Saturday, June 5, 2010

Civil Services: facing the interview board

Candidates must remember that the interview board looks for competent candidates, and so one must remain confident and truly believe that one's chances are bright.
Perseverance matters: Civil Service aspirants at a coaching centre in Chennai.
A natural question that emerges is, “What would be the nature of the interview questions?” Well, it is anybody's guess. The questions would depend on the first impression created by you in the mind of the interview board, your background, and the mood of the members. Indeed, there are areas in which you could focus during the preparation. Some of the possibilities are indicated below:
Meaning of your name.
Questions on your village/ town/ city/ State/ college
Detailed questions on your hobby
Why did you choose mathematics / history / electrical engineering / .. as your subject of specialisation?
After your degree in engineering, you are opting for the civil services. Why? Does it not amount to wasting your hard work in technical studies? (We may avoid pleas like “opportunity for service to the nation”, while answering questions of this genre)
If you are a professional like an engineer or a surgeon, you may asked how you would use your specialised skills you have gained through hard work.
Questions based on situations, like how you would face flood havoc in the district under your control.
Your preferences among the different services
Latest developments in the national/ international scene. Hot topics of the day. (You have to update your knowledge on current affairs. If something significant happened a day or two before the interview, you should gather full details and be ready with our views and comments on it.)
Keep a copy of the form filled for the main examination, since it is quite likely that the board starts from it.
Desirable styles
Reach the exam centre at least half an hour before the scheduled time, so that you can be quite calm and well poised when you are ushered in. If you fear traffic jam or other hurdles, start earlier. Never listen to persons who might tell you that the interview is only a farce and that you have no chance in getting selected unless you have proper connections at the top. The board looks for competent candidates. Be confident that your chances are bright. Keep a positive frame of mind. While you are waiting for the interview in the reception, you may engage yourself in friendly chat (not nerve-racking discussions) with other candidates, so that you become totally relaxed.
Enter the interview room gracefully. Greet the board. Take your seat when asked to do so. Listen well. You body language should reveal that you are listening well. Maintain eye-contact. Do not be too smart and try to answer a question before it is spelt out in full by the member. You can think for a couple of seconds for organising your thoughts before giving an answer. You should appear to be earnest and serious about your success in the interview. Do not be casual in your approach.
Your dress should instil confidence in you. Avoid newly stitched clothes, since you would be too self-conscious and uncomfortable in it in the beginning. Light colours may be preferred. Women should avoid gaudy dress, pungent perfume, and heavy jewellery. They can appear in their best attire for the occasion, in a saree or salwar-kameez of fine taste. They should avoid distractions like the saree slipping from the shoulder or hair slipping to the forehead during the interview. Men can wear polished black leather shoes. Well-ironed dress, properly combed hair, and trimmed nails will add to your self-assurance. After all, an interview is a mind game as well. Look and posture are important in any interview. Remain calm and composed in all circumstances. Never look agitated or tensed. Keep a cheerful disposition. Remember, there is no second chance to make a first impression.
Be natural in your poise, facial expressions, and movement of hands. Be relaxed. Do not show signs of nervousness by acts such as wiping your nose, rubbing your ear, or playing with any part of your dress or any article found on the table.
Be brief in your answers. Answer to the point. Never be too fast or too slow in speaking; maintain a normal pace ensuring clarity. If you have not understood a question clearly, do not try to answer it on any presumption. Get necessary clarification through a polite request and then proceed. Do not miss the main point because of your anxiety in going through the details with great care. Never beat about the bush. If you do not know the answer to a question, confess your ignorance straightaway. You cannot hoodwink the board comprising experts. Never take extreme views on controversial subjects; it is a happy medium that would help you. You can take a stand, provided you have ample facts to support it. You should be consistent in your views. But never go for tiresome arguments to establish your views; you may present your views dispassionately through convincing words and body language. Be logical. Never make unreasonable generalisation. Though there is an element of exaggeration in it, you may keep in mind the saying, “He who generalises, generally lies”.
Be polite and courteous through words and body language. If you have an occasion to mention one of your significant achievements, do not try to make it look something great. The board is endowed with ample skills for objective judgement.
Speak with clarity. Never be vague. Use simple language. Do not try to flaunt your vocabulary. Do not use technical jargon, except in a rare instance of a specific question on technical details being raised by a member. If there is an occasion when the members laugh, you need not join them; but you may smile. Avoid mannerisms such as “You know”. “I think”, “Basically”, “sort of”, and “like”. If you feel that you made some error during the interview, do not brood over it. Think of the next answer you have to give.
Thank the board before you take leave of the interview.

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