Civil Services Examination, 2021 – Personality Test

Prepared by: –  @Patriot_Saint

Guidelines to Personality Test CSE 2021:

*Personality Test as described in UPSC CSE Notification*

  • The candidate will be interviewed by a Board who will have before them a record of his career.
  • He will be asked questions on matters of general interest.
  • The object of the interview is to assess the personal suitability of the candidate for a career in public service by a Board of competent and unbiased observers.
  • The test is intended to *judge the mental caliber* of a candidate. In broad terms this is really an *assessment of not only his intellectual qualities but also social traits and his interest in current affairs*.
  • *Some of the qualities* to be judged are
    • Mental alertness*
    • Critical powers of assimilation*
    • Clear and logical exposition*
    • Balance of judgement*
    • Variety and depth of interest*
    • Ability for social cohesion and leadership*
    • Intellectual and moral integrity*
  • The technique of the interview is not that of a strict cross-examination but of a natural, though *directed and purposive conversation* which is intended to reveal the mental qualities of the candidate.
  • The interview test is *not intended to be a test either of the specialised or general knowledge of the candidates* which has been already tested through their written papers.
  • Candidates are expected to have taken an intelligent interest not only in their special subjects of academic study but also in the events which are happening around them both within and outside their own State or Country as well as in modern currents of thought and in new discoveries which should rouse the curiosity of well-educated youth.

*Kothari Committee Recommendations*

  1. Clarity of expression
  2. Grasp of narrative and argument
  3. Reasoning ability
  4. Appreciation of different points of view
  5. Awareness and concern for socio-economic problems
  6. Ranges and depths of interests
  7. Personal attributes relevant to interaction with people

*YK Alagh Committee* Recommendations

  1. Capacity to make decisions
  2. Take and give orders under- different situations
  3. Ability to respond to challenging situations
  4. Strengths and weaknesses of character, courage and integrity
  5. Intellectual qualities
  6. The personality test is scientifically organised and conducted to reveal a great deal of the character aptitude, attitude, emotional stability and to some extent the value system of the candidates
  7. The situation tests measure the ability of the candidate to undergo stress and ability to employ ingenuity under pressure

*Attributes which the PT Board should look for (As per YK Alagh Committee)*

The PT Board’s main objective is to *focus on testing the attributes/qualities that are required by the civil services* in the changing scenario. On the basis of job profile, some of the general attributes a candidate is expected to possess have been identified in one of the *consultation meetings of the Working Group on Personality Testing held at the Defence Institute of Psychological Research* where a cross-section of experts and retired senior civil servants participated.

These attributes identified by the experts are as follows:

  • Integrity
  • Ability to grasp essentials of the problem quickly
  • Ability to utilise conceptual knowledge to general situation
  • Planning and utilisation of resources
  • Communication skills
  • Tactfulness
  • Team spirit
  • Sense of empathy
  • Ability to modify behaviour
  • Commitment to goals
  • Ability to rise above one’s own personal benefits
  • Secular attitude
  • Sensibility to the needs of the people
  • Patriotic attitude (national pride)
  • Openness
  • Sacrifice/compassion
  • Initiative
  • Accessibility
  • Innovativeness
  • Ability to guide
  • Decision making
  • Emotional stability
  • Courage
  • Commitment to rules/law

These 24 attributes can be broadly divided into six categories, i.e.

personality related motivational aspects interpersonal skills
intellectual abilities specific skills values

and can be tested by using a combination of a personal information form, projective techniques, inventory method, group discussion and personal interview. This list of attributes is only illustrative and can be further revised and developed after conducting a detailed survey. Thus, for example, other skills/attributes like listening ability, being technologically savvy; networking
abilities, can also be added to the list.

*Preparing the members of Interview Board for objective and uniform assessments*

All the members of the Interview Board should be carefully sensitised and given at least a day’s orientation by the in-house Research Cell before the commencement of the Interview. This is to be done for *objectivity in approach and equality in administration of the selection processes*. All the members are required to be systematically briefed in depth about the essentials of the personal information form, the outcome of the group tests and psychological tests, and how to critically analyse the available data and focus on the assets and indicators of a
candidate’s profile. The areas that need further probing should be identified before the commencement of the interview.
It may also be worthwhile to develop a film for Advisors (Interviewers in the Board) on how to conduct interviews. The film may also contain the do’s and don’ts of an interview. This film should be shown to the members at the time of briefing. The members of the Interview Board are required to be briefed on *how to make an opening and build rapport with the candidates*. It is required to create a *conducive climate to put the candidate at ease*. To *begin with, the candidate should be given time to settle down* and only *some inconsequential dialogue
started* to put the candidate at ease. *Discussion on areas of excellence of the candidate* should be initiated first as the *candidate feels a sense of competence*. The candidate needs to be *provided the centre-stage to speak spontaneously*. Long statements should not be made by the members of the Board. They should ask open-ended questions as they energise the candidates to speak spontaneously and candidates should, thus, be free to frame their answers. Asking direct questions and cross-examination should be avoided as they put the candidates on guard. An *attempt should be made to find out the knowledge and competence level of the candidate, rather than deriding what she/he does not know*. Also, it is not necessary for the candidate to be given a feeling that the interviewer knows it all. An effective interview must *reveal both favourable and unfavourable information about the candidate*. The members must be equipped to segregate descriptive and evaluative information. They should *identify truthfulness/reliability by watching contradictions and inconsistencies*. They should *watch out for flow of
positive information or over-emphasis on assets*. The *reactions and handling of situations by the candidates* provide valuable data. *All positive and negative aspects should be taken stock of and opinions firmed up*. Forming opinions on the basis of a single clue should be avoided.

