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Monday, April 15, 2024

5 Major Flaws in SSB Interview Selection Procedure Noted By 6 Time Repeater

Psychological testing is just a projection of the kind of media you have been consuming since past few weeks. Maybe this system was effective in 20th Century, but right now it’s just as credible as horoscope. WATs &TATs are outdated tests and SRTs are meaningless unless taken with a Polygraph.

SSBs, having selection ratio of less than 10% for the candidates getting screened-in and between 20–40% in the screening process making it lesser than 4% selection rate for the candidates qualifying the exam and even lesser than 0.1 % for the candidates appearing in the exams, are one of the toughest interview to crack. Since it is a test of personality and intelligence, there is no syllabus and, feedback/reason of rejection is never disclosed to the candidates, because of which it isn’t strange to see aspirants attempting the SSBs more than 10 times! The SSB boards never stop bragging about how flawless their system is, and usually people on all the digital platforms are seen discussing about what they did wrong in every attempt but we rarely see people talking about the flaws in the selection system. In this article I’d discuss some major flaws in the selection system which make it brutally unfair for the serious defense aspirants-


1) Non-sensical screening system: After qualifying the entrances, the candidates are called to the SSB centers and out of them generally 20–50 people are selected for the second phase depending on the ‘accommodation capacity’ of the center, irrespective of the number of candidates reporting to the center or the caliber of the remaining candidates. And all this happens on basis of a group discussion on a story you made on a given picture. Whether a story you made was good or bad depends on the sensibilities of the assessor since there is no sensible scientific method to determine whether the story was good or bad. Less than 1 minute of time is provided to the candidates for individual narrations and there is little to no moderation during the GDs. Sometimes the entire group is washed out because the group (or most of the people who spoke) didn’t behave gentlemanly. The screening system generally carries strong biases against the repeaters and therefore they are treated differently throughout the process. Usually the ratio and number of repeaters getting screened-in is lower than that of freshers hence making it more difficult for repeaters even to get screened in. It isn’t unnatural to see a candidate recommended previously getting screened out or a candidate getting screened out getting recommended in the next attempt clearly indicating that the entire process is pointless, and it indicates nothing. With so much uncertainty in the screening process the candidates are either expected to have 2 reservations for their return journey or figure it out by themselves.

Takeaway- Screening is full of uncertainty and even more for repeaters. Having a good luck would be as favorable as having all the OLQs. Screening is just a way of dealing with management problems like accommodation, finance etc.

2) Lack of Uniformity and Standardization– Like the screening process, Phase-2 also works on personal sensibilities of the assessors. There is no uniformity in the process. Different candidates could experience different kind of treatment and behavior in the same board. Similarly, same person might have totally different type of experience in different boards. Some interviewers might ask you extremely difficult GK questions whereas some might grill you on all the life choices you made in past. Some GTs would help you throughout the tasks but won’t recommend anyone in the end and some would insult you all the time and still recommend many. Different psychologists might have different opinions about same candidate. With lack of transparency and no feedbacks given, it would be candidates job to figure out what has he been doing wrong since last 10 attempts and which OLQs does he need to work upon. Also, the results from SSB process are not reproduceable i.e. a candidate recommended once might not get recommended again and vice versa, which clearly indicates that the process wasn’t correct in the first place, and the markers used to assess the candidates are not standardized. In my experience, the system is generally more favorable to mediocres.

Takeaway: SSBs lack uniformity and different candidates could be tested on different benchmarks. Getting recommended once doesn’t guarantee that you’d be recommended every time.

3) Unscientific Psych Testing: Psychological testing is just a projection of the kind of media you have been consuming since past few weeks. Maybe this system was effective in 20th Century, but right now it’s just as credible as horoscope. WATs &TATs are outdated tests and SRTs are meaningless unless taken with a Polygraph. Moreover, psychology isn’t completely scientific as subjectivity to some extend is always involved yet this test has the biggest say in the candidates selection.

4) Improper management of resources– If the candidate getting recommended after multiple attempts was correctly judged in his first attempt, the amount of cost and resources spent on him could have been utilized for assessing other candidates. Recommending a candidate after 10th conference shouldn’t be glorified since the system has wasted 45+ days of that candidate and resources worth 9 other candidates.


5) SSBs are organization centric– SSBs unlike the corporate interview are completely board centric and have very less to no regards for the time and money of the candidates. Going through a 5-day process with no access to work emails and other communications might have been a normal thing before 2010 but it isn’t now. Generally, all the rules inside the centers are as per the convenience of the boards and the convenience of the candidates is rarely taken into consideration.

6) Interpretations from recent SSB Scams- The recently exposed scam in Kapurthala center has shown how the officers who themselves went through the ‘Perfect Selection System’ have gone corrupt. Furthermore, the candidates who got in after paying bribe could comfortably survive the curriculum of the Academies and were doing fairly well in their jobs as an officer. This clearly indicates that anyone who goes into academy and completes the training can become a good officer, thus clearly indicating that SSB wasn’t even required in the first place. SSB is just another hurdle added since the number of jobs available is much lesser that the number of candidates applying.

7) Not Acknowledging the problem- The problem much bigger than all the previous ones is that the boards never accept that there is any problem in there selection . All we can see them doing is bragging about how perfect their selection system is. Although ‘De Novo SSB’, a new system for conducting a 3-day SSB, was announced in 2018 isn’t even in the pilot phase.

Although no system can be totally perfect, but attempts should be made to refine and update the systems. This isn’t a rant against the selection process but just an attempt to bring these issues into notice which have been overlooked since a long time. In my opinion it’s high time that some modification should be introduced in the selection process which make the process fair for everyone.

The author of this article is Om Pandey, he has made 6 SSB attempts so far. The views and opinions expressed are those of the author’s only.

SourceOm Pandey
The Editorial Team at SSBCrack consists of professional writers, journalists and defence aspirants.
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  1. You are saying anything and questioning that process who have given us such a brave soldiers since year’s.This is not right .
    But yes I am noticing one thing is that you are a 6 times repeater and you have these kind of thoughts coming in your mind. These things enough to say that you are not going for your SSB’s with mindset to focus on the process rather you are focusing on how you can blame this process. And this reason is enough for your rejection because of your psychological thesis.


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