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How to Prepare for an Interview.

Dear Fellows!
Interview plays a highly significant role in one's selection. Whether the job be
through PPSC, FPSC or through Departmental Selection Process, interview always
proves to be a determining factor in final selection. Except for CSS and PMS in
almost rest of the recruitments, most of the times, interview possesses more
marks and weight than the written examination. For instance, traditionally for a
PPSC job, the written test has the share of 50 marks in final selection, while an
interview carries 100 marks.

On the basis of my personal experience and observation, here, I am going to share

what in my opinion needs to be prepared for an interview. My analysis is based on
my experience which I obtained by appearing in one CSS interview, two PMS
interviews, few PPSC/FPSC interviews, including the interviews for Assistant
Director Anti-Corruption , Assistant Director Civil Defense, Labour Officer, Labour
Inspector, Excise Inspector, YPIP interview in State Bank of Pakistan and
interview for Assistants post in Foreign Office . Besides this, I got the privilege of
listening to the successful CSS/PMS/PPSC/FPSC interview experiences of few

Brothers! In an interview mere one's knowledge is not checked, rather one's

personality, eagerness for the job, one's expression and communication skills are
also kept in observation along with one's confidence. As well as confidence is
concerned, if one has prepared the areas explained below, and one's
communication skills and expression are good , confidence creeps in by itself.

The very first impression is created by the appearance. Therefore one should be
formally dressed up. Next, greeting the panel in a decent, confident and well-
mannered way makes the conditions favorable further for the candidate.

As well as PPSC and FPSC interviews are concerned broadly speaking, the
following are the broader areas which usually come under discussion in these

1- Introduction
2- Domicile District Profile.
3- Qualification Related Questions, Largely regarding subjects in graduation and
Masters, Particularly about the Major subject in ones final degree.
4- Job Nature and Department Related Questions.
5- Opinion and Information on Contemporary Issues.
6- General Knowledge based Quiz Type Questions mostly from Pakistan Studies
and Islamic Studies.
Here I briefly explain these areas one by one.

1 - Introduction.

After the formal greetings, the PPSC member who is presiding over the interview
panel usually asks the candidate to introduce himself with the Panel.
Introduction should be brief but comprehensive and precise and presented in such
a way as it generates an interest of the panel in the candidate. Remember both
content and presentation matter here. For capturing the interest of the panel,
don't forget to mention any of your specialty, distinction or achievement which
may distinguish you from others. For instance when I have to introduce myself, I
particularly mention my specialty that often my writings find space in Dawn and
other English newspapers on socio-political issues. Besides that my Article also
made its place in World Times Magazine and I have my blog where all of my
writings I have gathered on one palace . Now this is most likely to catch the
interest of the panel and they may start asking about my writings about which I
definitely can answer impressively. My whole of the interview of Assistant Director
Civil Defense revolved round it and helped me getting selected. Even in my
interview of Assistant Director Anti-Corruption the panel was impressed when I
told about my writings and here also I was able to get selected.
Secondly, I will tell my achievements that I qualified CSS once and PMS twice.
Qualifying CSS and PMS , where on one hand speaks about a sort of achievement
on the other it tells about the struggle also which I have been making and that
also not bad one. Now they may ask questions on these also which obviously one
can answer comprehensively. Like in my interviews, I have been asked about my
CSS/PMS subjects and about my experience.

2- District Profile
Now the second phase is knowledge about one's district. They usually ask about
famous personalities who hailed from that district and made their mark on
national or international arena. Besides that, they also ask about the famous or
historic places in that District. Moreover, they also are expected to ask what is the
history of the city, how it has been named and what are other popular and
interesting facts about the District. For example in my district Alexander fought
against Prince Porus and Second Anglo-Sikh War was also fought here. Secondly,
it has been named after A Saint Bahauddin and it got the status of District in 1993.
Moreover, one of the famous Personalities of my districts is acclaimed Writer and
TV Host, Mustansar Hussain Tarar. So, one has to be cognisant of this sort of facts
about ones district.

3- Academic Background Then they do ask Questions about your

academic background particularly the final degree. I am always asked questions
on literature as I have both my graduation and masters in English Literature.
Especially those who have degrees in Literature, History, Social work, Pol Science
etc or Law, they are definitely asked questions about their subjects as everyone in
the reverend panel usually possesses the knowledge of the basics of these
disciplines. However, usually the questions asked are not very in depth but sort of
popular questions about the subjects. But still one needs to be prepared for every
sort of the questions as the members of the panels have the discretion to ask

4- Info Regarding Nature of Job and the Department

The most important portion of the interview comes next. In interview panel
including Member PPSC/FPSC, who is presiding over the interview, there are three
to four members in total. One of the members is the person from that department
for which the job you have applied for. To win the job one needs specially to
answer the questions of that person satisfactorily. For that, it is very necessary
that one knows about the department and about the nature of the job. One if is
cognisant of the challenges faced by that department and reforms which one feels
need to be incorporated, and presents all this in a lucid and precise manner, one
can brighten one's prospect of getting selected. For example I appeared in an
interview for the job of Labour officer in PPSC. I should have known what labour
officer is what he has to do and what is Labour department. What are labour laws
and what is I. L. O. But I didn't prepare these. This blunder proved fatal for me. In
one of my PPSC interview for Information Officer BS 17 (Planning and
Development Department Punjab), when the member asked about the department
and I was blank, he remarked that Gentleman is this your level of seriousness that
you have come here for the interview of a 17 grade job and you have not bothered
to collect even the basic information about the department. I was not selected.
But I learned a good lesson. While at the time of my Interview of Assistant
Director Anti-Corruption, I answered the questions on this area properly and I
now have been selected as Assistant Director Anti-Corruption. I have keenly
observed that If one performs satisfactory in this part, there are abundant
chances that one may get enviable marks in Interview. Importantly, this also
speaks volume for your keen interest in the job you are seeking and this leads to a
favourable result for you.

5- Opinion on National and International Current Issues

Now they may also ask about current affairs or contemporary national or
international issues. One is not expected to have a detailed knowledge of these.
However, one should be abreast of the basic info regarding these matters.
Beware; when they are seeking your opinion about an issue or matter, it better
should be genuinely your personal opinion. One more thing is very important that
you must not skip such questions and you should necessarily give your thoughts.
However, if the question is regarding checking your knowledge or information you
may skip by saying sorry in a polite and decent fashion you do not know.
6- Quiz Type General Knowledge Questions
Sixthly, they may ask Quiz type questions about Pakistan Studies and Islamic
Studies. Like who were the members of Boundary Commission. When constitution
was first abrogated. Who is the First Mujaddad. On your answering they may ask
your opinion also. For instance, was the demarcation of Boundary Commission
based on facts ? I would again say that always respond compulsorily to the
opinion based questions while you may say sorry on quiz type questions.
Usually here the interview ends.

Note: Let me make it clear that these are the broader areas which are mostly
discussed in the interviews. However, the order of asking questions on these
broader areas may be changed. Secondly, it is not necessary that they would
follow this scheme always. However, for appropriate preparation of the interview,
one must prepare these areas necessarily on priority basis.

Best of Luck to All of You

Regards : Tasawar Bosal

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