How To Get A Government Job (With Interview Tips and FAQs)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 18 April 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Getting a job in the government sector can be a long and challenging process as most positions require candidates to qualify for competitive entrance exams and clear interviews. Some popular entrance examinations among government service aspirants include the union public service commission (UPSC) exam, probationary officer (PO) exam and staff selection commission-combined graduate level (SSC-CGL) exam. Knowing more about these government exams can help you select the most suitable career path for you.

In this article, we discuss how you can get a government job, share which entrance exams to consider and answer some frequently asked questions related to government exams and provide some helpful preparation tips.

How to get a government job through various exams

If you want to know how to get a government job, here is a list of various government exams you can consider:

1. UPSC civil services examination

The union public service commission (UPSC) organises the UPSC civil services examination, one of the most popular government exams among aspirants. The selection committee uses exam scores to select candidates for higher civil services positions in the government, such as the Indian administrative service (IAS), Indian foreign service (IFS) and the Indian police service (IPS). This exam comprises three phases: the prelims or the preliminary examination, the mains or the main test and a personality interview. The UPSC conducts this exam once a year.

Related: How Much Does An IPS Officer Make? (With Ranks And Salary)

2. IBPS PO exam

The institute of banking personnel selection (IBPS) conducts the IBPS PO exam every year to recruit qualifying candidates for the role of probationary officers (PO) in various public sector banks. This exam tests students based on their reasoning ability, English language and quantitative aptitude and consists of 100 questions. The institute conducts the exam online with various multiple-choice questions (MCQs) designed to test candidates' suitability for PO vacancies. Probationary officers typically manage the administrative, clerical and business duties of a bank.

Related: How Much Does A Bank PO Make In Public Sector Banks?

3. SBI PO exam

The state bank of India (SBI) conducts the SBI PO exam annually to recruit eligible candidates for the probationary officer (PO) in various bank branches. This exam comprises three phases: the prelims or preliminary examination, the main examination and the group discussion or interview phase. The mode of this examination is online. A PO's responsibilities include administration, general banking and cross-selling financial products.

4. IFS exam

The union public service commission (UPSC) organises the Indian forest service (IFS) exam to recruit eligible and capable candidates to manage forests and natural resources. The IFS exam selection procedure comprises three stages: the preliminary, the main examination and the personality test. IFS officers selected through the entrance examination work independently of the district administration and exercise judicial, administrative and financial powers to preserve the environment, wildlife and natural landscape. The UPSC conducts this exam once a year.

Related: How To Become Forest Officer: Duties And Eligibility

5. SSC CGL exam

The staff selection commission (SSC) conducts the SSC combined graduate level (CGL) examination to recruit eligible candidates to the various posts in government ministries, departments and agencies. The SSC CGL is an online standardised test that evaluates an applicant's general knowledge, reasoning skills, quantitative aptitude and English language abilities. There are five stages to this exam conducted annually: the preliminary, the mains exam, descriptive paper, data entry skillset or computer proficiency test and a personality or interview test for some positions.

6. RBI Grade B examination

The reserve bank of India (RBI) conducts the RBI Grade B examination annually to select candidates as Grade B officers for various positions in the management cadre. There are two phases of this examination, and the first phase aims to test a candidate's reasoning ability, quantitative aptitude, general awareness and English language. The second phase comprises the economic and social sciences, English and finance and management sections. The selection committee invites candidates who successfully qualify these two stages for an interview before hiring them as Grade B officers.

7. RRB JE exam

The railway recruitment board (RRB) conducts the RRB junior engineer (JE) exam once a year to recruit skilled and knowledgeable candidates from science or engineering backgrounds for various technical positions in the Indian railways. The RRB conducts this exam in four phases: computer-based test (CBT) 1, CBT 2, document verification and the interview stage. CBT 1 tests a candidate's general awareness, logic and reasoning and general science. CBT 2 comprises physics and chemistry sections, general awareness, basics of computers and applications, technical knowledge and environment and pollution control.

