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Interview 1

The attendant opened the door for me, there were five members including the Chairman sitting around a circular desk. My seat was opposite to the Chairman's and I had two Members on either side. It was more of a discussion desk rather than an interview desk. Let us call the members as CM, M1, M2, M3 and M4.

Candidate : May I come in Sir?

CM : Come in, come in.

Candidate : Good morning Mr.Chairman, good morning sirs.

CM : Good morning Sitra, please take your seat. (My name is Akand!!)

Candidate : Thank you sir. ( Sat comfortably, it was a very comfy chair)

CM -So, you were born in Anantapur? (Reading my DAF)

Candidate : Yes, sir and my home town is Kurnool.

CM : Achcha, and you live in Bangalore right now?

Candidate : Yes sir, I'am from Bangalore.

CM : Achcha, your hobby is cycling? How did that start?



Candidate : Sir, back in college, cycling was a necessity. Hostels were far from classes and also far from mess. So, all of us used to cycle to all places. So, a necessity had transformed into a passion. We started going on long-distance cycling trips. We cycled till Mahabalipuram which is over 50 km away and also to Kovalam beach near Chennai.

CM : Hmmmm. Around two days ago, there was another candidate with a strange hobby. It was sparrow watching. Can you tell me why sparrow watching in big cities, like Delhi is declining?

Candidate : (Why is he asking me questions on someone else's hobby?! Maybe he is trying to make this into a stress interview) Sir, one of the main causes for decline of sparrow watching is due to the immense pollution that every city has these days. A few decades ago, sparrow watching would not be considered as a hobby as there were sparrows everywhere! It has become a "hobbby" now because they are almost endangered.

CM : Hmmmm.. Do you know who was the first sparrow watcher in India?

Candidate- Smiled. I don't know Sir.

CM : Who was the founder of the Indian National Congress?

Candidate : (Why is he asking random unrelated questions!) Sir, Dadabhai Naoroji.

CM : Ummm, along with Mr. A.O.Hume.

Candidate : Yes Sir.

CM : He was one of the first sparrow watcher in India. Not many know this side of him, many know him just for founding INC. He was an incredible bird watcher.

Candidate : Smiled. Okay Sir. (No clue why he was saying all this)

CM : Achcha, you worked in this company called Sabre Holdings? As an Associate Product Specialist? What was your exact work there?

Candidate : Sir, I had joined the job in July after writing Prelims in May. Within three months I quit the job because I couldn't find time to prepare for Mains. So, they did not give me any solid work till then. I was still in basic training.

CM : Look Sitra. (My name is Akand!!) When you talk with your peers, you can use words like "Mains", but when you come to important interviews like this you should not only be politically correct but also academically correct. Mains can be anything.

M4 : Yeah! It can be power mains or water mains too! So what Mains is it?

Candidate : (I understood that this was one of the stupidest questions. They were just trying to make me uncomfortable and wanted to see whether I would panic) I grinned from ear to ear. True sir, Sorry. I meant Civil Services Mains. I should be more careful. Then gave a broad smile.

CM : Okay. Tell me three best qualities you think you have.

Candidate : (I was blank, no quality was coming into my mind) Ummm Sir, Leadership. I had assumed many leadership roles in college and I think I did a fair job.

Ummm, second would be honesty. Smiled. Third, let me think Sir. Nothing is coming into my mind.

CM : Your smile man! Your smile is your best quality. Never forget that.

Candidate : Yes sir, my smile. Thank you sir. And gave a big grin again.

CM : Tell me your three negative qualities now.

Candidate : Well sir, first would be I don't know what to talk when. I should learn to be more diplomatic. Like just now, I should have said Civil Services Mains instead of Mains.

CM : Thats all right. You can always learn that in training. Second?

Candidate : Ummmm, I always take too much in my plate.

CM : That is, you bite more than you can chew?

Candidate : Yes sir, back in college, I tried to organize a lot of events simultaneously. I think, if I had taken them one by one, I could have done a much better job.

CM : And third?

Candidate : (I thought for a while) I make friends very easily Sir. That is, I have trust issues. I am very trusting.

CM : Laughing. It's okay. That is not a negative.

Then he asked M1 to continue.

M1 : You do yoga? Tell the different types of yoga.

Candidate : (I totally forgot this answer) Sir, there is hatha yoga, kundalini yoga, meditation yoga etc. I dont remember others.

M1 : Meditation yoga??? Hmmmm.. What is transcendental meditation?

Candidate : I am not sure of the answer, can I take a guess Sir?

M1 : No, leave it. You know Art of Living? Who is its founder?

Candidate : Sri Sri Ravishankar… Ji.. Sir.

