34 Royal Air Force (RAF) interview questions with answers

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 20 October 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

If you're interested in joining the Royal Air Force (RAF), going through a selection interview is one of the essential elements of the process. During the interview, an experienced RAF recruiter is likely to ask about your personality, motivation, background and knowledge. Reviewing some questions they might ask is an effective way to prepare and pass your selection interview. In this article, we list 34 RAF interview questions, explain why interviewers ask them and provide sample answers, which you can use as a source of inspiration while preparing for your interview.

General RAF interview questions

During the first few minutes, the interviewer is likely to ask you some general RAF interview questions. This includes questions about your personality and career aspirations. Since joining the RAF requires a significant lifestyle change, they may also ask about your living situation and if you and your family have made appropriate preparations. Your answers to these general questions show how well you've analysed this step in your career and if you have the basic qualities of an aspiring RAF officer, like integrity or commitment to active duty. Here are general questions you can expect to hear:

  1. Why do you want to join the RAF?

  2. How does your family feel about your idea to become an RAF officer?

  3. Where do you live and how long have you been there?

  4. Which RAF branches interest you and why?

  5. If you could change one thing about your personality, what would it be?

  6. How would someone who knew you as a child describe your professional potential?

  7. If your application is unsuccessful, what do you plan to do?

  8. What are some of your weaknesses as an aspiring officer?

  9. What qualities are essential for RAF officers?

  10. What do you do in your spare time?

Related: What is an armed forces training and education officer?

Questions about background and experience

After learning about you as a person, the interviewer may want to ask about your background and experience. Since the RAF selection interview welcomes people as young as 16 years old, this section of an interview often covers topics like GCSE or A-level results. It's also likely that the interviewer may ask about any professional experience you have, including skills you can use to advance your career in the RAF. Here are some questions about background and experience for aspiring RAF officers:

  1. How has your education prepared you for this role?

  2. What A-level results did you get and how do you feel about them now?

  3. Do you have experience travelling or staying away from home for extended periods?

  4. Did you play any sports at school?

  5. Do you have any leadership experience?

  6. What's your proudest professional or academic accomplishment?

  7. What have you done in the past six months to prepare for this role?

  8. What responsibilities have you had that prepared you for joining the RAF?

  9. What steps did you take to gain more knowledge of the RAF and the application process?

  10. Have you ever worked in a role that required you to remain on call 24/7?

Related: Average fighter pilot salary and the factors that affect it

In-depth RAF interview questions

During the second half of your RAF interview, you may expect some in-depth questions that test your role-specific knowledge. This may involve questions about the equipment that the RAF uses and the training you expect to undergo. It's also helpful for interviewers to understand if you're aware of the current state of the armed forces and any challenges they're facing. Here are some in-depth RAF questions for which you can prepare:

  1. What's the primary role of the RAF?

  2. How does an RAF officer's role differs when they work overseas?

  3. What types of aircraft does the RAF operate?

  4. Can you list the RAF's overseas bases?

  5. What challenges is the RAF facing right now?

  6. What elements are a part of standard RAF training?

  7. What qualifications do you expect to gain during Phase 2 of your training?

  8. Where in the world is RAF operating right now?

  9. Where does the RAF recruit training take place?

  10. List five RAF bases and describe their functions.

Related: 13 types of jobs in the British Armed Forces (and salaries)

Example RAF interview questions with answers

Carefully analysing questions and reviewing sample answers is a great way to prepare for a job or selection interview, also when joining the armed forces. Here are some additional RAF interview questions with explanations and sample answers:

1. How many countries are currently in NATO?

To become an RAF officer, it's necessary that you meet various requirements that include a certain amount of experience and good physical health. Extensive knowledge of the country's political scene can also help you excel in an interview. Interviewers may ask more theoretical questions, like this one about the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), to determine if you're aware of the partnerships and alliances of which the country is a part.

Example: 'At the moment, there are 30 countries in NATO. When NATO was formed in 1949, there were only 12 countries, including the UK, which were the alliance's founding members. To make it possible for other countries to join, it was obligatory that the North Atlantic Council, NATO's decision-making body, invites them first. One of the last countries that joined NATO was North Macedonia in 2020.'

Related: Interview with a pilot: definition and how to prepare

2. Integrity is one of the key characteristics of successful RAF officers. How would you define this quality?

To join the armed forces, it's necessary that you know and agree with the key characteristic of an RAF officer. These characteristics include respect, integrity, service and excellence, known as RISE. Interviewers may ask you about them, as your answer can tell them if you're familiar with the RAF ethos.

Example: 'In my opinion, integrity is the ability to stay true to my values and do what is right regardless of circumstances. As a member of the Royal Air Force, I plan to maintain my integrity by building honest working relationships with my colleagues, keeping my word and always showing respect to RAF officers, even when it requires that I make personal sacrifices. I'm also ready to take full responsibility for my actions, which is an integral part of this characteristic.'

Related: 8 frequently asked integrity interview questions (with example answers)

3. Do you think you can handle the discipline that the RAF requires you to maintain?

Discipline is a fundamental part of serving in the Royal Air Force. It's every officer's responsibility to cultivate self-discipline and interviewers often ask about this during interviews. Analysing your answer tells them whether or not you're likely to adjust to this unique lifestyle and have the potential to maintain discipline both on and off duty.

Example: 'Yes. In fact, I've already started preparing by adjusting my everyday life. For instance, I get up at 5 a.m. every morning and go for a five-mile run before breakfast. This helps me maintain a steady routine and maintain a high fitness level, which I know is a requirement in this programme. In addition, I created a weekly schedule that outlines at-home tasks for which I'm responsible, including cleaning or ironing. Although I realise that adjusting to the programme can be challenging, I've been actively cultivating self-discipline to ease that transition.'

Related: What is work ethic and why is it important?

4. What civilian skills can you gain from your trade training?

If you aspire to join the RAF, it's necessary to decide which RAF trade you want to pursue. Depending on your potential and aspirations, some roles include air operations or engineering. Knowing which one you want to pursue and what it involves can help you impress recruiters and position yourself as a self-aware candidate.

Example: 'After undergoing RAF training, I aspire to become an armourer. Armourers are some of the most specialised RAF officers who sweep bomb dumps or maintain and load aircraft missiles. I think that becoming an armourer can help me develop various civilian skills, including patience and strong attention to detail.'

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