The Personality Test popularly known as Interview is the last of the three stages in the civil services examination. Around 2,500 candidates remain after the gruelling prelims and Mains to run the last lap. As Personality Test is the final hurdle to cross, the candidates want to put their best foot forward in terms of their appearance and speech. Emphasis is given on polishing the presentation skills but appropriate clothing and footwear is of no less importance.
Usually, we suggest the candidates to wear the outfit decided for the D-day at least once before preferably during a mock interview. Normally people stick to the limits of soberness and formality, but there are of course exceptions. I cannot forget a young boy who walked in confidently wearing a baby pink Van Heusen party-wear shirt with an equally shiny grey pinstripe trousers. His parents ended up buying the most expensive pair the local store can offer for him. The inappropriateness was so much that we had to strictly advise him to go for purchase again. Another person gave me a day of headache with his flashy yellow shirt and strong perfumes.
Some take the level of formality to the next level. A person wearing an impeccable black suit with white shirt and a red tie, not to mention liberal grooming (a kit full of beauty products was with him) made me think about a bridegroom rather than a candidate for a job interview. Candidates even seek professional help too to make themselves presentable. Amidst this extravaganza, I have also seen a girl who decided to wear a saree of her mother and ended up getting a very good score in interview.
Last year, I was in New Delhi during the Personality Test to give some last-minute moral support to some of my students. As we were waiting in front of the UPSC office where the test happens, there were boys around wearing the ever-popular sky-blue shirt with dark suits. But to my surprise, a lot of girls were wearing shades of green even very dark ones. This was news as off white was the preferred choice for sarees till recently. I was later informed that it was a tip from some expert to stick to the middle of VIBGYOR while choosing clothes for interview especially blue for boys and green for girls! Sounds elementary, right?
As the personality test is a formal occasion, one is expected to maintain decorum and modesty in dressing too. A formal full-sleeve shirt of light colour and dark colour trousers with a neck tie for men and a formal saree or a salwar suit in preferably light colours with dupatta for women will be good enough for the interview. Formal attire demands that the colours one choose should be sober. It should complement one’s complexion too. So, from white to grey any colour is fine as far as it is not too shiny and conspicuous.
A formal shoe for men and sandals for women in black/brown colour is ideal. If you already have a comfortable dress and footwear, there is no need to even buy a new one. The idea here is to make oneself presentable as well as comfortable.
The best way to make a good impression in a personality test is to be at ease. For that one should be familiar with wearing formals. The shoes or the saree should not restrict your free movements or your thoughts. So, keep it simple when it comes to dressing up for interview. As one of the successful candidates once said “when I spent too much on clothing and make up, I lost focus while answering, and next time I concentrated on my answers and got through”.
(The author is a former IPS officer and a trainer for civil service aspirants)