M1 : Hmmm.. Who was his guru?

Candidate : Sorry Sir, I don't know that.

M1 : (Irritated) Forget yoga. Are you thorough in anything?

Candidate : Sorry sir, I have been doing very basic yoga under my school yoga master, Mr. Rawat. Very simple pranayamas and asanas like anulom-vilom, vrikshasana etc. I am not really thorough in the theoretical aspects of yoga as I had always concentrated only on its practical uses.

M1 : You didn't get me. Let me repeat myself. Are you thorough in anything?

Candidate : Sir, biotechnology sir.

M1 : What biotech did you learn? Industrial or research?

Candidate : Sir, we had courses on both industrial biotech like reaction engineering and also on research biotech like cell biology and tissue engineering. I did two internships, one in an industry and one in an research institute, IMSc.

M1 : What is the difference between industrial biotech and research biotechnology?

Candidate : Gave a long textbook definition.

M1 -You know WTO?(Yes, Sir) What is TRIPS?

Candidate : Trade related aspects of intellectual property rights is a policy… blah blah.. talked about traditional knowledge… blah blah.. patenting healing properties of turmeric powder, yogic postures, bad for indigenous growth…. etc etc.

M1 : But, how is patenting turmeric illegal? It is mere documentation of process, right?.

Candidate : No sir. When a western company patents the healing properties of turmeric powder, it gains the sole right for all its properties and its commercialization. In countries like India, turmeric powder is in use for centuries. After such a patent, any traditional use will be illegal and all Indians should start paying royalty for using their own indigenous product. So intellectual properties must be regulated hence the necessity of TRIPS.

M1 : Okay, tell me the three requirements for patents.

Candidate : Ummmm, originality? Innovation?

M1 : No. It's novelty.

Candidate : Okay sir. ( I thought my interview was very bad till now. I had to gain the upper ground soon or else I would get very average marks. It seemed like M1 hated me and now I had to answer more carefully.)

M2 : Tell me the difference between botany and biotechnology.

Candidate : Sir, botany is the study of plants and organisms whereas biotechnology is the study of usage of modified living organisms for economical purposes for humans, like GM crops, drugs etc.

M2 : Okay, tell me a 20th century Indian botany scientist.

Candidate : Ummmm, Sir, Jagadish Chandra Bose?

M2 : Correct, can you tell me his achievements?

Candidate : He was the first to discover that plants could communicate with each other.

M2 : Okay, any other discoveries?

Candidate : Also something related to radio waves.

M2 : No, that is in physics, I'am asking in botany.

Candidate : I think that's all sir.

M2 : He also discovered that plants were living things like us too. Yes, as you said, they can communicate too. Do you know any English 20th century botanist?

Candidate : Umm sorry sir, I cant recall any.

M2 : Ever heard of Luther Burbank?

Candidate : Yes sir, the name is familiar but I don't recall anything else about him.

M2 : He was a great botanist too. Without using biotechnology like in recent days, he used to make better crops. Can you tell me how?

Candidate : By cross-breeding between two different species of the crop sir. In-breeding.

M2 : Yes, correct. He also invented something called "edible cactus". Can you explain what that is and how he could have done it?

Candidate : Hmmmm. Sir, usually cactii have thorns on them to protect themselves from animals which try to eat them. Maybe, Burbank tried to communicate with the cactus and tried to tell it that the surrounding is safe for it. There are no animals in the area to eat it. This made the cactus not grow the thorns, thus using communication he got cactus without thorns which can be edible.

M2 : Yes, correct. On a totally unrelated note, can you tell me who said this quote? "I am not an Athenian or Greek, I am a world Citizen"

Candidate : Ummm, Socrates??

M2 : No, it was Aristotle. (It is Socrates actually) Can you tell me what you understood from it?

Candidate : In today's globalized world, the whole world is becoming one global village. The boundaries between different states, nationalities are eroding day by day. With communication technology, one can contact any part of the world instantly. Every country is becoming more and more similar with common companies like McDonalds etc. So, distinguishing ourselves through countries is being replaced by becoming a global citizen. Who knows Sir, in the near future all countries might become one and literally replace with world citizenship as prophesized by Aristotle. (It was Socrates)

M2 : Hmm. You are partially correct. But, according to me I think he was saying that we all are humans first. Let's be human beings before dividing ourselves into various countries.

Candidate : Yes Sir. But he used the term "world citizen", so I think it is much more than just being a human being.

M2 : Yes, Sitra. You are right. (My name is Akand!!!)

CM : What are your preferences?

Candidate : First, the administrative services Sir, then the police services..

CM : Administrative? For which country? British eh? Bhutan eh?



