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Mental Alertness And Consistency

Mental alertness and consistency play a significant role in shaping a well-balanced and appreciable personality.

Mental Alertness

Alertness means your attentiveness, swiftness and, a quick and easy understanding. This refers to your ability to understand the questions put to you in the minimum possible time. Quickness needs to be in observing and quickly understanding the viewpoint of the other person and responding suitably.
 
Alertness is an important quality in an officer that enables him to control an organization or people. The interview board tests the mental alertness of the candidate through various ways: by asking confusing questions, interrupting when the candidate is trying to impress his point of view so that his chain of thought breaks or even by asking odd questions. Alertness here does not mean answering spontaneously and without the application of all of one’s mental faculties.
It means quickly understanding the problem or the question and giving a quick reply to the queries.
 
The candidate should be mentally vigilant and possess a quick and sharp observation power. He should not portray nervousness or a confused attitude.
 
The following extract from an interview will explain what is meant by mental alertness.
Depicting Candidate’s Mental Alertness
Chairman
Mr Mittal, please come in.
Candidate
Good afternoon, madam and sir.
Chairman
Good afternoon, Mr Mittal. Please take your seat.
Candidate
(Looks around and on finding the chair lying in a far corner, goes there and pulls the chair with extreme confidence and sits down, say­ing) Thank you, sir.
Chairman
Mr Mittal, how did you come to this place?
Candidate
Sir, by taxi.
Chairman
By the way, what was the number of the taxi that you hired to come here?
Member
(Intervening, addresses the chairman say­ing) I believe you have put a rather difficult question to Mr Mittal.
Candidate
(Immediately replies) Sir, PNY 4027.
Chairman
But, may I know why you noted the taxi number?
Candidate
(Spontaneously replies) Sir, because it is my habit to note minute details. I hope you will agree, sir, that sometimes this helps a lot in day-to-day life.
Chairman
Yes, Mr Mittal, I agree with you. It is a good habit.
Candidate
Thank you, sir.

Note: The chairman’s questions and the interruption by one of the members of the interview board were both quite confusing for an average candidate. However, here Mr Mittal did very well and did not show any lack of self-confidence and exhibited his mental alertness. He had good presence of mind to spontaneously defend himself. Whether he in fact noted the taxi number or not is not a point here, but his spontaneous reply did leave a good impression.

 

IMPORTANT POINTS: MENTAL ALERTNESS

  • To develop mental alertness you need to have concentration and give complete attention to detail. To facilitate this, you can form the habit of concentrating on radio news-bulletins and comprehending each of the news items. As news items are relayed at a high speed, your efforts to comprehend them will help you develop your powers of concentration and mental alertness. “The one ­prudence in life is concentration,” says Ralph Waldo Emerson.
  • To develop presence of mind, you need acute observation powers. For this, you should minutely watch things around you. “It is close observation of little things that is the secret of success in business, in art, in science and in every pursuit in life,” says Samuel Smiles.
  • As soon as a question is asked, try to understand it quickly and reply naturally.

Consistency

Consistency is also associated with mental alertness. It refers to firmness of opinion, mature thinking and a practical attitude that does not arise out of emotions or external impressions. Your opinion ­regarding an issue should not waver till the end. Your consistency is judged by the interview board. This is done by ­asking the same question in the beginning and repeating it later in a different form during the interview. Your answer decides how consistent you are in your opinion. Suppose you are asked about your opinion on any recent policy of the government. If you had earlier replied in its favour, stand by your first viewpoint and do not change it even if you are criticized or not appreciated by any of the interview board’s member or even by the chairman himself. You should be consistent throughout not only in your opinion but also in your temper, actions and thoughts. Do not change your viewpoint just to please the members or the chairman, but be firm.
 
The members of the interview board might try to puzzle you by asking such confusing questions. In the end, they might ask you the same question they asked in the beginning of the interview. This is basically meant to test your mental alertness and see how consistent you are in your thought. Changing your opinion means that you cannot adhere firmly to your opinion. In other words, it portrays a person who is inconsistent and immature.
 
Consistency includes the following attributes:
  • Consistency in temper
  • Consistency in action
  • Consistency in opinion
  • Consistency in thinking

 

IMPORTANT POINTS: CONSISTENCY

  • Stand by the opinion expressed by you in the beginning of the interview—irrespective of whether it is appreciated or not. What matters here is your firmness and steadfastness in adhering to your first opinion. This shows your strong ­character as well.
  • Do not change your opinion even when you are induced by the ­interviewer to do so. Some candidates, in order to gain the ­favour of the interviewer, change their opinion. Even if the chairman shows his disagreement, do not try to be inconsistent as it will be considered a negative point in your personality test.
  • Be firm in your thinking right from the beginning and remember the precise answer you had given. This requires all your powers of concentration.

