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Interview Myths - Get Rid of Them

Each stage of Civil Services Examination is surrounded by a number of myths. But in the interview it is more in number as there are no fixed criteria for selection. One criterion may have fetched good marks to one while that may prove to be debacle for the other. Because while answering questions before the board members a lot number of criteria matter like your choosing of words, body language, views, tone, etc. And all these criteria are not similar in any two persons. After the marks are declared candidates interpret according to their own understanding. There is no unanimity among candidates on the rational of score that one got in the interview.

Some of the myths that surrounds personality development test of UPSC are:

Public School vs Govt. School: Several candidates have pointed out that public school students are favoured in the interview. Again, there doesn’t appear any rational basis to this allegation. Perhaps, it is easily for gotten that students with public school background are smarter and give the impression of a better turnout. They may or may not be as intelligent as their government school counterpart, but there is no denying the fact that their personality is more developed and expressive.

Public schools make special efforts at grooming a student in his formative years. It is this reason perhaps, that accounts for better personality development and consequently better scoring in the personality test. Bias in favour of the public school students is therefore, more or less ruled out.

We must remember that school is not the sole determinant of someone’s personality. There are other factors like peer group, family background, reading habits, hobbies and interest, etc., which go on to determine an individual’s personality. Therefore, it is not that a public school student will invariably do well in the personality test. And there are quite a number of students with the government school background, who do quite well in the personality test.

Regional vs English Medium : India must be considered unfortunate that thousands of otherwise bright students in this country have to suffer ignominy and inferiority on account of their lack of proficiency in English. More often, the inferiority complex is self inflicted and perhaps also imposed by the outside world. However, the Government of India does its best to offer equal opportunity to those with the English medium and regional medium, including Hindi background.

Not only the medium of written examination conducted by the UPSC is broad based to include several other languages alongwith the English, but the arrangements also exist for even conducting the per sonality test in Hindi and other regional languages. Can a candidate write the Civil Service (Main) Examination in English and take the interview in Hindi or any other Indian language? UPSC says, “The candidates, opting for Indian Language medium for the written part of the Civil Services (Main) Examination, may choose either the same Indian Language or English or Hindi as the medium for the interview.

The candidates, opting to write the Civil Services (Main) Examination in English, may choose as the medium for interview either English or Hindi or any other Indian Language opted by them for the compulsory Indian Language Paper in the written part of the Civil Services (Main) Examination.   However, the candidates, who are exempted from the compulsory Indian Language Paper, will have to choose either English or Hindi as medium of Interview of Personality Test.”

To allege Hindi or other Indian language medium is disfavoured in the interviews would amount to grossly misunderstating the facts. The interview board is an impartial body to show favour or disfavour merely on account of the medium of communication. Also, a very miniscule proportion of those who appear in the interview offer Hindi or other local language as their medium of interview.  As per the Annual Report of the UPSC, out of 24 languages offer by the UPSC major languages opted by the candidates are Hindi, Marathi, Telugu, Gujarati, Bengali and Tamil; very few candidates appeared the exam in Kannada, Malayalam, Urdu, Punjabi, Assamesee, Odia, Manipuri and Maithili, and no candidate opted Kashmiri, Sindhi, Konkani, Bodo, Dogri and Santhali as their medium of examination in the Civil Services Examination, 2010. When the number candidates appeared in the examination with regional language as their medium is low, their number will also be low in the recommended list.

Another reason for less number of candidates with regional language as their medium of examination find position in the final list are unavailability of study material or standard books. 

Hence, it is not right to conclude that any medium of examination is favoured or disfavoured.

Answer More Number of Questions : Perhaps it is the biggest myth. Civil services aspirant believe that one, who has answered all the questions will get good marks. But it is not the case, because your knowledge is already tested in the Main examination. In the personality development they test the real you, what kind of person you are? Do you have leadership quality in you or not, whether you would be able to implement the policies and programmes effectively or not, what kind of views you hold  about social issues that are happening around you, if there is any attitudinal problem in your personality whether that could be changed through training or not and many more.

Hence simply answering all the questions in the interview does not mean that you will get good marks rather it is your personality that fulfilled the criteria of an efficient bureaucrat or not.

What is the highest mark generally ob tained in the interview? What is the least mark? Who obtains the highest score? Are the highest scorers the brightest stud ents?

These and several more similar questions are frequently asked by the students who have yet to go through the rituals of interview. The UPSC board is neither very liberal nor strict in awarding interview score.

There are around six to eight boards constituted for the interview and not all of them are exactly at par in the scores they award. While some of the boards are dreaded by the students, the others may be sought after because they are found difficult or easy boards in so far as the scores they award is concerned.

Few years ago, the board chaired by a lady member was dreaded and so was the one chaired by a retired police officer because it was found very difficult to extract a high score from them.

In exceptional cases, marks may go up to 80 per cent or more. Similarly, on the lower side marks as low as 30 per cent or even less have been reported.

Who are these exceptional scorers? They are not necessarily the brilliant students. There have been several students just on the border line in the Mains, but because of their exceptional score in the interview, they have managed to get the IAS proper. On the other hand, there are several IAS officers today, who are IAS because of their exceptional performance in the Mains, even as they got very low score in the interview.

However, irrespective of their academic achievement, one fact about those who score very high in the personality test is sure- a very well groomed personality. They are eloquent. They are good in academics and extra-curricular activities. They know how to fruitfully utilize their labour as well leisure. They are highly aware of the present happenings and events. They can evaluate and form their own opinion. They can plan ahead and execute their plan. And, the most important of all, they have the leadership qualities.

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