Candidate : I am sorry Sir. I did it again. I should be more academically correct. I meant the Indian Administrative Services. (He was trying to stress me out again.)

CM : Achcha, always be diplomatic and think before you answer. (Yes Sir) What are your state preferences?

Candidate : Sir, I don't mind working in any part of the country, every state has its own problems. But, since the choice of preference was given I would take Andhra Pradesh, because of familiarity with ground problems.

CM : Hmmm, next? (Sir, Karnataka). Next? (Tamil Nadu) Next? (Kerala). (He was testing me whether I had actually remembered my state preferences. Many people just allocate them randomly, but thankfully I remembered all the South Indian states)

M3 : You said your first positive quality is Leadership. Can you tell me the difference between a leader and an administrator.

Candidate : Sir, a leader should be a person who can enthuse his subordinates anytime so that they are willing to work for the profit of the organization. An administrator is more a mix of a manager and a leader. A manager just needs to facilitate and give directions. So, an administrator should be an efficient leader and an effective manager.

M3 : What is this S-Net ambassador? What have you done there?

Candidate : Sir, Sustainability Network is an organization in IIT Madras, which takes care of the sustainability of the energy resources we use. My work as a S-Net ambassador was to calculate the total energy consumption in my hostel and also to calculate the unnecessary wastage going through. I was also asked to calculate the area on the roof where a solar water heater could be established. I made a report with all my recommendations and observations in it.

M3 : Ok. Do you Food stability act?

M4 : He means Food Security Act.

Candidate : The NFSA? Yes sir, the idea behind the act was that everybody should be comfortable regarding food. Noone should sleep on an empty stomach.

M4 : Everybody? Are you sure?

Candidate : Yes sir, I was coming to the technical part. The govt gives subsidized food grains to 2/3rds of the population. 75% in the rural areas and 50% in the urban areas. So that everybody can be happy and not hungry.

M4 : Everybody?

Candidate : Mostly, people below the poverty line Sir. But the core idea was everybody should be well-fed.

M4 : Everybody? Think harder. It is called the National Food Security Act.

Candidate : (Then it dawns on me) No Sir, not everybody. Only Indians.

M4 : Yes correct. It is only for the Indian citizens and not the world population. You should be very careful in your choice of words. This is the third time. In one instant, you changed the beneficiaries from 1 billion to 7 billion!

Candidate : (Gave a sheepish grin)(Smiled) Yes sir, sorry. I should be academically correct. ( Even M4 was playing with me like CM. Why is everyone trying to make me tense?)

M3 : Okay, you are from Andhra Pradesh. Tell me about the status.

Candidate : Sir, recently after the division of Andhra Pradesh into Telengana and residual Andhra Pradesh, the future is going to be both grim and hopeful for the residual Andhra. With Hyderabad gone to Telangana, more than 60% of the revenue is gone. With most of the Godavari and Krishna running through Telangana, there will be water shortage for the residual Andhra too. Not only that, all educational institutions, offices, important colleges, everything is gone. I am not saying the division is a bad thing, the emotions of the Telangana people must be respected. But the repercussions on the residual Andhra are very high. It has nothing right now, that is the sole reason why I want to go the Andhra cadre. The IAS officers who join now will be pioneers in rebuilding the state. I want to bring a planned change in all districts and bring Andhra back to its former glory. And the whole Andhra is united this time to bring back enormous developmental change. So, even when the situation is very bad everyone is hopeful of starting everything back from scratch Sir.

M3 : Okay, you said Hyderabad is gone to Telangana right? What other important cities are in Andhra now?

Candidate : Sir, Vishakhapatnam. Vijaywada, Tirupthi etc. Mostly all the district capitals, most of them are big towns not large metropolitan commercial cities like Hyderabad.

M3 : Okay, and these cities are in residual Andhra?

Candidate : Yes Sir.

M4 : (Reading the Accomplishments section in my DAF) What is this NCO? AIR 225?

Candidate : NCO is National Cyber Olympiad where "Indian" students from all over the country had participated. It was mostly an online exam which tests our computer skills. I got rank 225 all India.

M4 : What is cyber crime?

Candidate : Any crime made through computer technology and the internet is cyber crime Sir. Like hacking govt websites, online transactions of money etc.

M4 : KVPY. "Offered" to join IISER? I didnt understand. You were offered to join an institution?

Candidate : Yes Sir, Kishore Vaigyanik Prothsahith Yojana is a govt scheme where exams are conducted to take students into basic sciences. I wrote the exam in my 12th std and I was offered to join IISER with a stipend after I cleared it. But then, I got through IITJEE also, so I declined this offer to join IIT Madras.

