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Over-qualified or over the hill? What is wrong with my CV?

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  • Steve
    replied
    The service knowledge test is more appropriate for (and is designed for) the RN, where you are buying in to a whole lot more than when you start a Merchant Navy cadetship. It does not reflect the reality that for many candidates, the alternatives to the RFA are other merchant shipping companies. They are looking for a merchant navy cadetship, not a career in the armed forces, but the RFA's current recruitment system does not reflect that.

    It may reflect who the RFA aims to recruit, or it may just be that RFA management didn't think about what they were buying into when they contracted recruitment out to the RN.

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  • timmillea
    replied
    Originally posted by Squareleg28 View Post
    "Irresponsible" - how? Learning some info about the RN/RM/RFA - not really.
    If that information is correct, fine. If it is not, and we are talking about the internet here, it may be an error a candidate carries with them into a critical situation later.

    How is it a "deplorable entry barrier" - you sound like an intelligent person,
    That is something, thank you.
    so we are talking about preparing and retaining knowledge. The service knowledge IS part of the AIB and is a part you can prepare for in advance and have it squared off and remembered with effort. Why make things more difficult for yourself? Any interview/assessment has potential quirks and you just have to run with them - remember you want the job! As you said the RFA a one of the much more relaxed firms about age........
    I suppose my point here is that the selection process should ideally reflect the recruitment criteria. Is that an outrageous point of view? Remember I have just been rejected. I am a little emotional :-)

    The service knowledge requirement appears to be a hangover from the days of getting easily-influencable youths to sign up on the promise of adventure. It seems a little old-hat to an old hat.

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  • timmillea
    replied
    Originally posted by Steve View Post
    Can you remember any of what you found to be the more difficult questions?
    There were a fair few questions about weapons and avionics systems aboard different types of RN ships & helicopters. The questions were not hard - it is just that I didn't know the answers!

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  • Steve
    replied
    Originally posted by timmillea View Post
    The other, a 17-year old, I heard through unofficial channels, the AIB would like to go to university first then re-apply. Such a waste of potential! Yes, he was a little quiet amongst us but when he spoke he was confident, intelligent and articulate. He had no intention of going to university - he wanted to go to a maritime college! I feel the AIB has failed him.
    This is a good example of why contracting RFA recruitment out to the RN is such a mistake. That advice sounds like it came straight from the RN AIB handbook, not what most RFA officers would recommend.

    Although the AIB is nominally a points-based system, one strongly suspects that the overall scores were manipulated to match the opinions of the board in their brief time (around 90 minutes in total) with the candidates.
    I'm fairly sure the RFAIB has been manipulated to pass candidates that are politically suitable but don't really make the grade in the field. Certainly that has been my experience of working with some of them.

    As far as service knowledge is concerned, point taken. But any essential knowledge for the job MUST be taught, not casually picked up on the internet. As a former educator, it was always much easier to deal with a blank slate rather than have to correct half-truths, misbeliefs and amateur knowledge picked up before. It is irresponsible to encourage candidates to learn this type of information pre-entry.

    Instead, service knowledge is one of those deplorable entry barriers the like of which should have no place in fair selection. This is not direct entry, it is entry to 3 years of training. The process should be seeking the potential at the end of 3 years of training. Having employed people in the past, I would be flattered by any candidate who had swatted up on all the company details - but hopefully never affected in my decision whether or not to employ them.
    The purpose of the service knowledge test is not to preload candidates with professional learning, it is a measure of their interest in the job. The idea is that those genuinely committed will spend time immersing themselves in the subject. The test didn't used to be too difficult anyway, though I can't comment on current content. Can you remember any of what you found to be the more difficult questions?

    Leave a comment:


  • Squareleg28
    replied
    The thing is, despite the debatable issues of whether the AIB should be used for potential RFA officers and personal opinions on the content of said board and what you may or may not need to learn or re-learn later...

    "Irresponsible" - how? Learning some info about the RN/RM/RFA - not really.

    How is it a "deplorable entry barrier" - you sound like an intelligent person, so we are talking about preparing and retaining knowledge. The service knowledge IS part of the AIB and is a part you can prepare for in advance and have it squared off and remembered with effort. Why make things more difficult for yourself? Any interview/assessment has potential quirks and you just have to run with them - remember you want the job! As you said the RFA a one of the much more relaxed firms about age........

    I have to say I wonder if the AIB picked up on your attitude (and as above it is difficult on a forum to judge people).

    Do you really want a career at sea or is it just a fantasy type thing as you have reached a certain age? That is one thing that companies might think and it is up to you to convince them otherwise (and I'm speaking as an older cadet myself).