8. IBPS SO exam

The institute of banking personnel selection (IBPS) conducts the IBPS specialist officers (SO) exam to recruit specialist officers for various public sector banks. The IBPS selects officers through a common written examination (CWE) that they conduct once a year to recruit candidates for posts such as personnel officers, HR officers, IT officers, agricultural field officers, law officers and marketing officers. There are three stages to the exam. Candidates qualifying for these stages, including the online preliminary examination, online mains exam and interview round, are eligible for professional allotment to various specialist officers' posts.

9. IBPS clerk

The institute of banking personnel selection (IBPS) conducts the IBPS clerk exam to recruit candidates for vacancies in nationalised banks for clerical level jobs. This exam is a common written examination (CWE) and is a pre-requisite for candidates who want to work for the clerical cadre posts in public sector banks. Candidates selected through this exam handle customers and perform various administrative tasks. The IBPS conducts the clerk exam once a year, and it comprises a preliminary and main examination to select qualifying aspirants.

Related: The Best Government Jobs After Graduation For Freshers

How to prepare for a government job

Consider these tips when preparing for a government job:

  • identify the government sector in which you want to work

  • check eligibility for UPSC and other government exams

  • register at the national employee exchange

  • improve your general knowledge

  • work on your logical and analytical skills

  • improve your communication skills

  • have a positive approach and stay focused

  • update your resume

  • check departmental vacancies on government websites

How to prepare for a government job interview

The interview is an integral part of the hiring process for most government jobs. These tips may help you excel in government job interviews:

  • research well about the job position, government department, job role and other details

  • know your reasons as to why you are applying for the job

  • stay up to date on current affairs and recent developments related to your sector

  • start preparing in advance to decide your attire, the way you present yourself and how to speak on the interview day

  • give mock interviews through online learning platforms or with your friends and family for better preparation

  • prepare a few questions to ask the interviewer regarding the job profile or a specific job responsibility

  • practice maintaining eye contact and greeting with a firm handshake as this can show confidence

  • be confident and professional while answering questions

  • be punctual and reach the allotted interview venue on time

  • be honest while answering questions

  • maintain a state of calm to help keep your composure during tough questions or situations

What are the best government sectors for freshers?

Most people aspire for a government job because of better job security and enhanced employee benefits. Government employees may get a high pay package and be eligible for other perks in certain jobs and senior roles. These generally include government quarters for the employee and their family to stay in, travel and ration money allowance, health insurance benefits, pension and other employee benefit schemes. Here are some of the best government sectors in which freshers may consider applying for a job:

  • public sector undertakings (PSUs)

  • railways

  • public sector banks (PSBs)

  • central government institutions

  • public service commission

  • state government jobs

FAQ about government jobs

The answers to some frequently asked questions about getting a job in the government sector are:

What are some tips to qualify for government job exams?

Depending on the type of government exam you wish to qualify for, study the exam pattern and structure, eligibility criteria and syllabus carefully before starting your preparation. Creating a plan, effective time management and smart preparation techniques can help you clear challenging government exams. Starting your preparations a few months in advance can give you more time to understand and practice for the exam you wish to take.

Can you prepare for government jobs while working at a full-time job?

Many full-time professionals prepare for government entrance exams by studying after their working hours and on the weekends. With the increased availability of educational content online, one can undoubtedly prepare for government exams without joining a specialised coaching centre. You can research the exam syllabus online and prepare accordingly. You can also consider enrolling in online coaching classes or weekend classes to help you guide through and prepare for your chosen exam.

What common subjects should your prepare for when preparing for government exams?

Most government exams require candidates to have a basic understanding of general knowledge, reasoning, English language and quantitative aptitude to help the selection committee assess their suitability. Preparing for these subjects can be helpful to qualify for various government exams. Depending on the type of exam, good command of the regional language may also be a requirement.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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