M4 : Hmmm. Good. What is this Al Gore Sustainable thing?

Candidate : Sir, Al Gore Sustainability Technology Venture Competition was an event founded by a Professor in Carnegie Mellon University. She had come to IITM and she said she wanted volunteers to organize this event and I was one of the volunteers. We organized it in a grand scale. It is basically a competition for sustainable business plans for upcoming start-ups. I saw many astonishing designs which can be put for use in rural India.

M4 : Okay, who was Al Gore.

Candidate : He was the ex-Vice President of the US.

M4 : Yes, he was into politics too and not only the environment. Did he win a Nobel Prize?

Candidate : Yes sir, he won one.

M4 : Are you sure? No he did not.

Candidate : I think he did Sir. Smiled.

M4 : You have Marathons in your DAF too? Tell me where the word marathon is derived from.

Candidate : I am sorry Sir, I dont know. I think it is another Greek word.

M4 : You and your friends used to run marathons but never discussed about the origin of the name?

Candidate : Smiling. Yes sir, sorry sir. We were more worried about completing the marathon only. He laughed.

M4 : What is this Eureka run?

Candidate : It was the name of an NGO which organized a run Sir. After running, whatever money we contributed, they would make a good use of it.

M4 : Okay, tell me how the word "Eureka" originate?

Candidate : (Trying to remember.) Sir, I know the story. There was a guy sitting in his bath tub and he came out crying Eureka after discovering a scientific principle.

CM : "Guy"!? A guy? Was he wearing jeans? Was he listening to his iPod?

Candidate : Oops Sorry Sir. I did it again. (Smiling)(He was smiling too) I should be more academically correct in my statements. A respected scientist came out running into the streets after discovering buoyancy sir.

M4 : What was his name?

Candidate : (Tried hard to think but forgot this simple fact.) Sorry sir, I don't remember.

M4 : No, you cant say I don't knows anymore. (Laughing) Take a guess.

Candidate : Sir, Aristotle. :P

M4 : No, it was Archimedes.

Candidate : Yes sir! (With a sudden emotion of recognizing the simple answer)

M4 : So you play Kho Kho and Kabaddi too? Nobody plays these games anymore.

Candidate : Yes sir, I used to play back in school. I was in Kendriya Vidyalaya so all these games were compulsory.

M4 : But, isn't Kho Kho a girl's game?

Candidate : No Sir! It is played by boys too. We have a national boys kho kho team in our school.

M4 : Good good. ( I don't know why he was impressed when I said my school had a team. I had nothing to do with it :P)

M4 : Sitra, you have done so many things! And you are not even 23 yet!

CM : Yes yes, he is too young. You can see that on his face itself.

M4 : I think he is one of the youngest we have seen in this stage right?

Candidate : (Smiled) Thank you sir.

M4 : Okay, tell me about biodiversity. How does it harm humans?

Candidate : Sir, biodiversity is the variety of living organisms in the surroundings. But sir, people keep saying if we destroy the biodiversity, "nature" will be destroyed. I think it is the other way round. Nature will always be there. It was there in the past, it is there now and it will continue to be in the future. When humans try to harm the environment through pollution etc., they are not harming nature. But they are harming themselves. It is their species which is going to get destroyed and not nature. Through usage of too many polluting chemicals, global warming, melting of polar caps, submerging of coastal areas, nothing serious is happening to nature. It is our survival that we should be worried about.

(I was on a high when I was saying this)

M4 : Okay. But can you be more specific how biodiversity changes can affect humans?

Candidate : There would be adverse effects on the food chain. The whole biodiversity is a large web Sir. Even if there is a disturbance in one end, the whole web can get affected. Every species has a specific function in nature, if we destroy that species, we are harming ourselves and the whole fabric Sir.

M4 : Okay. Tell me which is better. Small states or big states? Small states like Goa have been developed too and large states like Gujarat are developed too. So should we have many small states or should we have very few large states??

Candidate : Sir, every issue has both pros and cons. If we have large states, the ground level administration can become tough, but large states send a large number of MP s to the Parliament and they have the numbers to bring in state-specific policies. Whereas, small states can be administered very well because of less area and less population, but they send only 1 or 2 MP s. 1 MP doesnt make much difference in 545 other MP s Sir. So, I would say it should be in middle. The state should be small enough to be managed well and also large enough to get enough attention in the Parliament.

M4 : Haha so you took the middle ground. Safest approach.

CM : Thank you Sitra, your interview is over. (My name is Akand!!)

Candidate : Thank you Sir. ( I got up and was about to leave)

M4 : What is the meaning of your name, Sitra?

