Right ways to handle interview process with UPSC  

With Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) prelims process concluded, mains exam and the interview process ahead, here’s some tips to get you all prepped up.

Well, it’s going to get trickier from tricky, but you knew that. You knew UPSC is not a color-ball game, it’s not even a game, it’s an opportunity for an achievement, and that’s what makes it so exciting.

So what does it take to crack this nutshell: UPSC Interview. First of all, getting a call for an interview in itself is a moment of glory, but let’s not remove our caps and wave it proudly. The half marathon is still untouched. How does one prepare for a UPSC interview – you might wonder. Well, to take things in perspective – you’re not alone, there are thousands of other candidates, worried about the same issue, who have also received an invitation, and to make things worse — their intelligence is equivalent to yours, if not, better.

So, how does one compete with the best minds, and still stand out?

Well, the key is to just concentrate on yourself, evaluate where you stand, be aware of your limitations, break them if possible and if not, learn to completely hide them beneath your cape. Because at the end, it doesn’t matter how other candidates performed in this neck-high white-collar marathon, it’s about how you take it until the end. So polish your shoes, iron your shirt, sand-paper your tools – remove all the rust that they collected over the years – let them shine again, with you. How to do it? let me give you a blueprint.

Here are my top 3 pieces of advice for UPSC aspirants who are preparing for their interview:

  1. Be confident – Nothing shines like a confident smile, a confident tone, a confident body-language, a confident what-ever-you-do. Hone it. The good part about it is – it’s not genetic like Ben-Affleck’s jawline, rather it can be developed, gradually, with little alteration in your daily routines. Try talking to a stranger once in a while, go for a quick conversation. Stretch and lift weights. Look at the body language of your idols and try to copy it initially, and then make it your own. See how they talk, respond to questions, how they get out of verbal attacks, every minor detail. Study them like a bear searches for honey. And when you find that honey – make it your own. Learn a lot about grooming, and stick to what suits you. All this together will create a confident picture. Paint that picture, starting today.
  1. Know yourself – Be aware of the things that surround you. Acknowledge things that affect your daily actions – like your education, your true financial status, your weaknesses, your strengths, your past, your future plans. In short – have a sensible reason for all your thoughts and actions. Inquire about your culture and religion, your school and college, your parent’s profession and its importance in society. Know about everything that affects you and try to zoom out the picture, see the larger perspective, see all the dots that make you and then, find a line that connects them all.
  1. Be yourself – Interviewer’s attitude changes from one panel to another. The only key that would save you is to be yourself. If you’re a small town boy who likes to collect currencies – let them know. If you’re a metropolitan girl who likes to go to clubs and socialize on weekends – let them know. Just tell your true story. Not forgetting the fact that it’s not the story – it’s the way it’s told. Practice the way you tell your stories – get the best version of it with zero lies and exaggeration. That’s the key.

Last but not the least, do not forget to keep yourself abreast about the current events.

The writer is a subject matter expert, at Chanakya IAS Academy.

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