personally found to be hugely helpful was The Economist Online, you did have to pay a small fee to get access to everything, but it was great for foreign affairs, and the huge library gave the ability to follow stories from the very beginning, even if that was years ago.