The Personality Test has been designed to test a candidate in following aspects.
- Candidate’s preparedness to a career in public service
- Level of maturity in analysing current affairs
- Logical exposition
- Variety and balance in assessment of an unfamiliar situation
- Variety and depth of interest
- Personality traits and leadership
The point to be noted here is that your intellectual stamina has already been tested through the Mains examination. What we refer here to intellectual stamina is presentation of views in an indisputable manner with the help of conventional methodology. Always remember that the one who evaluates your answer sheet doesn’t know you in person and that he expects you to be moderate even for the harshest criticism. The questions being asked nowadays are sheer opinion-seeking and to come out top facing such bouncers in six hours is no mean a task. It has got more to deal with your flexibility in not only favouring personal bias but also in nurturing commonly accepted yet practical stance. So, we generalize that your smart work needs slice of luck from the divine end. Remember, generalizations are invariably excluded from the ambit of normal comprehension.
UPSC expects the candidates to present themselves in a professional manner at the interview desk. This way, we say that the interview is conducted to verify candidate’s mental balance and alertness in almost any precarious situation. The marks of those who secured first ten positions and those from 11 to 100 give an idea of how marks scored in the personality test play a decisive role.
From Vijay Kumar Mantri’s tips on facing the interview..
The most important thing to know about the Interview is that it is not a question-answer session and what they are looking out for is different aspects of one’s personality. As far as possible, the answer given should reveal a particular aspect of one’s personality and attempts should not be made to present a make-up appearance or politically correct answers. There is no harm in taking extreme views if one is able to justify them.
In a personality test, what is of importance is how you say what you say. It is the style of presentation that matters. Your personality is, on an average, assessed in 25-30 minutes; it is your responsibility to bring out your very best in front of the board.
- Intelligent listening is the mantra, and for this maintaining eye contact is very important. You should not glare but all the same appear attentive and do not glance at other members; it can be very distracting for the interviewer. However if some other member asks you anything, look at that member and answer and turn back to the first – this is what we do in normal attentive listening.
- Try not to jump into an answer before the complete question has been posed, as you will end up wasting time on answering a question that you were not actually asked. If you are not sure of what was asked, you can always politely seek a clarification.
- Do not try to answer the question as soon as it is posed. Think over the question, take your time and organize the broad outline of the answer before airing it. Pause a while before answering, even if you know the answer.
- Do not speak rapidly. Speak slowly and clearly so that the Board members grasp what you are saying and do not have to interrupt you or ask you to repeat your views.
- Do not fidget or throw your hands around, or shake your head. Less amount of movement does not mean you should sit unnaturally stiff. Your posture should be attentive and relaxed at the same time. Do not crouch/bend forward or place your hands on the table.
- At times, you will be given situations wherein you will be required to take a decision. In such situations, the board is testing your ability to comprehend issues and use reason and good judgment logically, precisely and arrive at a balanced decision.
- Your replies should be crisp and to the point. Do not beat around the bush.
- Cut your answer short to the required patience shown by the member talking to you. They usually like to talk more, so listen carefully and think for a few seconds before you start answering the question. This will show that you are organizing your thoughts in mind before starting to speak.
- Leave some room for difference in opinion. Do take a stand, but do not look adamant or unwilling to appreciate the board’s opinion.
- Use couple of words from the question while answering any question. It shows you have listened to the question carefully. But at the same time limit the use the technical jargon.
- Do not start evaluating your performance while still in the interview. Even if you have committed mistakes in the beginning, do not think that you have already lost the game. They are looking for warm, sensitive respectful and attentive youngsters. They know you are good or you would not have come so far.
- Talk humbly about your achievements and hobbies. You may have mentioned some hobbies in the form without serious background in them, but before the interview it would be useful to pick up some basic info on the hobby.
- Say less to convey more. Argue logically and generalize correctly. Remember, while answering any question, what is easy to see is easy to miss.
- We often tend to miss the obvious and go for some non-crucial aspect of the subject.
- Questions posed before a candidate by the interviewing board are very well framed, and answers to them should be made taking into consideration all possible views and a balanced approach is expected from a candidate.
- Remember, non-awareness of something should be admitted with politeness. It is okay to not know something! It is better to say ‘No’ than to bluff around. Those interviewing are highly experienced persons and know much better than us.
- If the question put is not clear to you, politely ask for more information. It is not the factual knowledge but your views, which will be tested in the interview.
- Always observe interview etiquette and be honest, polite, convincing a modest.
- Arrogance, rigidity, flicking round the issue should be avoided.
- Don’t be argumentative. Be consistent in your views, i.e. just don’t change your views because of the fact that the Board is differing with you. Remember that they are only testing you and often even try to provoke you. Give balanced answers and avoid taking extremes.
- Maintain a gentle smile off and on during the Personality Test without overdoing it. It displays a sense of ease and confidence. Wherever possible use your sense of humour judiciously.
- Get up to leave only when the chairperson asks you to, not because you think everyone has asked a question. Similarly, even if someone has not asked a question and the chairperson asks you to leave then please leave. Some members do not ask questions at all, due to various reasons like limited time.
- Before leaving politely thank the chairperson and nod at the others politely.
- Avoid saying “Have a good day sir/madam”. A “Thank you Sir/Madam” is enough.