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Career Change - Do I stand a chance of getting in? watch

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    Hi, I’m trying to get a feel on how the RAF and the armed forces in general view people who join up as a career change.

    They say they welcome people like me but my past experience of the Raf recruitment I get the feeling that they really take a dim view of us.

    I attempted to join the RAF as an officer last year but was turned down at the first interview. I have the qualifications, the fitness and youth to become an officer, I did the homework, I didn’t just stroll in from the street yet I never even got past the first hurdle and I’m pretty sure I know why.

    My interview was conducted as if I was fresh out of school.

    Nothing at all was asked about my working life, where I’ve been or what I’ve done in full time employment in IT for the past five years.
    Frankly when they don’t ask a solitary question about my recent working life, and everything about my school life which was over ten years ago that sounds alarm bells in my mind.

    Now fair enough, I can see why especially for an officer, they will take a dim look at me because no doubt they do view it as a career/vocation for people who have wanted to do it all their lives. I won’t lie, I wasn’t one of those kids pining for the Raf from an early age.

    Question is though, I’m still interested in joining up at as an airman but I need to know if I’m going to be pi**ing into the wind? Do they still take the same point of view for an airman as they do for an officer?

    The bottom line is if they don’t want me from the off I’d rather just know and not waste my time and there’s?
    Is it at all possible you can contact the career office and have this discussion? It's just not something I want to beat about the bush with.
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    I'm afraid I'm going to disagree.

    I'm even older than you are, and my age and experience has been nothing but a positive for me throughout the application process - to the extent that it was mentioned as a point in my favour when I received a post-OASC debrief when I was made a provisional offer for IOT. Yes, a great deal of the interview is slanted towards school and university - that's because they have to ask everyone the same questions to keep it fair, but they'll still ask about what you've done since. Even if they don't ask about work, there are opportunities to show yourself off when they ask about your leadership experience, examples of teamwork, etc etc, all of which could be drawn from post-school experiences if you wanted to show them off. They might not ask about your daily job in IT, but if they say "tell me about a time when you've showed teamwork", pick an example from your job and use that!

    You say you're pretty sure you know why they turned you down - TBH, it shouldn't even be something you have to guess. ASK them why they turned you down - and if it's something you can work on, then do so!

    I know plenty of older applicants. Not one of them has found their age to be a drawback.

    As for not liking people who haven't wanted it since they were born - the very first time it ever occured to me to even consider a career in the RAF, I was 29 years old, with absolutely zero military knowledge or experience - and I did just stroll in from the street, quite literally, and said I knew nothing, but I wanted to find out more. They weren't in the least bothered. All they care about is getting the best people for the job.

    I'm sorry you had a bad experience, but I don't think you can blame your age, or the fact that it's a career change, for being rejected. Go back and talk to the AFCO.

    Finally, if you feel you have officer qualities, I'm curious why you'd go for an airman position, rather than a civilian management-level position?
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    Well no, you seem to have under-estimated my point.

    The interviewer went as far so that I could not talk about any of my experiences from work.

    For example, when they asked me to talk about examples of my teamwork, the question was always slanted usually by my age. So I had to discuss teamwork from say before I was 16 or 18, so I never got a chance to discuss my IT roles and that was concurrent throughout the interview.

    As I keep stressing I never got a chance to even bring up my relevant experience from my work.

    That was quite an eye opener for me.

    Their adverts on the TV, especially across the whole armed forces always have the slant to people bored in their current civilian jobs wishing for a change, that’s me.

    So under that impression I’d have thought the interview, especially the first one would have been altered towards a persons current circumstances. Yet when the time came they didn’t ask a solitary question or gave me chance to talk about my jobs.

    The person who interviewed me seemed to simply read off a script in front of them without any thought of the fact that I wasn’t a 16 year old school leaver with dreams of the RAF.
    That clearly wasn’t who I was.

    Another point of the interview being what I do in my spare time, I’m an active person, I play, golf, football, a member of a gym, etc.

