IAS Interview Questions


The final stage of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) Civil Services Exam is the IAS interview or the UPSC Personality Test. The questions in IAS interview are more like a discussion between the UPSC board and the aspirant. Generally, an IAS interview lasts for about 20 minutes and aspirants face interview questions which cover a broad range of topics. The IAS interviews for the exam year 2018 started on February 9, 2019 and will continue till March. Read on to know what kind of IAS interview questions one can expect.

IAS interview questions: What to expect?

The UPSC interview questions test the candidates’ mental acuity, general awareness, social etiquette and the overall personality. The questions in IAS interview are not meant to solely ascertain the theoretical knowledge so instead of mugging up, candidates should focus on their soft skills.

The IAS interview questions faced by Civil Service aspirants follow a similar pattern. Let’s look at a few of the broad categories of questions in IAS interview and how candidates can prepare for them.

IAS interview question on Introduction

  1. Tell us briefly about yourself.
  2. Tell us about your hometown.
  3. What is the meaning of your name (first name/ surname)
  4. Tell us about your family

To answers questions related to self-introduction in IAS interview which are open-ended and straight forward, aspirants should prepare 30-40 second coherent responses. These questions are merely setting a baseline i.e. the eminent UPSC board will use the information you give to ask follow-up questions.

IAS interview questions on Education

  1. Which subjects did you study during school/graduation and do you think they are relevant to a life in administration
  2. Which subject was your favourite/least-favourite?
  3. Why did you choose ‘xyz’ college/school?
  4. What kind of projects did you do during school/graduation/PG?
  5. Would you call yourself an average student? Why?

The basic educational qualification for the UPSC CSE exam is graduation. The questions in IAS interview may be oriented towards your graduation subject or latest trends in the same. However, if you don’t know the answer to a particular question then trying to bluff your way out is not advised. It’s better to be humble and truthful.

IAS interview questions on Current Affairs

  1. What are today’s headlines?
  2. Few important issues in news about India/your state/your hometown in last few months

Reading newspapers and following the daily news is important from the UPSC interview perspective as well. The IAS interview questions can refer to latest news topics. Try to avoid giving one dimensional opinion/information unless the question is relatively straight forward. (for e.g., What does the term ‘Petro dollars’ mean?)

IAS interview questions on Work profile

  1. What were your roles and responsibilities at your job?
  2. Why do you want to become an IAS/IPS/IFS officer?

Be prepared to answer questions about any gaps in your work history and how your previous experience is going to help in your career as an administrator.

IAS interview questions on Optional Subject

  1. Why did you chose ‘xyz’ optional?
  2. Why didn’t you pick your graduation subject as your optional?

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

IAS interview questions on Hobbies

Here, the nature of questions vary depending on the hobbies you have listed in your DAF. For those who have listed sports as a hobby, the Panel has asked questions on famous sports persons or/and latest results. A few candidates have also been asked to sing during the interview process.

Facing IAS interview questions: preparation strategy

  • Keep following current affairs
  • Prepare a list of possible questions that can be asked based on your DAF
  • Practice answering questions in front of a mirror
  • If possible, record yourself as you answer questions during practice session
  • Brush up your knowledge on your graduation subject

The purpose of the questions in IAS interview is to check a candidate’s suitability to a life in administration. It is not at all mandatory that one has to answer all the questions to get good marks in the UPSC Personality Test. Often, it is not about whether you know the precise answer to the question but how you actually come across as an individual when put under some pressure.

Few key points to avoid in an IAS interview

  • Don’t stress out on the day before the Interview. Better be rested and calm.
  • Don’t try to bluff your way out. The IAS interview is unlike any other interview you have encountered before, so don’t try bluffing strategies.
  • Don’t be concerned about theoretical questions. It is more about how you approach any question which is being asked to you.
  • Don’t argue with the panel members. It is a discussion but maintain decorum at all times.