The UPSC CSE (Civil Services Examination) comprises three successive stages, Preliminary, Mains and the Personality Test/Interview. To get qualified for the Interview, the candidates have to score minimum marks in the written part of the Civil Services Main Examination. The number of vacancies and the number of candidates summoned for the interview will be in the ratio of 1:2. The Interview/Personality Test carries 275 marks. There is no minimum qualifying mark in the Interview.
The period for the whole UPSC CSE process extends to over a year, between the month of June of a year to June of the following year. Usually, the Personality Test/Interview will be conducted in the months of March and April. To know more about the UPSC exam date go through the linked article. The time gap between the UPSC Interview and the next Prelims is hardly 2 months. Therefore, the candidates have to do smart work while preparing for the Interview.
The candidate must know the intent behind conducting the UPSC Interview. The main intention of the UPSC Interview is to assess the candidates’ mental abilities and suitability for the public service jobs like IAS, IPS, IRS etc. The UPSC notification mentions that the UPSC panel judges the following qualities.
- Mental alertness
- Critical powers of assimilation
- Clear and logical exposition
- The balance of judgement
- Variety and depth of interest
- The ability for social cohesion and leadership
- Intellectual and moral integrity
The candidates appearing in the interview must brush up on the above-mentioned qualities to score well in the UPSC Interview. The candidates must also be well prepared for certain kinds of questions that are often asked during the Interview. These questions can be divided into four types. They are profile related, current affairs, questions based on situation and behavioural questions.
Profile related questions
It is important for a candidate to prepare questions related to their profile because the UPSC panel often asks questions based on the profile of the candidate to assess their mental stability and performance. The questions will be asked about previous work experience, reasons for choosing civil services and optional subjects for CSE Main examination, facts and current events related to their state or district etc. So the candidate must be very careful while filling the DAF.
Questions on current affairs
The general knowledge of the candidate has already been tested through their written papers. The UPSC notification mentions that the “candidates are expected to have taken an intelligent interest not only in their special subjects of academic study but also in the events which are happening around them both within and outside their own State or Country as well in modern currents of thought.” So, the UPSC panel may ask questions on various current social, economic and political topics. The candidate must practice giving balanced answers. The candidate can take a stand on the topic but must make sure that they have a justification for it.
Questions based on the situations
After clearing the UPSC CSE, the candidates are posted at high posts in different positions. The candidates must possess the ability to tackle tough situations and handle them properly. The interview panel tests the problem-solving abilities of the candidates by asking situational questions. The panel evaluates the candidate’s approach on how they would respond to the situation. These questions are asked to assess one’s credibility as a bureaucrat or how efficiently the candidate will be able to deal with the ground situations.
These questions test the candidate’s emotional intelligence. A civil servant is expected to understand, use, and manage their emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathise with others, overcome challenges and defuse conflict. The answers of the candidate should reflect self-awareness, growth, self-reliance and willingness to help another individual.
To perform well in the Interview, the candidate must have a proper strategy and must incorporate the below-mentioned aspects while preparing for the interview.
- Polishing one’s personality is a time taking process where one has to inculcate healthy habits. So, the candidate has to start the interview preparations as early as possible after the Mains.
- Carefully fill out the DAF and be prepared to answer questions based on DAF in the Interview.
- Improve communication skills by listening to debates on television, speaking to other aspirants in the medium chosen for your interview and attending a number of mock interviews.
- Get straight to the point and try to give balanced answers.
An IAS Officer must possess not only intellectual qualities but also social traits and interest in current affairs. The UPSC panel judges all these qualities of the candidate in the Interview. Attending mock interviews will help the candidates to assess their performance and to avoid some common mistakes. Attend the Interview with full confidence and a positive attitude.