“We have to dare to be ourselves, however frightening or strange that self may prove to be.” – May Sarton
You may be well-versed with the UPSC syllabus and quite confident when it comes to taking the UPSC prelims and mains. After all, intense studies and revision can get you through the toughest of exams. However, facing the UPSC board interview can be an intimidating affair. A thousand questions can sail through your mind as to what to wear, how to talk, what to say, what not to say, etc. You might have to speak about yourself at length or in bits and pieces, depending on the situation. It is very important that you don’t falter here as this is generally the first thing you might have to talk about, and you do want to make a good first impression. Read on to know more about how to frame the perfect self-introduction.
Preparing the self-introduction
KNOW YOURSELF: Your introduction’s first couple of sentences should have your full name, education, work experience, and special interests.
KNOW WHAT THE UPSC IS LOOKING FOR: Highlight those aspects you know the UPSC is looking for. For instance, if you have led a team of people in your college or company, talk about it. Or, if you have volunteered for a social service organisation, mention it. Qualities like leadership, empathy, etc. are a big plus when it comes to the civil services.
GET CREATIVE: Try to include some attention-grabbing detail in your intro. If a famous person inspires you, include it. But, it should be genuine or else it comes through and ‘faking it’ can put the interviewers off. You can also talk briefly about what motivates you in life.
WRITE IT DOWN: Once you know what you are going to say, write it down so that you don’t forget it. When you write down the final draft, you must include:
● Special interests/hobbies
● Special talents (knowing foreign languages, being ambidextrous, etc.)
● Goals in career and life
IAS Interview Tips
Rehearsing the self-introduction
READ OUT ALOUD: Read out your self-introduction aloud. You must know how you sound. Make your parents or friends listen to it. They will be able to guide you on your tone and voice.
MAKE THE FLOW NATURAL: Make sure you practice till you sound natural and conversational. Record yourself and hear it. Make adjustments and corrections if necessary.
HAVE WIGGLE ROOM: When you practice, keep in mind that you could be interrupted by one of the UPSC board members in between. Don’t panic and forget the rest of your intro. You must be able to answer the board and then finish from where you left off without breaking a sweat.
Delivering the self-introduction
RELAX: Remember that you are facing the interview because you are one of the lakhs of IAS aspirants who have cleared the UPSC prelims and mains. Relax, take a deep breath and focus.
WALK CONFIDENTLY INTO THE HALL: Walk confidently without hesitation. This indicates a person sure of himself/herself, which is a positive sign to the board.
SMILE AND MAINTAIN EYE CONTACT: Smile politely and don’t look down while speaking.
DELIVER: Finally, on cue from the UPSC board, talk about yourself in the way that you have prepared.
Tips to remember:
- Be relevant
- Be concise
- No jokes in your intro
- Don’t repeat information
Preparation, practice and poise – these are the keys to a successful IAS interview.