    I do these things for fun, not for out and out competition so it looks good for the RAF on an application form.

    So informing the interviewer of the fact that my golf stretches as far as a lazy Sunday afternoon session with my friends and not some super competitive league seemed to again be a very bad thing.

    The point is I’m getting bored with office life and that’s why I’m interested in joining up, since they claim to offer more. Yet that’s not the impression I simply got from them. I’m 26 now, if I’m going to get the same treatment as if I’m 16 years old in the interview for an airman then I might as well forget it.
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    If you are going to throw your teddy out from one interview then perhaps you should stay where you are. Try a different careers office if you need to?
    If you thought you were the right stuff for Officer entry, why do you now thing you are the right stuff for Airman entry? If you really thought you were badly done by at the interview, I'd suggest you take the points and learn from them, regardless of what your view is. An interview is about the interviewers view of the interviewee and not the other way round.
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    I’m not claiming I was badly done to, as I said initially, if they treat the officer branch as a vocation then fair enough I don’t qualify but that’s what I’d like to find out.

    I’m only here to get answers really, that’s all.

    If they view the RAF as a total vocation that you need to have prepared for from your school years then it’s a given that I am going to fail the interview again because as I keep stressing, at that age I wasn’t preparing myself for a life in the RAF.

    It’s simply common sense to ask if my civilian work life is going to count against me since in the last interview they stretched as far to avoid discussing the last five to six years of my life.

    I just thought it was very unusual to not ask in an interview not one question about any of my jobs where I could pull most of my recent and decent experience from, don’t you?

    I didn’t prepare my life for the RAF at 16 years old. So a repeat of that interview wouldn’t go any better. I don't have a time machine that can change history.
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    If you don't have a positive attitude to go back and try again then maybe the armed forces are not for you. People do not always get through first time *news flash* lots of people fail at different stages, it is how you take the feedback and go back and try again. There is no point feeling sorry for yourself, get up, get yourself sorted and try again. Best of luck, do not sell yourself short.
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    Either you, or the person on that day and time at the AFCO completely misunderstood the situation. What you describe is not how the RAF perceives or treats experienced applicants. Forget it.

    Go back to the AFCO, or another one if you'd feel more comfortable, and start again. Ask about Officer entry if that is what you are qualified to do.
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    (Original post by sundance_kid05)

    As I keep stressing I never got a chance to even bring up my relevant experience from my work.

    ...

    Yet when the time came they didn’t ask a solitary question or gave me chance to talk about my jobs.

    ...

    So informing the interviewer of the fact that my golf stretches as far as a lazy Sunday afternoon session with my friends and not some super competitive league seemed to again be a very bad thing.
    AFCO: "So, tell me about your hobbies and interests?"

    You: "Well, I particularly enjoy playing football, and train and play every week with a local team. I also really enjoy golf - my current job in IT involves a great deal of responsibility, working to tight deadlines and leading / as part of a small team, so golf is a great chance for me to relax with friends while still keeping active."

    Do you see what I did there?
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    I've been to plenty of interviews in my time, with plenty of knock backs so it's nothing new to me.

    The application form I filled out specially asked about past positions of importance I held in my time, therefore I listed m job titles.

    Now it stands to reason they'd ask me about one of those I'd written down, yet no interest was shown whatsoever.

    The questions were focused on my school and university life and that’s as far as they went. They did not progress any further. It didn't take Albert Einstein to realise they didn't want to know about my working life, the interviewer wanted to figure out how I'd prepared for the RAF up to the age of 21 and that is where it ended, bottom line.

    Answer is I never did, I went to work instead.

    Now that smacks as treating the RAF as a vocation to me. So I’m unsure on what lessons can be learnt from this. If they don’t want to know about my life past the age of 20 there’s not much I can do to remedy this.

    I just have the feeling if I walk in again it’ll be the same thing.
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    Dearie me.

    For the fifteenth time in this thread, your interviewer wasn't up to scratch, and/or he was having a bad day!

