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Exposing The Candidate’s Academic Level And General Awareness

After the brief introductory exchange, the conversation ­narrows and focuses on the purpose of the interview. It is at this stage that most of the suggestions, made throughout the next few chapters in this book, are addressed. It provides a kind of feed-forward as to what is going to happen next. (For example, “I want to go over a few things on your résumé and then ask you a few questions about your training and so on.”) You will notice on the late-night talk shows that there is usually some preliminary communication and then the host focuses the interview on the real purpose the celebrity is there, “So, I see you have a new movie out.”
Once the interview is focused, the question-and-answer session, which is the essential part of the interview, begins. If this is a job ­interview, the interviewer will attempt to discover your strengths and ­weaknesses to get an impression of how suitable you would be for the position, while you will attempt to present yourself as most suitable. At the same time, you may ask questions about the position, benefits, and so on.
For the admission interviews and the UPSC interviews, ­questions will seek information on your academic level and awareness. It is expected by the interviewer or the board that the interviewee will provide answers with a degree of ­freedom, both in content and in format. The questions at this stage will generally hover around your academic level and general awareness.

Testing the Candidate’s Academic Level and Awareness

In this stage of the interview process, your knowledge concerning:
  1. your main subject and its application in day-to-day affairs and,
  2. your general awareness about national and international situations, are to be assessed.
Your main subject :
The main subject can be the one in which you have specialized or obtained your Master’s degree or scored very high marks. Suppose your main subject is Political Science. You may be asked how this subject is likely to help you in your day-to-day work.
If you have secured more or less equal marks in two subjects in your graduation, you may be asked why you did not opt for another subject. Here your answers should be simple. It is sufficient to say, “I was interested in this subject from the very beginning and I have developed an aptitude for it.” Or you may say, “This subject has interested me right from my school days.”
Merely academic knowledge will not take you very far. You must also have the ability to utilize what you have learnt in your day-to-day work. To test whether you have this ability or not, you may be asked questions such as:
  • After doing your MA in History, how do you consider yourself suitable for an administrative job?
  • How will your knowledge of Physics help you in your career in the Police Service?
  • Your combination of subjects like Sociology and History seems to strike us as being odd. How can you explain your choice?
  • After doing your B.Sc. in Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics, why have you opted for MBA—you could have done your M.Sc.?
  • Being a student of Agricultural Science, why did you opt for LLB?
To tackle such questions you are required to know the correlation between your subject, its practical applicability and how it could help you in the job for which you are being interviewed.


How will your knowledge of Botany help you in your administrative career?
Botany may not directly help me in my administrative career, but the scientific approach that I have acquired as a result of studying it, will help me to scientifically examine problems and find remedial measures.
Question After doing your B.Sc. why did you go in for MBA?
MBA is a professional degree. As our country is poised for rapid industrialization, there are ample opportunities for MBAs to enter the corporate world.

Your general awareness :
As has been mentioned before, you must read newspapers every day and be aware of the current ­national and international political situation. Another important thing to be kept in mind is, don’t forget to read the newspaper on the date of your interview and also hear the latest radio/TV news bulletin.
Regarding current political situations, you should be aware of the causes of various agitations in different parts of the country. If it is election time, you should know which political parties are contesting and which have been banned and why.
It is recommended that you read the annual editions of The ­Pearson’s Concise General Knowledge Manual and The Pearson’s General Knowledge Manual, to get an up-to-date national and international current affairs information. 



  • If your opinion is asked about any current political disturbance, for example, the situation in Punjab or Assam, give your opinion freely and fearlessly, even though it may be against the present ruling party in the country or the state concerned.
  • If your opinion is asked about solutions proposed to solve a particular national or state problem, and you feel that the solutions being adopted by the government are wrong , put forward your own views without fear.
  • Avoid being emotional about any question and don’t fear that you may be displeasing the board by your criticism of the present government or any particular community. Your views, however, should be what the majority of people or most of the reputed newspapers perceive.
  • Don’t try to unnecessarily please the board by not giving your candid views. It is your constitutional right to exercise freedom of expression of your thoughts.
  • If any member of the interview board objects that you should not criticize the government, politely say, “Sir, it is my personal opinion based on the information I have gathered from the press and other sources, and I believe when I am asked to give my opinion, there is no harm in expressing my views frankly.”

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