Cracking Civil Services (CSE) Interview – Part 4

Inside the Interview Room

1. Be Loud

You have entered the interview room with your biggest smile and happiest face. Now it’s time to announce that you have arrived. Greet the chairperson and other board members with loud voice not in a meekish voice. A good thing about humans is that their energy is infectious. If a person is happy, smiling and full of passion then he transfers the same energy around him. If you are feeling confident then people around you will sense that. A self-assured confident person talks loudly. When a person is in doubt or fears that what other will think about him he goes into shell. If you are not feeling confident then fake it. It has a reverse effect. If you behave like a confident person you are sending signal to brain that there is nothing to worry about. So talk loud. One thing here to remember is to maintain your loudness. Generally for questions to which you know answer you will talk loudly and when you are in doubt your voice level will drop automatically. This is clear hint to the people taking your interview that you are not sure about the answer and you buckle under pressure and then they may start asking more uncomfortable questions in the same area. A bureaucrat in a day has to face many pressure situations and he cannot show weakness under pressure. So be loud.

2. Don’t Rush

When a person is anxious, not sure of the answer he is speaking he or she would start speaking fast. It’s a natural instinct. You want to get over with uncomfortable situation as soon as possible. Speaking fast is clear indicator to interviewers that you lack confidence. If you lose confidence then anxiousness, nervousness and tension would appear on your face. (You have only two weapons inside the interview room. Your confidence and smile. Don’t lose it. If you maintain these two qualities throughout your interview you are bound to get good marks no matter what you said and what you not said.) Remember you are one of the chosen few who have been called. They are there to listen to you. You have already grabbed their attention. You are already above average. There is no need to be nervous. Just be carefree. Imagine an interviewer is taking interview of Sachin Tendulkar. If Sachin Tendulkar wants to speak about some match situation would he rush or explain in a calm manner which allow the person infront of him to grasp everything. Confident persons don’t rush while speaking. They speak at their own pace. So just do that. Don’t rush.

3. It doesn’t matter what you speak but how you speak

Candidates are anxious about what they are saying. Is my content complete ? Would they like it? Is it good enough? Forget it. Remember only one thing whatever is coming out of your mouth is most important most interesting thing in the whole universe just because it is coming out of your mouth. Even if it is shit the shit is important because you said it. Many of you would have seen movies of Salman Khan. Many of his dialogues are ridiculous, doesn’t even make sense. But still his movies are blockbuster. His dialogues are mimicked. If any other person had said the same dialogues he would be surely ridiculed but not Salman Khan. The way he delivers those absurd dialogues makes it interesting. When you have the frame of mind that you have the best most interesting thing to say in the room you would automatically display confidence, you will feel happy. There would be constant smile on your face and you will transfer these emotions to people around you. People don’t remember details. What matters to them is how you made them feel. Even if you are giving technically good answer but you are not confident then you will appear anxious, full of doubt and possibly fumble. Consequently, you will fetch less marks compared to person who knew little but spoke with conviction, confidence and passion. In CSE 2015 interview in one of my replies I wanted to say “I am optimistic … ” but in flow I said “I am opportunist …”. I immediately realized my mistake. I stopped. But this “optimistic” word is not clicking in my mind. May be after 2-3 second pause the member himself said “You wanted to say optimistic.” And then there was short laugh, grin on everyone’s face. I also smiled thanked the member and continued. What just happened here was very interesting. If the similar situation had appeared in CSE 2013 or 2014 interview I would have panicked thinking I forgot a simple English word, it would have affected by confidence and then a downward spiral. This time I knew that it doesn’t matter what I am saying but how I am saying and whatever shit I am saying is awesome just because I said it. I do not require validation by others. So when I stopped I was not nervous I was still smiling, confident and self-assured. And probably the way I was speaking till now, they would have wanted me to complete the answer. Hence, they helped me. Also, the whole interview atmosphere was jovial. Optimism-optimistic blunder would have appeared as funny so they just laughed it off and moved on.
Bottom line is to make people around you happy. That is only possible when you are confident, happy and smiling. So forget what you say, focus on how you say it.

