Education

How candidates can make use of the extra time to better their UPSC interview prep

With the interview for the UPSC Civil Services exam being postponed, candidates should continue to be in training mode. Considering the severity of the pandemic’s second wave, this test could even be held online.

Headed by a chairman and four members, the board’s responsibility is to assess the suitability of a candidate for the highest services in the government.

Assessing personality

The interview is a test of personality and includes mental alertness, critical power of assimilation, clear and logical exposition, balance of judgement, variety and depth of interest, ability of social cohesion and leadership, and intellectual and moral integrity. Instead of a strict cross examination, a direct and purposeful conversation will reveal the candidate’s qualities.

It is always better to have a reasonable and rational answer to questions like why the candidate chose the Indian Administrative Service. One could say that he/she was attracted by the challenges and the responsibilities in government service, and the opportunities for self-development. A narrative of an emotional meeting with an IAS officer could be misinterpreted as manufactured.

There are always questions on one’s hobbies. In the Detailed Application Form (DAF), many do not apply their minds when filling in hobbies. ‘Talking to the elderly’ is one such entry. When asked why not younger people, the candidate struggles to answer. For those who enter reading as a hobby, it may help to read a few books before the interview.

Candidates should familiarise themselves with the current happenings: the farm laws, the COVID-19 pandemic, the recently concluded assembly elections and so on. One may examine the pros and cons of an issue but avoid questioning the government’s policies or its implementation. Expressing sentiments of regional parochialism, or linguistic chauvinism would also be counterproductive, as the All India Services are meant to go beyond regional, religious and language affiliations.

Play it cool

Candidates who opted to interview in a regional language can impress the board by answering in English, if they are reasonably comfortable with it. However, this is not a serious impediment provided he/she has a persuasive body language and the confidence to put forth accurate information.

The candidate’s integrity is assessed by the accuracy of his/her answers and body language. Many studies have shown that being authentic is a virtue in a personality test. Therefore, a candidate may gain by saying that he did not know the answer to a particular question. Being oneself allows you to be relaxed, thereby permitting a natural flow of thoughts. To be at peace with oneself is an expression of confidence.

During this extended period of opportunity offered by the pandemic, candidates should go through the transcripts of previous interviews, gather information, analyse it and forge answers to every possible question.

In my experience of conducting mock interviews, I have noticed that candidates exhibit anxiety when a cross examination is made. Their body language changes and gives the impression that they have lost confidence in themselves. Therefore, candidates should attend multiple mock interviews and gain control over their emotions. Banishing fear is the real challenge, as it can shatter confidence. After all, confidence is the key to success in the interview.

The writer is Director General of Police and the author of the book, The Principles of Success in Interview. www.sylendrababu.com


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Printable version | Jul 25, 2021 9:01:37 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/education/how-candidates-can-make-use-of-the-extra-time-to-better-their-upsc-interview-prep/article34620877.ece

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