What are the things you should never mention or say in the UPSC interview?
The Interview is the final stage of the Civil Service Examination. Unlike the other stages, here, the duration of your Interview will usually be for around 20 to 30 minutes. If you have gone through the notification released by the UPSC for the Civil Services Exam, you can see that this Interview is slightly different from the other interviews you would have heard of. I will explain what the Board expects from you and subsequently help you in what not to say particularly.
What is the Board expecting from you?
- The candidate will be interviewed by a Board who will have a record of the candidate’s career. UPSC makes it very clear here. They want to know about you from a description of what you have given to them. This record is called DAF, and it would contain your basic information, hobbies, awards, achievements etc. Based on this information, the Board would ask you questions. But be careful. A trained eye can catch the lies quickly. Years of experience combined can make it near impossible to convince the Board with a lie. Hence, never try to lie in your DAF in a futile attempt to impress the Board. Be what you are and remain truthful in your DAF.
- The object of the Interview/Personality Test is to assess the personal suitability of the candidate for a career in Public Services by a Board of competent and unbiased observers- Here, UPSC explicitly mentions that the objective of the Interview is to assess the personal suitability of a candidate to become a Civil Servant. In short words, you are not supposed to say anything that does not fit for a Civil Servant. Here, the personality that is being tested must uphold values like Honesty, Integrity, Impartiality, Objectivity, Openness, The Service Principle, Responsibility, Sympathy etc. Hence, while you address the Board, make sure you agree with these values and do not show any political leanings or a non-secular nature. Every time you speak to them while you answer a question, you are tested for these values.
- The Interview/Personality Test is intended to judge the mental calibre of a candidate- As a Civil Servant, you will be shouldering significant responsibilities. Hence, the Board wants someone who is mentally strong to finish the roles of a Civil Servant. The answer that you produce and the body language you exhibit will help them assess your mental calibre. Also, a weak response that lacks confidence will be a testament to the low calibre. Hence, avoid fumbling and try not to come across as someone who is weak psychologically.
- In broad terms, an Interview is an assessment of intellectual qualities and social traits and interest in current affairs- The Board tries to evaluate how well you are aware of what is happening around you. Questions are generally asked from current affairs, DAF, your listed areas of interests, and basics of what you have already learned. But, the Interview Board is not looking for answers from you verbatim from a textbook. Every question the Board poses is an opportunity for them to assess whether you can apply the knowledge you learned and connect it to the everyday problems a citizen faces. The social traits that you should display while answering the Board, for ex: responsibility, dedication, humaneness etc., are also accounted for, as a civil servant should ultimately be a humble servant of the masses. Therefore, avoid answers that are bred mindlessly and do not present them without the characteristic social traits.
- Some of the qualities to be judged are mental alertness, critical powers of assimilation, clear and logical exposition, the balance of judgement, variety and depth of interest, ability for social cohesion and leadership, intellectual and moral integrity- UPSC is again very clear with what they want from an aspirant. Try to ask yourself whether the answers you give/ how you speak about a topic provides these qualities. Try not to answer plainly without any of these traits as the Board looks explicitly for these and give the marks accordingly.
- Last but not least, The Interview/Personality Test is intended to test neither the specialized nor the general knowledge of the candidates already tested through their written papers- There is a misconception amongst students that the Interview is very much knowledge-oriented and that the questions are framed to test what you have learnt. On the contrary, the Board does not mind if you do not know the answer to a question, as your knowledge has already been tested in the Mains exam. The Board wants to understand how you use the knowledge you acquired over these months and whether you are mentally fit to become a Civil Servant who is morally strong. To conclude, make sure that you behave like a Civil Servant when you enter the Interview panel, treat them with respect, make clear and concise points without arguing, all the while upholding the values enshrined in our constitution.
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