4. It’s OK to take pause

Every question’s answer can not be on the tip of your tongue. There would be some questions which would require careful thought to give balanced good answer. General tendency is to start speaking immediately. And then you would realize mid way that I have digressed, didn’t covered all aspects or I could have done better. Avoid all this by taking pause for few seconds. 15-20 second pause is also few seconds. Don’t worry. We normally think if I don’t start speaking interviewer will think that I don’t know the answer. It’s wrong. you are giving careful consideration. It’s a mark of evolved man or woman. In Japanese culture if you start speaking immediately it’s considered rude because it will be taken as you have not considered their opinion. If you had you would have thought about it. So pause, think and give your best answer.
There would be question in your mind now. Should I ask for Chairman’s permission such as “Sir, I would like to take few moments to answer this question.” Don’t do it. You don’t need anyone’s permission. If you have paused to think then that question requires your careful consideration. No questions about it. If you ask for permission then it could go against you. Suppose 3-4 instances appear in your interview then what are you going to do? Would you ask for permission everytime? It will appear awkward also it will break your concentration. Suppose for first five seconds you thought then you realized you need more time. You asked for more time and started thinking again. In this scenario you broke your chain of thoughts and wasted precious time in asking for permission. And what if Chairman denies or even after taking time you can’t think of answer. Best is to take pause on your own terms and think. Worst case you are unable to answer. Just say “Sir, I carefully considered the various aspects of the issue but I am unable to come at any definite conclusion.” or simply say “Sorry Sir I am unable to think of answer at this moment.” In my CSE 2013 and 2014 attempts I would start speaking immediately. Clear sign of nervousness. You want to get over with this ordeal as soon as possible. Interview is an opportunity not ordeal.
In CSE 2015 in many analytical questions I took pause and answered. None of the members minded it. In one of the questions I took much longer pause. And then the moment I started speaking the member said I think I should ask you a different question. But when he saw I was about to speak he asked me ” Do you want to answer ? ” I replied in affirmative. My answer was not exactly what he was looking for but this whole situation didn’t unnerved me. This time the change in me was I was not afraid of taking pause. Only a confident, self assured person can stay silent and think when all eyes are fixed on you. Even if I didn’t gave the satisfactory answer I still conveyed following message. I gave due consideration to the questions which require them. I don’t rush. A quality which an administrator certainly requires. Forget pauses are awkward. It’s a tool to give your best answer. So don’t worry about taking pause. You want to give your best and if it requires you to pause and think then do it. (Note: Only for analytical questions not for factual ones. Avoid pauses for DAF related straight forward questions. DAF is replica of your personality and you should know everything about it.)

End Note

Crux of all these advice is that if you want to project yourself as confident, jovial, fun person inside the interview room then you should be the same person outside the interview room too. It cannot happen that you will suddenly transform into that person if you are anxious, nervous, tensed outside the interview room. Your confidence and smile are the only weapon you have. So you need to have genuine emotions of happiness and confidence from inside. How good you can pull this off will largely depend on what you have done in your lazy period of prepration and honed it in intensive period of prepration.
Have fun. Stay happy. And crack the interview with flying colors.

Click for Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3

Cracking Civil Services (CSE) Interview – Part 3

While you are waiting outside the interview room

1. Do not sit on the chair

The orderly will escort you to the interview room and ask you to wait outside until you are called. Here you may have to wait for 15 to 20 minutes. There is chair for candidate to sit and wait. Do not sit. Repeat do not seat. Here you are alone. No other candidate is with you with whom you can talk or crack jokes. Idea here is to remain confident. There are two ways to be confident. First is genuine confidence. You are already feeling confident. You are not anxious and ready to take everything head on. Second. You fake it. you send signals to brain of a confident man or woman. Sitting on chair alone with drooped shoulders crossed legged is a posture of nervous person not of a confident one. So don’t sit.

2. Power Pose

In animal kingdom when an animal is threatened it increases its size. A snake opens his hood. Cats stand in a way which would increase their size. These animals are showing to their attackers that they not afraid and ready to fight. If you not feeling confident then fake it. This is the purpose of power pose. Do the power pose to feel confident.


You can read about this theory much more on your own. One thing more you can add is walk. Walk like a fucking king as you own the place.