    Hundreds of people join at 26-36. You're not at a disadvantage, you're just labouring over one bad interview. Go to a different AFCO and reapply.

    To be honest, if you didn't do very much at school or university/university age then that reflects badly on you, so that might be a reason why you were knocked back. But I'd be more inclined to say that you had dodgy new interviewer who didn't read the brief.

    Try again, and don't worry!
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    I joined the Army fairly late, and didn't have a problem with any of the application process. As much as I hate to say it, I'm sure the RAF recruitment process is just as good.

    Were you actually in the interview process, or was your interview the initial walk-in chat with a recruitment sergeant in the Careers office? Any idea what the rank of the person interviewing you was?

    Some comments on your posting, and please take them as constructive.

    1. You say you want to be an officer. You need to be dynamic, authoritative and possess moral courage. If you can't direct an interview to areas that you want to talk about, I would suggest that you're pursuing the wrong path.

    2. Your posting seems fairly negative. It raises some issues about your commitment to the Armed Forces.
    if they treat the officer branch as a vocation then fair enough I don’t qualify but that’s what I’d like to find out.
    It’s not just a job. It is a vocation. If you want to give up on it all after one knock back, you will never make it through officer, or airman, training.

    3.
    The point is I’m getting bored with office life and that’s why I’m interested in joining up, since they claim to offer more. Yet that’s not the impression I simply got from them. I’m 26 now, if I’m going to get the same treatment as if I’m 16 years old in the interview for an airman then I might as well forget it.
    Frankly, recruitment is through the roof. We don’t want you to join because we offer you more than your current job. We want you to be committed and want to do the job. The onus is as much on you impressing us, as us impressing you.

    4.
    Now it stands to reason they'd ask me about one of those I'd written down, yet no interest was shown whatsoever.
    Interviewing is a two way process. You need to sell yourself to the interviewer. It doesn’t take much to mention things you’re proud of.
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    Hundreds of people join at 26-36.
    I'm hoping one more can join at 37 :yep:
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    (Original post by FindFixStroke)

    Were you actually in the interview process, or was your interview the initial walk-in chat with a recruitment sergeant in the Careers office? Any idea what the rank of the person interviewing you was?.
    Yes the interview process.

    (Original post by FindFixStroke)
    1. You say you want to be an officer. You need to be dynamic, authoritative and possess moral courage. If you can't direct an interview to areas that you want to talk about, I would suggest that you're pursuing the wrong path.
    How many times do I have to say this.

    The questioning I got was tailored by my age throughout the interview. Yes, they asked about team working examples but only from my years when I was at school and university.

    Not once was a question brought up for me to be able to draw from my working years.

    The interviewer purposely wanted my career out of the equation. They focused solely on my life up to my university days.

    (Original post by FindFixStroke)
    2. Your posting seems fairly negative. It raises some issues about your commitment to the Armed Forces. It’s not just a job. It is a vocation. If you want to give up on it all after one knock back, you will never make it through officer, or airman, training.
    As the armed forces keep stressing they welcome people from career changes. That’s me, I think I have what it takes. It’s not a negative more of a shock that as one of those people, I felt that when I did walk in and get to the first interview stage they wished to completely discount my career years. It was obvious the interviewer did not want me to discuss it.

    I’d been working in professional companies for the past six years, if I’d had a chance to bring those years up I would have. The questioning I got was slanted.
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    How many times do WE have to say it - MTFU and get back down there and try again. If you want to come on here and moan about how unfair the system is to those over 21, crack on. If you feel hard done to, get back in the saddle, visit another careers office and try again. We KNOW you felt it was unfair and, to a small degree you are getting agreement. We are telling you to perhaps try somewhere else and present yourself as you see best.
    Your response is not positive or forward looking. Only you can take your destiny forwards - get on and do something positive rather than banging on about one bad interview.
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    Can I just add something. I think people are being a tad unfair on you - here are my thoughts/experiences.

