“How much do you earn?”, they asked. “Roughly a 100 salutes everyday”, said a proud Indian Armed Force Officer.

To live a life less ordinary along with a pride of serving the nation there can be no other better option than getting into the Indian Armed Forces. It consists of the Indian Army, Navy, Airforce and Indian Coast Guard. To get commissioned as an officer the candidates have to succeed in the SSB Interview. Services Selection Board (SSB) is an organization that assesses the candidates for becoming officers into the Indian Armed Forces. The board evaluates the suitability of the candidate for becoming an officer which constitutes personality, intelligence tests, and interviews.

There are many pathways to get to the SSB interview. There are exams like NDA, CDS, AFCAT which are the filtration exams and other entries like UES and NCC Special Entry. After getting through these preliminary exams one is called for the SSB interview which is also less ordinary.

Unlike other interviews, SSB is conducted for 5 days which involves a screening test, psychological tests, group tasks, personal interviews, and final assessment. There is also a medical test conducted after the SSB interview. All these days the candidates are checked for the OLQ (Officer Like Qualities) some of which include intellect, responsibility, initiative, judgement under pressure, ability to reason, organization skills, communication skills, determination, courage, self-confidence, speed in decision making, willingness to set an example, compassion and a feeling of loyalty to the nation. This is more of a personality test than a knowledge test. It doesn’t matter if you scored low or moderate grades in school or college, who knows you might have those qualities in you.

There are different eligibility criteria for different commissions which would be clearly mentioned in the newspaper advertisements along with the defense websites. The most common criteria are to be an Indian who is within the age group of 25 and unmarried. Yes, you should be unmarried during the selection process and that would be easy because who would lose their bachelor independence before their silver jubilee of life.

Until this, there is nothing mentioned about the salary for the officer because for this job salary is not a driving factor. Of course, the officers are paid extremely well along with many allowances but without the thirst for this lifestyle and heart for selfless service, you could never be a part of it. It is not just working but a way of living. Still curious about the salary? Okay, the selected officer in his first year of service is paid no less than INR 50,000/month and as the service increase so does the payment. And the most interesting factor is your whole month payment is your saving since most of the things are provided to you free of cost.

The medical tests are done once a candidate is selected in the interview. The nature of the medical tests are tough but no one could exactly say how they do it other than the people doing it. So never let anyone else say that you are unfit for this because of some reasons. It will increase your self doubt and demotivate you in working hard for the exam. It is better not to give heed to those random comments from random people.

A tip to do well in this interview is, to be honest. Since it is a personality interview it is very much easy to get you red-handed if you fake yourself. A personality is not something that you can incorporate in you by learning in books or acting for a period of time. It must be subconsciously into you by years of practice. It is what you think, what you say, what you do. Above all your personality is who you are. So isn’t it better to be honest and remain yourself? The good thing is no matter if you get selected or not, you would understand yourself better after this interview and those five days would always be ever remembered.

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