The UPSC Civil Services Exam (CSE) Interview is the final and most crucial step of the exam as it is not merely a test of knowledge but a holistic test of aspirant’s personality. A high score in Civil Services Exam Interview can create a difference of more than 100 marks in just under 30 minutes. As this is the last round, this would give one an unassailable lead in India’s toughest competition.
Though the final rank list is prepared after all the stages are completed and by summing up the UPSC CSE Mains and Interview marks, very often we see that interview high scorers top the final selection list.
UPSC is considered the toughest exams conducted in India and having a clear understanding of the syllabus and subjects helps you prepare your strategy in advance.
Note- For more details on the 2020 interview schedules, visit this link.
Preparing for the Civil Services Interview
The interview panel will have a total of five members, who will spend approximately 5 minutes questioning the candidate. The whole interview will consist around 30-40 questions in total. The questions will be primarily based on your education, work, hobbies, etc. and a little bit on the current affairs and international relations.
The interview is conducted to uncover your real personality and identify whether you have the traits and qualities that can make you an excellent civil servant. The main objective is to determine if you are honest, trustworthy, analytical and have no regional, religious or caste biases. While it is essential to be candid and accurate, you should not expose your inherent biases. This is why preparation is needed.
How to Crack the UPSC Civil Services Exam Interview as a Shy Candidate?
- Interview preparation for UPSC CSE is mainly considered a psychological training. The goal is to prepare yourself to reflect your core personality in a most cooperative manner.
- You don’t always have to be diplomatic, admit if you don’t know anything. Having the ability to say “I don’t know” with a smile when you don’t know the answer to a question, is perhaps the most essential part of psychological preparation.
- You must be able to give concise and precise responses. Ignore open-ended responses which leaves limited scope for supplementary queries.
- Remember that you’re not an expert of everything, and even they don’t expect you to answer all the questions. The board members are more interested in your responses than the answers.
- Each board member has 20-30 years of experience in their fields and can easily catch a liar. So be very honest and never feel wrong about any aspect of your personality.
- Always take a little time before responding as it shows you don’t make decisions in a hurry. Don’t come across as somebody very hasty.
- Take an extra minute to structure the answer in your mind and then accordingly respond.
- The length of your interview doesn’t contribute anything in your marks. Its more about the qualitative nature of your interview that will determine the final grades.
- Questions or queries for which you can’t only say ‘I don’t know’ is your opinion about some fundamental issues of your home state. E.g. a political situation, economic condition, status of the society, etc.
- Expect questions on controversial subjects. For such a problem, give the board your opinion and don’t be diplomatic. There are always two sides of the coin, so take that into consideration. You need to consider both the aspects before forming a point of view, and the board only wants to check if you have an idea or not whether you have the presence of mind to analyse the core concepts and come up with a conclusion.
- Treat the interview board members with respect. Your attitude matters more than your aptitude while attending the interview as it will determine your success rate in the interview phase. Factual knowledge has already been tested in prelims and mains.
- While preparing for the interview, feel confident in your abilities as this will reduce the psychological pressure on you while in the conversation with board members. This will help you perform exceedingly well at the interview.
- When you go to the interview without stress, you will undoubtedly do well in it. Accept and understand your personality, be self-aware. Be confident about the fact that you have been selected for the final phase.
- Maintain eye contact with the board members. Even if the question is only from one board member keep the other members also engaged through eye-contact. Especially the board chairperson.
- How to approach a question? E.g. what’s the problem with Indian judiciary. First, acknowledge that there is a problem. Talk about what you feel is the first main problem. Keep it very brief. Wait for the next question on the same topic, before you go to the second problem. Don’t start displaying your knowledge to impress the board.
- Is English fluency essential? Not at all. The recruitment is not for an academic position in English at JNU.
- Confidence and positivity about your results and in your capacity to be an excellent civil servant is perhaps the most critical part of interview preparation. Remove the uncertainty in your mind about a low score in the Main Exam.
7 Tips on How to Crack the Interview if you are a shy person
- The first impression is the best, work on it.
- Be a good listener.
- Polish your communication skills.
- Say no to the argument.
- Be polite.
- Don’t look for shortcuts.
- Invest time in hobbies to energise your mind.
A few more tips to consider
- Always start early
- Know your-self by a personal SWOT Analysis
- Read your bio-data multiple times
- Develop a positive attitude
- Don’t take the UPSC interview in a light spirit
- Develop self-confidence
- Don’t lie
- Get straight to the point
- Don’t stop reading newspapers
- Prepare well on your hobbies
- Revise your optional subject
- Be yourself
- Take mock IAS interviews
- Re-check your documents
- Maintain a positive body language
The UPSC Civil Services Interview is the final and most crucial step of the exam. Scoring high in the interview of just 30 minutes will boost your scores by 100 marks. Although this is nerve wracking for all candidates, it is more so for introverted and shy candidates. But being a shy person should not deter you from reaching your goal of being an outstanding Civil Servant. The tips given in this article should help you kick start your journey into preparing for the UPSC Civil Services Exam and being a model Civil Service Officer.
Areas covered in this article
- How to prepare for UPSC Interview stage
- Tips to consider for your interview preparation