Encampment Cadet Staff Interviews

Started by mtzgamer01, February 21, 2020, 08:27:26 pm

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mtzgamer01

Hi all,

I'm the Encampment Cadet Commander for our Wing and I've been tasked with creating some interview questions for our staff selection weekend but am having some trouble coming up with CAP/Encampment-based questions. Does anyone have any suggestions/ideas from their Encampments or other events?

Thanks!

C/Maj Zielinski
MTWG Encampment Cadet Commander 2020
C/Maj Michael Zielinski
Missoula Comp. Sq. C/CC
MTWG Encampment 2020 C/CC

Eclipse

February 21, 2020, 09:09:39 pm #1 Last Edit: February 21, 2020, 09:12:54 pm by Eclipse
What are the three primary duties of the job you applied for?

Provide an example of a situation when you struggled as a cadet.

Provide a positive memory of your first encampment.

What would you change about the encampment program?

Requiring that they be answered succinctly (2-3 sentences) will also help in this process,
however don't spring these type of questions on the cadets cold.  If you want
to know how they really feel, let them know in advance and give them time to think about it.



NC Hokie

Why do you want to be on staff? Answers that focus on themselves might indicate that they're not a good candidate.
NC Hokie, Lt Col, CAP

Graduated Squadron Commander
All Around Good Guy

Blanding

Quote from: mtzgamer01 on February 21, 2020, 08:27:26 pmI've been tasked with creating some interview questions for our staff selection weekend

What does the staff selection weekend look like? Is it all interviews or are the interviews just a small component of the selection alongside practical demonstrations and evaluations?

SarDragon

That will vary from wing to wing, and is best addressed with folks who have been through it before, in your wing.
Dave Bowles
Maj, CAP
AT1, USN Retired
50 Year Member
Mitchell Award (unnumbered)
C/WO, CAP, Ret

mtzgamer01

Quote from: Blanding on February 24, 2020, 11:05:26 pm
Quote from: mtzgamer01 on February 21, 2020, 08:27:26 pmI've been tasked with creating some interview questions for our staff selection weekend

What does the staff selection weekend look like? Is it all interviews or are the interviews just a small component of the selection alongside practical demonstrations and evaluations?

As far as I am aware, it is just the interviews.
C/Maj Michael Zielinski
Missoula Comp. Sq. C/CC
MTWG Encampment 2020 C/CC

Blanding

Quote from: mtzgamer01 on February 25, 2020, 03:55:04 pmAs far as I am aware, it is just the interviews.

That's too bad; interviews rarely give you a great picture of a candidate and result in a selection that is biased toward cultural similarity[1]. Furthermore, interviewers often bias toward favorable ratings for those candidates who benefit from their situation (e.g., a cadet excelling due to the support from a large unit vs. a cadet struggling to promote at a small unit where both cadets have an equal capability)[2].

One could argue that an interview in a corporate setting is somewhat appropriate because the conversation takes place in an office environment with that candidate's potential supervisor. However, cadets interviewing for Encampment cadre positions will never sit in an interview setting as part of their duty, and may not interact much with the person doing the selecting.

I believe interviews persist because people believe in them. They give candidates the impression that the selection committee cares about them, and selection committees think they're better off with the information they learn at them. Research has shown this to be false[3].

You should ideally design an activity to evaluate a candidate's ability to solve problems, work as a team, and manage stress. There are tons of these types of leadership problems in the cadet programs curricula. 

Anyway, if you have no choice, here are a few ideas:

-What is the purpose of Encampment?
-Why do we use the term "Student" to describe attendees?
-Why do we use the term "Cadre"?
-Create some practical questions such as:
  • Lights out is in 45 minutes, and you want to show a flight how to properly make a bunk after repeated inspection failures. Is now the best time to conduct the training? How long can your instruction last?
  • You observe a group of Senior Member Training Officers messing around on an obstacle course that you were told was off-limits. What do you do?
  • You are helping conduct a contraband shakedown for students and open a duffel bag to find the following items. Which are not permitted? 2 MREs, 1 Bottle of Advil, 6 Pack of bottled water, GPS running watch
  • You observe a cadre member sleeping on the table in the dining facility while students are eating, what do you do?
  • What is the ideal inspection party for a Phase 2 inspection?

And so on. Make sure to inform candidates they should expect to be asked questions about the syllabus.

Don't bother asking, "What's your greatest weakness" or "Why do you want this job" or "What are your fears" or you'll end up judging candidates based on how well they can make up answers that please you.

[1] https://www.asanet.org/sites/default/files/savvy/journals/ASR/Dec12ASRFeature.pdf
[2] https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0069258
[3] http://journal.sjdm.org/12/121130a/jdm121130a.pdf

Eclipse

Those papers are well outside the scope of what a Cadre member is expected to consider
in this context. Bringing them to this table presupposes a number of things, not to mention
implies a bias that doesn't exist.

In the majority of cases, the applicant pool barely covers the openings, and the "interviews"
such that they are, are generally intended to weed out the few who are clearly unsuited for a cadre role.
I'm sure there are a few wings that have an embarrassment of riches, but the majority are lucky
if they can fill all the slots with one or two alternates.

Most of your questions, though are pretty good, with the exception of this one:

Quote from: Blanding on February 25, 2020, 08:12:41 pmYou are helping conduct a contraband shakedown for students and open a duffel bag to find the following items. Which are not permitted? 2 MREs, 1 Bottle of Advil, 6 Pack of bottled water, GPS running watch

Cadets are not allowed to perform or participate in Contraband checks.
(So I suppose "we're not allowed to do that, Sir" is a valid answer, but not really of much value in this context).