Candidate : Sir, my name is Akand. Sitra is just a family name. :)

CM : Achcha, makes more sense now.

Candidate : Thank you Sir.

Interview 2

The name of the phase - 'Personality Test' - gives us the whole clue as to what they are going to test in us. So IMO they are least bothered about our knowledge as it would already be tested by two exams, namely preliminary and Mains (written). Through the half-an-hour-or so interaction they ll try to assess important traits like attitude, body language, hobbies, communication ( a multidimensional phenomenon), our of way of thinking ( the things we pick to build our argument will show up the things we value ), etc. Simply put, they want to test how complete are we as a human being?. Most of the questions will be from DAF especially If you have no previous job experience or just passed out of college.

Details of the interviewee:
Degree: Aeronautical Engineering
State : TamilNadu
DoB : 27/07/1990
Hobbies: Watching world cinema and documentaries, Reading Books, Listening to music, Photography and Prose writing.




Prelude : It all started at around 9 AM. I was the first candidate on the day. At around 10 AM I was led to the room of the Chairman and made to wait on a chair outside the room. After few minutes Ms.Alka sirohi walked past me which I noticed only when she was close to the door. I stood up on seeing her. I was called in after some five minutes. The office assistant opened the door for me. I went inside and said Good morning. Chairman was busy reading my profile. others said Good Morning and asked me to sit. Other than the chairman all are male.

First was chairman's turn
You must have been waiting for five minutes. What were you thinking while waiting outside?
Candidate:( That was indeed a surprise question)Mam, I was thinking about the garden (there was a garden facing the interview board room). I have heard that this Dholpur house is former seat of princely dholpur. So I think that's why they had given consideration for garden. Had it been a bureaucratic building they wouldn't have considered about giving space to gardens. ( The last line came out in a flow which I dint meant really)

Almost everyone was kind of shocked and asked in a chorus

Why do you think so? whats wrong with bureaucracy?

Candidate:There is nothing wrong with bureaucracy mam. I meant, that, as I grew up in Chennai where space is a rare resource, people don't usually consider leaving space for gardens. But here in Delhi everything was planned with spaces left aside for gardens, parking etc

Mam nodded her head and said Delhi is also greener city. I too nodded saying the same yes mam, Delhi is green city.

What is gyro? ILS?Avionics? (all related to my degree; answered)

Now the baton is passed to the first member


How should your name be pronounced? (said )

What is the meaning of your name? (answered)

Any specific god has this name? (answered)

You have mentioned so many hobbies. How did you find time to study in your college? (everyone burst into laughter)
Candidate:I did them all at different points of time sir. (they were still laughing)


Name 3 books that have inspired you?

Candidate:The Alchemist, The white tiger and The last man in the tower.

I too have read white tiger. It was not that impressive and also it hasn't received good reviews?

Candidate:Yes sir. I too don't concur with his cynical anthropological perspective of poverty in India. But at the age of 32 he has analysed Indian society in a detailed way. That inspired me.

Is there too much of democracy in India? : sub question was 'have you read argumentative Indian'?

Candidate:Yes there is too much of democracy in india. Though I haven't read argumentative Indian, I have read about the book sir.' : and I talked about scientific temper, importance of debates and discussions, its place in our culture. I went about saying that too much of democracy is not bad for india given its plural nature of society. Minorities get representation through debates and discussion. Explained on it. (here I fumbled and stammered a lot)

Have you heard of Katherine boo's….? I completed the sentence with the book's name ( behind the beautiful forever ) and then continued.

Candidate:'No Sir I havent read it but have heard about the book.' He suggested me to read it to understand well about the slums.

What does a YRC volunteer do? (I was a YRC volunteer in college) (answered)

Second member



Some factual questions like : who is Ms Tessy Thomas etc??

What is the problem in Kingfisher?

Candidate:'I dont fully know about the issue sir. But that was a problem of bad business model and bad financial management'

Do you think they ll resurrect again?

Candidate: 'yes, if proper support is provided'.

So Should we give bailout?

Candidate:No

Third member

RTI campaigning? (from summary sheet)

What did you do while campaigning? (explained)

Specifically say what did you do. ( I explained about how we issued pamphlets, and what we printed on it etc)

(chairman took over)

RTI is creating nuisance. It stifles government processes. Do we have to do away with it?

Candidate:'No Mam we can create special cells in each department to handle RTIs'

But adding more man power is burden to the government. Also are you aware that 80% percent of the RTI applications are from inside the department? So do we have to do away with it?

