Jump to content

New Scoutmaster Interview Questions

Recommended Posts

Twocubdad menitioned it, and a few others alluded to it: define what you are looking for; i.e., committee needs to consider the charter organizations mission and the impact that has on the direction and expectaion of the troop; understand where the boys currently are with respect to mission, aims, and most important, program that they want that challenges them and keeps them engaged.

Then consider candidates that relate well to boys, are able to motivate them, and whose goals for the boys line up with those held by the CO.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 33
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

I'm with BDPT on this one - unless the COR and the CO is abrogating their responsibilities to the committee, the committee should be doing nothing more than making a recommendation to the COR/CO, and they shouldn't need a interviewing process to do so. If you don't already know who that natural successor is by now, no interviewing process is going to make it better.


But if the CO/COR is not involved, then I suggest going home, asking your son(s) who their first, second and third choice would be (without telling them who the candidates are), get together with the rest of the committee, who has done the same thing, compare lists, then ask the person at the top of the list one question - and one question only: "Mr. (Ms.) Doe, will you serve as our Troops Scoutmaster?".


But if you insist on going through this "interview" process, then I suggest that you ask if, as Scoutmaster, they will support the Chartering Organization's vision of the Troop, and if they will support the BSA's vision and policies.

Link to post
Share on other sites

If these four individuals are all long-time ASMs then you probably already know them pretty well and have a clear sense of who will be best equipped to do the job. Trust your instinct & go with one who you think most likely has the boys' respect and shares the vision of the program that you hold. As somebody else said, this might or might not be the one who is best at interviews.


But with that said, here are a few I might ask:


"How will you keep yourself (and other well-meaning adults and parents) from stepping into the boys' territory when you know you could do things better/quicker/more efficiently?"


"Billy's parent comes to you and says...(pick an issue that's realistic for your troop)...how would you respond?"


"Billy (or the SPL) comes to you and says the same thing, now how would you respond?"


"What do you think the boys like best about the troop right now?"


"Who do you see as the next generation of youth leaders in the troop?"


"(Pick a recent troop issue). How do you think the troop should handle that? What's the role of adult leaders in this issue?"



In general - look out for people who want the adults to step in and fix all the problems, or who don't seem to have a handle on working with & gaining respect of the young men already in the troop. If they start going on at length about "troop tradition" and "when I was coming up...", RUN the other way.


The last time I was on a committee where SM candidates were "interviewed," one candidate proposed to bar committee members from attending events, said he'd decide on his own which boys were eligible to run for PORs, intended to dictate the troop calendar single-handedly, and wanted to set weekly meeting attendance standards to determine which boys would be "allowed" to go on camp outs as a cure for flagging attendance. Oh, my!


I liked the guy and thought he could have been a good mentor to some of the older boys. His scout skills, knowledge of scouting rules & regs, and organizational capacity were also better than most anybody else in the room. But he wanted to make it "his" troop. I don't think the boys would have stood a chance.

Link to post
Share on other sites

"Ditto" Beavah.

(and with that I think I have set the record for the greatest number of ruffled feathers with the fewest words - ever)


OGE, sure that's not 'Shawshank', instead of 'Sheepshank'?

sorry, couldn't resist.


BTW, Dreyfuss was better in "What About Bob" or that thing about close encounters.(This message has been edited by packsaddle)

Link to post
Share on other sites

It's probably a recommendation you'll make to the COR on the choices... but I would add another way to look at it.


If all the ASMs have been active and have a reasonable amount of respect with the Troop youth, leaders and and Committee you could try this:


Ask the ASM's in turn to recommend an ASM for SM. If they nominate themselves, ask for a 2nd choice, and discount the self-nomination.


Then ask would they have any problem continuing on as an ASM under that choice.


If you have a perfect, group you will have 4 different recommendations... but I bet you'll get 1 to bubble to the top without needing to nominate them selves.(This message has been edited by dg98adams)

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm with Barry, make sure he has a vision.


I attended Strictly for Scoutmasters at Philmont a several years ago and had a very wise instructor (also named Barry) that discussed the importance of a vision statement.


When I meet with prospective WEBELOS parents, I give them a copy of MY PERSONAL vision statement that I wrote for my troop. While some may think it is corny, the parents are impressed. We typically gain 15-25 new scouts per year and hover around 100 scouts.


