INTERVIEW TECHNIQUE

Interview is an art of holding a purposeful conversation. It is a dependable means of gathering information. An interview is a formal forum or setting to know someone for a purpose.


The Aim of an SSB interview

The aim of an interview at the SSB is to assess the leadership or ‘Officer Like Qualities’ of the candidate by means of a directed or purposive conversation between the candidate and the Interviewing Officer (I.O.). In addition to appraising the present level of the candidate, the IO tries to evaluate the training potential of the candidate. The questions at the interview are directed so as to allow the candidate to automatically show his leadership ability in his answers.

What Interviewers look for in a Candidate

  • Professional Competence – The candidate should possess knowledge appropriate with his age and experience. He should be able to apply the theoretical knowledge gained over the years to solve day to day problems of varying complexities. He should have the aptitude, temperament and competence to solve problems related to his field of learning.
  • Level of Enthusiasm :- The candidate should be able to exhibit his strong liking and passion for the job. He should be able to convey that he is extremely keen and motivated for the job.
  • Ability to Get Along with People :- The candidate should be able to exhibit that he / she is a team person who is highly co- operative, responsible and friendly. The candidate should be a person who enjoys the company of others and the others also enjoy his / her company. He / She should be readily able to mix up even with strangers.
  • Ability to Express :- The candidate should be able to convey his views, feelings and ideas effectively with clarity and ease. The candidate should be able to use appropriate and suitable words supported by good logic and convincing power in a fluent manner.
  • Ability to Fit Into the Organization :- Is the candidate having a positive attitude? Does the candidate want to contribute to the organization? Does the candidate have his priorities right in relation to work and how strongly does he believe in ethics and values?
  • Leadership Qualities :- The candidate should be able to bring out that at various stages of life he / she has been able to exhibit leadership qualities quoting instances from his / her life.
A leader should have merit of the following qualities :-
  • Intelligent
  • Good planner
  • Good organisational Abilities
  • Ability to solve day to day problems.
  • Good communication skills
  • Responsible
  • Co-operative
  • Friendly and understanding
  • Initiative
  • Decisive
  • Confident
  • Ability to convince others
  • Determined
  • Courageous
  • Stamina
  • Honest
  • Disciplined
  • Loyal
  • Ability to remain happy even in extreme conditions.
  • Competitiveness: - Does the candidate believe in healthy competition and merit. Does he believe in self-improvement? Does he have faith in the existing systems and procedures? How strong is his urge to progress in life?
  • High Energy levels: - Does the candidate have high energy levels. Does he take pride in working hard? Is he / she keen to win? If he / she likely to give up when faced with adverse situation. Does he / she has strong will power.
  • Goal Achievement: - Does the candidate set goals for himself and then works hard to achieve those goals. Are the goals practical, achievable and realistic? Is he/ she an achiever?
  • Imagination: - Is the candidate imaginative. Does the candidate think of aspects which are not obvious? Imagination is the ability of forming new images and sensations when they are not perceived through sight, hearing or other senses.
  • Flexibility :- Is the candidate flexible ? Is he / she approachable and open to new ideas? Does the candidate have the patience to listen and accept / reject others viewpoints based on logic and reasoning. The candidate is not expected to be rigid, unapproachable and indecisive.

PREPARATION BEFORE THE INTERVIEW

  • The candidate should collect all previous employment letters, references, experience certificates, academic certificates and be conversant with their content.
The candidate should visit himself / herself to know all details regarding the following:-
  • Academic Background
  • Strengths and Weaknesses
  • Accomplishments and Achievements
  • Interests and Hobbies
  • Disappointments encountered in life and how responded.
  • Values (personal and in the workplace)
  • Likes and Dislikes
  • Short term and long term goals.
  • Acceptance of re- location and willingness to travel.
  • The candidate should also learn about the organization i.e.
Army / Navy/ Air force to cover the following :-
  • Study the Army/ Navy/ AF website.
  • Study the organization to cover different branches.
  • Rank structure
  • Job description, terms & conditions of service, perks and privileges.
  • Training Academies, durations of training and entries.
  • General Awareness about major & latest equipment in Army/ Navy / AF.
  • Role, history and size of Army/ Navy / AF.

  • The candidate should study current events and improve his general awareness about national and international affairs by studying / reading daily newspapers, magazines, TV & Radio news. The candidates should also practice lecturette, Group Discussions and improve his/ her communication skills as well as confidence.

UNDERGOING INTERVIEW

A candidate has to undergo interview only once during the cycle of 05 days of SSB proceedings. He/ she will be interviewed either on the Psychologist day or on GTO-1 or GTO-2 day depending on his / her chest number. The schedule of interview is generally announced a day earlier but it may not be always possible and hence in some cases the candidate may be informed about his / her interview at the last minute. Therefore the candidate should remain prepared for such an eventuality.

The candidate should always try and reach the waiting room/ venue of interview about 10-15 minutes earlier than the time given. The wait for his / her turn and the fear of failure is likely to create stress on the candidate. If the candidate faces interview while under stress, the candidate is not likely to perform well. Hence the candidate must try and be stress free. To remain free of stress the candidate must divert his / her attention away from interview by not thinking / discussing about the interview with others. He / She should chat with other candidates on any other unrelated subject. He/ She must take long and deep breathe before moving for interview room.

On reaching the interview room, the candidate must knock at the door and say “May I come in Sir”. On getting the permission to come in, the candidate should open the door and step in letting the door close softly. The candidate should move into the room smartly, taking short steps, slightly swinging the arms and the head held high. On reaching the chair placed for the candidate, the candidate should stand next to the chair, face the interview officer and wish him. When the interviewing officer asks the candidate to sit, the candidate should sit on the chair without shifting / moving chair from its position and say “Thank you Sir”. The candidate must ensure that a good first impression is created because a candidate will never get a second chance to make a first impression.

