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IAS Interview Guidance

Though the Interview is the last stage to be cleared for the IAS exam, it is advisable to be aware of the know-how of how to face it successfully right from the beginning of the preparation itself. Usually a beginner is not aware of the exact significance of the Interview. Don’t worry, we at Elite IAS conduct IAS mock interview.

The UPSC Interview puts the candidate under a close scrutiny so much so that it is called the Personality Test. Thus, a few tips are required to understand the entire significance and the dos and don’ts to be taken care of while facing the UPSC Interview. Even before appearing in IAS mock interview of our coaching, you should be well informed about its intricacies.  

Please read on to find quite a few important IAS Interview Tips to successfully face the IAS Interview that is also referred to as the IAS Personality Test/ IAS Exam Interview/ IAS Interview/ UPSC Personality Test etc. Besides, you will also find yourself better aware of the Civil Service Interview Questions, apart from a lot of other inter-related information.

The Interview/Personality Test

UPSC conducts the Interview for the Civil Services Exam at Delhi at the UPSC office. The point to be noted is that although the time span for the Interview is not fixed. However, if a candidate is interviewed for a longer than usual time, the probability to score higher is enhanced.

A candidate’s score in the Interview is added to his/her score in the Mains Exam. The total aggregate decides the successful candidate’s rank in the Merit List when UPSC announces the result. Thus the score in the Interview can be discovered only when the UPSC result is declared and not immediately after the Personality Test is conducted.

Various boards constituted by the UPSC conduct the Interview. A list comprising these boards that the interviewees are going to face individually is released when the Interview dates are declared. The candidates are expected to research the board members.

The competition is tougher than what you might perceive in the beginning. The number of candidates that are called for the Interview is double than the number of the vacancies.

The maximum score for the Interview is 275. It should be noted that 90% of the successful candidates usually score around 55% in the Personality Test. The importance of the Interview must not be underestimated.

A score of 55% in the Interview is not sufficient if you want to make it to the final Merit List. In order to get a Class I Service, the score should be usually about 58%. It is observed that candidates with a score of 60% usually join the cadre of their choice. It obviously implies that in order to join IAS or any of the Group A Services, the candidates’ score in the Interview should be 200 or above. Thus, it’s understood that a high score in the Interview plays a decisive role in the candidate’s selection and allowing him join the cadre of his choice.

Besides, it must be noted that the IAS Interview questions vary from one candidate to another and many of them are based on the candidate’s DAF details that are bound to vary for all the candidates. Thus, individual attention is required by all the candidates to prepare well for the Interview.

What documents are required to be submitted?

The candidates are required to submit the following documents at the time of the Interview for the UPSC exam:

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

The TA Form, Attestation Form and The Questionnaire are available at the official website of UPSC. In case, a candidate belongs to the SC/ST/OBC or the Physically Handicapped categories, then the respective certificates are to be filled in and submitted accordingly. The certificates may be printed from the UPSC website – www.upsc.gov.in.

Apart from the certificates as specified above, the candidates are required to produce the following documents while they appear for the Interview:

  1. Filled Questionnaire: The questionnaire comprises 7 pages that UPSC makes use of to research and analyze the information concerning the background of the candidate. Thus, the questionnaire should be filled in carefully. It is divided into a number of sections as stated below:
    1. Background of the candidate
    1. Employment status
    1. Previous Civil Services attempts
    1. Competitive exams cleared
    1. Reasons for interest in Civil Services
    1. Education particulars
    1. Background of Parents/Guardian
    1. Source of information for Civil Services
    1. Coaching attended
    1. Optional subject chosen

2. Attestation Form: The attestation form requires the relevant details including residence, education, nationality etc. It is required to be signed by a Gazetted Officer before you submit the same at the time of Interview.

What kinds of questions are likely to be asked?

The candidate would be provided with the questioners that he would have to fill in and submit while appearing for the Interview. It is a task that needs to be accomplished quite carefully. Fill in the information that you are quite sure of as you might have to answer some of the questions based on the same.

For example, a famous personality might have the same name as yours.

Besides, why do you want to be a Civil Servant?

Your preferential order for your choice of services may also invite a few questions.

You might even be asked what made you choose the hobby that you did.

The academic institutions you studied from may also be asked about. If you have studied from IGNOU, questions may be asked about the former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. In case, you have studied at IIT or IIM, there may be some related questions pertaining to these institutions as well.

Similarly, there can be questions related to your academic qualifications. In case, you hold a degree of MBBS, how is it going to help you as a Civil Servant?

However, it must not be forgotten that the General Studies is likely to invite the most of the questions during the Interview. GS is what that forms a considerable part of the Syllabus that UPSC prescribes for the exam. It is advisable to think of all the topics pertaining to the Current Affairs and prepare them thoroughly.

The Optional Subject that you chose can also invite questions. In case, you have faced the UPSC exam more than once and have changed the Optional Subject in the repeated attempt, that too, might invite a question or two from UPSC.

Besides, your analytical skills may also be scrutinized. For example, what action would you prefer to take, in case you are an SP and have to safeguard the common people against a terror attack.

What qualities does UPSC assess in the Interview?

UPSC makes an assessment of your personality to find if you can be an efficient administrator. The candidate must be thoroughly aware of what goes around in the world. Besides, he should have a sharply analytical bent of the mind. And that is not all. He should be absolutely unprejudiced so that he administers the society in a manner that is fair to all.

