The Royal Navy Filter (Sift) Interview and How To Pass It

During the Royal Navy selection process you will be required to sit interviews at both the Armed Forces Careers Office (AFCO) and, if applying to become an Officer, during your attendance at the Admiralty Interview Board (AIB). The sift or filter interview, which is held at your local Armed Forces Careers Office, will be undertaken by a member of the Royal Navy recruitment team. The purpose of this interview is to ‘filter’ out those people who have the potential to join the Navy.   Business people talking on meeting at office, sitting at the desk   The duration of the initial AFCO interview will very much depend on your responses to the questions. However, you can expect the interview to last for approximately 30 minutes. The questions that you will be assessed against during the initial interview will normally be taken from the following areas:

Interview Question Categories 

  • The reasons why you want to join the Royal Navy and why you have chosen this service over the Army or the Royal Air Force;
  • Why you want to become a Royal Navy Officer, and what skills, qualities and experiences you have that would help you to become either a competent Officer or Rating;
  • What choice of career you are most interested in, the reason for choosing that career, and the skills you have to match the role;
  • What information you already have about the Royal Navy, its history, its lifestyle and training;
  • Information relating to your hobbies and interests including sporting/team activities;
  • Any personal responsibilities that you currently have at home, in your education or at work;
  • Questions based around your ability to work as part of a team, leadership potential, confidence, resilience, planning, organising, communication skills, how you learn new skills or information and personal development;
  • Information about your family and your partner and what they think about you joining;
  • Information based around your initial application;
  • Your experience of work and education;
  • Your emotional stability and your maturity;
  • Your drive and determination to succeed;
  • Having a positive reaction to a disciplined environment and towards people in positions of authority.

Let me explain the difference between a good applicant and a poor one.

A Good Applicant

Richard McMunnA good applicant is someone who has taken the time to prepare. They have researched both the organisation they are applying to join, and also the role that they are being interviewed for. They may not know every detail about the organisation and the role but it will be clear that they have made an effort to find out important facts and information. They will be well presented at the interview and they will be confident, but not over confident. As soon as they walk into the interview room they will be polite and courteous and they will sit down in the interview chair only when invited to do so. Throughout the interview they will sit upright in the chair and communicate in a positive manner. If they do not know the answer to a question they will say so and they won’t try and waffle. At the end of the interview they will ask positive questions about the job or the organisation before shaking hands and leaving.  

A Poor Applicant

A poor applicant could be any combination of the following. They will be late for the interview or even forget to turn up at all. They will have made little effort to dress smart and they will have carried out little or no preparation. When asked questions about the job or the organisation they will have little or no knowledge. Throughout the interview they will appear to be unenthusiastic about the whole process and will look as if they want the interview to be over as soon as possible. Whilst sat in the interview chair they will slouch and fidget. At the end of the interview they will try to ask clever questions that are intended to impress the panel. Passing the Royal Navy Interview can be tough

Interview technique

How you present yourself during the interview is important. Whilst assessing candidates for interviews I will not only assess their responses to the interview questions, but I will also pay attention to the way they present themselves. A candidate could give excellent responses to the interview questions, but if they present themselves in a negative manner, this can lose them marks. In the build-up to your initial AFCO interview practise a few ‘mock’ interviews. Look to improve your interview technique as well as working on your responses to the interview questions. images:

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