You are on page 1of 19

“EU Career jargon jargon” Explained: : EPSO Glossary

People within the EU institutions and in the media dealing with EU affairs often use 'Eurojargon' words and expressions that they alone understand. In the field of EU careers, it can be very confusing to the general public, which is why the following “plain n language guide” was created. Please note: this glossary, written by András Baneth at Online EU Training, does not include purely technical or legal terms, or jargon used in only one language. Neither is it legally binding and it is purely for information purposes. Manuscript closed in May 2013.

Abstract Reasoning: One of the tests in the pre-selection selection phase of the EU exams (or for specialists, it may be required in the Assessment Centre itself). Using a series of images, this test est requires candidates to identify which one should be next in the row, based on an inherent logic between the presented images. Generally, there are 10 abstract reasoning questions in a competition, and the allocated time is 10 minutes. Accuracy Test: One of the tests in the pre-selection selection phase of the Assistant exams for EU careers. This test requires candidates to identify, based on a table and various icons, mistakes, errors, typos or other 'inaccuracies' in a control line under a heavy time-pressure. pressure. The more inaccuracies can be identified the usually allocated 9 minutes, the higher score the candidate gets. AD5 - AD7 - AD9: According to the Staff Regulations of European Union civil servants, all permanent EU officials who are in the Administrator (AD) group are categorised into administrative grades rangi ranging from 1-16. 16. For Administrators, this goes from 5 516 where AD5 is the entry level for graduates

with little or no work experience and AD16 is the highest level in the hierarchic system. A head of unit, who is the manager of a team comprising anything between betw 8-30 administrators and assistants, must have at least AD9 grade. A Director-General, General, who is the administrative head of a directorate (DG), has the administrative ranking of AD15 or AD16. European Commissioners, however, are not ranked according to this s system since their nomination is advanced by EU Member State governments and they are not permanent officials recruited by EPSO. Administrators (AD): European permanent officials, who had been recruited by the European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO) are categorised into Administrator (AD) and Assistant (AST) groups. Administrators must have a college or university diploma issued on the basis of at least 3 years of studies, and they must have passed a recruitment competition to be given an open-ended open permanent contract. There are other criteria that need to be met, see the article on Admission criteria.

1

http://www.eutraining.eu/epso_glossary
Copyright © 2013Arboreus

Admission Criteria: To become an EU official, applicants must meet some basic criteria (apart from the specific requirements for any given competition). These include a citizenship requirement (must be citizens of one of the European Union's 27 Member States or in case ase of competitions linked to accession, e.g. Croatia, they must have the given specified citizenship); must have full rights as a citizen (no criminal record); must meet the character requirements of being an EU official (a general rule for proper behavio behaviour, appearance, ethical standards etc.); must speak at least 2 official EU languages (one fluently, the other one on a strong conversation level); must have fulfilled all requirements of the military service (if relevant in the given country). Admission Test: See Pre-selection tests. Age Limit: There is no age limit to apply for EU careers and jobs, however, the maximum age is determined by the retirement limits provided by the Staff Regulations of EU officials, which is 65 y years (or in some special cases and on an individual basis, even before that). The minimum age is not determined either given the fact that to meet the formal criteria, candidates are certain to be at least 18 years old. Analysis and Problem Solving: This competency is one of the 7 that EPSO is evaluating in candidates via the Assessment Centre exercises and exams. To achieve a good score in this competency, candidates must demonstrate they can quickly understand complex files (e.g. in the Case study), are able to propose viable solutions and practical approaches to the matters outlined therein, and be able to separate key elements and information from irrelevant data.

Appeal (or Complaint): If a decision by the EPSO Selection board is considered to be unlawful, candidates can submit an appeal or a complaint against such decision based on the Staff Regulations Regu of EU officials (e.g.. if the selection board has not accepted a diploma or other qualification as relevant to the exam profile and consequently disqualified an applicant). The European ombudsman also receives claims but those are limited to maladministration, inistration, which essentially means that the candidate challenges the rules rather than the individual decision. Assessment Centre (or Assessment Center): Center) A common method of personnel selection in the public and private sector that has proven to be one of f the best ways to find suitable employees for a given position. EPSO introduced Assessment Centres (AC-s) (AC in 2010 as part of the reformed EU recruitment system so that candidates are evaluated on the basis of their competencies instead of solely on the basis sis of their specific knowledge. Assessment Centres are used for all profiles including Administrators, Assistants, Linguists and Specialists on all levels: entry level, head of unit and even directors or director-generals. director The Assessment Centre is always held in Brussels (travel and accommodation costs are reimbursed) where a number of trained assessors, who are usually seconded EU officials from various directorates and EU institutions, evaluate candidates in the different exercises during a full day. The tests depends on the given competition one is sitting, nevertheless they generally include a Structured interview, a Group exercise, an Oral presentation, a Case study and in some cases, a professional professio skills test or translation.