Besides, the Kothari Committee that had been constituted by UPSC has recommended quite a few of the qualities to be rated in the Interview conducted by UPSC. These are listed as below:

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

How to Prepare for UPSC Interview?

The importance of a good score in the Interview has already been discussed earlier. And it must be noted that an individual personality keeps developing through his entire life. However, as far as preparation for the Personality Test for UPSC is concerned, it is advisable to do the same in 3 stages.

The first stage involves acquiring the relevant knowledge. The second stage requires the skill to converse well. The third stage requires a thoroughly well groomed personality so that you can communicate in a convincing manner. It is advisable that the candidate should make a self assessment and work on grooming his personality accordingly.

The following tips can help you cross all the three stages discussed above in order to prepare for the UPSC Interview:

  • Revise the notes that you had prepared for the Mains Exam: It would help you acquire the knowledge as required by the First Stage. However, do not forget to acquire the knowledge of the relevant details concerning your hobby, extracurricular activity in a nutshell – your entire background, be it your hometown, the university you have studied from etc., apart from a thorough knowledge of the Current Affairs, of course.
  • Hone up your conversational skills: The conversational skills should be such that you appear neither submissive nor a haughty individual. Your conversational skills should present you as a confidently polite individual who knows how to present his point of view in a convincing and polite manner.
  • A well groomed personality: UPSC makes an assessment of the complete personality of the candidate in order to find if he can be a good administrator. The candidate should try to keep himself aware of the current circumstances along with a thorough knowledge of the past background (if there is any) of the current events. Besides, the candidates should develop an analytical bent of the mind. And they should be completely unprejudiced. With these personality traits only, they can be allowed by UPSC to join the Indian Administrative Services.

Facing the UPSC Interview Board

The Interview Board usually comprises 5 members including a Chairperson seated at the center. Knock at the door and greet the Chairperson in a confident and polite manner. Nod at others pleasantly. Do not occupy a seat till you are asked to do so.

Your body language should be positive. Maintain an eye contact with the Interview Board and listen attentively. Your appearance must be confident, and smartly decent. Be attentive, maintain an eye contact with the board persons, but it should be far from being a glare.

Also, do not place your hands on the table. Don’t bend in any direction and do not shake unnecessarily. You should appear to be attentive, and relaxed at the same time.

Clarity of expression is highly appreciable. So do not begin to answer impulsively. Listen attentively first. Then answer in a precise manner.

Do not agree with whatever the Interview Board says. Present your point of view in a confident manner. However, do not be adamant either. Opt for a balanced, but analytical, aware and unprejudiced approach. As already said earlier, these are the qualities that UPSC looks for in a potential administrator.  

It is best not to make any guesses in case you are not aware of the relevant answers for the questions that have been asked. Besides, it is advisable not to make a self assessment of your performance while the Interview is still in progress.

Even if you are of the opinion that you have excelled in any of the fields related to your hobbies, talk about it in a polite manner, and do not boast. Besides, it is best to convey more in a few sentences. You are facing the UPSC Interview, the Personality Test. So, you are not to chatter unnecessarily.

How to make an exit?

Leave the room only when you are asked to do so by the Chairperson. Even if any of or some of the members have not asked you any question, do not be bothered. Simply leave the room if you are asked to do so after saying a “Thank You” to the Chairperson and giving a pleasant nod to all others.

Personal Traits to face the Interview

Eye contact: An attentive eye contact, but not a glare is what conveys that you are a confident individual.

Fiddling fingers and crossing arms: Doing so only conveys that you are lacking in the confidence and too self defensive to be approached for putting forth any point of view. Fiddling with the fingers shows nervousness. And crossing the arms only conveys that you have put forward a barrier in self-defense. Thus, it is far from being a positive body language.

Besides there can be a number of the gestures that are best avoided. Bending forward or sideways on the chair, making gestures with the hands, biting the lips, touching one’s own face or hair, nodding the head too often without a valid reason are some of the activities that are best avoided. All of these gestures only serve to indicate that you lack in the confidence and are not being sufficiently attentive to what has been asked by the Interview Board.  

How to answer the questions?

Be clear and confident while answering the questions in the Interview. Even if you think that any of the questions has been awkward, stay calm. Again, as said earlier, your answers should precise. No unnecessary chatter at all. It will not take you anywhere. No long introductions and no diversions from what is being asked should accompany your answer. And do not defend your opinions if they are getting illogical. Be logical and fair.

Also, it is advisable not to generalize. Avoid any kind of the unnecessary and informal expressions including “as you know”, “everybody knows” etc. Besides, look positive, keep a positive expression on your face, but do not smile unnecessarily.

Civil Service Interview: Venue

It is conducted at the UPSC Office at Dholpur House, Shahjahan Road, New Delhi. There are multiple boards that are headed by a Chairperson  and the members. The contact details of the UPSC office are given below:

Union Public Service Commission (UPSC)
Dholpur House,
Shahjan Road
New Delhi – 110-069
Website : www.upsc.gov.in

If the candidates find it difficult to fill in the on-line application form, they may seek help from the Official UPSC facilitation counter.  You may also call telephone no. 011-23389366 / Fax No. 011-23387310 on any of the working days within the working hours. Besides, if the candidates seek any further guidance/clarification/information etc., they should approach UPSC’s Facilitation Counter, ‘C’ Gate at the Campus or call the numbers given below on the working days in between 10am to 5pm.

011-23385271,
011-23381125,
011-23098543

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