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Third time is a charm

Last two times , after my interview, I wrote in detail about the minute happenings in those important minutes. Well before my third interview, I thought to continue that ‘custom’. But slowly through my preparation for the interview, in the last two days before the interview, and well, after the interview, I have been increasingly believing that writing down the questions I was asked and how I adjusted my chair in the interview room, will not give a true picture, may be , it gives a thoroughly wrong impression of the whole story. Questions are indeed not the interview is all about. It is a personality test (PT ) !

So, instead of just jotting down the questions asked in my third interview, I would rather try and give the essentials that are expected out of the person facing the interview also , along with the questions . Of course that is what I wanted to do by writing the questions asked, to help the next candidate.

Panel : Rajini Razdan

Personality Test time : 15-20 minutes.

I wanted to give a highly emphatic impression right from the first second. The moment I was told to go inside, before I turn the knob of the door, I told to myself, loud and clear so that I can hear, that ”  I am an IAS officer and I have nothing to lose ” .

This initial step is very important , for many reasons, for me and for everyone else. Since this is the most important moment , we try to give extreme weight for the moment, increasing the pressure automatically. The more serious we are with the interview , and more concerned about our performance inside, the more tougher it becomes. This I learnt through the hardest way, with two interviews faced. My preparation this time, I allowed myself to be flexible for all the suggestions that come my side, and I took some of them very seriously. My senior, said to me that How many ever question and answers we prepare, they are not going to be asked, at all. The preparation for these questions is only to give us confidence , to answer even those questions which we don’t know. I guess most of you reading this might not totally appreciate the weight of the above statement, but this is the single most important factor, that changed my approach to the preparation for it. I am no more afraid of any questions. I am  no more in that state to expect only the questions that I prepared should be asked. I am , instead, eager for questions, eager to answer any question with the same kind of confidence and agility. I prepared little in this direction, and when I was asked about Justice, Lawyers (my first set of questions), I was rather unmoved in my outlook. I maintained a cheerful face, full of confidence and ideas. At least that is what I feel.

The interview started with “explain , Justice delayed is justice denied” , Questions in Judiciary , delays, how can we improve the situation, what did the govt do, any new laws created , how to regulate lawyers, honor killings and a series of inter related questions. 
The chairperson started the question without me adjusting so much, but within few seconds, I am fine and started taking the questions one by one. At one point, I gave only two suggestions and stopped, where they were expecting more and they started giving me ideas. I quickly understood that I have answer more, and gave my set of suggestions. I didn’t do this mistake again for the rest of the interview.
My batch-mate, gave me some very important suggestions how to make my answers practical and sounding nice, with the easiest of modifications. I prepared the most obvious of the question to be asked (from my profile) and was ready. His suggestion is to be as much prepared for the interview. ” They are looking for well prepared persons“.
After some of these prepared questions were asked (why I am leaving my software job and coming to civils , and whether i would be having a satisfaction in civils) , I am really in a mood to answer any question. Such was my confidence.
They asked my job profile, what i do, why im leaving, what’s driving me for civils etc.
My senior also gave me this suggestion to have the newspaper read out loud (at least the editorial section) till the interview time, so that the words and flow is with you. I did it , as he said. I took the suggestion (like the rest of the ones) to my heart.
The beauty is that, sometimes, questions that you are prepared do come your way. Its an awesome time, your confidence just doubles up. The words just flow from your mouth. That is what just happened to me when they went on to Water security. A series of questions on how to solve this problem, at the domestic household level, district state and national level. Suggestions were given and there were counter questions.

Third time is a charm
Third time is a charm
I gave two mocks before the interview, and the feedback I got is that (only the negative ones I am mentioning here, keeping the positives to myself 🙂 ) I am not flexible and not enthusiastic. I am rather solid and no-stress. But in doing that, I am being indifferent. I am not inviting more questions to be asked. I really understood the difference it can make by putting a cheerful face. I made sure that my mind is awesome cool, and that I am not really going to an interview, rather for a discussion. I also gave a feeling to myself that I am already an officer (for three days before the interview) and carried that ‘feel’ till the last minute. This really allowed me to discuss the ideas the way we discuss with any of our friends or when prepared.
I was listening to music till the last possible time.
My additions to the above suggestions is to have a really ‘working brain’. I made this sure by working out for two weeks before the interview, and especially , a good workout on the day of the interview. This is indeed , my preparation. And it is planned! 
Next topic is media, wikileaks, privacy concerns and my stand on these topics. I am really not bothered about the topics by this time. I am sure of my answers, and I am well aware of the limitations while answering. I am sure of my knowledge and facts, the ideals of constitution, democracy, foreign policy, secularism, war on global terror, climate change, human rights and etc etc.
Then its systems engineering (my job) and systems administration, hobbies (marathon) and few related questions on how to improve district administration.
This set of questions I really enjoyed, because the way they took the ‘systems’ word was from a minute detail in my resume, my first job title “Assistant Systems Administrator ” ! I was happy for their improvisation, I did well in explaining the details and to mix that with the public administration of a district.
If you see, I have mentioned all through, that i enjoyed the questions ! This is what a mind set can make. Last time my interview went good, not bad . I got 165. I was happy with my performance and marks. But I was not confident during the interview and I was really not enjoying it.  I was just expecting to do good. Not this time. I enjoyed it thoroughly, and I have nothing to lose in it. I already got my part of the job done. Whether this confidence and enjoyment turns into score, I am not really bothered. Not anymore. It should.
And all this is my side of the story. I am not sure whether this confidence and the spark in my eyes is conveyed to them or not. If I believe in what I prepared and what I said, It did.
Thats all ! Interview went well, im very much satisfied. Though we cannot say whether this satisfaction converts to score, but it indeed is a better show than my last time. 
All the best, Rock your interview,
WorthvieW
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17 thoughts on “Third time is a charm

  1. Hi Nikhil,
                Congratulations for making it to the Top. Highly appreciate if you can let us know how much time did you prepare for IAS being on job. I too am from IT sector. Please walk us through the journey to the top.

  2. Nikhil Congrats .. Need guidance like Ashish .. Iam too in IT just started .. done 2 attempts 2009, 2012 at Civils.Plan to attempt 2013 alongside job.Want guidance on how to prepare for the exam while working.

    Can I contact you using the Contact Form.

  3. Hi Nikhil,

    1st of all congrats for making it to IAS that to top 100 🙂 , i wanted someone to guide me esp some one from IT Field , if along with job thats bingo…so hope you will not mind it..

  4. wow that was awesome. this is exactly the kind of PT everyone wants to give and only a few end up giving. the way u structured and posted the details shows ur new built confidence and a promising administrator… im sure the members are sane enough spot the spark in u and give it a new lease

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