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  • timmillea
    replied
    There were four candidates on the board. Three, including me, failed. Putting aside myself, I was shocked that the other two failed. One had all the knowledge that I didn't have, was very able indeed and showed it, but made a mistake during the Planning Leadership Task from which he didn't recover during that task. The other, a 17-year old, I heard through unofficial channels, the AIB would like to go to university first then re-apply. Such a waste of potential! Yes, he was a little quiet amongst us but when he spoke he was confident, intelligent and articulate. He had no intention of going to university - he wanted to go to a maritime college! I feel the AIB has failed him.

    Yes, being a yacht captain is 'hobby' for me but when I am stuck in a force-9, need crew I can trust our lives to, and live with at close quarters, my decision would have been different to the AIB's.

    Although the AIB is nominally a points-based system, one strongly suspects that the overall scores were manipulated to match the opinions of the board in their brief time (around 90 minutes in total) with the candidates.

    As far as service knowledge is concerned, point taken. But any essential knowledge for the job MUST be taught, not casually picked up on the internet. As a former educator, it was always much easier to deal with a blank slate rather than have to correct half-truths, misbeliefs and amateur knowledge picked up before. It is irresponsible to encourage candidates to learn this type of information pre-entry.

    Instead, service knowledge is one of those deplorable entry barriers the like of which should have no place in fair selection. This is not direct entry, it is entry to 3 years of training. The process should be seeking the potential at the end of 3 years of training. Having employed people in the past, I would be flattered by any candidate who had swatted up on all the company details - but hopefully never affected in my decision whether or not to employ them.

    However, to close on the title of this thread, I am happy to report that I never thought that age was an issue with the RFA for a moment.

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  • chris
    replied
    how did it go Tim?

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  • IFHP
    replied
    Originally posted by timmillea View Post
    Here goes!

    My RFA AIB starts tomorrow. I have to set off at 7:30 in the morning for HMS Sultan. If the weather is fine as predicted, I should have time to walk the 3 miles from the Gosport ferry terminal to HMS Sultan's AIB centre. I always like to get a sense of where I am and I have never been to Gosport before.

    As I am over 40, I will be doing the Rockport test instead of the 'bleep test'. I have practised it a few times and I would say it requires a lot more self-discipline to pace yourself maximally over a mile than just to speed up according to beeps until you drop.

    I used to be a rower and all the paced-pain was a pleasure to rediscover. Then, on the rowing ergos, I had my own spreadsheet calculations taped to the side of the meter to tell me what rate I had to work at every interval to reach the goal - always better than last time but that not always achievable, Even then, as a training session, it was always better to carry on at the upper limits of at a much reduced capacity than just to give up. I will give my all on the Rockport test. My heart is still strong!

    The aptitude tests I am not concerned about. They are not difficult, they are just measuring comprehension of the question and speed in answering. The Service knowledge I will be learning on the train there tomorrow. I am invisible to history - if I can retain it, it is for a few hours maximum. All the 'It's a Knockout' type planning exercises will be entertainment to me. I have nothing to prove here. I am looking forward to them.

    The interview, well they will inevitably ask me questions I cannot answer. I am not some school kid obsessed with joining the Royal Navy. They can make their judgments. My reasons for wanting to join the RFA are reasoned, nuanced, logical and well thought out - instead of passionate and perhaps misplaced or dishonest. I am happier to live with a rejection given an honest exchange than an acceptance where I had been anything other than myself.

    I will be 'unconnected' while I am away. According to the instruction pack, I should have a decision before I leave on Tuesday. I will let you know the outcome.

    Maybe for the penultimate time. I hope not.

    Regards,

    Tim.
    When I first starting reading this thread I thought what a brave guy going for a new career at a more mature age however and I appreciate its difficult to determine tone from text reading your above statement I think you are doing yourself an injustice.

    Taking such a nonchalant attitude to the AIB smacks of arrogance, the RFA are the only company that have given you a chance and to be learning service knowledge on the train down is actually unbelievable. It is the business of the RFA to support the RN in operations, it is prudent then for their officers and potential officers to be aware of the service to which their ships are employed. Would you take the same approach to every employer? An example would be going for an interview with BP and they asked you about the company do you think that it would be enough to spout off what you read in the brochure 10 minutes ago in reception?

    Also be advised you are in a special situation with your age and are going to stand out if you do eventually become a cadet, its not only cadets that are on this forum be careful with what you write, that's advice you can either choose to take or not.

    I do wish you well however I sincerely hope that your above comments were bravado and you will approach the interview with humility and enthusiasm.

    Leave a comment:


  • Ganner
    replied
    Well i will say god luck, you may need it, thr history part of the test is alot more in detailed than a few hours revision will cover and although it is not worth a huge lot of marks a really bad score on one of te two things you can really prepare for and get squared away does not look great!

    you have got the wrong end of the stick when it comes to the interview, they dont try and catch you out they want you to demenstrate some leadetship potential and come across as a well rounded person. The aib board arent stupid enough to think you are a little kid i would suggest dont go in with pre concieved ideas. It is basically a competency based interview. They will expect differnt and i inagine more comprhensive answers from you than a 16 yo.

