“A guaranteed question in interview”

Aijaz Hussain Malik
A good beginning makes a good end.
Louis L’Amour
Jammu & Kashmir Public Service Commission shall very soon commence the Personality Test for selection of 270 candidates from among 960 aspirants who qualified the Mains Exam. All the efforts that you have put in and all that dedication, perseverance and patience you have lived through during the hectic course of your preparation might all go in vain if your interview begins on a risky note. You have to have a superb interview to make it to the final list. For an impressive interview, an impressive beginning is a must. Because the very first thing you will be asked by the interview board after entering the room and making yourself comfortable would be “tell us something about yourself.” This question – your introduction – determines the future course of your interview and so of your life.
An ordinary introduction may well, leave an ordinary impression on the interview-board. A lengthy, disorganised ‘babble’, on the other hand, may also cause doubts in the minds of board members about your level of preparation and sincerity of purpose, for having adopted a casual approach at such a critical juncture and by the time you are asked to leave, you will find yourself acknowledging the wisdom of the famous time tested maxim, ‘first impression is the last impression.’ God forbid, you sure know the consequences of not availing the opportunity of introducing yourself the way you are expected to!
A good introduction means a great beginning. The sixty seconds or more that you speak about yourself shall convey a clear picture of the kind of person you would like the members to believe you are. This life time opportunity to answer a question that you know you would be surely asked, that too in the very beginning of the interview, thus, demands more attention during your preparation. It is like saying, “give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four hours sharpening the axe.”
So for your own good, prepare your Introduction in such a way that you don’t have to choose at the very moment, what to include and exclude from your details. Be ready well in advance, to introduce yourself in thirty to ninety seconds. However, in some rare cases, introduction may span over two minutes, depending upon the mood of the board. Take a deep contemplated look to recall best experiences and achievements of your life and choose to mention those, which serve your purpose. Avail this small but very significant amount of time to convince the board that you are the right person for the job.
Also, never ever ask anyone, friends or family, to write your Introduction. Abstain strictly from copying anybody elses’ style, whatsoever. Be completely and honestly your own self! You can, however, surely seek suggestions from all nears and dears for improvement. It is also advisable to mention such of your skills, qualities, hobbies and achievements, while concluding the introduction, that will further lead the interview.
An ideal introduction begining with “Thank you for giving me this opportunity” shall essentially comprise of name of the candidate, place of birth, academic qualifications, achievements, experience or project work, strengths, hobbies and ambition.
I remember having been asked mostly about my research topic in M.Phil; and that was what I had emphasised upon while concluding my Introduction. Since my research was about socio-political developments in Kashmir, I was sure about the USP of my research. And to a great extent, I was successful in leading the interview. My introduction saved me from facing questions which probably I would not have otherwise, been able to respond with confidence and conviction. The time tested experience of preparing for the question I surely knew I would be asked any how, worked a lot towards helping me realise my dream of becoming a civil servant.
Now is your turn to help yourself realise your dream!
(The author is District Information Officer, Kupwara)