UPSC Civil Services Exam Interview Guidance

UPSC Civil Services Exam Interview Guidance

UPSC Civil Services Exam Interview Guidance

UPSC Civil Service Exam Aspirant, if you are a beginner for IAS and just about to start or just started your journey of IAS preparation. You must want to know complete detailed information about different stages of UPSC Civil Service Exam or Tips for UPSC Civil Services Interview – Do’s and don’ts for the 3rd stage the PI (Personal Interview) round, and How to prepare for UPSC Interview? If this is so then go on and read the full article.

About Personality Test or Interview Exam for UPSC Civil Service Exam

The Interview round of the UPSC Civil Services Exam is conducted in Delhi at the UPSC office.

The length of the interview round is not fixed but the longer the interview of the candidate lasts, the higher is the chances for a good score of the candidate.

The interview marks are added to the marks obtained in the second round Mains Exam and after that, the final merit list is prepared by UPSC.

The interview marks are not disclosed immediately after the interview round and can be known only at the declaration of the final results of candidates by the UPSC.

The interview is conducted by various boards constituted by the Union Public Service Commission.

The list of the board being faced by the candidate is given out at the time of declaring the dates of the interviews and it is expected from the interviewees to do some research of their board members.

7 Aspirants about double the number of vacancies are selected through the mains exams round and called to appear for the PT.

8 PT is of 275 marks as per the UPSC report, it is noticed that 90 percent of the candidates who qualify for the interview hover around the minimal percentage of 55 percent prescribed for the exam.

9 Candidates can’t get less than 55 marks in the interview round but candidates must know it’s not enough to get into the final merit list.

10 If a candidate wanted to be assured of a Class I service, the candidate has to obtain about 58 percent marks. It is noticed that only those candidate who scores above 60 percent is sure of getting a Civil Service of their own choice.

11In short, candidates need to get a good ranking for a better service allotment, one should strive to get at least 200 marks and above in the interview round forgetting of the IAS and other Group A services.

12 Since the interview round is so crucial and it is variable and personal, extra preparation is required to tackle this personality test round. Here are some tips that you must go through when you are preparing for your personality test round.

Documents to be submitted at the UPSC CSE Personality test round:

The following documents have to be submitted at the time of the UPSC CSE Personality Test round to Board for Civil Services Examination:

SC/ST Certificate Performa, Undertaking, Physically Handicapped Certificate Performa, OBC Certificate Performa, Performa of Hailing from Certificate Questionnaire, Attestation Form, TA Form.

The Questionnaire, TA Form and Attestation Form are available at the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC ) official website. If you have applied under SC/ ST/ OBC/ Physically Handicapped category then fill in and submit the respective certificate.

The certificates are available for print out at the UPSC site –

The candidates are requested to carry the following documents for the Civil Service interview round:

Filled Questionnaire: The seven-page questionnaire is required for the analysis and research section of UPSC CSE and this questionnaire is used for assessing background information of the candidates appearing for the personality test or interview round. This questioner needs to be completely filled and submitted at the time of the interview round.

The questionnaire is divided into several sections:

  • Background of the candidate
  • Employment status
  • Previous Civil Services attempts
  • Education particulars
  • Background of Parents/Guardian
  • Source of information for Civil Services
  • Competitive exams cleared
  • Reasons for interest in Civil Services
  • Coaching attended
  • The optional subject has chosen
  • Attestation Form: The attestation form has to be filled by the aspirants before taking an interview round with required details including nationality, residence, education and has to be signed by a Gazetted officer before being submitted at the time of the interview round.

Types of questions asked at the Interview or Personality test round:

The candidate appearing for the interview round will be given questioners to be filled up and submitted UPSC board at the time of your interview round.

The candidates are advised to formulate their answers carefully because the interview panel may or may not ask questions from your form that you have filled and submitted to the UPSC before your interview round.

3 Some of the famous questions which are asked by the Interview panel are:

  • Name – Relating to your name like any famous personality who has a same name or similar or surname
  • Your career choice, why do you want to be a civil servant of India?
  • Questions about your academic institution(school, college, academics) and related to them. If you have studied at the IIM or IIT, you may be asked about the fat salaries or brain drain, if from IGNOU then even about Indira Gandhi and so on.
  • The choice of services, the order of your choice of services can raise questions too.
  • What are your Hobbies, why you don’t pursue such a hobby like that or questions related to your hobby, etc?
  • Candidates should be well prepared to answer the question or questions on the choice of optional subjects, especially if that is not the discipline in which you have graduated. If you have changed your optional subject in the next attempt, then be ready to answer why you did that.
  • Question from your educational qualification. If you are an MBBS or from an economic background, the question can be asked how you are going to use your specific knowledge in the civil services. Don’t you think you can serve India better by remaining a doctor and treating poor patients or joining civil services?
  • General Studies that form the four papers of the Mains exam and Paper I in Prelims is the prime area from where questions can be asked. It includes Current Affairs topics recent days and policy analyses like “Note ban” Surgical strike etc. So make a list of topics and prepare thoroughly to answer them the member can ask you anything.
  • There could be situational questions as well such as if you were the collector or SP of certain places where terrorists have struck with a Bomb Blast, what would you do in its aftermath?