    Try not yo take the planex as rntettainment either you are not jst doing yours for fun you are a key part of everyone else team and being a team player is a key part of it, they will soon get annoyed if your not pulling your weight.

    it comes across like you have a bit of a hang up when it ckmes to yiur age, dont feel special you wont wven be the 3rd oldest cadet in the last year.

    Apologies for terrible typos my laptop is kaput an i am on my rubbish phone and i am far to efficent to correct it!

    Leave a comment:


  • timmillea
    replied
    Here goes!

    My RFA AIB starts tomorrow. I have to set off at 7:30 in the morning for HMS Sultan. If the weather is fine as predicted, I should have time to walk the 3 miles from the Gosport ferry terminal to HMS Sultan's AIB centre. I always like to get a sense of where I am and I have never been to Gosport before.

    As I am over 40, I will be doing the Rockport test instead of the 'bleep test'. I have practised it a few times and I would say it requires a lot more self-discipline to pace yourself maximally over a mile than just to speed up according to beeps until you drop.

    I used to be a rower and all the paced-pain was a pleasure to rediscover. Then, on the rowing ergos, I had my own spreadsheet calculations taped to the side of the meter to tell me what rate I had to work at every interval to reach the goal - always better than last time but that not always achievable, Even then, as a training session, it was always better to carry on at the upper limits of at a much reduced capacity than just to give up. I will give my all on the Rockport test. My heart is still strong!

    The aptitude tests I am not concerned about. They are not difficult, they are just measuring comprehension of the question and speed in answering. The Service knowledge I will be learning on the train there tomorrow. I am invisible to history - if I can retain it, it is for a few hours maximum. All the 'It's a Knockout' type planning exercises will be entertainment to me. I have nothing to prove here. I am looking forward to them.

    The interview, well they will inevitably ask me questions I cannot answer. I am not some school kid obsessed with joining the Royal Navy. They can make their judgments. My reasons for wanting to join the RFA are reasoned, nuanced, logical and well thought out - instead of passionate and perhaps misplaced or dishonest. I am happier to live with a rejection given an honest exchange than an acceptance where I had been anything other than myself.

    I will be 'unconnected' while I am away. According to the instruction pack, I should have a decision before I leave on Tuesday. I will let you know the outcome.

    Maybe for the penultimate time. I hope not.

    Regards,

    Tim.

    Leave a comment:


  • Clanky
    replied
    Originally posted by timmillea View Post
    Are you my mother? It wouldn't surprise me. Thank you yes.
    Damn, you figured it out. I hope you have got your vest on in this cold whether, I am knitting you a nice warm scarf as well.

    Leave a comment:


  • timmillea
    replied
    Are you my mother? It wouldn't surprise me. Thank you yes.

    Leave a comment:


  • Clanky
    replied
    Good luck with the AIB, have you explained your situation to the other companies, rather than simply not replying to them?

    Leave a comment:


  • timmillea
    replied
    Well this thread seems to have been resurrected so here is an update. I applied to the RFA and have made through to the final round - the Admiralty Interview Board which will take place at the end of January. I was impressed throughout the application process by the fairness and objectivity that seems to have been shown. If successful, I know I am likely to be one of RFA's oldest cadet entrants ever, if not the oldest.

    Immediately after my Sift interview I was told that I had passed the minimum standard required to proceed to the AIB and was then given the opportunity for mentoring. I asked about the age issue. I was told it was not an issue in the selection process. I was told candidly that, if successful, it may be a minor issue for some of the younger captains who entered the RFA when the upper age limit for a cadet was 24 but that they would just have to get used to it! I was told my service knowledge was weak and that was something I should brush up on. It explained that the AIB is all about gaining 'points' at every stage and the more points I could get here and there, the greater my chance. I also asked what the AIB pass rate was. I was relieved to hear it was around 70% though I initially misheard/mis-thought this as 17%!

    There, I thought I would share these nuggets with you. I did hear from three or four other companies recently, asking if I still wished to proceed with my applications with them. Perhaps there had been a lull in recruiting with the recession? I have put those companies on hold until after the AIB for now. It is only 6 weeks away.

    Leave a comment:


  • GuinnessMan
    replied
    Originally posted by pintero View Post
    Hi Tim! I can tell You one sad thing - there is absolutely nothing wrong about Your CV but in these times even deck cadet has to have seagoing experience.. it's ridiculous but crewing agencies can do that because of almost no work for beginners. A lot of people after 5 year in maritime university, 1 year of seamanship training and having a pile of maritime documents can't get a job.. I hope there is a little bit better in the UK and I wish You the best!
    To be honest, I find that hard to believe as I know what the systems are like abroad and we routinely get cadets on their first trips (not just from Europe, but the Sub-Continent and Far East as well). Which crewing managers have you been and spoken to?

    Leave a comment:

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