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About Personality Test or Interview

The Personality test or the interview of the Civil Services exam is conducted in Delhi at the UPSC office. The interview is conducted by various boards constituted by the UPSC.

The final results of the UPSC Mains exams are declared right after the conclusion of the interview or the personality test. Candidates about double the number of vacancies are selected through the mains exams and called to appear for the personality test. There are 275 marks allocated to the personality test. A good score in the personality test can determine your ranking in the final list of the civil services exam.

According to UPSC report, it has been observed that from 1979 onwards, 90 per cent of the candidates who qualify for interview hover around the minimal percentage of 55 per cent that is prescribed for the test. However to be assured of a Class I service, one has to generally obtain about 58 per cent marks. It has been noticed that only those, securing 60 per cent and above are sure of getting a service of their own choice.

The figures clearly reveal that the marks in the personality test play a determining role in final selection of the candidate.

How to face Civil Service Interview

Qualities to be tested in the Personality test

The Kothari Committee constituted by the UPSC has listed the qualities that should be rated in the personality test. They are as follows;

  1. Clarity of expression
  2. Grasp of narrative and argument
  3. Reasoning ability,
  4. Appreciation of different points of view
  5. Awareness and concern for socio-economic problems
  6. Range and depth of interests and personal attributes relevant to interaction with people.

The Personality Test is aimed at assessing the candidate's personality suitable to be a competent administrator. The candidate is tested for intelligence, attentiveness, balance of judgement and human qualities like honesty, integrity and leadership.

How to Prepare for Personality Test

The preparation for the personality test or Interview requires proper planning. Since overall personality development is a continuous process it requires vast reading. Candidates are required to go through numerous books, journals, magazines and few daily newspapers.

The candidate should make a self-analysis of his/ her strengths and weaknesses and make a conscious effort to work on them.

They should try to improve their conversational skills with the right pronunciation.

The candidate should be prepared to answer questions on his background, hobbies and extracurricular activities.

It is a good idea to discuss current affairs and recent issues with friends. One good way of rehearsing possible questions would be to have mock interviews and forming discussion groups.

Personal Traits

The candidate should have a positive attitude, an alert mind, quick reflexes, and good at decision maker, have the ability to work under stress and is able to handle any difficult situation and free from any prejudices.

Some useful tips for a successful personality test are:

  1. To have a positive body language
  2. To have a good personal appearance and the right posture
  3. To answer questions clearly and confidently
  4. Try to remain calm and composed even when faced with provocative questions
  5. Try to answer to the point and not get into long winded explanations

How to behave during the Personality test:

  1. Do not give long introductions. Come straight to the point.
  2. You should be logically consistent and analyse the answer rationally. You are supposed to defend what you say, but with due respect to the board. Stop trying to defend if it becomes difficult to do so logically and fairly.
  3. Do not make hasty or sweeping generalisations.
  4. Avoid the expression, 'I am sorry.'
  5. Avoid conversational cliches, like: 'as you know', 'that's correct', 'of course', 'indeed', 'obviously', etc.
  6. Avoid technical jargon. However, if a member continues to probe you in any technical field, you can use technical expressions.
  7. Maintain a cheerful face. You can appear serious, now and then, but most of the time keep smiling and remain composed.
  8. If the board laughs, you should only smile. It may give positive reflection on the depth of your personality.
  9. Show human concern whenever possible in your answers.

Types of questions asked at the Personality test:

  1. Relating to your name, any famous personality who has a similar or same name or surname
  2. Your career choice, why do you want to be a civil servant?
  3. What are your Hobbies, why you pursue such a hobby or questions related to your hobby etc.
  4. Current Affairs of recent days are most likely questions. So keep reading and watching the news. If the recent headlines have something to do with your subject then specially revise those portions.
  5. Choice of services, the order of your choice of services can raise questions too.
  6. Questions about your academic institution and related to them. If you have studied at the IIM you may be asked about the rising salaries, if from IGNOU then even about Indira Gandhi and so on.
  7. Questions can be asked from your form that you have filled and submitted to the UPSC before your interview. You must go through the form you have filled because most questions can arise from there. If you have changed subjects, mentioned anything out of the way, watch out for the questions around them. Interviewers can take cue from the form you have filled.
  8. Question from your educational qualification. If you are an MBBS or from an economy background, question can be asked how you are going to use your specific knowledge in the civil services. Don't you think you can serve your country better by remaining a doctor and treating poor patients or joining civil services?
  9. Situational questions, like if you were the collector/SP of certain place, what would you do after a Bomb Blast?

Documents to be submitted at the Personality test:

Following Documents has to be submitted at the time of Personality Test Board for Civil Services Examination.

1) SC/ST Certificate Performa, OBC Certificate Performa, Undertaking, Physically Handicapped Certificate Performa, Performa of Hailing from Certificate Questionnaire, Attestation Form, TA Form. The Questionnaire, Attestation Form and TA Form are available at the UPSC official website. If you have applied under SC or ST or OBC, or Physically Handicapped category then fill in and submit the respective certificate. The certificate is separately available for print out at the UPSC site - www.upsc.gov.in.

The candidates are requested to carry the following documents for the interview.

I. Filled Questionnaire: The seven page questionnaire is required for the research and analysis section of UPSC and is used for assessing background information of the candidate appearing for the personality test/ interview. This questioner has be duly filled and submitted at the time of the interview. The questionnaire is divided into several sections.

  1. Background of the candidate
  2. Employment status
  3. Previous Civil Services attempts
  4. Competitive exams cleared
  5. Reasons for interest in Civil Services
  6. Education particulars
  7. Background of Parents/Guardian
  8. Source of information for Civil Services
  9. Coaching attended
  10. Optional subject chosen

II. Attestation Form: The attestation form has to be filled with required details including residence, nationality education and has to be signed by a Gazetted officer before being submitted at the time of the interview.