The members then agree on a *five-point scale* which is later converted into marks. The universally followed scale is as follows:

*O – Outstanding* – Applicant is exceptional; recognized as being far superior to others.
*V – Very Good* – Applicant clearly exceeds position requirements.
*G – Good* – Applicant is competent and dependable. Meets standards required for the Civil Services.
*I – Improvement Needed* – Applicant is deficient or below standards required of the job.
*U – Unsatisfactory* – Applicant is generally unacceptable

*Detailed Application Form on the background of candidates*

During the personal interview, biographical analysis of the candidates is very essential to assess their profile to *find out whether the candidate is going to succeed or not, whether the candidate is consistent in thought, whether the candidate was accountable as a child and his/her adaptability in the school/hostel, whether the candidate will succumb to temptation and pressure*. For this purpose. a profile should be created by taking the candidates’ background, school, family, college. friend-circle, areas of interest, books read, sports, social service, ethical dilemmas. parental aspirations, significant persons and events, socio-economic background, academic achievements, leadership activities, their strengths and weaknesses, things they strongly like/dislike, reasons for choosing civil services and previous work experience.

*The best indication of what an individual will do in future stems from what she/he has done in the past.*
Present behavioural pattern of the candidate is caused by his/her post experiences and the situation in which she happens to be.

*Speech of UPSC Chairman – February, 2019 at Bhubaneswar*

Introduction of democratically elected governments, based on universal adult suffrage, was the starting point for establishing of autonomous Public Service Commissions in various countries. Prior to this, civil servants were appointed on the basis of nepotism and patronage. A *democratic system pre-supposes a periodic change in the political leadership*. A *stable and secure civil service* was therefore necessary for successfully working as an *impartial and efficient instrument of governance* through which Governments, of *whatever ideological orientation, could give effect to their policies*.
Each State Public Service Commission operates in its unique circumstances devising its own methods and procedures to maintain the *three basic characteristics of any merit-based selection process*.
These involve building a system which is:
*1. free from favoritism*
*2. free from external influence*
*3. free from any bias on grounds of class, caste, gender, religion, economic background or political orientation*

We are also closely looking at our interview processes to see how we can *better gauge the candidates on issues of integrity, emotional stability, leadership qualities, aptitude for public service* etc. which are not assessed during the written exam – which is essentially a *test of scholastic attainment*.

Senior bureaucracy has to commit itself to providing quality training for developing the manpower provided by the Public Service Commissions, inculcating in them the *spirit of public service – the Constitution and the Law of the Land being sacrosanct at all times*. It should become second nature to *all civil servants that they have been provided their jobs to look after the interest of
the common man*.

All civil servants have to clearly understand the *difference between service and servitude*. *They are in the Government to serve the people without being subservient to anyone*. Their *primary role* is to *push the agenda of the underprivileged common man*. They alone can *take care of primary education, health, housing, law and order, sanitation, water supply* etc.

Since *private enterprise has to be encouraged* in the interest of creating jobs, *civil servants will be called upon to facilitate industrial and commercial interests*. Whatever be the responsibility assigned to them, *civil servants*, *at all times*, have to *remember that they are the custodians of the common man’s interest, the public money and the natural resources* which *belong equally to each and every Indian national*.

It should be *engrained in every public servant’s mind that the common man wants good governance*. All of us need to work together to rekindle the hope amongst the masses that they will get a sound administrative system, which is the sine qua non for the *country’s progress and a better life for all its citizens*.

*All India Service Conduct Rules, 2014*

*Sub-rule (1A) – every member of the Service shall maintain: -*
(i) High ethical standards, *integrity and honesty*;
(ii) *Political neutrality*;
(iii) Promoting of the principles of merit, *fairness and impartiality* in the discharge of duties;
(iv) *Accountability and transparency*;
(v) *Responsiveness* to the public, particularly *to the weaker section*;
(vi) *Courtesy and good behaviour with the public*.

*Sub-rule (2B) – every member of the Service shall: -*
(i) *Commit* himself to and *uphold* the *supremacy of the Constitution and democratic values*;
(ii) Defend and uphold the *sovereignty and integrity of India*, the security of State, public order, decency and morality;
(iii) Maintain *integrity* in public service;
(iv) *Take decisions solely in public interest* and use or cause to use public resources efficiently, effectively and economically;
(v) Declare any private interests relating to his public duties and take steps to resolve any conflicts in a way that protects the public interest;

(vi) Not place himself under any financial or other obligations to any individual or organisation which may influence him in the performance of his official duties;
(vii) Not misuse his position as civil servant and not take decisions in order to derive financial or material benefits for himself, his family or his friends;
(viii) Make choices, take decisions and make recommendations on merit alone;
(ix) Act with *fairness and impartiality* and *not discriminate against anyone*, particularly the *poor and the under-privileged sections* of society;
(x) Refrain from doing anything which is or may be contrary to any law, rules, regulations and established practices;
(xi) Maintain *discipline in the discharge of his duties* and be liable to implement the lawful orders duly communicated to him;
(xii) Be liable to *maintain confidentiality in the performance of his official duties as required by any laws* for the time being in force, particularly with regard to information, disclosure of which may prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of State, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the State, friendly relation with foreign countries or lead to incitement of an offence or illegal or unlawful gains to any person;
(xiii) Perform and discharge his duties with the *highest degree of professionalism* and *dedication* to the best of his abilities.

– Best of luck to aspirants,
– Patriot Saint and Team PTT
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