UPSC Interview/Personality Test

UPSC Interview or the Personality Test is the final lap of the Civil Services selection process. It carries 275 marks (with no minimum qualifying marks). Marks obtained by the candidates in the Main Examination (written examination) as well as Interview would determine their final ranking. Candidates will be allotted to the various services keeping in view their ranks in the Examination and the preferences expressed by them for the various services and posts.

The focal point of the interview as defined by UPSC in its notification is as follows: “The candidate will be interviewed by a Board who will have before them a record of his/her career. He/she will be asked questions on matters of general interest. The object of the interview is to assess the personal suitability of the candidate for a career in public service by a Board of competent and unbiased observers. The test is intended to judge the mental calibre of a candidate. In broad terms this is really an assessment of not only his intellectual qualities but also social traits and his interest in current affairs.”

Thus, the interviewers have two major concerns in their mind:

  1.  the personality issue and
  2.  the knowledge aspect of the candidate.

Importance of Personality Test or UPSC Interview?

Interview according to UPSC is described to be a test of candidate’s overall personality which includes analytical ability, lateral thinking, logical decision making etc. The objective of the interview is to assess the personal suitability of the candidate for a career in public service by a Board of competent and unbiased observers.

The test is intended to judge the mental caliber of a candidate. In broad terms, this is really an assessment of not only his/her intellectual qualities but also social traits and his/her interest in current affairs. Some of the qualities to be judged are mental alertness, critical powers of assimilation, clear and logical Exposition, balance of judgment, variety and depth of interest, ability for social cohesion and leadership, intellectual and moral integrity.

The maximum marks that can be earned from the UPSC Interview are 275. Good presentation skills and thorough knowledge of your subject are key and can either make or break your interview.

UPSC Interview Details & Venue

UPSC Interview Centre in India Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), Dholpur House, Shahjahan Road, New Delhi-110069
Interview Sessions Two sessions per day – Morning Session – 9 AM and Afternoon Session – 2 PM onwards
Dress Code Men – Formal Pant & Shirt

Women – Saree or Salwar (Chudidar)

IAS Interview Marks 275 Marks (Maximum)
IAS Vacancy Details 896 (UPSC 2019 Notification)
Documents Required Carry all relevant documents as per DAF filling

Know more: Free IAS Interview Preparation Program

Process of UPSC Interview

If you are an IAS aspirant appearing for UPSC IAS interview for the first time, then you will be eager to know the process of IAS interview on the interview day. Here we are providing the process for you:

  • Candidates need to reach the venue early, there will be some preliminary security checks before entering the UPSC building, where security checks your interview call letter and government ID proofs (carry valid ID proof with you).
  • Candidates need to keep their bags and mobile phones as directed by the UPSC building security. After that, candidates are allowed to sit in the waiting hall to check their documents. The respective government official will verify your documents (educational certificates, caste certificates, and other respective documents as per your DAF).
  • Once the documents verification is over, the candidates will be the number of the panel and sequence number to appear before the board. Say For example, if you took a chit of Panel number 5 and sequence number 2, means you appear 2nd in the sequence before panel number 5.
  • Candidates are sit in groups according to their respective panel numbers. According to your sequence, the staff will take to the panel room to appear before the UPSC interview board. In the meantime, you can avail the travel reimbursement for outstation candidates.
  • On average, in one session UPSC board takes 5-6 aspirants. Roughly every interview lasts for 25 to 30 minutes.

Appearing for the IAS interview is a unique experience. In order to achieve success and get a good score in the IAS interview, candidates should be polite, calm, and confident.

How to Prepare for UPSC Interview

Starting your interview preparation early

Students should start their interview practice as early as possible. Do not wait for the Civil Services Mains Exam result to begin your preparation.

Clear understanding of yourself

Spend time studying yourself, because a good introduction can set the tone for the rest of the interview. Most of the candidates are well-versed with their subjects but fail to introduce themselves clearly. Make a list of points and achievements that you want to highlight about yourself to create a good introduction for your interview.

Clear understanding of DAF

Your Detailed Application Form (DAF) speaks for you in front of the board members when you are waiting for your turn for a personality test. Since they have no prior knowledge about your candidature, your DAF sets the tone for the personality test. The DAF gives them a preliminary idea about you and hence, paves way for questions that they may ask.

Generally, three types of questions are asked in Personality Test:

  • Questions from DAF: For example, What is the meaning of your name? or the link between your name and renowned personalities name.
  • Based on your knowledge level: For example, if you are a B.Sc Physics graduate, you could be asked, What is Quantum Theory?
  • Current affairs and situational questions: For example, How does GST affect the federal structure of India?

Here, DAF plays a pivotal role in your interview, as questions about your native place, hobbies, optional subject, graduation, etc. consume a major chunk of the time. As situational questions and questions based on a knowledge base are beyond the candidate’s control, it is strongly recommended that the candidate should be thorough with his/her DAF.

