Eighty Civil Services aspirants, who have passed the written examinations, got a feel of what is in store for them when they face the board of interviewers of the Union Public Service Commission later next month at a mock interview session conducted by the Kerala State Civil Service Academy here.

The academy commenced the mock interview session on March 15.

The candidates attending the mock interview were grilled by panellists, comprising serving and retired civil servants, one by one as fellow aspirants anxiously waited for their turn. The questions posed by the panellists were mainly to test the knowledge of the candidates in their qualifying subject, besides aimed at assessing their personality. The personality testing part centred on the candidates’ knowledge in current affairs, socio-economic problems, clarity of thought, appreciation of divergent views, leadership quality, inter-personal skills and approach to situations that they might confront while discharging administrative duties.

After each interview, the candidates were apprised of their strength, weakness and areas that need to be focussed for improving their chances in the final interview.

“It’s highly reflective. Since the session is held in front of other candidates, we try to reflect upon how others perform and try to improvise. The best part is that we get a fair understanding of individual weakness,” said a student of the academy, who is making his first attempt.

Co-ordinator for the Kerala State Civil Service Academy P.M. Rajeev told The Hindu that feed-back received from previous year’s candidates was very encouraging.

“Last year, those who attended the interview informed us that of the 10 questions asked by the UPSC board at least eight of them were taken up at the mock interview. The mock session helped them gain much confidence as the panellists are more or less on the similar stature of those who form part of the UPSC interview board,” he said.

Those prominent among the mock interview panel include former civil servants Babu Paul, Roy Paul and G. Krishnan and serving officers such as Rishi Raj Singh, Alexander Jacob, Prasanth, Dr. Ambadi and Ajeetha Begum. The mock session will go on till March 28.