Qualities to be tested in the Personality test round by Interview Panel are:

The Personality Test round is aimed to test the candidate’s intelligence, the balance of judgment,  attentiveness, and human qualities like integrity,  honesty, and leadership. The Kothari Committee created by the UPSC has listed the qualities that should be rated in the personality test round.

They are as follows:

  • Clarity of expression
  • Awareness and concern for socio-economic problems
  • Grasp of narrative and argument
  • Reasoning ability,
  • Appreciation of different points of views
  • Range and depth of personal attributes relevant to interaction with people and interests.

Methods can be used to Prepare for the Interview or Personality Test round:

1The 3rd stage interview round marks are very important and the deciding factor to be in the merit list of the UPSC Civil Service Exam, one must not leave any stone unturned in the preparation for the interview round.This is because the majority of the interviewees are able to secure only about 55% marks in the interview round and are unable to get a job even after giving the interview. Hence proved, the marking of the last leg is the toughest of all.

2Overall personality development is an on going process, preparation has to be done in three parts, First summing up the information and storing them in your virtual memory, Second develop and polish conversational skills and Third and last to develop attractive personality traits. The candidate should do a SWOT analysis and make a self-analysis of her/ his strengths and weaknesses on these three points and take a conscious effort to work on them.

Summing up the information requires a revision of your Mains notes and to be up to date with Current Affairs topics.

  • One should be prepared to answer questions on their background, extracurricular activities, and hobbies.
  • It’s a good idea to discuss these points with your friends by making a discussion group.
  • Another possible way could be rehearsing the answers by recording them on the mobile phone and listen to it after you are done or you can practice answers in front of the mirror.
  • It is possible that you may have forgotten some points so what, go on answer again, you can still add them up and record it again.

4 Conversational skills: Since the interview round conducted by UPSC, is all about how you speak before the interview board, you need to improve on your conversational skills with the right pronunciation.

  • Try to talk softly, clearly, and intelligently.
  • Stick to the points and keep your answers short and simple.
  • You should avoid the subordinate type approach.
  • You should not sound over-friendly.
  • Your answers should be crisp, clear and to the point and for this you must develop a professional like approach in your conversation.

5 Personal Traits:

  • The candidate should have an alert mind, quick reflexes, a positive attitude, and a good decision-making approach, and should be able to handle any difficult questions in a cool and comfortable manner.
  • It’s difficult to picture what you look like in an interview round so practice in front of a mirror or ask a friend to give you observations on what you look like while answering the interview questions when you practicing.

In order to hone the three-pronged preparation for the Interview round candidates has to do two things very seriously.

  • One, start taking a Mock Test in front of the mirror and record your voice in your mobile phone and mark yourself after hearing it over and over again.
  • Second, once you gain the confidence to join any leading coaching institutes for PT preparation and make sure to attend at least three to five live interviews and improve on your preparation based on the feedback you got.

What should be kept in mind to face the interview board?

There are most probably 5 members at the board with the Chairperson seated at the center.

  • Keep in mind – Enter the room by knocking the door and confidently greet the Chairperson, who will probably welcome you, and you have to give a pleasant nod at other members of the interview panel and wait till you are asked to sit.

2 How you should act?

  • You must carry a good personal appearance,  a positive body language, and the right body posture in the interview room.
  • Eyes- Listen patiently and maintain eye contact with the board members.
  • You should appear involved and attentive and do not glare at the board members.
  • While answering do not glance at other members of the panel and keep your eyes at the center, sometimes you can move your face to the right and left but it should remain focused at the center.
  • If some other member asks you anything, look at that member and answer and then turn back to the first member of the panel..
  • Hands- Do not fidget or throw your hands around or place them on the table.
  • Do not bend or crouch forward and shake your head unnecessarily.
  • Less amount of body movement is all that is required while giving the interview.
  • At the same time, it does not mean you should sit stiffly.
  • Your body posture should be relaxed and attentive at the same time.

Cut your answer short, members usually like to talk more, so listen very carefully and think for a few seconds before you start answering the questions. This will give the impression that you are organizing your thoughts in mind before starting to speak.