2

http://www.eutraining.eu/epso_glossary
Copyright © 2013Arboreus

For those Specialist exams s where the number of applicants has not reached a certain threshold (e.g. 600 applicants), the pre-selection selection tests comprising abstract, verbal and numerical reasoning tests are held as part of the Assessment Centre instead of being held a few weeks or months earlier. Assistants (AST): European permanent officials, who had been recruited by the European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO) are categorised into Administrator (AD) and Assistant (AST) groups. Assistant must have a high school or vocational school qualification and may or may not possess professional experience. For AST3, however, professional experience or higher level qualification is required as there are AST3 positions coverin covering financial management, project management, communication or other related issues. All permanent officials, however, must pass a recruitment competition to be given an open openended permanent contract. There are other criteria that need to be met, see the article on Admission criteria. AST1 - AST3: According to the Staff Regulations of European Union civil servants, all permanent EU officials who are in the Assistant (AST) group are categorised into administrative grades ranging from 1-16. 16. For Assistants, this goes from 1 1-11 where AST1 is the entry level for secretarial tasks with little or no work experience and AST11 is the highest level in the hi hierarchic system for Assistants. A senior 'executive' tive' assistant, who is the manager of a team comprising other assistants (or even administrators), is usually at least AST5

or higher. From AST3 onwards, a domain knowledge or other specific qualification is required, e.g. for project management, ICT coordination dination or other types of assistant positions. Auditor: This is one of the profiles in the Administrator (AD) open competitions, though in some cases Assistant (AST) exams may have an AST3 auditor profile announced for more technical positions. Auditors are required to have a relevant diploma, which is nevertheless not limited to audit studies but any other that is closely associated with the tasks of an auditor. Decision is always made by the he Selection board on the admissibility of the diploma. Case Study: One of the exercises in the EPSO Assessment Centre for Administrators is to complete a complex cases study task. This means that AD exam candidates (including Specialists) are given a comprehensive background file which they need to quickly read through and answer 2-4 open-ended questions. The answers need to be written on paper, or more recently, on a computer screen, and reflect ect the candidate's understanding of the data, issues at stake, ideas and positions that are outlined utlined in the background file. The main competency that is assessed in the case study is the domain-specific specific knowledge (which can be demonstrated by adding many references to EU institutions, procedures, technical terms, industry jargon, expressions and notions that reflect the candidate's knowledge of his or her field), along with the analysis and problem solving, prioritising prio and organising skills. 3

http://www.eutraining.eu/epso_glossary
Copyright © 2013Arboreus

Communication skills are also assessed to a certain degree, given the written expression nature of the exercise. CAST (Contract Agent for Specific Tasks) Tasks): CAST exams refer to the e EU competitions that aim to recruit contract agents, though the primary purpose of the competition is to create a pool of eligible candidates who can be called in at short notice if and when a position needs to be filled due to increased workload, coveri covering for maternity leave or other reasons. CAST exams tend to have only a single round in which only verbal and numerical reasoning tests need to be passed by applicants, though CAST exams for translators also include a second round in which a translation must ust be made by those who have passed the pre-selection selection phase. The salary of contract agents depends on which Function group they are placed in. If it is function group IV, the salary is quite comparable to that of an AD5 official, that is, around 4000 euros s net per month, depending on various circumstances. Committee of the Regions: One of the EU advisory bodies representing the interest of European regions and local authorities that is based in Brussels, along with the Economic and Social Committee. It is EPSO that recruits officials for positions in the Committee of Regions, along with other EU institutions and bodies. It is interesting to note that the Committee of the Regions and the Economic and Social Committee share the administrative services, including translation and interpretation services, which may therefore affect employment opportunities.

Communicating: One of the 7 competencies that are measured and evaluated in EU competition candidates via the Assessment Centre's various exercises such as the Oral presentation, the Case study and the Group exercise.

Competencies: The generic name for the 7 skills and abilities that are measured throughout the EPSO Assessment Centre's various tests, such as the Group exercise, Case study and others. Competencies in an EU context are the following: analysis and problem solving, communicating, delivering quality and results, learning and development, prioritising and organising, resilience and working with others. Administrators are evaluated aluated on one more competency, namely that of leadership. Competency Passport: A written document that EPSO issues after the recruitment selection procedure is finished. It includes a full evaluation of the candidate's competencies based on the matrix EPSO has created. For successful candidates, it becomes part of their EU official personal profile so that future e training needs can be planned accordingly. For unsuccessful candidates, it serves as a benchmark report so they can draw individual conclusions and improve where needed. Competition ompetition Stages and Timing: Timing EU competitions are split into two main stages, namely the pre-selection selection part and the Assessment Centre part. For certain Specialist exams, the two stages may be held in one single day or two consecutive days, but whenever there re are lots (more than 600) applicants, the pre-selection selection takes places shortly after the 4