 

An actual interview as well as a model interview are given in the ­fo­llowing pages showing a candidate’s consistency in answering questions.

Actual Interview

Depicting Candidate’s Consistency and Firmness

 

Note: The following was an interview for the selection of Assistant Commandants for various paramilitary forces conducted by the Union Public Service Commission. The interview board comprised DIGs of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Border Security Force (BSF) and Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP). The chairman of the interview board was the Director General of BSF.

Candidate
May I come in, sirs?
Chairman
Yes, Mr Sunil Kumar, you may come in please.
Candidate
(Walks confidently towards the Board’s table, and says with a smile) Good morning, sirs.
Chairman
Good morning, Mr Kumar. Please be seated.
Candidate
Thank you, sir.
Chairman
Mr Kumar, I note from your dossier that you wish to join the Central Reserve Police Force.
Candidate
Yes sir.

The interview continued for about half-an-hour. After asking several other questions pertaining to the candidate’s educational qualifications, hobbies, etc., the Chairman (who was the Director General of Border Security Force) concluded the interview as follows:

Chairman
Mr Kumar, you have fared well.
Candidate
Thank you for the compliment, sir.
Chairman
Mr Kumar, suppose you are selected would you like to join the Border Security Force?
Candidate
Sir, I would prefer to join the Central Reserve Police Force, as indicated in my preference in the application form.
Chairman
That’s all, Mr Kumar, you may go now.
Candidate
(Quietly collects his folder, gets up and putting the chair in its original position, says with a smile) Thank you, sirs.

Assessment: 

 

This was an actual interview and the candidate was selected. He joined as Assistant Commandant in the Central Reserve Police Force (Battalion 16). The positive point in the candidate’s personality test was his firmness, consistency and self-confidence. He maintained that he is only interested in CRPF. He did not change his stand just to please the Chairman, who was the Director General of the Border Security Force.

Model Interview

Depicting Candidate’s Consistency and Firmness
Chairman
Mr Gupta, I see from your academic record that you had secured good marks in Economics right from your High School. This shows that Economics is your favou­rite subject.
Candidate
Thanks a lot for the compliment, sir. You are absolutely correct, Economics is my favourite subject.
Chairman
What is your opinion about the government’s move regarding the introduction of a special bearer’s bond scheme to curb inflation and injection of black money?
Candidate
Sir, I am in favour of this scheme. It will certainly help to curb the parallel economy run by black money in our country.
Chairman
Do you think black money is responsible for the pres­ent economic crisis in India?
Candidate
Yes sir. Black money is responsible for the present deteriorating economic condition of our country.
Member
What do you think about impounding of DA instal­ments of government employees? Will it not help over­come the economic problems?
Candidate
No doubt, this should help to some extent, but sir, as the amount involved in DA instalments is very small as compared to black money, it will take a lot of time to make any significant improvement.
Member
What about demonetisation of the currency? Would it not help reduce the black money and improve the eco­nomic situation?
Candidate
Yes, sir, demonetisation would certainly help.
Chairman
This shows that there are several other ways to reduce parallel economy and black money.
Member
I see from your application form that you belong to Punjab and most of your life has been spent in this part of the country. Why do you think Punjab is pros­pering as compared to other states even with the problem of terrorism?
Candidate
Sir, it is a farmer-oriented state. The farmers of Punjab are hard-working. Soil and climatic conditions are also favourable. All these factors together are responsible for the prosperity in Punjab.
Chairman
Mr Gupta, here I don’t agree with you. There are a lot of industries in Punjab. Take the case of Ludhiana, for example.
Candidate
Sir, no doubt industries too play a vital role in Punjab’s progress. But you will agree, sir, that 70-75 per cent people still live in villages and are engaged in farming. Therefore, this progressive farming community has a very important role in the state’s overall progress.
Chairman
Are you sure?
Candidate
Yes, sir. I hope you agree with me.
Chairman
It was recently reported in the press that the intro­duction of special bearer’s bonds is only a politically motivated move on the part of the government to ha­rass some particular industrialists. This may be true because some industrialists do influence the country’s politics. Do you agree?
Candidate
Sir, as far as influence of some industrialists in the country’s politics is concerned, I agree with you. However, you will agree that everything reported in the press is not always correct. From the economic point of view, I am of the opinion that the government’s decision about bonds would certainly help curb the parallel economy run by black money in the country.

Note: In the above interview, the candidate has depicted his consistency and maintained his stand on the issues under discussion. Where he disagreed with the interviewer, he politely showed his disagreement and maintained his firm stand.





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