UPSC IAS civil services interview 2022 strategy: Tips for success by expert

  • The UPSC will conduct interviews for various civil services from 5th April this year. Unlike previous years, the UPSC has left very little time for the candidates to prepare for the interview this year.
Based on my interactions with scores of students who have faced the UPSC interview, both successful and unsuccessful; here are a few practical tips to face the UPSC interview board.(Getty Images/File/Representative photo)
Based on my interactions with scores of students who have faced the UPSC interview, both successful and unsuccessful; here are a few practical tips to face the UPSC interview board.(Getty Images/File/Representative photo)
Published on Mar 28, 2022 01:53 PM IST
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The UPSC will conduct interviews for various civil services from 5th April this year. Unlike previous years, the UPSC has left very little time for the candidates to prepare for the interview this year. Nevertheless, aspirants should not lose their cool and prepare calmly.

Based on my interactions with scores of students who have faced the UPSC interview, both successful and unsuccessful; here are a few practical tips to face the UPSC interview board.

1. Don’t Take It Too Lightly

Don’t assume that if you have made it this far, you will sail through the interview. The UPSC has called 1823 candidates for interview for filling 712 vacancies. It means that 1,111 candidates called for the interview will not make it to the final merit list.

Meera K, who secured all India rank 6 in the civil services exam last year after four laborious attempts, concedes that she initially took interview preparation lightly because she had good speaking skills, only to realize later that it takes more than that. 

2. Know Your Self

The information supplied by you in your detailed application form is an important document through which the interviewers know you. The details mentioned in it, including the minutest, are probable points of discussion. Hence, it is important to be well versed with them. From the meaning of your name to the historical background of your city of residence, prepare all aspects thoroughly and have all the relevant facts and statistics on your fingertips.

3. Stay Abreast of Current Events

Read at least two newspapers daily till your interview. Identify all important national and international developments of importance such as the status of covid-19 vaccination, the possibility of use of nuclear weapons by Russia, the NSE scam and the Kashmiri Pandits’ exodus. Dissect issues and understand them at some depth. Superficial acquaintance won’t do.

4. Form Your Own Opinions

It is important to not only be aware of what’s happening around you but also form your own, well-reasoned opinions. Gather diverse viewpoints and form your own judgment on various issues of the day.

During the interview, express a balanced view on issues and avoid taking an extreme position. Particularly on sensitive issues such as the Hijab ban in educational institutions in Karnataka or India’s stance on the Russia – Ukraine war, respond tactfully.

A candidate has to strike the right balance between exhibiting clarity of thought and expression and avoiding parochial views during the interview. Particularly, avoid arguments with the interview board members and any resultant unpleasantness.

5. A Pleasant Personality

A pleasant personality is liked by everyone and the UPSC board is no exception. Present a smiling and calm demeanor to the board members, even if you are feeling tensed on the inside. Work on your body posture and articulation with experienced persons, your friends or in front of a mirror. Avoid any irksome habits like shaking a leg or nail biting so as to appear in control of your reflexes.

6. Research Your Hobbies

UPSC seeks well rounded individuals with credentials beyond academics. So, it is important to thoroughly research about your hobbies, extracurricular activities and related achievements. Also study the current national and international developments that are even remotely related to your area of interest. For example, if you love painting, you may be asked about the world’s oldest cave paintings found in Indonesia last year to gauge the depth of your interest and your level of awareness.

7. Honesty Is The Best Policy

The board assesses the candidates also for moral integrity and intellectual honesty. Therefore, it is important to respond truthfully during the interview. Moreover, any bluff by a candidate during the interview is likely to be detected by the panel members who are people with rich and wide experience. Do not exaggerate your accomplishments or abilities. If you are not aware of the answer to a particular question, admit it straightforward or hazard an educated guess with the board’s permission instead of shooting in the dark.

8. Be well groomed

One of the first impressions that the interview board forms of you is visual. A neat and tidy appearance projects you as a well organized person and will leave a better impression on the board members than an unkempt look.

Appear for the interview in proper and formal attire. Your clothes need not to be new or expensive, but they should be clean and well ironed. Your hair should be styled formally and not disheveled. Avoid flashy jewelry. Your footwear should be polished well.

9. Practice

It is preferable if your interview with the UPSC interview board is not the first interview that you appear for. Giving some mock interviews modeled on the UPSC interview and before the actual one will boost your confidence and reduce anxiety. The insights given by the experts after the mock interviews will also help in fine tuning your preparation. After all, practice makes one perfect.

Conclusion

If you have cleared the civil services written examination, don’t rest just yet. Put your best foot forward for the interview. Preparing thoroughly for the UPSC interview will give you the much needed confidence to clear it, and embark on a career in one of the coveted civil services.

(Author Pranay Aggarwal is an expert in IAS exam preparation who is mentoring UPSC candidates since more than a decade at IAS Gurukul.  Views expressed here are personal.)

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Thursday, May 26, 2022