- Exam Help
Interview tips for Public Service
In assessment examinations for recruiting staff for public service, the highest-scoring candidates will be called for interviews according to the approved number of vacancies. In some instances, the interview process incorporates asking subject-related questions from the candidate with an associated marking system. If this type of interview is conducted with scores to determine selection, often times twice as many candidates as the number of available vacancies will be called for interviews. (E.g.: Competitive Examinations for State Administrative Service.) The scores that the candidates receive during interviewing and the said candidates’ scores from the written examinations will be aggregated to award appointments depending on which candidates have achieved the highest total scores. If only the candidates’ qualifications and eligibility are to be assessed through interviewing, no more interviews than the exact number of available vacancies will be called.
If the interview process includes a marking and evaluation system, you will receive notification on the subject you will be questioned on and details on the marking procedure through the corresponding service minute of the post, the gazette announcement of the examination and your letter calling for an interview. You will then be given a score according to the answers you give at the interview and the agreement of the panel of interviewers. You will not be informed on how many points you have scored at that time but if you have answered all questions successfully, then you will have got full points.
The panel of interviewers will consist of 5 or 3 members of the State administrative service or a higher office of civil service. An official representing the Ministry of Public Administration and Home Affairs will be present as a must. Except in special instances, a female official will definitely be present on the panel of interviewers. Decision-making is done at the discretion of the panel of interviewers. The members of the panel of interviewers are appointed in accordance with the recommendations of the Public Service Commission.
Here your certificates and letters relevant to the basic requirements of the post will be reviewed. Your letter calling for interviews will indicate what certificates and duplicates of certificates if applicable you must produce. It is unnecessary to bring any other irrelevant certificates and letters whilst those unsolicited certificates and letters will by no means be reviewed or used to give you priority. Your original certificates will be reviewed alongside their photocopies to check for authenticity and once thus determined, the originals will be returned to you. The original copies of the Grama Sevaka certificate approved by the Divisional Secretariat and any specially requested character certificate will be retained. If due to some reason you cannot produce a requested certificate or letter, you are able to obtain a limited grace period. In such a case of delay, your appointment may also be delayed. If there is a discrepancy in your full name on any of the certificates and letters, you will be required to produce an affidavit.
Follow these guidelines to prepare for and successfully face an interview:
- When you receive your letter calling for an interview, immediately check if you have all the needed certificates and letters. If you do not have any of them, forthwith set about obtaining them.
- Get your Grama Sevaka certificate approved by the Divisional Secretariat. If character certificates have been requested, make sure to obtain them from a suitable person of accountability only. Ensure that necessary official seals are available or stamped on those letters.
- Carefully check whether your name as it appears on your certificates and letters contain any irregularities. If there is any inconsistency, obtain an affidavit from a certified Justice of the Peace.
- If photocopies of certificates and letter are requested, prepare these well in advance. It will be convenient if you arrange the originals and photocopies separately in the given order of certificates and letters as mentioned in your letter calling for an interview.
- If you are to be given points according to a marking system during the interview, build up your knowledge on the relevant field or subject you will be examined on, which you could do with the help of books, the internet, seminars and your friends and family. It will also be apt that you get the help of someone who has previously faced a similar interview, as a learning experience for yourself.
- Prepare your attire for the interview well in advance. If you are a male candidate, you can wear a long-sleeved shirt with a tie and trousers. If you are a female candidate, you can wear an Indian or Kandyan sari. These would be appropriate for the occasion.
- If you are unaware of where the interview is to be conducted or how to reach that location, learn about it in advance. Also make sure that you arrive early on the day of the interview.
- Prior to presenting yourself before the panel of interviewers, your certificates will be checked and prepared by a separate staff appointed for that purpose. Ensure that you produce your national identity card or an approved identity verification certificate along with the requested certificates and letters.
- When you come before the panel of interviewers, present yourself courteously and make sure to smile. Take your seat once they have asked you to sit down.
- When you answer the questions asked by the panel of interviewers, do so with self-confidence and clarity, making sure to comprehend the question well and to not panic or become upset.
- During the interview, try your best to satisfy the panel of interviewers. When the interview draws to a close, thank the panel before leaving. In the State sector, officials are not greeted with handshakes.