The USAFA Interview Holds Significant Weight for the Admissions Process

The Air Force Academy (USAFA) puts a good deal of weight on their interview.  It is likely worth up to 50% of the panel score or about 10% of the overall weighting. The interview will be conducted by an Air Force Academy Liaison Officer, assigned to you during your initial application process. You can look up who your ALO is on the application portal.

 The Interview is used to assess officership and leadership potential by discerning alignment of the student’s values with Air Force character/core values. Self-confidence, human relations predisposition, planning and organizing ability, communication skills, leadership ability, and motivation toward the Air Force are all areas you will be rated in as the interviewee. 

You can get additional tips for video interviews in our post here.

What Your ALO is Looking For

If you are preparing for your Admissions Liaison Officer (ALO) interview, your ALO will pay special attention to your demonstrated ability to get things done and to be successful, assessment of your ability to control situations with your presence and speaking ability, assessment of how well you will fit into the Air Force and military lifestyle, as well as your level of physical fitness. We’ve included the types of interview questions you can expect from your ALO. You can read more about USAFA entrance requirements here

Most interviews are done by an ALO at the candidate’s home, at the representative’s home or office, in a neutral location or by telephone/Skype when there is too much distance between the representative and the candidate.  

The Interview is scored in seven (7) topical areas:

Interview Areas

Overall Recommendation for Selection
Character/Core Values
Self-Confidence
Human Relations
Planning and Organizing
Communicative Skills
Leadership
Motivation Toward Air Force

Overall Recommendation for Selection

The overall recommendation rating is based on the sum of the applicant’s responses to the questions posed, the manner in which the applicant conducted themselves during the interview, the interviewer’s experience as an Admissions Liaison Officer, and his/her experience as an Air Force officer. Basically, it asks how strongly the interviewer recommends the applicant a scholarship. The manner you conduct yourself with your Air Force Academy liaison officer matters! 

Character/Core Values

Military officers do the right thing for the right reasons, all the time. It means doing the right thing whether someone is watching or not. They are loyal first to the Constitution and nation, then to the institutional Air Force, then to their units, then to their wingmen, and finally to themselves. They do not tolerate deviations from what is right from subordinates, peers, superiors or friends.

Typical Question:  What does integrity mean to you? 

Self Confidence

Military officers are self-confident. They are confident in their ability to accomplish assigned missions and their ability to control themselves. They project a calm, unflappable, martial image regardless how challenging the environment so as to inspire confidence among their subordinates. Military officers know how to be, and are, in charge when appropriate.

The main question the interviewer is attempting to answer is how the applicant holds him or herself, maintains eye contact, interacts with, and speaks to the interviewer.  The candidate should demonstrate confidence and advanced social skills. They should be comfortable with the interviewer, be judged assertive and competitive, and seem to be high- energy optimists.  The interviewer should not have to pull out answers from the candidate.  

Typical Question:  What are the priorities in your life? What do you truly care about? 

Human Relations

Military officers are comfortable working in teams and they value the inherent strengths that come from teams made up of people with different backgrounds and perspectives. They are respectful of others. They understand that high performing teams are characterized by common goals, shared responsibility for success and appropriate leadership-followership relationships.

The main question the interviewer is attempting to answer is how skilled a leader the candidate is.  The candidate should be able to cite several examples of instances where he/she has influenced and/or directed others to accomplish a task. The candidate will be able to describe task that needed to be done, how he/she worked through others to take the action needed to get it done, and the impact of accomplishing the task. The focus is on influencing others to get something  done.

Typical Question:  Tell me about a situation you were involved in that consisted of a very different or diverse environment (either culturally, ethnically, or religiously), and what you learned from this experience.

Planning and Organizing

Military officers get things done. They are able to determine how best to divide large tasks into smaller parts and then develop plans to accomplish them. They are able to set priorities and manage their time accordingly, then organize themselves and others to accomplish the priority tasks. Then, they relentlessly apply themselves until they get the job done.

The main question the interviewer is attempting to answer is how driven the candidate is to accomplish assigned tasks or goals to the best of his/her ability. These candidates are often described as responsible, dependable, or ethical professionals who have an exceptional work ethic. They are good planners, for whom initiative is a strong suit; they have an intrinsic need to achieve. The focus of these bullets is on doing what it takes to get something done.

Typical Question:  Can you give me an example of when you had too much to do? How did you resolve the conflicts in your schedule? How did you establish priorities for your efforts?

Communication Skills

Military officers are clear verbal communicators. They recognize that clear communication requires effective listening, careful thought, and articulate and appropriate responses. They have exceptional verbal delivery.

The main question the interviewer is attempting to answer is how skilled a leader the candidate is.  The candidate should be able to cite several examples of instances where he/she has influenced and/or directed others to accomplish a task. The candidate will be able to describe tasks that needed to be done, how he/she worked through others to take the action needed to get it done, and the impact of accomplishing the task. The focus is on influencing others to get something done.

Typical Question:  Please describe for me a frustrating experience you faced and how you handled it.

Leadership

Military officers are effective leaders. They are skilled at influencing and directing others in order to accomplish a task. They have a knack for employing group problem-solving, developing commitment from teammates, delegating and following-up on tasks, and motivating the people they work with to accomplish a group goal.

The main question the interviewer is attempting to answer is how skilled a leader the candidate is.  The candidate should be able to cite several examples of instances where he/she has influenced and/or directed others to accomplish a task. The candidate will be able to describe task that needed to be done, how he/she worked through others to take the action needed to get it done, and the impact of accomplishing the task. The focus is on influencing others to get something done.

Typical Question:  Please tell me about an activity in which you served as a formal or informal leader.

Motivation toward the Air Force

The path to an Air Force officer‘s commission through AFA is challenging. A cadet has to complete a rigorous undergraduate program while they are learning the distinctly military elements of their chosen career. Success takes drive and motivation.

The main question the interviewer is attempting to answer here is how well the applicant will fit into AFA and the Air Force. Can the interviewer envision the applicant in an Air Force uniform, embracing Air Force values, willing to cede the individual liberty required of a military professional?

Typical Question:  Why do you want to be an Air Force Officer?

Bottom Line for your Air Force Academy Liaison Officer Interview

Become educated on the typical questions the ALO will ask you.  If you practice these questions and formulate good answers, you will be that much closer to an Air Force Academy admission!