[FTC]: Non-technical topics during interview

Recently, our team had an interview at a Championship event where they were bombarded with question after question on the design and operation of the robot for the full 15 minutes. There was not a single question on anything team or community related, and when the team tried to interject some of their non-robot accomplishments (recruiting demos, mentoring of younger students, preparing training materials, and financially supporting impoverished teams), they were cut off before they could even begin. At the end of the interview, they were practically pushed out the door and had no chance to make additional comments. When they asked if their engineering journal was needed, they were told, “no thanks,” although a different judge came back to retrieve the journal a few hours later.

This was somewhat of a disappointment, because the team has been fairly strong in community service and had hoped to be a possible contender for the Connect Award. Because of the flow of the interview, they simply didn’t know how to appropriately describe what they had done. Last year, they highlighted their community activities with photos in the notebook, but this year’s directive explicitly stated that the notebook is NOT a scrapbook and should only highlight technical design, so they omitted “event-type” entries. We were wondering if anyone had suggestions as to how these types of accomplishments could be introduced in an appropriate way, given the circumstances.

Thankfully, all’s well that ends well. They entered the elimination rounds as underdogs on the #7 alliance, but with unusually good alliance chemistry and a Murphy’s Law-defying robustnest, came away with the Finalist Award. This was the best award they felt deserving of, as the # 1 alliance had 2 amazing robots that they felt stood head and shoulders above the rest.