The candidate must ensure correct posture while sitting. While sitting the candidate should sit straight, legs slightly open, hands resting on knees / thighs, eyes looking into the eyes and face of interviewing officer. The candidate should ensure that the sitting posture is neither too stiff nor sloppy. Crossed legs may signal disagreement and self-protection and hence must be avoided.

  • The Candidate must listen to the entire question very patiently, reflect for a few seconds and then start answering only after the interviewing officer has finished the question.
  • The candidate must avoid negative body language, eg: slouching, crossing arms, tapping feet, clearing throat repeatedly, biting lips or nails and putting hands into pockets.
  • During the interview the candidate must make frequent eye contact, smile and nod frequently.
  • While answering questions, the candidate should be to the point, speaking clearly. He / She should exhibit confidence, focus on contributions and accomplishments.
  • The candidate should never try to be clever, be pretend, be evasive, lose temper, be flustered or panic. He / She should never criticize anyone i.e. superiors, colleagues, neighbours, siblings, relatives, teachers, institutes etc.
  • During the interview the interviewing officer is likely to ask long questions consisting of a number of sub parts / questions. The candidate must pay complete attention and focus and answer all the questions / sub questions. The sequence of answering questions may be changed.
  • While answering, the responses of the candidate should be simple, natural, convincing, genuine and logical. The candidate should not try to be superficial or ramble while answering.
  • In case the candidate is unable to answer a particular question he / she should tell the interviewing officer “I am sorry sir, I don’t know, I will find out”.
  • In case the interviewing officer is trying to say something or is giving his view point, the candidate should smile, nod, acknowledge but never argue with the interviewing officer. • During the interview the candidate should try to exhibit maximum number of leadership / Officer like qualities.
  • At the end of the interview the interviewing officer may ask the candidate if he has any questions for the Interviewing Officer. The candidate should politely decline to ask any questions.
  • When the interview finishes, the candidate should get up smartly, bow a little, smile and say “Thank you Sir” “Have a nice day”, turn towards the door and walk out. Before turning towards the door the candidate must look at the interviewing officer to get an indication if the interviewing officer wishes to shake hand.
  • Proper hand shake is the one which is firm, but not bone crushing. It tasks about 3 seconds, may be pumped once or twice but is released after the shake even if the introduction continues. It includes good eye contact with the interviewing officer.

DRESS FOR SUCCESS

The aim of every candidate should be to make an excellent impression on the interviewing officer. The way a candidate dresses is the single biggest non verbal communication a candidate makes about himself/ herself. The dress conveys success, trustworthiness, intelligence and suitability. Hence if a candidate is not sure as to what he / she must wear, he / she must lean towards conservative side of style. A candidate must avoid loud colours and printed fabrics. The clothes must be well fitting, clean, comfortable and nicely ironed.

Men should wear conservative two piece dark suit, navy blue or medium to dark grey, long sleeved blue, white or light colored plane shirt with a silk tie complimenting in color or style. Black / Brown leather shoes with plain socks. The socks should be of the same color as shoes. Belt should be of the same color as shoes. The male candidates should not wear any jewelry items like bracelets, earrings or large rings. The candidate should not use strong deodorants or perfumes as the same are likely to cause discomfort in a closed room.

The women candidates should wear a dark conservative suit or any dress which looks respectable and dignified. The color of the dress should be sober and the dress should be well fitting and well ironed. The shoes must not have a heal more than one inch. The makeup should be minimal and in conservative tones. Very limited conservative jewelry should be worn. Strong perfumes and deodorants should not be used. Women candidates should not carry any folder, certificates or purse into the interview room.

BODY LANGUAGE

Gestures mirror ones state of mind. Psychologists describe body language as a language of signals. Every day, we unconsciously send out many signals through our body. The study of body movements is called “KINESICS” and it asserts that 40-50 % of information on the character, impact and credibility of a person is conveyed via body language. Only a fractional 7% of meaningful conversation is exchanged through word symbols, while 55 % is conveyed by bodily movements and gestures. Hence correct use of body language can help a candidate to create a positive impression on the interviewing officer.

During an interview a candidate must make frequent eye contact, smile and nod frequently when the interviewing officer is making a point. The candidate should never slouch while sitting, cross arms, tap feet, clear throat repeatedly or bite his / her lips or nails.


Personal Information Questionnaire (PIQ)

Before the candidate appears in front of the Interviewing Officer, the interviewing officer studies the PIQ of the candidate and forms an opinion impression about him. It is therefore very important that the PIQ is filled up with due care, neatly, correctly and completely. A large number of questions asked during the interview are primarily based on the information provided by the candidate in his / her PIQ. Information given in the PIQ includes socio – economics and educational background, family details and the extent of participation in extracurricular activities including games / sports pursued & positions of responsibility held by the candidate. The candidate should be fully prepared to answer all questions related to the information provided in the PIQ. The candidate must also ensure that there is no mismatch between the information given in PIQ and the one given by him / her in response to questions during interview.


Few aspects to be kept in mind while filling up PIQ are as under:-
  • Do not overwrite or write at wrong place. Ensure that information is written at the space provided for it.
  • There should be no cuttings or erasing.
  • Fill the information in capital letters.
  • Information should be authentic and true. Do not manipulate information.
  • In case of land line tele number, prefix it by STD code and in case of mobile number prefix it by +91 or zero.
  • Prefix Mr/ Mrs, Shri / Shrimati to the names of parents.
  • Do not mention any achievements /participations of very young age, say lower than 7th standard.