Many Congratulations to all those candidates who have qualified the written part. This write-up is aimed at providing guidance to the qualified candidates for the viva voce stage of CSS exam.
It wouldn’t be incorrect to state that CSS interview is the most important assessment from among all the tests conducted to gauge a candidate in competitive exams. This 30-minute exercise determines the candidate’s final merit, or more rightly his or her future. It is so because almost all candidates appearing in interview have scores between 600 and 700 at their credit and these 300 interview marks could be an impetus for you to get an edge over others, if you manage it well.
Written part requires a lot of hard work and so does the interview. Only a meticulous preparation will make you exceptional and shall prove decisive.
Interview: The Real Test
Candidates, who have qualified the written part, will now be appearing before a panel for an interview. Since the interviewers have to determine a candidate’s suitability for the Civil Services, they lay special emphasis on candidates’ moral and ethical qualities, their intelligence, spontaneity/reflexes, communication skills, personality traits, and leadership qualities. Remember those who fail to secure a minimum of 100 marks shall not be eligible for appointment.
A Step-by-Step Guide
The first step you must take for interview preparation is to map out a viable strategy. You must know the areas you have to hit. Let it be very clear that in these 300 marks, are contained all your optional and compulsory subjects, general knowledge, questions from your educational background, extracurricular activities, hobbies and national and international current affairs. The interviewers can ask you anything from anywhere.
Anticipate questions you might face during the interview. Jot them down and then prepare their answers. Practice your answers in front of someone who could give you honest feedback. This would serve three purposes:
1. It would make things easy especially for those who shy away from public speaking.
2. It would enhance your communication skills.
3. You would be able to generate a good discussion on these questions if asked on the ‘D-day’.
Ask your friend to give you a real account of your performance.
Interview preparation is inextricably linked with newspapers. Waste no time and read the Dawn newspaper daily to get yourself equipped with the knowledge of every significant national and international issue so as to present a deep analysis, if asked. Do keep a notebook with you to note anything important you come across. You can also take a cutting of that very piece for an easy reading later.
Do keep a notepad with you at all times to note any question that may arise in your mind.
As you prepare your questions, start recording your voice in a device. Read out your answers so that you yourself listen to your answers. You are the best judge of yourself. So, evaluate yourself with extreme honesty. Do this drill again and again if you are not fluent in communication. In a week’s time you would be able to mark a clear difference between your first recording and the last one.
Once you begin to feel confident enough to go for the interview, start giving mock interviews. This would boost your confidence and would give you a fair idea of what to expect. This step is particularly important for shy and nervous candidates. Two or three mock interviews would definitely boost up your confidence.
Besides questions related to your academic background, extracurricular and hobbies, etc., the most expected questions for a general interview this time around are:
i) Future/Failure of Democracy in Pakistan.
ii) Reasons for poor governance.
iii) Dynastic politics in Pakistan.
iv) Role of media.
v) Political awakening in Pakistan.
vi) Involvement of security establishment in political affairs.
vii) Terrorism and Operation Zarb-e-Azb.
viii) Recurring floods.
ix) Energy crisis and its solution.
x) Malala’s Nobel Peace Prize, and reaction at home.
i) Budgetary allocations with special reference to education.
ii) Major exports and their contribution to economy.
i) The outbreak of Ebola.
ii) Disappearance of Malaysian Airliner MH 370.
iii) Russian annexation of Crimea.
iv) China’s rising economy against the US.
v) India-China face-off.
vii) US war in Iraq.
viii) Why peace in Pakistan is linked to peace in Afghanistan.
ix) Recognition of Palestine and Israel.
x) Malala’s Nobel Prize and Honorary citizenship of Canada.
xi) India-Pakistan border tensions.
xii) Scottish vote against independence from UK.
Questions Related to Preference
i) Devolution plan.
ii) Why PAS is your first preference?
iii) Vision of PAS.
iv) From CSP to DMG to PAS.
i) Thana culture and how to change it.
ii) Police order.
i) Foreign policy with special reference to India, US and China.
Questions related to career
i) Why you are switching from your present career to the Civil Service?
ii) What can you offer us which others can’t?
Interview Day Tips
1. Have a good night’s sleep
On this most important day of your life, your mind must be absolutely clear. So, have a good night’s sleep because being awake the whole night can adversely affect your performance.
2. What to wear?
They say first impression is the last impression; so wear a professional business suit but do avoid flashiness and wearing too much cologne. Girls should also be neatly dressed and there should be no too much jewellery or excessive makeup. Do remember the dress should make you feel comfortable. Also keep in mind that not only your knowledge but your whole personality will be judged.
3. Going for the interview
Before leaving for the interview venue, go through the newspapers, especially the headlines newspapers are also available in the interview room. Most of the times they ask you a question on the news headline of that day.
4. Dos of the interview room
– Do enter the interview room by greeting all in one go, not one by one.
– Do keep your reflexes sharp and speak with conviction.
– Do excuse if you do not know the answer
– Do be confident
– Do let the member finish the question before you answer it. This would also give you crucial 2-3 seconds to decide the answer in your mind.
5. Don’ts of the interview room
– Don’t move towards the seat before the members gesture you towards it.
– Don’t try to be overly smart
– Don’t pretend that you know more than the Board does; this might prove embarrassing for you.
– Don’t be overconfident and never lie.
Note: In previous years, debaters have been made to speak extempore, so be careful with the information you furnish about yourself.
How to Leave?
When the interview is over, the panellists would most probably wish you luck. Say a word of thanks to them and leave respectfully. There is no requirement to shake hands. It’s a formal day and should be treated as such.