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New Scoutmaster Interview Questions

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I like the idea that the PLC gets to have a say in who is the new SM. If I were running I'd promise free ice cream for all scouts at every meeting. Bet I would win over the other guy who wants to do that stupid patrol method thing ;)

Our committee votes on SM every Nov. I never apply but someone keeps putting my name in.

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I'm wondering why this type of interview would be required at all? Is there a cross section of non-candidate ASMs, committee members and parents that are fairly heavily involved in the program, and can provide feedback on each candidate? Actions speak louder than words, and I would hope you would already have a good idea of each candidates' strengths and weaknesses without needing to ask specific "interview" questions.


If you absolutely feel the need to do an interview, I'd say follow two general guidelines:

1) Don't bother asking questions you already know the answer to. Don't ask "What are your strengths and weaknesses?" -- Surely your committee already has a good idea of the candidate's strengths and weaknesses after working with them in the troop for several years. Same thing with boy-led and the patrol method - that's something better evaluated by direct observation, not contrived interview questions.

2) Don't bother with questions whose answers you can't or won't use. In other words, skip the trick questions, the abstract ideological questions, the philosophical questions, the hypothetical situations, etc. Stick to real concrete concerns and issues that actually affect your unit.


In my own opinion, examples of good questions would be:


1) Can you REALLY make this time commitment? (And be sure to provide examples of typical "Scouting weeks" from the current SM)

2) In the event of unavoidable conflicts, how will you ensure that the troop program continues in your absence.

3) Which adults do you see as being your "primary backups?" Are they prepared to take on an increase in responsibility (if applicable)?


While I like the idea of talking about Vision Statements, I'd caution that it's very easy to write a very cerebral-sounding statement that's "all fluff," devoid of any actual substantial content, and generic enough to mean pretty much anything. If you do go this route, be sure to keep the discussion focused on real, concrete goals and plans with measurable results.


I know I may catch some flack for this position, but I'd actually discourage you from approaching the PLC or any Scouts for that matter when making this decision. There's a couple of reasons: for starters, the SM is not elected, he or she is appointed in accordance with the CO's vision for the unit. Sometimes the CO's vision is different from the boys' vision and desires - and that's not necessarily a bad thing. A Scout's reason for liking or disliking a certain candidate may not be a valid reason. You also run the risk of a situation like "We all voted for Mr. A, but Mr. B got the job! Outrage! Conspiracy! etc. etc."


Again, hopefully you know by direct observation how each of the candidates works with the youth, how they're respected by the youth, etc. So it seems like there's very limited value in interviewing the youth, and the potential for misunderstanding and unhappiness if you do.


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