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‘Personality Test’ Must for Group-1 Aspirants in AP


Job aspirants, particularly those seeking to get into executive cadre posts, will have to undergo a personality test as the Andhra Pradesh government rescinded its previous order dispensing with personal interviews. In June 2021, the state government issued an order dispensing with personal interviews for recruitment of staff, calling it a “historic decision” aimed at maintaining “utmost transparency” and ensuring “complete trust” in the recruitment process for government jobs.

Recruitment for all categories of government posts was supposed to be done only based on a written examination. But it has now reversed its policy, to do away with the transparent process and bring back the old system, albeit with a new nomenclature called ‘personality test.’ “The government, after careful consideration of the matter, hereby restores the personality test for higher level posts of Group-1 services for recruiting suitable and meritorious candidates for effective and efficient delivery of public services,” state Chief Secretary Sameer Sharma said in an order (on September 30) which, however, was not made public.

After a gap of over four years, the APPSC issued a notification on September 30 for filling up 92 Group-1 cadre posts in the state government and made a mere mention of the latest order on personality test. On an average, about 60,000 candidates appear for the Group-1 preliminary exam and about 10,000 for the main. For Group-2 and others, the number will be over two lakh.

The Group-1 posts include deputy collector, deputy superintendent of police, district registrars, audit officers and the like. When asked about the rationale behind the government’s policy reversal, a top official of the AP Public Service Commission (APPSC) only remarked that “wiser sense prevailed.” “The decision to dispense with personal interviews was apparently based on some misguided suggestion. We have consulted the Union Public Service Commission and also constituted an experts committee and recommended that a personality test be conducted for at least Group-1 posts,” the official told PTI.

Accordingly, the government came out with the fresh order restoring the personality test. It would be a “structured personality test” wherein the character (mental and emotional) analysis of the candidates would be done.

“We can’t simply recruit candidates without assessing their qualities and attributes, which is possible only through personal interface. The personality test will help us determine a candidate’s best suitability for civic service,” the official said. The APPSC has constituted three separate Boards, each comprising two IAS and IPS officers, an academician of the rank of a university Vice-Chancellor, a member of the APPSC, besides the Chairman. “We have put in place an efficient and tamper-proof system that leaves no scope for manipulation,” the APPSC official asserted, rebutting claims that the personal interview was restored to please certain members of the Commission, who were ‘political appointees.’ APPSC Secretary (in charge) H Arun Kumar said the personal interview carried only about 10 per cent of the total marks.

“There will be a 360-degree review of the all-round personality of each candidate,” he said. On October 17, 2019, the CMO announced, “Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy has taken a historic decision to do away with personal interviews in recruitment.” On June 26, 2021, the Chief Minister’s historic decision finally got translated into a formal government order, which said only written examinations would be conducted for all categories of posts, including the Group-1 services, in all recruitments to be notified henceforth.

Calling it a “major reform,” the government said the move to dispense with the interview process was “to maintain utmost transparency and ensure complete trust of the competing candidates in the entire selection process.” Way back in the year 2011, the then united AP government headed by N Kiran Kumar Reddy, did away with the interview process for all subordinate services as part of the reforms introduced in APPSC recruitments. The reforms were implemented as per the recommendations made by a high-level committee headed by the then Special Chief Secretary J Satyanarayana.

Written tests and interviews were, however, retained for executive posts like deputy collector, deputy superintendent of police, commercial taxes officer, regional transport officer and the like. The Jagan Mohan Reddy government altered that policy last year but has now backtracked.

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