Overview: Airmen are the Air Force’s competitive advantage. Command Teams have the primary responsibility to promote and safeguard the morale, physical well-being, and general welfare of Airmen under their command. With this indispensable responsibility, it is essential the Air Force selects only the right Airmen for these positions. In addition to conducting a thorough review of a candidate’s performance records and considering recommendations from functional communities, nomination and/or hiring authorities should conduct candidate interviews and reference checks to obtain input from diverse perspectives and gain a more clear and accurate understanding of the candidate’s behaviors and leadership attributes before candidates are nominated and/or hired to be on command teams.
Interviews: Nomination and/or hiring authorities should conduct interviews to ensure candidates are best equipped to lead in alignment with Air Force values. Interviews are an important tool to build awareness beyond what is offered in performance reports, and help stakeholders identify and advance transformative leaders who embody the Airman Leadership Qualities. The most effective interviews are well-prepared in advance and deliberately assess candidates on specific values or competencies. Structured interviews ensure all candidates have an equal opportunity to provide information and are assessed accurately and consistently. All candidates will be asked the same questions and allotted the same amount of time to answer. All candidates will be evaluated using a common rating scale. Nomination and hiring candidates will be made without discrimination on the grounds of race, color, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity), religion, national origin, or other non-merit factors prohibited by statutes and regulations.
Reference Checks: Nomination and/or hiring authorities should conduct reference checks with candidates’ previous supervisors, peers, and supervisees to create a full picture of the candidate’s behaviors while performing previous duties. The combination of observations from multiple sources creates the most clear and accurate understanding of the candidate and helps predict future success. Reference checks give more than just the candidate’s hard skills, but also communicate if they have the right soft skills for Command Team authority and responsibility. Questions for the reference checks should be open-ended, relevant to Command Team positions, and elicit responses regarding both strengths and weaknesses. Reference checks can also screen for values, opinions, and actions taken to advance diversity, equity, inclusivity, belonging; and leader attributes needed to maintain a unit climate free from sexual assault and sexual harassment.
Until myEval 2.0 matures and can produce readily accessible peer/subordinate/supervisor rating chain data, nomination and/or hiring authorities should contact the candidate’s documented previous supervisors to start the reference process and request the candidate’s supervisors provide contact information for peer/subordinate references. Although this is a laborious process, gaining access to non-candidate provided references is vital to capture clear data and understanding of the candidate’s behaviors and performance in duties.
Feedback: Nomination authorities have a responsibility to provide feedback to Command Team candidates regardless of nomination results. The nomination authority should provide developmental feedback, materials, and coaching tools as part of their nomination process, especially if any potentially derailing leadership behaviors surfaced. The attached listing identifies specific resources available to address common reasons for leader derailment. For more resources, visit MyVector.
For detailed guidance, reference AETC/A3J’s Structured Interviewing Best Practices; rating criteria to evaluate candidate responses (distinguish effective and ineffective responses) to each question are available here.
Developmental Resources [Access at https://digitalu.af.mil/ using hyperlinks below]
Difficulty Adapting to Change
Adapting to Change:
Resilience & Stress Management:
Difficulty Building and Leading a Team
Build & Lead Collaborative Teams:
Feedback and Developing Others:
Failure to Deliver Results
Productivity & Time Management:
Lacking Broad, Strategic Orientation
Difficulties with Interpersonal Relationships
Additional leadership courses, beyond those listed here, are available at https://digitalu.af.mil. Leaders may also use a confidential 360 degree feedback tool (Pathfinder) at MyVector to improve self-awareness and access resources. From the lower left of the MyVector splash page, select “AF Competencies.”
Advancing Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Belongingness
Fostering Belonging & Inclusion
Sexual Harassment/ Sexual Assault Prevention and Victim Care
Sexual Harassment Prevention
Sexual Assault Prevention
(as identified by Center for Creative Leadership)
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