ISSB Selection and Recruitment - Group Discussion

Group discussion is very important for the recruitment of suitable persons in the Defense Forces of Pakistan as well as in the Civil Services of Pakistan. For the recruitment of officers in the Defense Forces of Pakistan the G.T.O. (Group Testing Officer) gives this test to the candidates as one of the various test given to the candidates at the I.S.S.B., Kohat to assess the suitability of the candidate. While in the civil services, the Federal Public Service Commission gives this test to the prospective candidates to assess their suitability in the various civil services of Pakistan. This test is a sort of public speaking where several members of a group take part. Here each member of the group is to express his opinion on the topic announced by the G.T.O. on the spot. This discussion is not preplanned but is a spontaneous conversation among the members of the group who are strangers to one another. This conversation or discussion can be compared to talk amongst a few persons, enjoying a cup of tea, traveling together in a dining car. Learn How to win Group Discussion.

Video - Group Discussion Techniques


This test was first introduced for the recruitment of officers in the Army in the World War 1. Since then this test has proved its worth for the selection of suitable persons for the Army and has retained its popularity in the Defense Forces recruitment. It is observed that the officers at the various levels especially those of the Armed Forces have to attend various meeting and conferences and are called upon at a very short notice to discuss some serious situation and are required to give their quick decision on the spot. This requires the intelligence, alertness, potentiality and leadership qualities in the officers. For this purpose and to test the potentiality of the candidates, the Inter-Services Selection Board have included Group Discussion in its tests.

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The subject discussed may relate to sports, rail travel, girl students, examinations, popular pictures, favorite film stars and so forth. In these discussions no one is formally appointed as the Chairman or President. There are no proposers, seconders, etc. No one is asked to take sides as in a formal debate. There is no question of voting or arriving at any decision. Each student just expresses his views on the subject, as he feels about it. If someone criticizes his views he may answer the criticism in a friendly manner. If he finds better views than his own are expressed by others, he may change his original views. The same factors are applicable to the Group Discussion organized by the G.T.O. The only difference is that the subjects for discussion are given by G.T.O. Secondly, definite time limit is provided in G.T.O’s Group Discussion. This informal group discussion, first of all enables the members of the group to understand one another better. The candidates notice and compare unconsciously the verbal facility, depth of knowledge, breadth of ideas, logical reasoning and convincing ability of one another. The observer will see the impact created by each candidate on the group. He will note as to who expresses his ideas well, who has sound arguments, who shows keenness and interest, who has sufficient knowledge of the subject, who succeeds in convincing the group, who has a logical and systematic approach, who reveals the tendency to co-operate, who does the co-ordination, who is liked by the group and so on.

The candidate must know why he is tested as member of a group. If we realize that man is a social animal and no individual lives in isolation, we can at once see the importance of group testing. As generally man has to live in society, so a member of the Armed Forces has to live in company of his fellow members, whether they be his equals, superiors or subordinates. In group testing, the actual conditions which an officer of the services may have to face in his day-to-day life is stimulated with necessary modifications to suit the testing of the inexperienced candidates. This facilitates the assessment of the candidate’s personality in psychological terms it test the behaviour pattern of an individual as he reacts to varying situations. Further, individually a person may be a genius. But if he is not able to fit in socially with the other personnel in the organization, he is no good to the organization. In fact his inclusion in the organization may prove injurious to the realization of its aims or goals. Besides, certain individuals may be able to show great capacity for work , etc., when alone. But when placed as members of a group, they may become shy, inhibited or moody. Since the tasks in the services generally involve team work and co-operative effort. It becomes necessary to test the group-worthiness of the candidate.

The group of 8 to 10 candidates will be seated in the numerical order of their chest numbers in a circle, each facing the rest. The G.T.O. will take his seat outside the circle. First there will be mutual introductions and each candidate will introduce himself by saying a few words about himself such as the place he has come from, his educational qualification, his hobbies, games, etc. The G.T.O. will then give a brief outline of the G.T.O. tests. There after the Group Discussion exercise will start.
In this task, to begin with, generally two subjects will be read out to the candidates, e.g.:

  • Pen is mighter than sword.
  • It is better to marry late than early in life.

The candidates will then be asked to choose between themselves one of the two subjects for discussion. The subject favored by the majority of the candidates will be finally announced by the G.T.O. for discussion. Usually, about 20 minutes are given to discuss the first subject. After the time limit is over, the G.T.O. will read out another subject in URDU and ask the group to discuss the same. The time for the second subject will also be approximately 20 minutes. When the candidates are expressing their views and talking to one another, the G.T.O. will not interfere. Generally, he will remain as a silent observer, nothing what is going on and listening to what is being said. Depending upon the extent of participation by the candidates, the G.T.O. may alter the time limits or even given additional topics for discussion.

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