Every IAS aspirant who cleared the first two stages of the UPSC’s CSE must ace the final round of the screening process. This round is the Interview Round, also called the Personality Round.
This interview stage can make or break your dream to become a public servant serving under the prestigious Indian Civil Services.
Also Read: How to prepare for IAS Exams
About UPSC Interview
Let us understand some basic facts about the interview : –
- The third and final stage is also the most challenging part of your entire journey.
- Your interview will last a good thirty minutes, and is the ultimate test of your quick thought process and versatility in crisis management.
- The interview round carries a total of 275 marks out of 2025.
- You must not confuse the interview round as a test of your knowledge. In fact, it is a test of your personality, wherein the panel wants to test if you have all the desired administrative qualities of a good civil services officer.
- Although the joint marks of the mains as well as the interview is considered while making the final decisions, your mains’ score has zero impact on your interview.
- Interview is crucial as a high score can significantly boost your value by big marks in comparison to a fellow candidate. In the majority of cases, the interview high-scorers top the final selection list too.
Tips For Interview Preparation
Our experts have put together 20 effective tips that will help you prepare the right way and ace your interview round :-
- The Early Bird Wins
Aspirants wait till the examination results to be announced to start preparing for the interview round. This is the worst decision you could make. cracking the interview takes just as much dedicated and time ae as any other, and needs to be started at the earliest.
- Do A Self-personality Assessment
Interview round is a personality test and not a knowledge test. To put your best face forward and to present yourself as a confident, alert and well-rounded individual, you must first assess your personality in terms of strengths and weaknesses.
For example, check yourself for signs of nervousness like swaying, leaning forward, slouching, raised pitch, increase in speed of talking, etc.
- Work On Your Self-confidence
Speak to show that you’re confident about your life decisions, your ideas and your opinions. This’ll prove that you truly believe in your life path and trust your decision making capabilities.
It is equally important to not go overboard with confidence, or you’ll end up sounding arrogant.
- Keep A Positive Attitude
It is best to not overthink about things that are beyond your control. It doesn’t matter if your previous interview was a bad experience. Do not stress yourself thinking about the panel, their nature, what questions would be asked, etc. These are beyond your reach.
Build a positive attitude and hope for the best.
- Explore Mock Interviews
Trust us, you might think you can prepare for your interviews by yourself, but that is easier said than done.
It is always a good idea to seek out the help of the experts. Mock IAS interviews are the best way to meet great mentors and fellow aspirants who will offer you valuable insights to better yourself. Rehearsals will help you experience the tension of the interview room before the final day.
- Be Confident With Your Bio-data
As part of assessing your personality, the panel will be interested to know you on a personal level. This is why, they are all given a copy of the Detailed Application Form (DAF), which is essentially your bio-data.
You must ensure that you’re aware of every word mentioned in here. You must prepare yourself thoroughly to answer all possible questions arising out of this document.
To avoid clumsy answers, read about and practice probable questions relating to your wok experience, service preference, education, etc.
- Do Not Lie. Repeat. Do Not Lie
A good bio-data is great. We know how badly you want to impress the interview board. But trust us, you do not want to lie on your bio-data or worse, speak out something that is not true. The board comprises of knowledgeable persons with vast experience. They’ll catch your bluff.
- Pay Attention To Your Hobbies
Most likely, the panel will start the interview with this question, to keep things light. Instead of giving cliché answers, pick up one thing that interests you the most and practice it till the last week before your interview.
The board wants to understand your personality, so make it interesting for everyone.
- Don’t Beat Around The Bush
The interview is a 30 minute affair. You don’t want to make these minutes tense with unclear, long and unorganized answers.
Remember to always answer in the following ways:-
- Think before you speak
- Don’t be impulsive
- Get to the point directly
- Use short sentences
- Always Give Balanced Answers
With balanced answers, we mean impartial and unbiased answers. It is best to not take sides with a particular authority, or political party when answering questions.
You must take an independent stand on a given topic, and should be well-prepared to defend your thoughts with grounded reasons.
- Work On Your Communication Style
None of us are perfect communicators; there’s always something we can work on. To ace your interview, you must be a good communicator, if not great.
Try these tips to communicate better :
- Watch debates and news discussions on news channels
- Start mock UPSC discussions with your friends or fellow aspirants
- Analyse yourself through the process and make desired changes
- Work On A Positive Body Language
You must work on your non-verbal skills to benefit your spoken words. Avoid exaggerated facial expressions, gesticulations and body movements. Practice speaking regularly in front of the mirror to build and maintain a positive body language.
- Read The Newspaper Regularly
Reading the newspaper is crucial for your all three stages of the exam. Knowledge on current events is important. You must ensure that you read the papers daily till the day of your interview.
- Glance Through Your Graduation Books
Your graduation is your area of specialization. The UPSC expects you to be an expert in your area of specialization. Read your books well because there’s a high probability of questions being asked from there.
- Revise Your Optional
The chances of questions being asked out of your chosen optional is considerable. You must not forget to brush up on it before your interviews.
- Study Your Native District In Detail
As the board wants to test your administrative capabilities. They might ask you questions about our district/state, the problems faced and related solutions. Make sure that you are well prepared for this.
- Be Alert And Apply Common Sense
Always remember that this is a test of your quick thinking abilities and diagnostic skills. Many a time, you’ll need only common sense to answer the interview.
So , keep your ears open for tricky questions, stay alert and trust your logic and gut when answering them.
- Be Dressed Impeccably
No one expects you to show up in an expensive suit and tie. But make sure that you are groomed well. Your clothes must be clean, wrinkle-free, and appropriate. Have a neat haircut and well-trimmed nails. For girls, a simple suit/saree, and for boys, a light colored shirt paired with dark formal trousers will suffice.
- Double Check Your Documents
Make sure that you’re carrying all the required documents to your interview. Do this the night before your interview to avoid a last minute panic.
- Take The Interview And Board Seriously
Many aspirants put weightage on the prelims and mains. They misinterpret the interviews to be a last-minute thing, or worse, the board to be just another interview panel. don’t make this mistake.
The interview board are knowledgeable persons with years of learning and experience. Respect their position.
To conclude, we would suggest you to be yourself on the day of your UPSC interview. You must aim to impress the board with your real personality, actual credentials and true moral standing. Be confident in your mannerisms, follow these tips, and you’re sure to ace your game.