How are candidates assessed by the Interview Boards?

The organization of civil services is the backbone of a nation. The effective functioning of the political system largely depends upon its civil servants who are running the administrative machineries of a country. The civil services encompass a body of government officials employed in civil occupations that are neither political nor judicial. They are recruited and promoted on the basis of a merit and seniority system which includes examinations. Indian civil service system is unique in the sense that it has well-structured procedures for selection, training and promotion of civil service officers.

While it is necessary to assess the intellectual qualities of the candidates for important positions, it is equally essential to assess their personal qualities such as bearing, judgment, alertness in grasping a situation, leadership, ability to cooperate and persuasiveness in presenting a point of view — which is no less important than the former. The latter is done with the help of the interview technique which is adopted by Union Public Service Commissions. Interview in modern selection programme is considered essential because of the fact that no other satisfactory tests are supposed to have been devised for measuring the mental and moral characteristics which constitute ‘personality’. The aim of interview is to determine the suitability or otherwise of the candidate for a particular service organization.


Your preparations should start right from the moment you receive the call for the interview, or even earlier.The objective of the interview is to assess the personal suitability of the candidate for the post for which he/she has been called for interview. The idea is to judge the candidate through a fair and impartial assessment and award marks based on his/her overall performance.

The interview is not merely a test of knowledge (whether general or in subject matter) but an attempt to assess the potential of the individual for being shaped into a competent, dedicated and honest officer who can be entrusted with the tasks and responsibilities associated with public service.Candidates are judged on the basis of their overall records (educational qualifications, knowledge, experience, interests, activities etc.) and performance in the interview by consensus of the Interview Board Members. However, marks are awarded on an overall basis by consensus and not on individual attributes separately.


An interview is a two-way flow of information. It is neither a cross examination, nor an interrogation. It is a conversation, but a conversation with a difference. It is directed and purposive. It has a definable purpose. Interviewers put the conversation to a particular direction to achieve that purpose. It is not directed to test your specialized or general knowledge. That has already been done in the written test. Interviews are time limited. You will have to get your message across within a fairly strict timeframe with a clear, precise and logical exposition. Your interviewers subtly test these factors during the interview and evaluate your personality. Self-examination and self-assessment are the most important parts of preparation for the interview.

Knowledge and personality cannot be built overnight or over a span of few weeks. So, start building up confidence right from the day of the decision you have taken to join the civil service.