Blanding

Quote from: Eclipse on February 25, 2020, 09:24:43 pmThose papers are well outside the scope of what a Cadre member is expected to consider
in this context. Bringing them to this table presupposes a number of things, not to mention
implies a bias that doesn't exist.

I agree the level of research I'd expect the average member to conduct is a bit less than that of an organizational psychologist, but that doesn't mean they couldn't consider that information if presented with it. I didn't dig it all up and write my post to suggest that the cadet was negligent, but instead to provoke consideration of an alternative course of action.

Regarding the bias, I'm not just implying it exists, I'm stating with research-based factual knowledge that it exists. I'm also not suggesting people are "bad" for being biased - it's how we're built. The best response we can have is to build a system (of evaluation, in this case) that minimizes their effects.

Quote from: undefinedIn the majority of cases, the applicant pool barely covers the openings, and the "interviews"
such that they are, are generally intended to weed out the few who are clearly unsuited for a cadre role.

What I'm suggesting is that the only way to know if they're "clearly unsuited" is to evaluate them for the skills they'll be actually using, not for their ability to craft an interview answer.


Quote from: undefinedCadets are not allowed to perform or participate in Contraband checks.
(So I suppose "we're not allowed to do that, Sir" is a valid answer, but not really of much value in this context).

You're spot on - I think we must have overlooked this in 2015 when I came up with that question. There were a lot of things we tried to implement the right way when the pamphlet was published, and I'm still learning about some of the things that I missed.

PHall

How about we let the people running the actual encampment the cadet is applying to answer their questions instead of us guessing.

Eclipse

They are good questions for others.

The OP asked about "other events"

And has anyone from MTWG encampment stepped up yet?



Blanding

Quote from: PHall on February 26, 2020, 12:04:41 amHow about we let the people running the actual encampment the cadet is applying to answer their questions instead of us guessing.

Sorry Sir/Ma'am, I was addressing the poster's question:

Quote from: mtzgamer01 on February 21, 2020, 08:27:26 pmDoes anyone have any suggestions/ideas from their Encampments or other events?

mtzgamer01

Quote from: Blanding on February 25, 2020, 08:12:41 pm
Quote from: mtzgamer01 on February 25, 2020, 03:55:04 pmAs far as I am aware, it is just the interviews.
You should ideally design an activity to evaluate a candidate's ability to solve problems, work as a team, and manage stress. There are tons of these types of leadership problems in the cadet programs curricula. 

I agree that there would be a benefit to conducting a more active and real-world scenario to judge the applicant's skills. I will bring it up with my Commandant and see what she thinks or if there will be time available. We only have less than a day to perform the selections.

Quote from: Eclipse on February 26, 2020, 12:21:05 amAnd has anyone from MTWG encampment stepped up yet?

I have been discussing this with the SM command staff for our Encampment. I was just interested to know what other, more established/successful Encampments have to assist in their cadre selection.

Quote from: PHall on February 26, 2020, 12:04:41 amHow about we let the people running the actual encampment the cadet is applying to answer their questions instead of us guessing.

I feel as though you may have read my original post wrong and think that I am the one applying. I am already the Cadet Commander for the Encampment so I will be part of the team running it.
C/Maj Michael Zielinski
Missoula Comp. Sq. C/CC
MTWG Encampment 2020 C/CC

TheSkyHornet

Do you already have a command staff/top-tier team in place?

This is a good opportunity to delegate this down to your staff (if you have any) and have them contribute.

THRAWN

Why reinvent the wheel? Use some STAR type questions...

https://www.themuse.com/advice/30-behavioral-interview-questions-you-should-be-ready-to-answer

Quote from: mtzgamer01 on February 21, 2020, 08:27:26 pmHi all,

I'm the Encampment Cadet Commander for our Wing and I've been tasked with creating some interview questions for our staff selection weekend but am having some trouble coming up with CAP/Encampment-based questions. Does anyone have any suggestions/ideas from their Encampments or other events?

Thanks!

C/Maj Zielinski
MTWG Encampment Cadet Commander 2020
Strup
"Belligerent....at times...."
AFRCC SMC 10-97
NSS ISC 05-00
USAF SOS 2000
USAF ACSC 2011
US NWC 2016

mtzgamer01

Quote from: TheSkyHornet on March 02, 2020, 07:51:28 pmDo you already have a command staff/top-tier team in place?

This is a good opportunity to delegate this down to your staff (if you have any) and have them contribute.

We do not have any other cadet staff besides myself.

Quote from: THRAWN on March 02, 2020, 09:36:24 pmWhy reinvent the wheel? Use some STAR type questions...

https://www.themuse.com/advice/30-behavioral-interview-questions-you-should-be-ready-to-answer

Quote from: mtzgamer01 on February 21, 2020, 08:27:26 pmHi all,

I'm the Encampment Cadet Commander for our Wing and I've been tasked with creating some interview questions for our staff selection weekend but am having some trouble coming up with CAP/Encampment-based questions. Does anyone have any suggestions/ideas from their Encampments or other events?

Thanks!

C/Maj Zielinski
MTWG Encampment Cadet Commander 2020

I looked at the website and I'll probably pull some questions off of there, thank you for the suggestion.

I'd just like to clarify a little that I was interested in knowing other Encampment's procedures/interview questions for cadet staff selection, rather than receiving websites or suggestions that I should bring it up in my own Wing. Thank you all for your contributions though, I much appreciate it!
C/Maj Michael Zielinski
Missoula Comp. Sq. C/CC
MTWG Encampment 2020 C/CC