4 Leave some room for difference in opinions. Do take a stand, but do not become inflexible or unwilling to appreciate the board’s opinions. While answering the question or questions, use a couple of words from the question as this would indicate you have listened to the question carefully. Try to answer in a precise and simple manner and avoid the use of technical jargon unnecessary because using jargon can even backfire.

5 Make sure you do not prefix your answer with introductory comments and come to the central issue of the question that the interviewer has asked immediately. In case you do not know the answer it’s better to be candid to admit that you are unprepared or you don’t know. Do not make wild guesses or indulge in speculation as this may spoil your image in front of the interviewer.

6 Important – Do not start evaluating your performance or yourself while still sitting in the interview room. Even if you have committed some mistakes in the interview round, do not think that you have already lost the race of becoming a Civil Servant. The UPSC Civil Service interview board is looking for sensitive, warm, respectful, and attentive youngsters. Interview Board members know very well that you are good otherwise, you would not have come so far in UPSC Civil Service Exam. So remain positive all through the interview and even after the interview.

7 Candidates must be prepared for questions on your hobbies and achievements that you mentioned in the form that you have filled before the interview round. Talk humbly about them and do not boast about your achievements when you are talking about them.

8 Say less to convey more:

  • Less is more these days as per the minimalist creed of the society.
  • We often tend to miss the obvious and go for some non-crucial aspect of the subject while facing the crucial exam like this, so better avoid semantics.
  • Generalize correctly and Argue logically.
  • Do not try to read too much between the lines while you are in the interview room.
  • Remember, while answering any question asked by the panelist, what is easy to see is easy to miss.

9 Final exit:

  • You should only get up from the chair to leave only when the chairperson asks you to do so.
  • At the same time even if someone has not asked a question and the chairperson asks you to leave, then please leave the interview room smilingly.
  • It is possible that some members may not ask questions at all, due to many reasons and this should not bother you at all.
  • Before leaving the interview room, politely thank the chairperson and nod at the others members politely.
  • Remember to be formal- Avoid saying “Have a good day sir”. Just “Thank you” is good enough.

Personal Traits to keep in mind to face the Interview round:

1 Eye contact: Eye contact is an important assessment parameter to gauge your confidence level while you are giving an interview. Candidates must avoid looking down elsewhere while giving answers as this gives the impression that you’re nervous and insecure.

2 Fiddling with fingers: A busy hand gesture may give the impression that the candidate is not keen for the interview, one must avoid fiddling with fingers and try to present oneself as a bundle of confidence.

3 Too many hand gestures: While it is alright to make some hand gestures to stress some crucial points but too much of hand gestures are maybe distracting and annoying to the interviewer.

4 Avoid crossing your arms. While giving an interview try to keep your hands flat on your lap and not on the table. Avoid crossing your arms even subconsciously while giving an interview as it creates a barrier and makes you look defensive. You must look as approachable as possible and avoid such unnecessary gestures when you are in the UPSC interview room.

5 Slouching in the chair: Try to sit straight and on the chair and do not sit on its edge or try to lounge back on the seat. Your sitting position carries a lot of weightage to the interviewer.

6 Don’t bite your lip: When you bite your lip, you’re signaling that you are indecisive. When you lick your lips while giving an interview, it may indicate your lack of confidence.

7 Nod your head minimum: We subconsciously nod when we agree with someone but you should not look like a bobble-head either. Just nod once or twice to signal you are attentive and listing to them and focused.

8 Stop touching your face or hair: Avoid scratching your face or twirling your hair, even involuntarily. The interviewer has the capabilities he/ she can judge you a lot by watching your face, so try to keep your face as natural looking as possible.

How to answer your question during the civil service interview round?

Candidate must answer questions confidently and clearly and try to remain calm and composed even faced with an awkward question or questions in the interview.

Candidate must answer to the point and avoid long-winded explanations.

Candidate must analyze the answer rationally and be logically consistent.

Candidate must not give long introductions and come straight to the point.

You are supposed to defend what you say in the interview, but with due respect to the board, stop trying to defend if it becomes difficult to do so fairly and logically.

Do not make sweeping or hasty generalizations.

Avoid the expression such as, ‘I am sorry.’

Avoid conversational cliches, like: ‘as you know’, ‘indeed’, ‘that’s correct’, ‘of course’, ‘obviously’, etc.

Avoid technical jargon. But, if a member continues to probe you in any technical field, you can use technical expressions.

10 Maintain a cheerful face throughout. You can appear serious, now and then, but most of the time remain composed and keep smiling.

11 If the board members laugh, you should only smile. It may give a positive reflection on the depth of your personality. Show human concern whenever possible in your answers in the interview.

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