Read More: How to fill DAF for IAS Exam

Positive Mindset

Do not overlook or underestimate the value of Interviews. You can score 205 within 5 minutes or even 100 in 60 minutes. It is clear that the time taken has nothing to do with the marks scored by a candidate. Qualities such as confidence, integrity, humility, optimism, etc. play an important role in the personality test. Candidates should make sure that they don’t lie in front of the board. Be genuine while you answer, as a psychiatrist is an integral part of the board. Aptitude and body language are also significant in the Civil Service interview process. Applicants should make sure that they are able to communicate well with the board members.

Dress Code for UPSC IAS Interview

Wear a comfortable dress which will make you feel confident. There is no need to spend money on expensive party wear clothes. Men should wear a light-colored shirt and black pants while women can wear a saree or salwar kameez.

Read More: IAS Interview Dress code

Confidence is key

Walk-in and face the interview panel confidently and deliver your answers without fear. Confidence shows your quality and ability which can contribute towards getting good marks. Even a slight display of overconfidence in your demeanor can leave a negative impact.

Read More: How to prepare UPSC IAS Interview

Documents needed for UPSC IAS Interview

  • Mark-sheets and certificates of Class X, XII, and graduation.
  • Proof of Category
  • A set of questionnaires is provided to the candidate once he/she qualifies for UPSC Interview.

The questionnaires are filled with a set of questions like:

  1. Candidate’s background
  2. Employment statutes
  3. Previous Civil Service attempt(s)
  4. Education qualifications
  5. Background of parents/guardians etc.

Applicants must submit an Attestation Form to the interview board with the minimum details required such as residence, nationality, education qualification along with a signature of the Gazetted Officer.

UPSC IAS Interview Questions

The IAS interview is to test candidates’ overall personality, mental ability, social awareness. The UPSC IAS interview is all about not checking your knowledge it is to test your presence of mind and the approach of questions.

Here we are providing the different sections from where most of the questions are asked by the UPSC interview board.

IAS interview question on Introduction

Most of the questions asked by the UPSC interview board is based on the details that are submitted by candidates in the IAS mains application form DAF.

Once you enter the interview room, candidates greet the panel and you sit before the UPSC interview board.

The initial stage of questions will be on the introductory note like:

  • What is the meaning of your name?
  • What are you currently doing?
  • How many attempts have you given so for? etc

These questions are not to test anything, just to make you comfortable and normal your anxiety. Again, at few IAS interview boards, there may be some variations in the approach.

IAS interview questions on Education

The next round of questions may be asked from candidates’ educational backgrounds. The range of questions may be asked like

  • How your degree will help in administration?
  • What is so popular about your college?
  • What is your marking pattern and why increasing or decreasing? And so on.

Again in this section, the UPSC IAS interview board asks the questions from your familiar zone, and based on your answer/reply there will be supplementary questions that may take to deep discussions too.

IAS Interview questions on Current Affairs

UPSC is more fond of current affairs, be it IAS prelims, mains, or interviews. At times, the complete IAS interview questions will be revolving around current affairs based. But at any interview discussions, there will surely be few current affairs questions asked by UPSC interview board.

  • What is a hot topic today?
  • What are the major issues happening in your state/city/hometown?
  • Any burning social issue-related questions may also be asked?

Here again, UPSC is not going to test your knowledge, here they are more eager to know how innovative candidates are, how candidates approach such issues. Instead of worrying right or the wrong answer provide a genuine answer according to you before the board.

IAS interview questions on Hobby and Job Profile

The next set of questions may be asked from the Job profile and Hobby section that candidates would have provided in the DAF.

  • Why you left your current job?
  • What are the role and responsibilities of your job?
  • Questions based on the hobby that you filled in DAF

Candidates should be well prepared for this section, especially the hobby section, at times UPSC interview board may ask very subtle and technical questions related to your hobby. Say if your hobby is sketching, the panel may give paper and pencil and ask you to sketch before them. So, be prepared and be honest before the UPSC interview board.

IAS interview questions on Optional Subject

The next set of questions will be asked from your optional subject. These questions will not be technical as related to UPSC mains, the questions will be mostly on the application of your optional subject knowledge on administration.

  • How does your public administration optional knowledge help in administration?
  • What is the reason to choose an optional subject (your subject)?

Also, you might face some questions in IAS interview related to topics/theory/contemporary issues based on your optional subject.

Read More: Myths about IAS interview

Personality Assessment by Interview Board

  • Eye contact- make good eye contact with the Interview Board. Do not look down or elsewhere while giving answers. The Interview board comprises 5 members and you must make eye contact with each one of them while giving answers
  • Quoting facts and figures that you are unsure of leaves a bad impression
  • Avoid crossing your arms when you sit
  • Sit straight on the chair
  • Avoid touching your face and hair
  • Nod your head once or twice – it makes the sense that you are interactive in this particular session

The Personality Test is the final stage of the Civil Services exam. A candidate who walks in with confidence, a calm and positive demeanor, and who is thoroughly prepared can ace the interview.

All the Best!