UPSC IAS Interview Questions - Process and Guidance

By Aarna Tiwari|Updated : July 15th, 2022

IAS Interview Questions are more like a discussion between the UPSC Panel and the candidate. The Interview is the third and final stage of the UPSC Exam. Candidates who have qualified for the UPSC Mains are called in for the UPSC Personality Test/Interview. The IAS Interview is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission, at the Dholpur House, New Delhi. Tackling the UPSC Interview Questions is a completely different experience altogether.

The Questions Asked in the IAS Interview range from diverse topics such as the DAF, Current Affairs, and Opinion Based, to name a few. If a candidate is confident and cool in his/her approach, the IAS Interview Questions could be dealt with easily. The article shares important tips to ace the IAS Interview Questions and also answers some of the relevant and most frequently asked IAS Interview Questions.

Table of Content

UPSC Interview Questions

The UPSC Exam is conducted in three stages- UPSC PrelimsUPSC Mains and Interview/ Personality Test. The IAS Prelims and Mains exams are conducted to test the candidates' academic and general competencies, and the Interview is conducted to test the candidate's personality and temperament. The interview part of the UPSC Exam is the most crucial and deciding factor in the exam. The UPSC Interview ensures what service will be allocated to you according to the marks obtained and also plays a decisive role in the final selection.

The UPSC Interview generally checks the personality traits and thinking, as well as situation handling capabilities of the candidates. The interview panel consists of eminent scholars, and senior bureaucrats- such as IASIPSIFS, and IRS. The IAS Interview questions range from different dimensions, such as place of birth, interest, issues related to the candidate’s home state, current and national issues, and more. 

We will discuss the types of questions asked in the UPSC Interview stage.

The UPSC DAF is a Detailed Application Form filled by the candidates who have cleared the Prelims and are sitting for the Mains Exam. Before the UPSC Mains Exam, candidates need to fill the DAF. The candidates need to be extremely careful while filling out the UPSC DAF as the majority of the questions during the interview stage are related to the DAF. Before the UPSC Mains, candidates fill up the DAF-1, while for the IAS Interview, need to fill out the DAF-2. The DAF consists of 8 parts, and candidates need to fill up each part.

The IAS Interview Questions that can be asked from the DAF include:

  • What is the meaning of your name?
  • Importance of your place of birth (historical importance, if in news currently)
  • Questions related to Educational Qualifications, such as on subject studied during graduation or post-graduation. It could be like- Would you call yourself an average student? Why?
  • Basic and conceptual questions on your Optional Subjects. The questions could range from Why did you choose ‘xyz’ optional? OR Why didn’t you pick your graduation subject as your optional?
  • If the candidate is employed during the time of the interview, questions related to the job profile and responsibilities can be asked by the panel members, such as- What were your roles and responsibilities at your job?
  • Questions could also be asked on the service preference, such as why IPS over IAS, IRS over IPS, or IFS over IAS and IPS.
  • Hobbies and interests section is an important part of the UPSC DAF, and questions are asked from the section. It is always advisable to write the truth regarding the same and not make stories. On the basis of hobbies and interests, questions that could be asked may range from- What do you like to cook?, What is your opinion on packaged/processed food?, What are the different types of cameras?, What do you think of Indian writers in English?, What is the difference between painting, drawing, and sketching? etc.

General UPSC Interview Questions

Success is always hard-earned. The same is the case with the UPSC Exam. Reaching the Interview Stage is in itself a big accomplishment. The General Interview Questions could be multidimensional and takes the interview in the direction you want it to make it. The interviewer can ask you substantial questions about your traits, characters, etc. The questions could range from:

  • Without telling your name, give a brief description of yourself
  • Why do you want to join the Civil Services?
  • What has the UPSC preparation taught you?
  • Who is your source of inspiration, and why?
  • What is more important, hard work or intelligence?

Current Affairs based IAS Interview Questions

Current Affairs is the most important and crucial section of the UPSC Exam Pattern. It has weightage in all three stages of the UPSC Exam. Students should focus on Current Affairs and watch Current Affairs Videos to understand relevant topics in great depth and detail. For IAS Interview, the panel always tends to ask questions on Current Affairs and assess the candidate's capabilities. Questions from Current Affairs can range from:

  • Who founded The Olof Palme Memorial Fund? What is its objective?
  • Should civil society take part in politics?
  • Are you aware of any world university rankings? Why there are no Indian universities in the top 10?
  • Should India get a permanent seat at UNSC? If it does, then won't it lose a chance of getting an Indian to become a secretary-general?
  • What is a green building, its components, benefits etc.? What are the steps the GoI has been taking to incentivize the construction of green buildings?
  • What measures are required to transform India’s road mobility?
  • In the context of the Smart Cities Mission, what are Integrated Command and Control Centres (ICCCs)? 
  • Tell me about AFSPA, have you heard of it? should we repeal AFSPA? 

