Working as a Royal Navy Officer is one of the most rewarding and respected careers within the British Armed Forces. However, as you might expect, it’s a pretty tough job to get! You’ll have to pass a tough royal navy recruitment test, plus physical exercises, and extra assessments. One of these exercises is the Admiralty Interview Board. In this blog, we’ll take you through one of the most essential parts of the royal navy recruitment test board, for officers – the Biographical Questionnaire.
What is the AIB Biographical Questionnaire?
Before you arrive at the AIB you will be sent a royal navy recruitment test questionnaire to complete. This is used to inform the interviewers and to provide initial evidence; it is important that you complete this form as fully and accurately as possible. This is your chance to “blow your own trumpet” so to speak. Make sure you put yourself across in a positive manner and let them know about your achievements to date and anything else that you are currently involved in. Put yourself in the position of the assessors. If you were assessing candidates for such an important role, with such a huge amount of responsibility, what type of things would you look for? What would impress you, and what would deter you? What would you consider a good answer, in a royal navy recruitment test?
In order to assist you during your royal navy recruitment test preparation, we have provided you with sample responses to a number of the biographical questionnaire questions.
Royal Navy Recruitment Test Responses
1. Briefly describe why you wish to become an officer in the RN, RM or RFA.
There are lots of reasons for why I would like to join the Royal Navy, but my primary motivation is the sense of achievement that working for the Navy would bring me. I am always someone who is looking to better himself, and accomplish the highest goals, and I believe that working in the Navy would provide me with the perfect platform to do this. Having conducted extensive research, I’m incredibly impressed by the work ethic and camaraderie of service personnel. I am someone who loves to work as part of a team, and I want to make use of my past experience as a leader in order to train and motivate other people. I want to contribute to and support the work of our nation’s service personnel. I believe that my personal ethos, one of integrity, respect, professionalism and commitment to the greater good, matches up perfectly with the values of the Royal Navy, and this makes me the ideal fit for your organisation.
2. Describe a time when you have been in charge of a project or have had to lead a team, and what you did.
In my previous position, I worked as a business administrator for a technology company in London. When my manager left the company, I was required to act in his role, on a temporary basis. It was my responsibility to maintain all services within the company until a new manager was appointed. My priorities were: delegation, communication and motivation.
I knew that I needed to take immediate action, to ensure everyone was on the same page. In order to do this, I set up and led a monthly meeting for all of the supervisors, as well as a weekly contact with each employee within my team. I appointed one of the supervisors to act as the point of contact for all members of staff in case they needed support during the interim period. I asked each of the other supervisors to take responsibility for organising elements of their own team and stated that I would be the point of contact for them if they needed advice, guidance or assistance. Once this new administrative system was in place, my priority was to motivate the supervisors and staff, especially during setbacks.
The end result of this was that the department ran extremely efficiently during my time in charge, and eventually I was asked to take on the role full time. Everyone in the department said that they were extremely impressed by my ability to lead, with such short-notice, and were happy with the appointment.
3. Describe a time when you have been part of a team, including details of your own role within that team.
In 2008 I was one of four crew onboard a 48-foot yacht, sailing from the Azores to Plymouth. None of us had previously sailed offshore for such a distance, nor had we previously met each other. The skipper divided us into two groups so that we could ‘hot bunk’ the berths and we worked watches day and night. The four crews shared on a rota basis the responsibilities of: navigation, sail trimming, keeping watch, helming, weather forecasting, washing up, cleaning cabins, the galley and the heads. The weather varied from relatively no wind to Force 9, gusting Force 10, during which I was the only crew who volunteered to helm. I’d recently passed the RYA Ocean Yacht master course (theory) so was able to practice some astronavigation.
On my part, I worked diligently to ensure that I played an essential role in the team. I took steps to ensure that I was completing each and every task to the maximum level of efficiency. When I had completed my tasks, I took steps to encourage and support the other members of the team, doing what I could to assist them. I was anxious to try and learn as much as I could during this trip, as I am always looking to improve, and therefore I specifically asked the skipper to train me in as many areas possible – to which he happily obliged.
By the end of the trip, I am happy to say that I was a much more capable seaman, and had experienced working in almost every necessary area onboard the yacht. I really enjoyed this experience.
4. Describe a time when you have set yourself a challenging goal or target and endeavoured to achieve it, including information on the outcome.
In 2006 I decided that I wanted to raise money for a local charity. The aim was to raise £10,000 in total. In order to achieve this, I set myself the challenge of completing an iron-man challenge which included swimming 2 kilometres, running a marathon before finally cycling 120 miles, all in one day.
In order to achieve this, I knew that I would have to put a detailed plan in place. Although I have always been a fit and active person, this was no ordinary challenge, and I would have to prepare to the fullest if I wanted to succeed. I started out by planning my training routine. I decided that I would need 6 months to complete the task. I purchased a wall calendar and filled in my plan for each day, then put this up on my fridge. This meant that every day when I walked into the kitchen, I would see the plan, and feel motivated to keep pushing and get myself into shape.
I gradually increased my distances over time and ensured that I ate healthily and avoided alcohol/junk food in the build up to my challenge. Whilst training, I also took control of fundraising, writing to large local companies requesting sponsorship. In my letters, I told them all about the cause and why it was so important to me, and also highlighted my determination to succeed in this endeavour.
The end result was that I completed the challenge in 9 hours and 43 minutes, raising £10,784 in the process for a local children’s charity. The charity were thrilled with this, and commended me for my efforts.