What Not To Do In UPSC Civil Services Interview

The Personality Test (also known as the UPSC Interview) is the third and the final stage of the UPSC exam and the marks obtained in it (along with the marks in the Mains) are taken into consideration for preparing the final merit list of the IAS Exam.

If you are a Civil Services Exam aspirant, you might have read many articles on what to expect and do in a UPSC interview. This article tells you what not to do in an IAS interview. Read on for more.

The following links will help in strengthening the candidates’ exam preparation:

Ideal UPSC Interview Traits

Before we delve into what should be avoided during the interview, we must first understand what the UPSC board looks in a candidate. The following traits are tested in the interview:

  1. Clarity of expression
  2. Grasp of narrative or argument
  3. Reasoning ability
  4. Appreciation of different viewpoints
  5. Awareness and concern for socio-economic problems
  6. Range and depth of interests
  7. Ability to interact with people.

Also rated are a candidate’s intelligence, presence of mind, honesty, general awareness, and leadership skills.

Things to Avoid in IAS Interview

1. Don’t lose time

It is recommended that you don’t wait until after the UPSC Mains results are announced to start preparing for your personality test. Grooming yourself into a well-rounded person takes time and cannot be done overnight. So, start your interview preparation early.

2. Don’t lie

When you answer a question, don’t lie. You will get caught. Give only truthful answers regarding your personal details and hobbies, etc. Remember you have to justify what you say.

3. Don’t panic

Facing the UPSC board can cause even the bravest person to go weak in the knees. If you are well-prepared, there is nothing that can’t be overcome. Read about possible UPSC Interview Questions and prepare answers based on your DAF. At the interview, stay focused and answer questions. Be yourself and don’t worry about the results. Practice breathing exercises. A few questions are meant to stress you out. Remain calm during that time and answer to the best of your abilities and knowledge. It is okay not to know the answer to a question.

You may also refer to the article How to be Mentally Tough to Clear the UPSC Exam in the link.

4. Don’t stop reading newspapers

Once you are done with the UPSC prelims and mains don’t go into ‘relax’ mode. Continue good habits that you had inculcated during your UPSC exam preparation. Don’t try to study anything new now but read the newspaper and be up to date on UPSC Current Affairs. You can be asked about the latest happenings.

5. Don’t fake it

Don’t portray an image of yourself that is fake. The UPSC board members are experienced people and they will see through you. BE YOURSELF.

6. Don’t blabber

Listen to the question carefully and answer with measured words. Answer to the point and only what is asked. Don’t blabber. It a sign of unsure knowledge and a lack of confidence too.

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7. Don’t speak hastily

Always take a few seconds before you answer. Organise your thoughts and then put them into words. In your haste, you might say something which you might regret.

8. Don’t argue

You might disagree with a panellist on any issue. But avoid arguing with him/her at length even if you think you are right and feel strongly about the issue. Arguing unnecessarily shows a rigid nature.

9. Don’t be arrogant and disrespectful

When you express your thoughts, don’t be arrogant even if you are sure about yourself. The board members are much older and experienced, and they expect humility and respect.

10. Don’t talk too much or too little

Talking too little shows lack of confidence and/or knowledge whereas talking too much shows nervousness. Avoid both.

11. Don’t beat around the bush

Always answer to the point. If you are unsure of an answer, tell them so. The UPSC board appreciates honesty.

12. Don’t have negative body language

Have a pleasing personality and a positive body language. Your persona should indicate a person full of positivity and hope. Remember, positivity is infectious.

13. Don’t fidget

Fidgeting indicates nervousness and it can also distract and irritate interviewers. So, remain still and calm.

14. Don’t wear inappropriate clothes

Wear formal and decent clothes. It shows professionalism and seriousness.

15. Don’t laugh unnecessarily

Even if a board member cracks a joke, avoid laughing too loudly. You can smile but avoid laughing. Also, avoid cracking unnecessary jokes. You are not there to make friends with the board.

16. Don’t brag

You can talk about your qualities and achievements but be humble about it.

17. Don’t criticise

Avoid criticising the government or the various establishments, or even the private sector for that matter. Always give only suggestions or possible solutions when asked.

18. Don’t interrupt

Never interrupt a board member when he/she is speaking.

19. Don’t give negative views on race, politics or religion

Always give balanced views on issues. Discuss the pros and cons.

20. Don’t give long introductions

Keep your intro precise. It is very important to know How to introduce yourself in UPSC Interview.

21. Don’t go in with a negative mindset

Don’t speculate or concern yourself with the name of the panel chairperson or how a particular panel is conducting the interview. While it’s true that some panels are tougher than others, the broad guidelines remain the same and going in without any negative bias towards the panel is the pragmatic way.

22. Don’t leave the hall until you are asked to

You will be told by the board when the interview is over. Leave the interview hall only after being asked. And say, ‘thank you’ before leaving.

For more UPSC related preparation materials and articles, visit the links given in the table below:

Related Links

UPSC Prelims Syllabus UPSC 2021
Topic-Wise GS 2 Questions for UPSC Mains Topic-Wise GS 3 Questions for UPSC Mains
Topic-Wise GS 4 Questions for UPSC Mains Daily News Analysis


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