3. Remember memories which make you laugh just before you enter the room.

Just before entering the interview room in CSE 2015 interview I thought of two memories. First one was a very funny incident I had with my ex-gf long time back another was a very funny joke which I had read few days ago. This bought instant smile on my face. I entered the room with the biggest grin I could had. You have only two weapons for the interview. Your smile and confidence. All the previous advice were to amp up these weapons. So enter the interview room with biggest smile and confidence. And this is not fake as you are feeling these emotions genuinely from inside.

Click for Part 1, Part 2 and Part 4

Cracking Civil Services (CSE) Interview – Part 2

On the day of interview in the waiting room

1. Do not discuss probable interview questions

Discussing probable interview questions on the day of interview won’t help you. Each person is different with different background. Questions relevant to one person may not necessarily be relevant to other person. If you discuss with other candidates or engage in a Q & A session then most probably the person is going to ask you questions which he or she has prepared which may not be relevant to you. Also, if in this Q & A session you felt that you don’t know this or that, why didn’t you read this then it could be detrimental to your confidence and performance. So do not engage in such Q & A sessions. Your interview will happen inside the interview room. No need to panic beforehand. At this point of time you should have “I am adequate” frame of mind. Whatever I need to know I know already and if I don’t I will think of some good answer there only or worst case I will say “Sorry Sir, I don’t know.” which is also a perfectly legitimate answer.

2. Do not overthink about the panel

You will come to know about the panel in which you will be appearing for the interview. Every panel has some reputation developed from the experiences of past candidates who have appeared for the interview. Such as this panel do not give good marks, this panel asks a lot of technical questions etc. Don’t overthink . Go with clear mind without any preconceived notions otherwise your fear will become self-prophecy. The best you can do is that during your lazy and intensive period of preparation you can gather information about the uniqueness of some panel and prepare accordingly. In CSE 2014 I appeared in D. K Dewan Sir board. The first question he asked me was to draw the map of India and mark various places on the map. (An A4 sheet and pen was placed in front of me beforehand.) I drew the map and marked places but they were not accurate. In the hindsight, I think I could had handled this situation better. Some of my friends who had already appeared in the interview had told me that he is asking map based questions. They were asked to draw maps from around the world. Middle East, Europe etc. I had already made my mind that if I was asked to draw map then I would decline by saying “Sorry Sir, I don’t know.” But how can say that you don’t know drawing map of India. After that it became foot in the door problem. Once I drew the map I had to go with other map based questions. I wouldn’t say it was bad but also not great.
If you want to be prepared for some particular board then prepare beforehand. Don’t make strategies on the day of your interview. All panels are equally good to judge your personality. No board is easy or hard. It’s your attitude which would decide how they are going to treat you.

3. Crack Jokes

Crack jokes with fellow candidates. Waiting for your interview turn can be atrocious. And if you are 4th or 5th to be interviewed then you have a long time to wait. If you stay silent and overthink about the interview it can make you anxious. So talk random stuff with fellow candidates unrelated to interview. Best is to crack jokes, share funny incidents. This will keep you stress free and in good humour. If you are laughing and having good time outside the interview room then you will carry this good mood and positive energy inside the interview room. Also if you laughing you are sending signal to brain that there is nothing to worry about. You can’t be laughing and afraid at the same time.
During mock interviews I realized my face is like a mirror. If I am stressed it will appear on my face. I cannot hide. Many candidates would face the same problem. In my almost all CSE 2013 and 2014 mock interviews I was given feedback that you look stressed all the time even when you are giving good answers. Try to be little relaxed and smile. I didn’t knew how to change that. How to fake smile and avoid tensed face. In CSE 2015 I realized my face is mirror to my inner emotions. I cannot hide what I am feeling inside. So I need to feel happy from inside to show happiness on my face. Hence, crack jokes, share humorous stories. It will keep you engaged while you are waiting for your turn and keep you away from getting nervous and you would enter the interview room with smiling face.

4. Adjust your attire

Fifteen to twenty before your turn (You will come to know when you are expected to go inside) go to washroom and adjust your attire. You need to show your best self.

Click for Part 1, Part 3 and Part 4