How to prepare for Civil Services Interview?
How to prepare for Civil Services Interview?
After the declaration of the Main Examination results for civil services, it is time to face the interview or the personality test as it is commonly termed. Candidates must not wait all this while only to get alert for the interview after the declaration of main examination results. Instead, the preparations for the interview should be considered very seriously along with the main exam preparations. It is not just another interview where you will be judged on basis of your credentials. The civil services interview is meant to assess far broad traits of personality of a candidate to determine whether or not he/she is capable of holding the position of a civil service officer.
Topics for preparations:
Preparations for the civil services interview should include gaining extensive knowledge on various fields, information on current happenings around the world, excellent communication skills, good body language, positive approach, and being honest in your answers.
Retain a copy of your main examination form to revise the areas of your preparations like birthplace, state, educational background, optional subjects, family background, hobby, job experience, current affairs, extracurricular activities, educational institutions attended, etc. The questions can be related to any of these topics so you must keep this in mind while filling the examination form. Prepare for each of these topics very well and revise your knowledge of them thoroughly. Do not bluff as you are most likely to be caught off guards. Being honest is the key to doing well in the civil services interview.
What is being tested?
More than knowledge and your awareness, the interview board shall be looking forward to test your aptitude and personality. If you do not know the answer to a question, just maintain your composure and politely tell them that you do not know instead of trying to come up with supposition answers of your own. One cannot learn everything. You must understand that they will be looking forward to test your basic knowledge in general awareness and current issues but emphasis will be to test your answering abilities, reasoning abilities, decision making abilities, the way you negotiate your point, clarity in the answers and your approach towards various situations. They might try tricking or quizzing you with a question and that’s when your true aptitude comes out. Keep your mind clear and prepare very well right from the very beginning to develop confidence which will help you mostly during the interview.
Referring to various preparation guides for civil services interview is a good practice but along with these, you must make it a point to read two standard newspapers on a daily basis. You can go for any two newspapers amongst The Times of India, The Hindu, Telegraph, The Hindustan Times, etc. You must read books, magazines, and journals on a regular basis. Begin this practice while you are preparing for the main examinations and do not stop until the interviews are over. While time management during the prelims preparations is a challenge in itself, you do not want to be lagging behind for the upcoming test. You can begin slowly with just one newspaper daily and increase the content as time passes.
Along with knowing what to speak, you must also prepare for how to speak. Conversational skills are very important and you will have to improvise on this aspect with practice and rehearsals in a group discussion with family or friends. Make sure that you rehearse in front of an expert in this field and ask the person to interrupt you when you make a pronunciation mistake. You can also do this in front of the mirror while looking into the eyes, or on webcams with an expert person. You can ask your friends to take a mock interview to assess your verbal and interactive skills. Analyze your mistakes and weaknesses and work hard on improving them.
Be logical and rational in your views
During groups discussions and mock interviews for preparations, try forming rational views that are logically correct and supported by data if necessary. Never let a discussion lead to an argument since this is how your personality shapes and you are most likely to have the same composure while answering in front of the board. Be polite while presenting your views. If the board does not agree to your view and you are confident about your answer, stick to your view but with politeness. If the board presents before you their own view which might be contrary to yours, but is logically correct, agree with them and politely mention that their view can be a new perspective for you to ponder upon.
Swipe away nervousness:
While it is absolutely normal to get nervous before entering the interview room, still you do not want nervousness to get over your confidence and ruin the opportunity for you. Improving pronunciation and communication skills and rehearsing verbal skills will boost your confidence level, and swipe away the any kind of nervousness before you face the board. Before the interview, you shall be made to wait in a waiting room, where you must do away with all the nervousness. Take deep breaths and exhale, repeating for a few more times till you relax. Remember, you must appear confident, but never arrogant or over-confident or with any kind of attitude.
The DOs and DON’Ts
- Maintain eye contact with the interviewer whose question you are answering, shifting your eye contact in between to the other board members and then back to the first person.
- Respect the interview board and listen carefully when they are speaking without interrupting.
- Be honest in your answers and never try bluffing.
- Maintain a positive and serious approach. Even if the board members laugh, you are supposed to simply smile politely and not join the laughter.
- Maintain your calm and never let the matter lead to an argument. They might try testing your patience but remember you are not going to lose it.
- Accept your mistakes politely if you commit any while answering.
- Do not use expressions such as “I am sorry”, “of course”, “as you know”, etc.
- Avoid technical terms unless required.
- Take a short pause when the question has ended. You do not have to jump into answering especially when you are not sure of your answer.
- If you are unsure on any matter, admit boldly, instead of faking confidence.