I actually whet back and read my vision statement about 6 months ago when I ran into an issue with a particular scout and him being able to attain Eagle. I read my vision statement and problem solved. I just turned in his Eagle application to the council 2 weeks ago.


Here is my personal vision statement. Notice I don't use the words "boy run" or "boy led" I purposly use the words "Scout led". I have a similar vision statement I reflect upon for the Ship I am skipper for.


As Scoutmaster of Troop xx, my vision is to help our scouts succeed. To empower the Scouts to be leaders of the Troop. Make available the tools necessary for the Troop to be truly Scout led. To provide the opportunities for scouts to advance to the 1st Class Rank within a year. To insure that opportunities and experiences are available to all scouts and to encourage rank advancement at all levels. To do this by capitalizing on the aims and methods of Scouting, the Scout Oath and the Scout Law. By providing skills training to develop our scouts in leadership, self-discipline, self-reliance, and acceptance of responsibility.


Joe(This message has been edited by GNX Guy)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Here are a few questions I would ask.


1. What is the main responsibility of the scoutmaster? I ask this question during my WEBELOS parent meeting to introduce our troop to them. 100% have gotten the answer wrong.


2. Are you prepared to have every weekend taken up with a scouting event. (This may not apply to smaller troops) 1 weekend camping, 1 or 2 weekends for Eagle projects, 1 weekend for training. 1 weekend for Eagle ceremonies, etc. You get the point.


3. How would you handle this behavior problem....(pick one)


4. This might be the deal breaker...Do you have a trailer hitch or can you pull the trailer?


5. Who do you see as the leader of the troop?


6. Are you prepared to attend all PLC meetings?


7. Are you prepared to attend all committee meetings along with your SPL


I'm sure I could think of more.


Joe(This message has been edited by GNX Guy)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Has anyone really followed this outline? I don't mean the general idea of identifying and recruiting the best candidate (as opposed to picking the low-hanging fruit)but actually working though all the steps 1 thru 7 and A to F? In an existing unit has anyone every gone outside the unit and recruited a non-Scouter with no experience to be the unit leader?


There's some helpful info here, but the premise behind the way this is presented is just silly.

Link to post
Share on other sites

BDPT00 - I don't see how Pixiewife's committee is doing anything really against BSA policy.


According to the BSA pamphlet on selecting quality leaders that you linked to, the Troop should have a committee (I am assuming the members are appointed by the CC, or COR) that helps to select needed Troop leaders. This "recruitment" committee comes up with a list of prospects. The list of prospects are approved by the IH, or COR. The recruitment committee then ranks the prospects based on who they would prefer to have in the position. A few members of the recruitment committee then approach each prospect from first choice down to last choice until one of them accepts the position.


How is this significantly different from Pixiewife's committee interviewing prospects to help them decide on who their first choice is?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yah, first it's worth sayin' that da "Selecting Quality Leaders" outline is just one method offered as guidance. In reality, units do this a number of different successful ways.


Second, if yeh have a real troop committee (as opposed to an "all parents" committee), then da troop committee is the quite natural recruitment/selection committee. Puttin' together an ad hoc committee is something usually done only for new troop startups that don't yet have a functional troop committee, and they both recruit unit leaders and unit committee members. However, I agree with CalicoPenn that if yeh have a really large "all parent" committee, yeh want a smaller more experienced subcommittee to recommend candidates for SM/ASM.


Now, it is worth mentioning to pixiewife that da "Selecting Quality Leaders" bit does not include self-nominations, eh? In fact, that sometimes leads to people running against each other, which can be a bad dynamic. So her committee should feel free to consider candidates outside of the original four if they feel that's the best way to go.




Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, politics.


I do like the vision statement



I will probably end up as SM, I don't think I would apply for the job. If I am asked I would accept it. The COR, CC know that I am willing to step up if asked, they know me and my credentials. If they don't


Beavah might be on to something with looking beyond the eager beavers.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's how we did it (once):

A senior ASM was appointed to be our " selection subcommittee". This guy had experience as an SM and we trusted his judgement a lot. He had been on nearly every camp out that year so he had a good idea of how we all operated.

Anyone willing to take the position told him. It wasn't a big long interview, we just described our level of availability and maybe suggested anyone else who he should consider. The discussion took less than a minute.

He made his recommendation to the committee, the decided on it, and delayed their opinion to the CO. Done.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...