Indians kids are blessed with futuristic parents who keep nudging their kids for aiming bigger in life and strive to touch skies following the path of their dreams. And, why I mentioned this in the beginning of the article is because, to conquer the challenges in life and bring our dreams into existence, parental support is of upmost importance. UPSC Civil Services, being such coveted and highly aimed for career options, not only promises job security and a decent salary package, but also offers you back a sense of satisfaction when you serve the diverse society towards their collective benefit.
For those who are on their path to fulfil their dream of entering into Civil Services and have cracked two crucial most stages of the exam already, and are looking forward to the third and most decisive phase i.e the Interview. This article is an endeavour to empower the aspirants with everything they need to know to crack this crucial stage of Civil Services Exam; from basic tips to some Do’s & Don’ts for the UPSC interview stage.
The final stage being equally challenging and important to get through to make place in the final list, it is important to get experts’ tips on how to handle interview and face the board of competent observers who will judge you based on your personality, communication skills including both verbal and non-verbal, your body language, your decision-making skills and many other factors. Practice before going for the final quest is equally important, and therefore, enrolling for mock interviews is strongly recommended.
Crucially decisive phase of Civil Services Examination, Interview or personality Test, unlike the previous 2 stages, (Prelims and Main) does not have any defined syllabus. The board members seek your explanations and logical views on current happenings, Government initiatives and the current issues being faced by the people in our country. Majorly, the test will revolve around your Detailed Application Form (DAF) that will speak much about you, so ensure filling it up very carefully, as it represents your academic and personal background, your likes and dislikes, your hobbies and your overall personality. As major part of your interview will be based on your DAF, you will also be assessed on your way of presenting your views, your communication, (both verbal and non-verbal) along with your knowledge on the topics of your interest.
In case you fail to attend the Interview on the scheduled date and time, you will be considered absent at the Interview and will not get another chance to appear before the Interview Panel for this attempt.
Tips to help
Be regular with Newspaper Reading – As a Civil Services aspirants, you must by now be well versed about the importance of Newspaper reading for the coverage of current affairs and factual part of the examination. Religiously following Newspapers helps you get much aware of the happenings around you and frame your own opinions on various situations of National & International importance. Interview questions could be around anything and being prepared is the best you can do.
Upskill your hobbies – Since very childhood, we have been motivated by our parents to develop a constructive hobby and nurture it. But with time we often tend to get over it. Hobbies are not always a pastime activity, but if nurtured well, it can help you explore another dimension of your personality and fine tune your inbuilt skill or talent. And this is why UPSC gives importance to hobbies at the interview round to understand the true personality and inbuilt talent of a candidate. We all have a hobby; we just need to nurture it. So, now take that hobby seriously, gain sound background knowledge about it and get ready to be questioned on the same lines at UPSC Interview round.
UPSC Mock Interview are a must – Mock Interviews are crucial in preparation for Civil Services personality test as they give you a sense of real Interview scenario and get you prepared for the real quest. Facing an eminent panel from the Civil Services Industry itself will help you boost your confidence to speak yourself in a more professional manner, keeping your point efficiently. While Mock interviews help you understand the psychology of the Panel members; the post Interview discussion with the panel further helps you analyse the weaker areas of your personality and improvise on them. Hence taking up at least 2 to 3 Mock Interviews with a reputed IAS Academy is a must to excel in Civil Services Interview phase.
Prepare yourself mentally – Candidates preparing for the most coveted Civil Services examination, often tend to clog their mind with the overloaded burden of information required to excel in the initial 2 stages, Prelims and Mains; but then Interview demands more stable, calm and composed mind. If you are sure that you know things and the related concepts are clear, you can easily crack the interview with your confidence. So, don’t just mug up the information but prepare yourself. Practice speaking on important topics with your seniors/elders and try to be parts of discussions and debates. Read news stories and try to identify the important associated aspects and the connection with the other events that are happening around us. The more you practice speaking your point with logical reasoning, the better are the chances to crack Civil Services Interview, as the interviewers only want to know how smartly you can handle a simple or tricky question or a situation.
for personality test:
The List is compiled from the official UPSC website (www.upsc.gov.in) and in consideration with experiences of candidates who have faced the Interview Panel. We will suggest re-checking latest UPSC Notifications for any changes (if made):
a) Matriculation or original copies of equivalent certificate to verify the Name and Date of Birth along with as self-attested photo copy
b) Original copy of the degree of graduation as a proof of education qualification (If original degree certificates are not issued, carry provisional certificates and/or mark-sheets) along with a self-attested photo copy
c) 2 recent passport size photographs. One of them must be self-attested
d) Hard copy of the E-summon letter
o Additional documents (case by case basis)
a) Original copy of Caste/Tribe Certificate along with a photocopy of the same
b) Original copy of Physical Disabilities Certificate (If any). Also DWE certificate for PH-1(LDCP)
c) Certificates in support of age relaxation for corresponding categories
e) TA form – two copies plus proof of journey (for outstation candidates)
f) Affidavit (in case of minor name discrepancies)
o Documents to be sent to Department of Personal and Training (DoPT): A copy of the attestation form duly filled along-with six copies of the same, each duly signed in. Don’t forget to affix signed passport size photograph (most recent one) on the same.
Do’s & Don’ts for the
Civil Services Interviews:
Do’s: At this stage of Civil Services examination, an aspirant must follow certain golden principles to make sure they leave an ever lasting impression on the Interview panel.
a) Confidence is the key: Civil Services Interview is more than just an Interview. As mentioned already it is a complete personality test assessing a candidate’s suitability for the very responsible position of Civil Administrator. You are sitting at this very reputed office to give a life changing interview, so be confident and believe in your capabilities. Maintain a decently upright posture while sitting and eye contact with the panel members at all the time. When you are interactive with the panel and they can feel your involvement in the discussion, you are sure to leave an impact.
b) Be Concise: Panel at the UPSC Interview is keenly looking for confident leaders who can be team players at the same time. Ensure, through your answers, that you let them know that you are that deserving person. Express your views and points to whatever is being asked, but make sure you are to the point with a concised approach. Try not being repetitive with your logics or words, stay around the topic and frame interesting answers, as your audience will have all their ears to you.
Present the best version of you: UPSC Panel is seeking a very efficient administrator and, hence you are expected to present the best of who you are and effectively handle the questions. This is your chance to show the panel and the world the best version of you and outshine your capabilities by cracking UPSC Civil Services Examination. Be who you are, present your views maintaining a humble tone, respect the panel and show the required traits of your personality like empathy, decision making skills, leadership, etc. wherever required.
a) Don’t panic: You are sitting at a place where thousands dream to reach. Respect yourself enough for this very fact and do not panic in any situation. Be very confident and keep your views before the panel. Even in case of a difference in opinion, be very calm and take the arguments of the opposite side in an accepting way. Do not get nervous or panic if proved wrong. You at-least tried responding to the best of your knowledge and the panel will acknowledge the fact.
b) Over-confidence ruins it up: The exam panel is highly experienced and reputed in their own fields and therefore don’t try to be over confident in front of them. Keep your opinion efficiently, but don’t argue to prove your point. Along with a good speaker, be an efficient listener. Balance the discussion with a light and healthy conversation.
c) Avoid fidgeting all the time: This is one habit the examiners will never appreciate and hence you must avoid fidgeting with your hands, clothes, handkerchief or anything.
(The author is Director, Chanakya IAS Academy)