Candidate: I maintained that doing away with RTI will beat the basic objective of governance. 'RTI has brought governance closer to the people which is one important aspect of good governance.'etc Here also I was kind of struggling to construct sentence. While completing the answer ma'am nodded her head asking'I understand. So you say people will mature and problems will get solved?' I said yes ma'am.

Who is the chief information commissioner?

Candidate: I think it is Mr.Pradeep kumar (I knew it was wrong) and there was a chorus ‘No' from them all.

Third member continued

Americanisation. Is it good or bad?

Candidate:I said it is bad. One culture taking over other cultures is always bad. Spoke about Material culture and non material culture. Material culture ( jeans, iPad, etc) has spread. Non material culture ( liberty, freedom etc) hasn't spread.. etc. (I should have told culture should not be thrusted from outside. But should be accepted from inside. When people come to know about other cultures and accept them , it is altogether different. But when people are indoctrinated from outside (commercialization / consumerist culture)it is bad.)

Fourth member interrupted

What is wrong in spreading material culture? Men and women are wearing jeans. Whats wrong in it?

Candidate:'There is nothing wrong in wearing jeans, Sir. But we too have our own culture. I think that should also be nurtured'.

So what can their society do for it? (like 'why american society should be blamed for it?')

Candidate:They can do nothing sir. Its us who has to do.

What can a government do in this issue?

Candidate:They can educate people through proper curriculum and syllabi. (it was going more like a debate than like a conversation. It was cut short by ma'am and others)

Third member continued:

Individualism Vs Collectivism. What Is your opinion?

Candidate:I said there should be a fine balance between the two

Define Individualism and collectivism.(answered)

Fourth member:

I'll ask you on the lines of what you spoke about. While maintaining law and order human rights violations happen. ... ... What is your view on maintaining law and order Vs Human rights violations.

Candidate:As he mentioned about Naxals in the middle of his question, so I started answering on the lines of naxal issue and said it is difficult to decide upon it which one should be upheld and ended my answer abruptly saying something like "there should be more integration between people and government."

Chairman took over



Ongoing China India border dispute.Why does china do it actually.

Candidate:China is trying to ascertain its territorial claim 'peacefully'(!) etc etc. Later I corrected the sentence saying it is trying to ascertain their claim 'subtly'.

External affairs minister is going to visit Beijing at this point. Is it a good move?

Candidate:It is a good move Ma'am. Communication between two countries should never be snapped at any moment as that is the basis of relationship. If we want to arrive at solution we should have sustained communication Etc etc.

Marks Awarded : 192/300

Interview 3

Tricky Interview Questions


Question. How can you drop a raw egg onto a concrete floor without cracking it?
Answer. Concrete floors are very hard to crack! (UPSC Topper)

Question. If it took eight men ten hours to build a wall, how long would it take four men to build it?
Answer. No time at all it is already built. (UPSC 23 Rank Opted for IFS)

Question.If you had three apples and four oranges in one hand and four apples and three oranges in the other hand, what would you have?
Answer. Very large hands. (Good one) (UPSC 11 Rank Opted for IPS)

Question. How can you lift an elephant with one hand?
Answer. It is not a problem, since you will never find! an elephant with one hand. (UPSC Rank 14 Opted for IES)

Question. How can a man go eight days without sleep?
Answer. No Probs , He sleeps at night. (UPSC IAS Rank 98)

Question. If you throw a red stone into the blue sea what it will become?
Answer. It will become Wet or Sink as simple as that. (UPSC IAS Rank 2)

Question. What looks like half apple ?
Answer : The other half. (UPSC : IAS Topper )

Question. What can you never eat for breakfast ?
Answer : Lunch and Dinner.

Question. What happened when wheel was invented ?
Answer : It caused a revolution.

Question. Bay of Bengal is in which state?
Answer : Liquid (UPSC 33Rank )






Question.You are driving along in your car on a wild, stormy night, it's raining heavily, when suddenly you pass by a bus stop, and you see three people waiting for a bus:
* An old lady who looks as if she is about to die.
* An old friend who once saved your life.
* The perfect partner you have been dreaming about.
Which one would you choose to offer a ride to, knowing very well that there could only be one passenger in your car?
Answer:I would give the car keys to my Old friend and let him take the lady to the hospital. I would stay behind and wait for the bus with the partner of my dreams."
(TIP:Sometimes, we gain more if we are able to give up our stubborn thought limitations. Never forget to "Think Outside of the Box.")

Question.What will you do if I run away with your sister?
Answer: "I will not get a better match for my sister than you sir"

Question.(to a student girl candidate) : What is one morning you woke up & found that you were pregnant.
Answer:I will be very excited and take an off, to celebrate with my husband.