    The interview is VERY fixed and is not flexible in any way between AFCOs.

    Personally I have done filter interviews, OASC interviews and two different UAS interviews and although they all varried in difficulty they did not vary in structure. The questions were set and are all listed on this forum.

    If they ask you your responsibility at school - they mean at school. They will not allow someone to talk about their experience in IT for example (so you are correct Sundance). You will be interupted with "yes we will come back to that later but what about school?"

    For me it was:

    "Any clubs at school"?
    "No, but outside of school at that age I was heavily involved with....."
    "No if we can just stick to school for now thanks. Any responsibility at school?"
    "No, but outside of school at that age I was leading....blah blah blah"
    "If we can just stick to inside school"

    etc etc

    However when they ask "is there anything we missed out" or "tell us about areas of responsibility AFTER school or WHILST at school" then you make sure you say what you need to say. But this WILL be the only part of the interview you are able to do this in.

    Read the questions on this site.
    Go back to the AFCO (a different one)
    Get in.

    Q_M
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    (Original post by Q_M)

    The interview is VERY fixed and is not flexible in any way between AFCOs.
    Ye-es, but they will usually tailor it to you to a certain degree. Everyone gets asked about school. Anyone who's been to university gets asked about that. And in my experience, anyone who left university a depressingly long time ago will be asked about what they've done since then. Quite often, you get asked the same question three times in an interview, each time asking about a different time period.

    Sundance - go back and talk to the AFCO, or go to a different one. Being treated unfairly once doesn't mean that it will happen again.

    You say that you think you have what it takes - if you want to prove it, you pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and give it another go. If you aren't prepared to try again, that's an indication that you haven't got what it takes. What have you got to lose by asking?
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    (Original post by sundance_kid05)
    The questioning I got was tailored by my age throughout the interview. Yes, they asked about team working examples but only from my years when I was at school and university.

    Not once was a question brought up for me to be able to draw from my working years.

    The interviewer purposely wanted my career out of the equation. They focused solely on my life up to my university days.
    Does that mean you spent your childhood and early adulthood, 18-22ish, without anything to impress the interviewer? The Devil's Advocate's position would be that if you couldn't produce enough to shine from these formative years, then that's why he failed you. Doesn't matter if you subsequently had a few things to show from 4 years of work or so if you had nothing at all to show for about 8 years of education.

    Playing Devil's Advocate again, most people have enough stuff from school and university to get in. Is it just the case that you didn't?
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    I was in a similar situation to you, I didn't think of applying for the forces until after I left uni. I passed my initial filter interview but failed to get called down to OASC. I didn't do alot during my academic years but if you have a good think I bet you can find afew things.

    During the time between not getting selected for OASC and my next filter interview (6 months) I made sure I got plenty of leadership experience, community work etc. Then when the next interview came round a made sure I mentioned them and how much I gained from them; yes the interview is very structured as they try to make everyones experience of the application the same. If you feel like you have done things during your time at work that make you a better applicant go back to the AFCO reapply and make sure you tell them, don't wait for them to ask you about it make sure you get it in there.
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    I understand your point about trying again but what I'm trying to get is a measure of the entire process first before I do try again.

    I simply expected to be interviewed from the aspect I’ve ALSO been in full time employment for the past five to six years. I wasn’t.

    I had a structured interview allowing me stretch no further than my uni days.

    Recalling your school life ten-fourteen years ago to that level of detail is difficult. Besides I never said I was pining for the RAF when I was 15 years old. That's something they claim in their adverts isn't supposed to be an issue for people like myself who wish for a different challenge. Yet that is not the impression I recieved at the interview.
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    The interviewer may not have asked further than your school time as I would imagine most of the time they're just talking to people fresh out of uni (and would be used to this format of interview). However what myself and multiple people have said is if the interviewer isn't asking the questions make sure you still tell them one way or another. It's YOUR interview, it's YOUR 40 or so mins to sell yourself; don't wait for them to ask.... Tell them.
 
 
 
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