The second hurdle of Civil Services Exam is over, and now students have little time to relax as the final quest is just round the corner. Interview phase, which is known as personality test is the crucial and deciding phase of the selection process.

The panel of board members scrutinise the candidate on the set criterions for the selection and job allotment process. Do remember, that this is not the test of your knowledge, but of your personality as your knowledge has been checked in the previous two stages.

The board members seek your explanations and logical views on current happenings, government initiatives and the issues being faced by the people in our country. Apart from this, make sure you fill your detailed application form carefully, as it represents your academic and personal background, your liking or dis-likings, your hobbies and your overall personality.

And most of the questions are asked from your detailed application form to assess your way of communicating along with your knowledge on the subjects of your interest. Preparation associated with interview process involves both the subjective and practical aspects. Widen your approach towards things you listen or see. Participate in discussions and learn to communicate your point well while understanding when you need to be a good listen too. Also look for toppers interviews and related videos online as they will guide you better to prepare.

Your understanding and reasoning, will now be at test. And most importantly, work on your Detailed Application Form. Fill this form carefully — your hobbies, the sports you like the most; read everything about it; from the origin to current scenario, your area of interest, your academic background, the place where you born and brought up, etc. Panel members ask most of the questions from this form only.

Do not forget to attend at least four to five mock interviews— this is really important. Interviews are dealt with an art to appear before the interviewer. The mannerisms and attitude involved needs practice and polish before you actually go for the final shot in front of the board members. Every IAS coaching academy offers mock interviews which will begin soon now.

The academies endeavour to give candidates real time experience with the help of subject matter experts in related fields. The questions asked by the experts in mock interview sessions help them get a better understanding on the kind of questions they will be faced during the final interview process. The experts also provide suggestions to improvise for the final call.

You will be judged, the moment you walk in, so even your steps count in your personality. Highly experienced panel will know you, in and out, within few minutes of looking at you. Facial expressions, hand movements and confidence in words, will say the rest. Practice before a mirror and record yourself and review the flaws until you’ve rectified them all. Positive body language is the key! Most of the academies will provide you recorded videos of your mock sessions to view later and assess yourself.

Practical aspects are important because candidates are tested on their personality — both socially and intellectually. No, that doesn’t mean you need to change your personality, or show what you are not. All you need is to just adapt certain traits and learn proper skills to face the board members. Personality being a window to the inner you, it’s extremely important to understand before assigning you the great responsibility of serving the nation.

It is equally important to cultivate certain traits like empathy, right decision making skills, right emotion management skills, right administrative skills which are required in the service. So just adapt and cultivate, do not try to exhibit what you are not. Another crucial aspect associated with the interview process is to know, who you would be facing. With background knowledge of the panel members, it is easier to communicate confidently and tactfully, so make sure you are pre infor med about their areas of expertise along with the position and experience they are holding.

In the words of former UPSC chairman Surendra Nath, “an ideal civil servant should be first a gentleman. He should possess good characteristics. He should have the conviction, intellectual and moral capabilities, leadership qualities and capable of taking the right decisions at the right time. He should have in-depth professional knowledge, self-confidence, good communication skills, analytical in his thinking, flexible and not rigid and must be able to inspire and motivate his colleagues and his sub-ordinates. There should be a balance of judgment in decision making”.

Passing marks however do not decide the ultimate selection, as the final deciding factor is the sum total of marks obtained in Mains and interview stage. Therefore both the phases are equally important, and those who have reached to this stage have already won half of the battle, and the goal is not too far away. All you need is to cultivate certain qualities in yourself as you progress towards the interview stage.

 

(The writer is director, Chanakya IAS Academy)