Scenario-based IAS Interview Questions

A scenario or situational-based interview is also termed a behavioural interview. The main aspect of these interviews is to test the candidate's character and problem-solving abilities under pressure or extreme situations. The scenario-based IAS Interview Questions gauge the candidate's ability to handle the ship in rough waters. Answering these questions can surely help you get that extra brownie points during the interview. These questions range from:

  • If you are posted as a District Magistrate, and there is a bomb blast in your district. As your place of posting is communally sensitive, what major steps would you take first to avoid riots and control the situation?
  • You are a senior officer at an intelligence agency working for the internal security of the country. You find out that a junior officer has been a victim of honey trapping through social media, his phone was hacked and confidential files were leaked. The department wants you to take strict actions against him but the officer is highly skilled and a valuable asset to the organisation. What would you do in this situation?
  • You are posted as an SDM in a division of the district which is undergoing ethnic turbulence for some time. Due to this disturbance, there are losses of lives and property. The ruling party has asked you to move that section of the population, out of the area to control the situation. The order has put you in a difficult position as it goes against your own ethical values. However, not following the orders will be taken as dereliction of duty and will put the onus on you for the loss of lives. What would you do in this situation?

Opinion-based IAS Interview Questions

Opinion-based interview questions test the candidates on their thinking ability and how optimistic are they in their approach? The purpose of opinion-based questions is to subjectively analyze how would a candidate respond in a series of scenarios. It is always challenging to answer opinion-based interview questions there is no set answer to it. The best way to tackle these types of questions is to be positive in their approach and always suggest a solution to the issue if asked. Some of the opinion-based questions asked during the IAS Interview are:

  • What is your opinion about Harvard or Oxford opening their branches in India? Which one would you prefer - Harvard in the US or in India? Why?
  • Is promoting banking and saving habits amongst children a good idea?
  • Have you gone through any of the Shastras? Are they relevant even today?

IAS Interview Questions with Answers

IAS interview is a 20-30 minutes discussion which can change your life. A polite, humble candidate who is calm and confident in his/her approach has the best chance to score high marks. The interview panel is not there to judge you or humiliate you. They are also human and understand the anxiety of the candidate. The panel. Most of the time helps the candidate in answering the questions they have no idea about. So, the best way to tackle the UPSC Interview questions is to be calm, composed and truthful in your approach.

For ease of the candidate, we have answered some of the frequently asked questions during the IAS Interview:

Question: Why did you choose IPS over IAS?

Answer: IAS officers are powerful administrative officers that control the law and order in society, but the presence of an IPS officer makes a huge difference in any situation. An IPS can change rules, enforce any constitutional rule for protecting the country and make the situation safe for all. Moreover, An IPS officer specializes in policing and investigation. He builds a reputation for efficiency and expertise in his chosen field and is respected by everyone.

Question: Why did you choose Political Science as your Optional Subject, despite being an engineering graduate?

Answer: Choosing Political Science as your Optional Subject has its own benefits as it overlaps with the UPSC Prelims Syllabus and UPSC Mains Syllabus. It also helps in gaining a broad knowledge of the current things going on at the national and international levels. The Political Science Syllabus for UPSC is concise and to the point and can be covered easily by a candidate from a non-arts background.

Tips to Crack the IAS Interview

The UPSC Interview is the most crucial and decisive stage of the UPSC Exam. Candidates who have reached this stage would never like to lose the handle at the last. Here we are providing you with some of the most important tips essential while appearing for the IAS Interview:

  • Start early. After the Mains are concluded, do not wait for the UPSC Results to be declared for the Interview, and start preparing yourself.
  • Focus on DAF. DAF is the most important document during the IAS interview. The majority of the questions do get picked up from here. Revise your DAF many times and prepare well for questions from areas like hobbies, education, work experience, service preference etc.
  • Have a positive attitude. Do not complain or be regressive about any issue. Even if you are, have substantial proofs to support your answer.
  • Have self-confidence. If you are sure about your beliefs, answers or solutions, express them confidently, but do not go overboard.
  • Do not panic. Be composed and calm. If you do not know the answer, simply accept it.
  • Never lie or create fake facts. The UPSC Panel is experienced and will catch you.
  • Master the art of giving to-the-point answers and be crisp in approach. 
  • Prepare your optional and graduation level subjects in advance. The panel sometimes asks questions from these fields too.

Comments

write a comment

FAQs on UPSC IAS Interview Questions

  • IAS Interview Questions can range from diverse topics such as Tell me about yourself, Give a brief description of your hobbies, Explain why you chose IAS as your first preference, etc.

  • The IAS interview questions can be easy if you are prepared with your DAF well and are well informed about your surroundings. Giving at least three to five mock IAS interviews is a must if you want to secure a good rank in the exam. The sole purpose of the interview is to test your personality and not your knowledge.

  • During the UPSC Interview process, the panel, through the IAS Interview Questions tests the candidate's interests, current affairs, general knowledge, and situation-based questions. This is to evaluate a candidate's personality and critical thinking.

  • The IAS Interview basically ranges from 20-30 minutes, depending on the questions asked. If the candidate gives engaging answers to the IAS interview questions, the interview may even exceed 40-45 minutes. 

  • Dr. Apala Mishra secured the highest marks in the UPSC Interview 2021. She secured 215 marks out of 275. She is one of the UPSC Toppers and secured AIR 09 in the UPSC Exam 2021.

Follow us for latest updates