Education advisor interview winding candidates up?

Another thread from me,

As I mentioned many months ago I took a shot at Main Board and failed it. I'm going back again in a few months time hoping to get the job done right.

However in my preparation - though I'm ready I think for most of what they can throw at me I'm stuck on a particular interview in question.

The interview was with the Education Advisor - and the other folks in my team experienced the same. He was deliberately trying to wind us up I believe, I can't tell what the appropriate response should have been, was it part of the course or was he just a dick?

For instance someone came from a poor background, he suggested "So your parents aren't successful in any way shape or form then really?"
To myself he was similarly disparaging about going to an all boys school, something about being gay but I can't remember how he phrased it. Similarly when I mentioned I loved the book by Gen Sir Richard Dannatt (name escapes me - woops) he said "...but you're not in love with him are you?" And when I cocked up the arithmatic question he fed me, he said "that was a very long and painful way of getting that wrong"

I of course chuckled it off. But I also failed - so I'm starting to wonder. Should I have been more forthright and bantered back? Or was chuckling and not arguing with him the right point (as I'm sure i failed on command task/plan ex). It still confuses me. I can imagine they would deliberately through a ******** interview at you to see that you don't bite. Nobody wants to serve under someone who can't keep their cool. But as they are also lookin for confidence and character perhaps to cut the problem down at the root would have been a wise move as well? However he is the education advisor - so why the hell have him be the standoffish one?

Another candidate had to contend with him nodding off mid interview. Very offputting, but it had to have been intentional...right?
This confuses me a bit. I vaguely recall reading somewhere that people applying to join the other ranks would expect banter and would be expected to give back as some sort of proof that they'd fit in with 'Army life'. As an aspiring Officer, however, I think that giving back is probably a fail on the criteria - rather I think these situations might be a test to see how you face down adversity in a composed and intelligent manner.

For example - regarding the poor background question, I would've expected the candidate to say that success can be measured in more ways than financial, and (were they my parents) perhaps suggested something about them that I considered to be a success.

The falling asleep thing I've heard about too - the article suggested that getting up, leaving quietly and leaving a note with your name and contact details on it was the way to go. I imagine this isn't really an option at this interview however, so I'd probably just keep on talking and try not to grin. ;)
I had a similarly interesting interview with the education advisor, although perhaps not quite as bad as him nodding off. He was a rather interesting character, and unfortunately for me the interviews were being moderated and someone sat in on all of mine.

My other two interviews went very well, and my education interview was the middle one. Right off I got greeted in Portuguese, when I looked a little puzzled, he said that I had put that I spoke Portuguese on my CV, I smiled slightly baffled, as being poor at languages and having only taken French to GCSE level I knew I would never have said that, and I made a small joke out of this with him and the moderator, but I still don’t know if he did this just to throw me off. The interview continued in a similarly apparent downward spiral, to the end when I messed up the long arithmetic question, but got the Speed Distance Time question right and he made a rather derogatory remark about how I could do one and not the other. I left the interview baffled at my perceived poor performance, and made a joke of it later with the rest of my team, who also felt this had been their weakest interview. My feedback post AOSB said I had done well in all of my interviews, so no idea what was going on. Just make sure you do your best and if you feel one bit didn’t go as well as you hoped, don’t let it bother you for the rest of the assessments.
Even at briefing I got some real stick and just laughed and smiled, with the occasional come-back but making sure not to cross the line, considering this was an assessment of me, not him.

One of the girls in my group had a troubled time when she was a teenager and simply broke when he wound her up about it. Yes it may bring up some painful memories or just infuriate you, but you need to show resilience and that you can take banter.

You're applying for the army, not Brownies.
See this is where I came unstuck, it didnt bother me, but then I wondered if I should have made more of a point at 'standing up for myself'. He was retired household cavalry I believe. So I scoffed the homosexual remarks off and tried to stay chirpy. But if he had called my family 'unsuccessful' or whatnot, I know I would have quipped something akin to "well it seems to me narrow minded to define success monetarily". But I can only see that getting me a swift kicking, or worse - marked down for my cheek.

To modify it into "well perhaps they could be considered to have found success in other pursuits than monetarily, they've lived a good life". Might have done wonders, but even at that - is a retort cheeky in itself?

Or if they fell asleep "sorry sir am I boring you?".

It is a bit of a minefield. Im uncertain as to whether to just be a chuckling smiley chap who says little in rebuttal again, or perhaps show a bit of gumption and quibble.
I would say you could easily get away with saying something which states that they might not be financially wealthy, but in terms of family/friends they are as wealthy as they could wish to be. Simply stating that money isn't everything, without calling the Col' narrow minded.

When in my soldier application, I had a lot of banter with the Sgts and WO1 - Namely with the WO1 offering to take my girlfriend and give her a good seeing to so that she wasn't going to cloud my judgement. However simple comebacks and jives are taken light-heartedly when they're appropriate.

You could also take the opportunity to say that you perhaps wish to excel as an officer, even without a lavish and worry-free upbringing. State that although your family may have not being financially diverse, you feel it builds character and appreciationg having to work for something rather than have it handed to you on a plate.
Hahahahahaha. So many memories.

My education advisor, called me arrogant, abstract but intelligent in 1 sentence.

He called me Jay in the interview from the momemt I answered questions about my most recently read novel (Great Gatsby) and also commented the economy on civvy street could use guys like me, and maybe it was the Armies gift to the retail sector.

I think he's funny as hell personally, don't take him or yourself too seriously and you should be okay.


Im told some just do this as their 'interview style' keep a cool head and laugh it off. Don't be cheeky, as said above you can be 'assertive' without coming across like a prick.
Wow...sounds like the Army has changed it's interview style since I joined and now it's seen as appropriate to be a dick and a bully to the interviewee. Clearly some people need to realise it's the interviewee grading the organisation as well as the other way round. How does being offensive grade anyone?!

As for retired Officers in recruiting posts, don't get me started. A bigger bunch of stuck in the mud ********* I've yet to meet. They're so far out if touch with the modern Army and modern Officers it's embarrassing to see them at work.
Seriously, education interview... it's just another character test that's all it is - they don't need to know anything about you're education as it's all on the CV. And one maths question, it's all a game.

Nothing wrong with a bit of banter. If you can't survive a bit of banter, good luck at Sandhurst!

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