Every young aspirant who wants to clear the Services Selection Board with flying colours and get selected in the Indian Armed Forces has to submit information of personal nature at various stages. These Information questionnaires are popularly known as the Personal Information Questionnaires or PIQ. This form is designed in such a fashion that it assists the Assessors to acquire optimum personal information about the candidates, in short and hence it is quite exhaustive in nature. Through this form candidates provide not only sufficient but also significant information about themselves.
IMPORTANCE OF PIQ
Out of the three independent assessors at an SSB, two most important assessors who refer to the information given by the candidates in the PIQ are the Interviewing Officer and the Psychologist. And as most of the candidates are not aware about the weightage of these two assessors, they tend to neglect or fail to address the filling of PIQ as an important aspect of the Selection Process. Let us see how these two assessors learn more about the candidate through a PIQ:
- The Psychologist refers to the PIQ in order to get an insight into the candidate’s HEREDITY AND ENVIRONMENT. The personal details that a candidate fills in, such as Name, Surname, religion, parent’s life, occupation and income, number of siblings and their occupation and incomes tell about the candidate’s Heredity while the educational background and the activities that a candidate has indulged in and the offices of responsibility s/he has held tell about the environment in which s/he has grown up and is living. The Psychologist tries to match the responses given by the candidate in all the Psychological tests, such as Word Association Test, Situation Reaction Test, Thematic Apperception Test and the Self Description Test and conclude about the presence and absence of specific traits/anomalies required/not required for being an Officer in the Indian Armed Forces. Once s/he finds a consistent personality throughout the responses given by the candidate with reference to the PIQ, s/he scores the candidate high on the assessment scales.
- The Interviewing Officer, on the other hand, bases the whole interview on the various factual information given by the candidate in the PIQ. For example, if the candidate has written names of three different cities/places in the columns of places of maximum residence, present residence and permanent residence, questions are bound to be asked revolving around these three cities and the candidate’s awareness about these cities. Similarly, if the candidate’s educational performance has shown a steep rise/fall in exams at various levels such as Xth standard, XII the standard and/ or Graduation, the Interviewing Officer is bound to probe it further to know about the reasons for these inconsistency in performance.
INFORMATION ASKED IN A PIQ
The order in which Personal Information is to be filled in a PIQ is as given below:
- PERSONAL DETAILS: Name, religion, place of maximum residence, permanent residence and present residence
- FAMILY’S ECONOMIC DETAILS
- EDUCATIONAL DETAILS: Exams passed, Percentage obtained, names of school/college/University attended and outstanding achievement, if any
- PHYSICAL DETAILS: age, weight and height
- NCC TRAINING DETAILS: Exams passed/Certificates held, period of Participation, outstanding achievements, if any
- DETAILS RELATED TO PARTICIPATION IN SPORTS/GAMES: Level & Duration of participation, outstanding achievements, if any
- HOBBIES & INTERESTS
- DETAILS ABOUT ANY CO-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES ATTENDED DURING SCHOOL/COLLEGE
- DETAILS ABOUT ANY OFFICE OF RESPONSIBILITY HELD
- INFORMATION ABOUT CHOICE OF ENTRY/ARM/SERVICE
- DETAILS ABOUT EARLIER ATTEMPTS AT SSB, IF APPLICABLE
INTELLIGENCE GATHERED FROM THE PIQ
Quantum of Information revealed in the PIQ puts forth valuable clues about the real Personality of a candidate. Based on PIQ, an Interviewing Officer will infer the general level of the candidate. Certain facts which are clearly mentioned in the PIQ reveal the background of a candidate as well as the initiatives taken by him/her and the achievements experienced by the candidates. Some of the most important aspects revealed through a PIQ can be enumerated as:
- efforts put in to attain specific results
- consistency in interest in an activity such as academics/co-curricular/NCC/sports activities
- consistency in performance
- burden of familial/social responsibilities
- financial/ any other problems in life
Assessors such as the Psychologist do not meet the candidates face to face throughout the Selection process before the Conference. S/he meets the candidate face to face only at the Conference until when s/he has already assessed the suitability of the candidate through his/her responses recorded in the Psychological Tests. So the PIQ becomes all the more important for any candidate to impress the Psychologist and try to show how impressively one has tried to exploit all the possible resources available in his/her Environment irrespective of one’s Heredity. Also, PIQ again acts as brief insight into the candidate’s innate qualities such as Interpersonal skills, social skills and leadership qualities which are not explicitly written by the candidate in the PIQ but are assessed by the Interviewing Officer based on the PIQ of the candidate.
With a detailed investigation based on the factual Information given by the candidate in the PIQ, the Interviewing Officer gets an insight about the candidate’s attitude towards life and work, whether s/he is a team player, whether s/he will get along with people of different backgrounds, whether s/he will adapt him/her self to the new environment to be faced during the actual Interview.
A WORD OF CAUTION TO ALL SSB ASPIRANTS
Most of the times, what the Psychologist and the Interviewing Officer are interested in knowing from the candidate is the information which s/he has tried to hide, knowingly or unknowingly. Most of the times, this information revolves around one’s negative traits or weaknesses. It is suggested to be truthful and provide only an appropriate amount of information in the PIQ. Many times, candidates go overboard and forget to maintain a consistency of thoughts and words while filling the PIQ. An example of display of an inconsistent personality would be a candidate who has mentioned “Volleyball and Basketball” as his Hobbies and Interests in the PIQ but when asked about the Hobbies and Interests by the Interviewing Officer in the Interview, fails to mention them and starts with Photography and Singing Songs.
Also, whenever the Interviewing Officer will find the candidate not very forthcoming in his/her answers will turn to hidden inferences based on the PIQ and will enquire more about the candidate’s personal life.
Hence while concluding, I would just like to say once again that with a little concentrated effort the PIQ can be utilised as the most important form in order to create the right impression in the minds of the selectors at SSB. Keep reading to know in particular how each column you fill in the PIQ tells the assessors more about you.