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Thread: BEX Advice
01-08-2004, 17:48 #1Cadet
- Join Date
- Aug 2002
- Anchorage, Alaska
After enjoying the benefits of this forum for the past two years I thought I would chime in to add my two cents worth of advice on how to prepare for BEX (Board of Examiners) for DSS (Diplomatic Security Service).
1)Be Well Prepared- Know the Department, know the Agency, and know the job. In addition, be sure to review your application materials and essays. Suggested minimum reading includes: your application, Relentless Pursuit by Samuel Katz, Inside a U.S. Embassy (2003 edition) by American Foreign Service Association (AFSA), and the last yearâ€™s worth of the â€œEconomistâ€ magazine and â€œForeign Policyâ€ magazine. Also review the following websites for current data: http://www.afsa.org/, http://www.state.gov/m/ds/, and (obviously) http://www.911jobforums.com/.
2)Be Well Groomed- Clearly making a good impression requires professional business attire. It is important to remember that at least one of the people you will interact with is a career Foreign Service Officer (FSO) not a DSS agent. This is your one chance to show you can properly participate in diplomatic society. From the outside looking in it seems that â€œblending inâ€ is as critical to success as your law enforcement/protective skills.
3)Be Well Rested- If you have to travel a significant distance to your BEX location try to arrive a day early. This is to insure you can find the location, judge your travel time to site to guarantee a prompt arrival, and get a full nightâ€™s sleep. Try to arrive approximately 15 minutes prior to your appointment. If the process is moving well they will start you early.
In summary, the three things you can control prior to any competitive interview are being well prepared, well groomed, and well rested. If you do those things you will be confident. Confidence is the key to presenting yourself well. Remember confidence NOT arrogance.
I hope this advice is helpful. Any more specific advice could violate non-disclosure. As with anything your solution on how to prepare may be very different. Good luck. - AKPHULE
01-08-2004, 18:15 #2Chief
- Join Date
- Oct 2001
I would agree that those are the primary things you should do to prepare, if I could add some things:
1. Be early enough so you can do a last minute check in the rest room, nothing worse than coming into an interview and your gigline is all out of whack.
2. Standard interview protocol dictates: don't sit until asked or until they do, mimic body movements (good communicators do), smile when they smile, and try to relax.
3. Pick up a news paper and read beyond the first page, this is good for BEX and life enrichment.
4. Think before you speak, and if you don't know, don't bluff it just think your way through it and you should be fine.
Have fun, learn, and for God's sake, a hand shake is your hand in a 90 degree angle with the floor, don't grasp until the space between your thumb and fingers hits theirs and its one, two, three and release.
Have a nice day."For me, to live is Christ, to die is gain."
01-09-2004, 07:31 #3Rookie
- Join Date
- Oct 2002
Here's another little tip: if they have the recruiting/propaganda pamphlets out in the waiting area, read them!
Something that I did a long time ago when preparing for interviews was to make a list of my favorite life stories. I then described each in a paragraph, then wrote down the "so what" - what I did/what happened because of it, and then what I learned.
After doing that list, I categorized it by what the experience was useful for.
Finally, I wrote down every conceivable question I could think of that an interviewer would ask, and annotated what story I'd use.
This was a lot of work, but well worth it in the long run.
Reviewing the questions and thinking about what updates would be really helps focus me for the interview.
01-09-2004, 08:12 #4
Great advice! Keep it coming. I have the BEX in less than two weeks and have devoted my spare time to preparation. I've been keeping up to date on worldly events (even the ones that I usually skip), but I haven't been reviewing the workings of an Embassy. I will add that to my list.
No one mentioned writing samples. Is there something I need to review for this section?
and your gigline is all out of whack
01-09-2004, 08:27 #5LeCarre Guest
And I know I've said this before, but pick up a copy of "Interviewing for Dummies" and spend the weekend working on the practical exercises. They'll help you dig deep into your personal inventory and when they ask the question, "So, why do you think you'd be good at this job?" You'll have a well thought out answer.
To paraphrase the Chicago SAC that I met with this week, please keep in mind that they're not looking for a hardcore "enforcer" terminator type. The job entails the selling of security programs to non-security types (embassy personnel) and the ability to interract effectively on a social level in order to get your job done. On that basis, he said, a lot of prior military/law enforcement personnel can have a hard time, particularly if you're a "my way or the highway" type. Further, most DSS folks aren't required to be CQB specialists and almost anyone can be taught to shoot and move well. The interpersonal communication skills come with time.
01-09-2004, 13:08 #6
GREAT advice, all of you. I'd add some advice if I could think of anything else, but it looks like everything's been covered! It sounds like not only did you have a successful BEX, but you all seem to have a very good handle on interviewing in general.
I hope to see you all on board soon.