Only 1-2% of candidates who take the UPSC IAS civil services exam makes it through to the interview stage and get selected as civil servants. It is the ultimate test for candidates to prove their mettle and demonstrate their skills to a panel of experts.
However, acing the interview requires more than book smarts. It demands a solid strategy that helps candidates make a lasting impression and stand out. So, whether one is a seasoned candidate or a fresh-faced aspirant, tips by experts are essential and can serve as the definitive guide on how to succeed in the UPSC IAS civil services interview in 2023.
Preparing for the interview
Before one even steps into the interview room, preparation is the key. Only 5% of the total number of candidates becomes eligible to appear for the interview, and successful candidates spend significant time researching and preparing for it.
So, where to start? Researching the interview process of the UPSC IAS civil services interview 2023 should be the first practice, as per experts.
Familiarising the types of questions asked, the format of the interview, and the panel of experts conducting it is suggested. Next, gain an understanding of the interview panel’s preferences and interests. Achieve this by reviewing their published works and research papers. Lastly, applicants need to take time to identify personal strengths and weaknesses. Knowing this information will help prepare compelling examples that showcase one’s abilities and overcome weaknesses.
Always remember that the interview panel is not looking only for knowledgeable candidates but also those who can present themselves confidently. It is crucial to remember that self-presentation and communication are equally important as knowledge. To make a lasting impression, candidates should dress professionally, use good posture, and make eye contact to exude confidence.
Adding gestures while communicating can also emphasise key points and engage the panel. Studies have shown that an individual’s tone of voice can reveal much about their personality, so one should speak clearly and confidently. Candidates can provide concrete examples that showcase their abilities by listening carefully to the panel’s questions and responding thoughtfully. Showing confidence and humility are fundamental success factors, and showcasing the willingness to learn.
Candidates must keep current events and trends up-to-date, review their academic and professional backgrounds, and understand the political and economic climate strongly. It is also critical to have a deep understanding of the values and principles that underpin civil services. Interestingly, by demonstrating a comprehensive understanding of the subject matter and core values, candidates can show they are well-prepared and equipped to succeed in civil services.
Answering questions strategically
Here’s the prime moment when one sits for the interview. Per experts, candidates should carefully listen to the question, take a moment to think before responding, and provide a thoughtful and well-structured answer. Giving concrete examples and using relevant terminology to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding are the stepping stones to cracking the interview in 2023.
Moreover, they should avoid giving vague or overly simplistic answers and instead provide nuanced and detailed responses. Additionally, it is vital to maintain honesty and be forthright while answering, even if they lack knowledge about the answer to a question. By demonstrating strong analytical skills, a deep understanding of the subject matter, and the ability to communicate effectively, candidates can set themselves apart as capable and professional individuals.
The bottom line
A concrete strategy based on experts’ tips can catalyse a UPSC IAS 2023 aspirant to become a civil servant. Clearing the written exam is just halfway through; the rest half depends on the candidate’s performance in the interview round. Listening to the experts can make the procedure smooth as they add that extra factor from their experience of going through all these rounds and becoming a member of 1-2% of the selected candidates.
(Author Sriram Srirangam is Founder and Director, SRIRAM’s IAS. Views expressed here are personal.)