UPSC prelims are just done and we’re now awaiting the results for the same. As some of us qualify for the next round of the examination i.e. the UPSC mains, we all must gear up to face the next round with even more preparation. While mains is also something one can tackle with enough preparation, is the interview round which candidates fear the most. At times, even the simplest appearing questions may have layers that can be tricky to answer. IAS interview questions typically asked to test your ability to understand a question quickly and think your way through. While some questions are your typically asked ones; something every generic interview can feature, some require ‘out of the box’ thinking right away. Every word you say carries weight and hence preparation of your communication skills is extremely necessary. But, do not get intimidated by the name of the interview. They are there to recruit and not reject; state yourself clearly, and have a logical response to the questions and you’ll be fine.
Let us take a look at 5 typical questions and a what good response to each looks like. Remember, this is a guide to answer the UPSC panel’s questions and not the answers itself.
- Tell me about yourself? or Give a brief introduction about yourself.
Answer: The best response to this would be to tell your full name with a little bit of your background, a bit about family(if any). Do not go to great lengths to divulge unnecessary details and make sure your resume and your response are congruent. While typically you need not tell them what is present in your resume right away
This is the most commonly asked question globally in every interview. Having a response ready is the best course of action as there is a very high probability you will be asked this question. Practice your answer beforehand.
- Why do you want to become an IAS Officer?
This is another very common question. The answer to this question varies per candidate appearing for the interview. The aim of this question is to find out the clarity the UPSC aspirant has in mind about what they want to do once they become an officer. Your goals, career plans and vision for how the administration should run make a difference. An honest, clear and non-judgemental answer is the way to go. When you know why you want to be an officer of the IAS, answering this question shouldn’t be a big deal. Practicing is recommended for this one as well.
- Tell me your Strengths and Weaknesses
This is mostly a trick question and aim at finding out how you view yourself. You are the best judge of your strengths and weaknesses. A standard well-rehearsed answer is more often than not going to backfire if they really aren’t your strengths/weaknesses. While being honest, focus more on your strengths though. A focussed and overall positive outlook towards yourself and your life is required to become an IAS officer. The best way to respond to a strength and weakness question is to be honest and open about your weaknesses while being smart and focussing more on strengths.
- What is the meaning of your name/Can you tell me what your name means?
This question is more or less a descriptive type question. This question implores you to understand the meaning of your own name. Knowing the meaning of your name goes a long way to tell the world how well you are aware about yourself. If you didn’t know the meaning of your own name, go find out today.
These 4 questions have a high probability of being asked in the interview. These are good questions to start the interview with anyway and give a very good insight into the candidate’s personality. Apart from that, the panel also tends to ask witty questions which demand equally witty answers. However, the answers which bring the most respect from the panel are the ones that are rather serious in nature and are answered with logic, data, and clarity. Those answers reflected the true mentality and grit of the candidate showing the full extent to which they wanted to be a part of the civil services.
Here are three such questions and their answers (sic)
Q1. Dr. Agrawal. You are serving in a rural area as a doctor for the past 4 years. Why do you want to leave such a noble thing you are doing? (Dr. Himanshu Agrawal, Rank 28, CSE 2013)
A1: Sir, as a doctor, I can only cure the problems. As an administrator, I can prevent the problems of all fields from happening to occur altogether and it is well known that prevention is better than cure.
Q2. What is the difference between vision, mission, aims, and objectives? (Gaurav Agrawal, Rank 1, CSE 2013)
A2. Sir, vision is at the top its the broad overarching destination. For example, the government can have the vision that the governance reaches to that last person, the poorest man. The mission is the strategies that one can adapt to reach the vision.
The mission can be, use of technology for better delivery of services, climate-friendly (I don’t know how this came to my mind) mission, poverty elimination mission etc. Aims and Objectives have to do with long term and short term goals or outcomes of the mission.
Q3. Tell us, who is a good teacher? (Subhra Saxena, Rank 1, CSE 2008)
A3. A good teacher is the one who can conceptually explain topics to students. Someone who can motivate students to do better. Someone who can be a friend, philosopher, and guide to students.
These questions were the ones that found good responses from the panel. Interviewers may not have been happy with them but, these answers found respect by them. Analog IAS Academy helps students prepare for grilling interviews with mock interviews via their youtube channel. You may subscribe to the IAS Academy’s Youtube channel for more preparation tips, study material, and daily news analysis.