Demystifying Officers Like Qualities (OLQs) in SSB

Demystifying Officers Like Qualities (OLQs) in SSB

A career in the Armed Forces is something that a lot of young people aspire for. And why not!! It is a career that ticks all the right boxes. By becoming an officer, you are open to opportunities that otherwise are not imaginable in a normal job.


A career in the Armed Forces has everything that a dynamic youth would dream for, besides being a class I gazetted officer with excellent pay and perks you get a combination of excitement, challenges, opportunities, and adventure in the right amount. It has always been my endeavour to make aware and encourage youth like yourselves to join the fabulous organization.


The process of selection in the Armed Forces is a bit complex with a lot of screening at different levels, and one that has kept a lot of young people feel perplexed, confused, and threatened about, is The Service Selection Board, known commonly as SSB interview.


There are so many aspects of the SSB interview that we can discuss, as it is a psychometric test, where every component of the SSB interview in itself, a complete procedure to ascertain a candidate’s personality and his or her suitability for becoming an officer in the Armed Forces. This blog aims to discuss a highly common and though confused term called the OLQs or Officer Like Qualities.


I have not come across any youth who aspires to become an officer, doesn’t talk of OLQs, and whether they have them in their personality.


Similarly, I see a lot of assumptions young aspirants have about OLQs, which have further been mystified by online inputs /videos and articles by people who prepare candidates for the SSB interview.


Read on if you wish to see how uncomplicated and straightforward the whole concept of OLQs is, let’s demystify OLQs:


Not a set of rare qualities:


It is so often believed that OLQs are a set of qualities that are unique in nature and only officers in the Armed Forces possess them. Those who wish to become officers must have them, in some quantity inherently.


You are born with OLQs:


Since the SSB interview is a psychometric test and looks into you and assesses you, somehow candidates have a notion that either they have them or not, and nothing much can be done about them.


Thus, the notion is absolutely false, there are a lot of qualities in the common list of OLQs which can be developed as they are part of the habit, a trait, or a logical process, to name some: an organizing ability, the power of expressions, stamina, etc.


It is also pertinent to note here that a lot of candidates who get rejected many times, eventually get recommended purely because they display those abilities, which they lacked earlier, but may have picked up or developed subsequently.


Everything that I do must display my OLQs:


This particular notion has ruined a lot of young aspirants’ opportunities for, they don’t behave and conduct themselves the way they actually are, but behave in a strange, overly excited, and artificial manner trying to project themselves not as a candidate or student but someone who has already become an officer.


Quite recently I came across a student, who, in his excitement to appear in the SSB, got himself a crew cut, and rightly so, he was asked in the SSB if that was his normal haircut, to which he replied in negative.


Another example is of candidates taking up a very unnaturally sounding tone and start answering in a crisp manner such as “yes sir”, “very well sir” which doesn’t match with their current profile of students or young executives in any organization.


In short, both the above examples show how in their excitement, and because of an incorrect understanding of OLQs, candidates conduct themselves in a manner that is not helpful in their selection.


Projecting yourself as a good student and a young person, which you actually are, is more important than to project yourself as an officer which at present you are not!!


What then are OLQs?


Nothing but being “a nice person.”: 

OLQs are nothing special or unique, they are basically qualities, virtues, and traits every sensible and responsible member of a society must have.


Unpacking OLQ will give you qualities such as being responsible, honest, cooperative, confident, adaptable, courageous, energetic, resourceful, and such. Are these qualities not needed in any other profession or field of work?? Yes, they are! Every one of us possesses these qualities to some degree or the other.


To make my students understand, I, quite often ask them the following questions in the order mentioned below:


1. What qualities are needed to become an ideal son/daughter?

2. What qualities are needed to become an ideal citizen of a country?

3. What qualities are needed to be an ideal manager in an organization? And finally,

4. What qualities are needed to become an ideal officer?


Do this exercise yourself, and you will find that most of the qualities that you would mention, would be the same for all the four categories, i.e., the set of qualities is the same, only the degree may vary.


The idea is that you just endeavour to become an ideal son/daughter, a member of society, or a student. The closer you get to being one of these the more of your OLQs that you would display in the SSB.


No pressure of presentation:


Once you get this understanding that by being whatever you are or whatever you have in the society or son/daughter, student, young executive, just make efforts to be ideal in those roles, and OLQs are then a natural outcome.


To further take away the pressure off you, I would simply advise you to be just “a nice person.” Don’t break your backbone in displaying your OLQs in one highly animated and overly excited manner. Just be yourself and just be a nice and sensible person and you would have your day. The more you pretend the farther you move away from being yourself.


Do I have these qualities?


Yes, you do! In fact, a resounding yes! Why I feel that all those who are reading this article have these qualities, is because:



a) You are reading this to understand OLQs shows that you have a desire to pass the SSB Interview, which further shows that either you have your goals clear or have passed the exam and preparing for the interview, which in itself is no less a feat. This displays a quality in you befitting an officer.


b) If again you are reading it, shows that you have done a certain level of studies to qualify for SSB, which again indicates that you are hardworking and sincere, important OLQs!


c) You are reading this article shows that you have a desire to learn and improve. A valuable OLQ again.


 d) Your decision to become an officer in the Armed Forces, in spite of having so many other options, shows that you have the ability to make decisions that are important in nature and that you can weigh the pros and cons of each option. Well! Decision-making is an important OLQ.


e) Your decision of joining the Armed Forces may have been finalized after having taken your parents/elders in confidence. This too reflects the ability to convince and convey your point across. Again, an important OLQ.



Besides, the above, there are so many other qualities, you may already be possessing, which come under the gamut of OLQs.



I am pretty sure that if you are somebody who takes smaller responsibilities at home, shares work with your parents and siblings, talks to them politely and respectfully, and lends a helping hand whenever needed, you are already fit to become an officer.



I understand that you may feel that there are some other qualities that come under leadership and OLQs that you may not have explored or realized. Qualities like organizing ability or the ability to make decisions under pressure, may not be something that you may have displayed or explored purely for lack of opportunities, however, the officers at the Selection Board consider that while assessing you.



An officer in the Armed Forces is not born extraordinary, it is the training, the pride of being among the best, and the comradery of being a member of an elite, group, which make them become extraordinary.



So, the bottom line is, that instead of proving yourself as somebody that you aren’t already, your endeavours should be to just give the examiners the impression that you are a sensible, responsible and hardworking person or in the simple term they should, when they think of you, feel that you are “a nice person.”



“A nice person and that is it!” Good luck!

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A fantastic blog! This blog helped me realize that OLQs are present in everyone ,one just needs to perform naturally in the interviews without any interpolations. Thanks a lot!

Prashant Kumar Dubey

Thanks Aditya.