Question."I shall either ask you ten easy questions or one really difficult question.
Think well before you make up your mind!" The boy thought for a while and said, "my choice is one really difficult question."
"Well, good luck to you, you have made your own choice! Now tell me this. "What comes first, Day or Night?"
Answer:"It's the DAY sir!"
"How" the interviewer asked,
"Sorry sir, you promised me that you will not ask me a SECOND difficult question!"

Types of questions asked in Indian Civil Services Interviews




1. About you & your surroundings: The interviewers ask questions directly about you from your resume/CV. Its what you fill in the form from where questions about your school , college, course etc arise. Meaning of your name, your hobbies, your qualifications, your hometown etc can be covered.

2. Current affairs(India and the world): Anything and everything in the past 4-5 years may be asked, but focus will be given on the current year,so be prepared.

3. GK: Information about politics, economics, knowledge of your specific field are asked.

4. Situational: Why you are interested in the Civil Services or why you believe you are suitable for the Civil Services and how you will deal with specific situations in the line of work if selected.

5. Tricky: You cant prepare anything for such question,the best thing you can do is to think out of box.


The Personality test will be scored on the basis of the following factors:
  • Clear and logical exposition
  • Mental alertness
  • foresight
  • Social traits
  • Interest and knowledge of current affairs
  • Balance of judgement
  • Lateral thinking
  • Variety and depth of interest
  • Ability for social cohesion
  • Leadership skills
  • Intellectual and moral integrity



When you are preparing for the civil services examination it is a good idea to form groups and give mock interviews among yourselves. Mock interview for IAS are held by many institutes. Its a good idea to appear for some of those mock interviews.

Answers to questions you must prepare - List of probable interview questions in IAS exams



Why do you want to join civil services?

Why to join civil services if you can do good by doing social work.



Why you want to join civil services and not Politics?

Why do you want to join civil service even though the Salary is limited and will be less than what you can make from your present or future job?

Explain why you chose IAS as your first preference?

Why did you choose that subject in your graduation? questions on your subjects.

I would like to know your opinion on the role of media in elections. Also please explain trial by media, should it be allowed?

What is the role of social media in influencing the people? Can you please tell us about the pros and cons of Social Media.

What is the difference between terrorism, militancy, fundamentalism, insurgency? Is India soft on terrorism? What are the effective laws in tackling all these?

Compare the growth of India vis-a-vis China? Are government efforts enough?

India and its neighbours, are they on best terms for continued growth?

Tell us about SAARC/BRICS and how they influence India and its economy.

What is special of your date of birth? Any important event took place that year?

What does your name mean? Any famous personality or god with that name? Would you like to change your name?

What are your hobbies? Why this one in particular? Related questions.

Where were you born? Why is the city special? About your state, its politics and economy and culture.

Views on marriage, caste, divorce, dowry, rape, laws relating to them.

Any scholarships, awards you have won - about studies, students and sports.

Agriculture and monsoon. crops, seeds and farmers and also farmer loans.

All current affairs.

Interview Tips



  • Dress formally


  • Listen
    Good communication skills include listening and letting the person know you heard what was said. Observe your interviewer, and match that style and pace.


  • Don't Talk Too Much
    Telling the interviewer more than he needs to know could be a fatal mistake.


  • Don't Be Too Familiar
    Your level of familiarity should mimic the interviewer's demeanour. It is important to bring energy and enthusiasm to the interview and to ask questions, but do not overstep your place as a candidate looking for the most prestigious job in the country.


  • Use Appropriate Language
    It's a given that you should use professional language during the interview. Be aware of any inappropriate slang words or references to age, race, religion, politics or sexual orientation -- these topics could send you out the door very quickly.




  • Don't miss any opportunities
    When interviewers ask for an example of a time when you did something for example, they are asking behavioural interview questions, which are designed to elicit a sample of your past behaviour. If you fail to relate a specific example, you not only don't answer the question, but you also miss an opportunity to prove your ability and talk about your skills.


  • Don't Appear Desperate
    When you interview with the "Desperate to crack" approach, you appear less confident. Reflect the three Cs during the interview: cool, calm and confidence. You know you can do the job and you have cleared previous tough rounds; make sure the interviewer believes you can, too.

Lateral Thinking Puzzles



What starts with an E, ends with an E and usually contains only one letter? ENVELOPE.

Which word, if pronounced right, is wrong, but if pronounced wrong is right? Wrong!

What belongs to you but other people use it more than you? Your name!

What kind of cheese is made backwards? EDAM cheese (made backwards is edam)

Can you find a five letter word, which, when typed in upper-­-case, reads the same upside down? SWIMS.

What happens only in the middle of each month, in all of the seasons, except summer and happens only in the night, never in the day? The letter N.

