The UPSC Interview is the third and final stage of the Civil Services Exam. The aspirants who have cleared their Mains exam will be selected for the Interview round. A time period (Forenoon / Afternoon session) is allotted for each aspirant. The average CSE Interview is conducted for about 20 to 30 minutes. Please remember that this Interview is slightly different from those you may have already experienced during your job placements.
The candidate will be evaluated by a Board, and the Chairman of the Board will be a member of the UPSC. All members of the Board will have a record of the candidate’s details in front of them. The applicant will be quizzed on topics of broad interest. The purpose of the Interview is for a Board of competent and unbiased observers to assess the candidate’s personal suitability for a career in civil services. The Interview/Personality Test is designed to evaluate a candidate’s mental capacity, which would be an evaluation of academic abilities, social traits, and interest in current events. Mental alertness, critical capacities of assimilation, clear and logical exposition, the balance of judgment, variety, depth of interest, aptitude for social cohesion and leadership, intellectual, moral integrity are traits to be assessed.
The Interview/Personality Test approach is not a rigid cross-examination but a natural yet focused and purposeful dialogue designed to reveal the candidate’s mental traits. The Interview/Personality Test is not meant to be a test of the applicants’ specialized or general knowledge, which has already been examined through their written examinations. Candidates are expected to have taken an intelligent interest not only in their special subjects of academic study but also in the events taking place around them, both within and outside their own State or Country, and also in modern currents of thoughts and discoveries that should pique the interest of well-educated youth.
As you can see, the Board does not stress on testing your knowledge but rather on your mental ability to perform as a civil servant. This means that they expect you to answer with strong morals while you upkeep the constitution’s values. The knowledge that you possess can be used to aid your argument, keeping in mind that the answers are a reflection of your personality. The Board will be asking questions from various sources and your DAF (Detailed Application Form), which is a small repository of all the essential information concerning you, such as your personal information, hobbies, employment details, etc. Kindly make sure that you are comfortable answering any question from these areas as the Board expects you to be well-versed in the information related to you.
Apart from the DAF questions, the Board may ask questions from any source, which can be answered if your basics are strong in the topics that you have already learned for Prelims/Mains. While answering, do not try to fool the Board as they have had countless hours interviewing many candidates. Please be respectful, confident, and calm while answering and make sure that your answers are morally upright while being practically possible, which also uphold the values of our constitution. Always answer the questions as an Indian instead of associating yourself just with the State you belong to. Do not express extreme emotions, but rather have a composed attitude, which is the hallmark of an excellent civil servant. It would be good to practice this in front of a mirror to avoid unwanted facial/body expressions, to build your confidence, and to control the overall flow.
Try to have a few mock interview sessions to understand the interview process and take the experts’ cues to improve your score further. Please make sure to revise the important topics that have been in the news. Even though the Board does not test your knowledge per se, it expects you to know the current events and prepare accordingly. Once again, I would like to stress that the Board intends to assess your personality and hence, the time taken for the Interview and nature of the Interview (stressful or non-stressful)) should not be factored in, and all you have to do is show the character traits of an ideal civil servant. As you are fresh out of Mains, continue the momentum and focus on the mocks to get the best interview score. I wish you the very best in your upcoming Interview.