All those candidates who qualify the written part of the CSS Examination will be individually interviewed by a Board usually at a provincial headquarter. Every member of the Board, consisting of 5 to 7 eminent persons will ask you questions and give you marks out of his given allocation, normally 75. Results are then tallied and aggregate marks are given by consensus. However, any member giving extraordinarily high or low marks to any candidate has to justify his criterion to the Board.
Every member has your written test marks and the report of the Psychologist in front of him and will ask you questions on matters of general interest as well as relating to your subjects. Basic objective of the interview is to assess your suitability for the government service in general and for the services for which you are likely to be placed on the basis of your written tests.
The Board gives particular importance to the leadership qualities of the candidates, his/her intelligence and alertness of mind, his/her vigor and strength of character and his/her potential qualities of being a member of the elite civil services of the country. The Board will take into consideration your extra-mural activities such as sports, debates, hobbies, etc., and their effect on his/her physique and character, in assessing your merit.
Although, every year the range and topic of interview questions keeps on changing due to changing domestic and global environment as well as the induction of new members replacing the retiring members, generally the questions asked fall into following categories;
Based on your biographical sketch which will be in front of every member, questions will be asked about your ambitious, interests and other related issues to assess how passionate you are about your goals in life. Some of the questions may be like these
- Why do you want to join the civil service?
(Do not say “mujhe Bachpan say hee shouq tha”. Say that the Civil Service of Pakistan is an institution where you can serve, enjoy power and command respect-all in one. It is a thrilling experience to compete with thousands and be successful; I have accepted the challenge. In the entire CSS selection process, merit still counts etc)
- Why are you interested in the occupational group you have indicated as your first choice?
(Anyone can serve the country in any post/position. However, keeping in view my passion, attitude and the hard work I have put in, I think I am suitable for the Group I have selected as my first choice)
- What will you do if you are selected and allocated to your first preferred occupational group?
(You must have a fair idea of role, functions and duties of an officer of respective occupational groups you have chosen as your first three choices. Meet a few officers of those groups after you have passed the written part of CSS Examination and find out what should be your response)
- What will you do if you are not selected? If not allocated the first choice?
(Even if I am not successful, the amount of hard work I have put in and the depth and breadth of knowledge I have would gained during the preparation for the CSS Examination, has prepared me to face the challenges of life later on. Secondly, I will avail the chances I still have. If I am still not successful, I will take it gracefully and do ———)
- Who has inspired you the most in your life and why?
(While every person has his/her own choice, I will suggest you to say that your father/mother are the main inspiration of your life. Then list some good things about them and the lessons they have taught you)
- What is your favorite book? Why you like it?
(If you want to say your holy book is your favorite book, then do study it thoroughly as the members are very inquisitive if someone comes up with this reply.)
- What are your most favorite hobby and what it has taught you? (Remember your matriculation essay? Time to repeat those good things about the hobbies!)
Here the members will try to assess the depth of your knowledge of the subjects you have studied in your academic career in general and that of the subjects you have chosen for your CCS Examination. The moment you learn that you have qualified for the interview, take out your books and notes which you have not touched during those 5/6 months of waiting and brush up your knowledge
Those candidates who have done their MA in any particular subject like English but have not opted it as one of their optional subjects, should know that one of the Board members will definitely ask you the reason for not selecting it for CSS examination. Before entering the room, pray to God from the core of your heart that none of the members of the Board has done his MA/MSc in the any of the subjects you have selected. If it happens, then that member will grill you like anything. But do not panic; this maseebat will soon pass.
If after completing your studies, you have been working/ employed full time or part time, chances are that one of the members may ask you one or two questions about your experience in that employment. He will be interested to know the reasons for not continuing with that job
Around 40% of the interview time will be consumed in this part of the interview. Expect at least 4/5 questions during this session. Almost every member will either ask you a separate question on any burning issue or will join the conversation. And naturally so. They are trying to select the best candidates for the elite services and want to be sure that you have adequate and in-depth knowledge about the challenges Pakistan is facing and how to respond to them. Of course they know that you are not an expert but they expect you to be above the general public in respect of understanding the issues. Some of the questions may be like these.
- What is the most important challenge Pakistan is facing right now and what is the solution?
- Who is to be blamed for present problems of Pakistan and why
- How do you see the future of Pakistan?
- Why East Pakistan separated from us, who is to be blamed and any lessons learnt?
- Ideology of Pakistan, its salient features, relevance in present day globalizing world, differences and similarities between Pakistan Ideology and Two Nation Theory
- Pakistan’s foreign policy, its sources, main features, why we depend too much on USA,
- Pakistan society, legacies of past, salient feature, main strengths, weak points
- Terrorism in Pakistan
- Why Pakistan armed forces intervened in politics?
- 18th Amendment-context, issues and problems
- Pakistan’s Agriculture sector, its importance, weaknesses, solutions
- What is the National Interest of Pakistan, how it can be secured
- Causes and consequences of War of Independence of 1857, causes of its failure
- Energy crises-magnitude, causes, solutions
Here again a lot of time will be spent by the members to assess your knowledge of the global affairs. Be ready for 2/3 questions. Some of the questions asked may be like these
- Causes and consequences of present Syrian Crises.
- Post 2014 Afghanistan and its implications for Pakistan
- Water scarcity and increased threat of water wars
- Climate Change-How serious is the threat, is it manmade or a natural phenomenon, its likely consequences and possible solutions
- Global food security-nature and extent of the threat, causes of food crises, what should be the global response
- Baluchistan issue-causes and the role of global and regional politics
- What is New Great Game and how it will affect Pakistan
- New Cold War-differences and similarities between the classic cold war and the new one
- Is CPEC a game changer in the region?
Chances are that one/two questions will be asked about Islam from those candidates who have declared themselves to Muslims. These questions will not be purely religious such as asking you to recite any particular verse of the Holy Quran. Rather these will be to test your understanding of the religion and how it has helped in your character development. Questions usually asked are like these
- Is Islam a as a complete code of life in a rapidly globalizing world?
- What are the Principles of good governance in Islam
- Causes of Muslim backwardness in present day world
- Islamic provisions in Pakistan Constitution
- Is Pakistan a Muslim State or an Islamic state?
- Contributions of Muslims in science, technology, social sciences and world civilization
- Status of Women in Islam
Finally, I will suggest you put these4 questions and others you think of on Quora.com where experts from all over the world try to answer the questions asked. You will be well rewarede for this exercise in the form of quality answers.