If there are forty cups on the table and one cup breaks, how many tea cups are left?

We started with 4 tea cups (forty cups) and one broke.

"This is an unusual paragraph. I'm curious how quickly you can find out what is so unusual about it? looks so plain you would think nothing was wrong with it! In fact, nothing is wrong with it! It is unusual though. Study it, and think about it, but you still may not find anything odd. But if you work at it a bit, you might find out! Try to do so without any coaching!" Answer: There is no letter E anywhere in it!

In which sport do winners move backwards and losers move forwards? Tug-­-of-­-war.

What common word has 4 vowels, one after the other? Queue!

Can you name three consecutive days without using the words Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, or Sunday? Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow!

Why are 1998 dollar coins worth more than 1997 dollar coins? Because there are more of them!

Kevin's mother has three children. The first was called Alpha, the second was called Beta. What was the name of the third? Kevin, since it was Kevin's mother and Kevin's brothers were Alpha and Beta.

What word is the same backwards and upside down? NOON. What can go up a chimney down, but can't go down a chimney up? An umbrella.

There's one sport in which neither the spectators nor the participants know the score or the leader until the contest ends. What is it? Boxing

What has roads but no cars, rivers but no water and hills but no trees? A map!

I have a large money box, 10 inches square and 12 inches tall. Roughly how many coins can I place in my empty money box? Just one, after which it will no longer be empty!

Why did the inventor of man-­-hole covers choose round ones, since square ones were easier to make? A circular cover is the only shape that cannot fall through its own hole and, therefore, cannot be accidentally dropped into the hole.

Only four words in Standard English begin with the letters "dw". Name two of them: dwarf dwell dweeb dwindle

In Aberland, you cannot take a picture of a man with a wooden leg. Why not? You cannot take pictures with a wooden leg, you use a camera.

How far can a horse run into a forest? Half way : after which it would be running out!

What does this represent: mce, mce, mce? Three Blind Mice: they have no I's!

A man looks at a photograph and says, "Brothers and sisters have I none, but this man's father is my father's son." How is the man in the photograph related to him? "My father's son" is himself (since he has no siblings), so he's saying that he is "this man's father", which means that he is looking at a photograph of his son.

A murderer is condemned to death. He has to choose between three rooms. The first is full of raging fires, the second is full of assassins with loaded guns, and the third is full of lions that haven't eaten in 3 years. Which room is safest for him? The third. Lions that haven't eaten in three years are dead.

There are two plastic jugs filled with water. How could you put all of this water into a barrel, without using the jugs or any dividers, and still tell which water came from which jug? Freeze them first. Take them out of the jugs and put the ice in the barrel. You will be able to tell which water came from which jug.

There is a mute who wants to buy a toothbrush. By imitating the action of brushing one's teeth he successfully expresses himself to the shopkeeper and the purchase is done. Now if there is a blind man who wishes to buy a pair of sunglasses, how should he express himself? He just has to open his mouth and ask!

You are running in a race. You overtake the second person. What position are you in? If your answer is first, then you are absolutely wrong! If you overtake the second person and you take his place, you are second!

If you overtake the last person, what position are you in? If you answered second last, then you are wrong again. How can you overtake the LAST person?!

Take 1000 and add 40 to it. Now add another 1000. Now add 30. Add another 1000. Now add 20. Now add another 1000. Now add 10. What is the total? Did you get 5000? The correct answer is actually 4100.

Mary's father has five daughters: 1. Nana, 2.Nene, 3. Nini, 4. Nono. What is the name of the fifth daughter? Nunu? NO! Of course not. Her name is Mary.

A man walks up to you and says : "everything I say to you is a lie." Is he telling you the truth or is he lying? He's lying. Even though he's lying when he says "everything" he says is a lie, some of the things he says can be a lie, and this is one of them.

A woman has 7 children, half of them are boys. How can this be possible? All the children are boys, so 1/2 half are boys and so is the other half.

A farmer and his hired help were carrying grain to the barn. The farmer carried one sack of grain and the hired help carried two sacks. Who carried the heavier load and why? The farmer's load was heavier. His hired help only carried two sacks, while the farmer carries one sack, but his sack is a sack of grain. The hired help only carried 2 sacks : both empty.

A boy was at a carnival and went to a booth where a man said to the boy, "If I write your exact weight on this piece of paper then you have to give me $50, but if I cannot, I will pay you $50." The boy looked around and saw no scale so he agrees, thinking no matter what the carny writes he'll just say he weighs more or less. In the end the boy ended up paying the man $50. How did the man win the bet? The man did exactly as he said he would and wrote "your exact weight" on the paper.