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Insights into Interview : A Motivational Article for Interview by Mr. Saurabh Kumar- IFS Rank 16

Insights into Interview : A Motivational Article for Interview by Mr. Saurabh Kumar- IFS Rank 16


Written for : IFS interview (Scheduled 10-14 Feb, 2020) appearing candidates … Especially those who are facing UPSC for the first time…

Ideally, by now,

  1. You should have given many interview mocks and received good feedback in all of them
  2. You should have prepared many questions and their answers on each keyword of your DAF
  3. You should remember all the main forestry and environment concepts, in fact you should be a knowledge bank 🙂


But do we really see such ideal situations in life ?? Answer is a strict NO

This is an article to say you that ALL IS WELL even if you were unable to complete any/all of the
above 3 points… in fact it is a personality test, not interview… I could not do all of the above last year
and still got a decent score 190/300… almost similar is story with many of my batch mates … almost no one [in fact none] is damn sure to score well in this stage of examination and everyone is on the same page…
Only the confidence level you maintain in UPSC premises will be the differentiator…

Below are some recommended pointers from my side –

1. Don’t break whatever be the situation

There may be some instances like below where you may get uncomfortable

  1. You are comfortable in Hindi only, but they Insist you to answer in English
  2. You said sorry sir I don’t know, at a row for many questions
  3. You forgot to greet panel while entering
  4. You sat without permission….

Any other similar thing may happen in the tension… the particular event is fine per say, but the hangover is not… you have to forget that and maintain your calm and composure throughout the process of Personality test.

For example in my case –

Chairman Saurabh
What is the width of Malacca strait ?

(I have experience in Shipbuilding)

Sorry sir, I don’t know
Take a guess No idea sir
How far is Malacca strait from Andaman Nicobar ? Sorry sir, I don’t know
Take a guess No idea sir
How far is Andaman from Mainland India ? Sorry sir , I don’t know.. can I take a guess ?


This was in the first 5 minutes of the interview and was sufficient to hamper my confidence but I did focus on next ball rather than focusing on previous maiden balls… forget last balls and focus on each new ball till the time you are batting as each question is new.


2. Maintain your cool/Handle the stress well

Many of us may have many things at stake depending on how we get Interview score
For example –
some may be having financial issues,
some may be getting pressure from boyfriend/girlfriend that you have to clear this year else mere gharwale….
For me it was –
2018 was my last CSE attempt (I failed in Mains stage itself).
IFS interview on 1 Feb 2019 was my first and last UPSC interview call.
Bad interview, out of list.. and no chance of even getting a chance to write CSE/IFS again.
However, I maintained calm and it paid…
In fact, if you don’t maintain calm, you are out… with maintaining calm there is a good chance that you will make it to the list… so logically also, it is the right way…
Live in the moment, everything else can wait and will be same once you go out of the UPSC premises … 🙂


3. Don’t get tension because you get xyz board

In my case, I got to know at 2 pm that I have Bassi sir’s board… based on feedbacks of already appeared candidates, I got tensed … First and last UPSC interview of life… in fact, I had experience in defence PSU and was thinking if I get Smita nagraj mam, it would be better (she had worked in defence procurement)… I started walking and drinking water frequently …

Then came the magical words from one of the UPSC staff –
Aap kyun tension le rhe, Bassi sir to aajkal marks bhi accha de rhe..
(Why are you in tension, Bassi sir is giving good marks) …

Magical words for you (I am just trying) –
You get good/bad marks in any board … it is just a matter how confidently and politely are you able to make comfortable conversation for 25-30 mins… think about the only things which you can control/change …


4. Mock and UPSC interview are different

You might have received negative feedbacks in many of the mocks, just forget those extreme
feedbacks and go to the UPSC premises with a fresh mind… in fact, personality test is the stage of examination which has least correlation (may be none) with the mocks .. (you score in good/bad in pre/mains test series and it may be similar in actual exam. But, for interview stage no such


5. Why IFS ?

Till now, you might have prepared the answer for this. I am just adding a few points about job of an IFS officer which you can use as example to substantiate the answer and also show confidence in your answer. Also, the Forest service is a service which is close to the nature. You work for the voiceless i.e. Forests and Wildlife. We handle
1. Administration (of forest areas, national park etc)
2. Policing (protecting wildlife from poaching, forests from illegal logging)
3. Development (of the forest and adjoining villages, livelihood for forest dependent/tribal communities)

Snapshot from one Senior's post

Snapshot from one Senior’s post


6. Be honest
There can be nothing worse than being caught lying…so try being honest in the answers.. you can even say that I would prefer IAS over IFS , if you feel so… For cross questions, you may answer like more responsibility, working domain like health, education etc…..


7. Special advice for working aspirants –
Don’t show bad/demean your present job… there can be way of saying like I am coming herebecause of more responsibility and xyz factor… not that you do not like your present job.


8. Fluency in speaking English
Don’t worry about if you are not perfect in speaking English…. you speak aa, hmm etc in between sentences… it is perfectly fine… in fact, almost all of us are more comfortable in mother tongue and less in English ….. I and many of officers have unconscious habit of the same.. it is perfectly fine to be natural, rather than being conscious of this and speaking something unnatural which you don’t believe/know….
Also, do ask to repeat the question in case you could not listen it properly. Avoid guessing what s/he spoke and answer wrong.


9. Doubts over interview process

You might have heard from many aspirants/qualified candidates that UPSC interview is random and you cannot do much if it is not your day… I personally believe that it is rational and it is not your day until and unless you make it your day


10. Essentials to be carried
Identity card and photo are a must. Items like a water bottle, some fruit, a ball pen, handkerchief etc are also to be carried if needed. If you have a glass of water in front of you or pencil/paper, do not hesitate to ask for it in case of need. I asked and they said politely that please take it is for you only.


11. Missing certificates in case
In case you could not get any required certificate like OBC certificate, income certificate etc, it is fine. UPSC gives time for the submission and you can do it afterwards. Focus on the interview and do not loose calm.


All the best and do well… mail me at in case you need any clarification. Will be happy to help.

This article was originally published at (a website by IFS officers to help IFS aspirants)