http://www.eutraining.eu/epso_glossary
Copyright © 2013Arboreus

application closes, and there is a 2-3 month gap between the pre-selection selection test and the Assessment Centre. The timeline usually goes as follows: 1. Exam announced on day y X (published in the Official Journal of the European Union) 2. Applications can be done online via the European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO) website until 20-30 30 days after day X 3. The pre-selection selection exam (if there is one) can be taken in the period that starts about 45 days after day X and lasts around 4-6 6 weeks (estimated dates, may vary for each exam) 4. The Assessment Centre is held in the period that starts about 6 months after day X and lasts about 2 months, depending on the number of candidates 5. The reserve erve list (names of candidates who have passed the exam and are recruitable) comes out in about 9 months after day X - Please note that the times may vary according to the exam type, but this is a general overview of the EU exam timeline. Complaint: See Appeal. Computer Based Tests: Since 2010, EPSO has been administering all pre-selection selection tests on a computer in order to enhance reliability, efficiency and accuracy of the exams. This also ensures that candidates are assessed on an equal and non nondiscriminatory basis and there is no national, gender or other bias in the selection methods. For generalist competitions (Administrators,

Assistants, Linguists) EPSO many times uses computer based tests for the Case Study exercise and/or for the Professional skills tests as well. The downside of computer based tests is that candidates cannot highlight, circle or mark parts of the question, though for numerical reasoning tests and on-screen screen and a physical calculator is offered.

Computer Literacy Test: This test is part of the Assistant (usually AST1, secretary) exam in which candidates are asked questions on their knowledge of Microsoft Office software. This general includes Excel, Word, PowerPoint, along with other computer skills ls such as online awareness, internet security basics, e-mail mail rules and Outlook literacy, keyboard shortcuts and similar items. Concours: The generally used French equivalent for EU recruitment exams, meaning "competition", referring to the competitive nature of the EU selection procedures. The reason for this competition is that in all cases there are 2 factors that are considered when drawing up reserve lists: each exam has an objective pass mark which is usually 50-70% 70% of the total scores of the given exercise to pass, otherwise the candidate is ejected from the exam (e.g. a verbal reasoning exam may have 20 total points of which 10 must be obtained at minimum), while the second benchmark is a list of the best achieving candidates of whom only the top x will be invited to the Assessment centre or will be placed on the reserve rve list of eligible laureates. Given that the pre-2010 2010 EPSO system had been based on the French administrative 5

http://www.eutraining.eu/epso_glossary
Copyright © 2013Arboreus

examination system, even English English-speakers would refer efer to the exams as "concours". Contract Agent: Contract agents, similarly to temporary agents, are EU personnel working for any EU institution on a fixed-term term contract. According EPSO and the EU civil service portal, there are two su subcategories of contract agent. The first covers those who are hired to work: in Commission Directorates-General General to do manual or administrative support-service service tasks; in Commission mmission Offices attached to a Directorate DirectorateGeneral, such as the two Offices for Infrastructure and Logistics in Brussels and Luxembourg and the Paymasters Office; in Agencies; in Commission Representations and Delegations. Contract agent of this type enjoy longer-term term employment prospects, with an initial contract running for a maximum period of five years and renewable le for a maximum of five years. The contract can be converted into a contract of indefinite duration. The second sub sub-category covers contract agents that can be hired to work in Commission's DGs dealing with other tasks than manual and administrative support tasks. That is to say, they are recruited: temporarily to replace officials absent due to illness, maternity leave, etc.; as a response to acute staff shortages at times of intense work pressure; to undertake work for a temporary period providing additional capacity in specialised fields where officials with the required skills are not available. Contract agent of this type has short short-term employment prospects, working on the basis of contracts running up to a maximum of three years. The minimum length of contract is three months.

Council of the European Union: Unio The Council of the European Union (also known as Council of the EU, Council of Ministers or simply Council) is one of EPSO's client institutions to which they recruit EU officials. However, the Council has one of the smallest staff among EU institutions given the fact that it is the "hub" of national governments, therefore its own Secretariat employs a limited number of EU officials in its sectoral services, legal service, communication staff and other areas. The number of Council staff has been reduced due to the creation of the European External Action Service (EEAS) in December 2010.

CV Sift: For Specialist exams, EPSO applies the method of "CV sift", which essentially means that candidates' CVs are manually checked and read to ensure that only those who qualify for the given position will be invited to sit the examination. As opposed to general Administrator or Assistant exams, the CV sift focuses on specific diplomas, work experience, industry try knowledge or language skills that only a limited number of candidates ndidates are likely to possess. The CV sift is partly based on the Talent Screener, which is an online system in which candidates provide self-declared declared answers regarding their work experience, experience specific skills or knowledge (e.g. ability to give a public speech, draft a note or work experience in the field of environmental impact assessment etc.), which is then evaluated individually for each candidate by the selection board of the given EU exam. Delivering Quality and Results: Results One of the key competencies EPSO evaluates in the Assessment Centre, similarly to organising 6

http://www.eutraining.eu/epso_glossary
Copyright © 2013Arboreus

and prioritising and other skills. It is most mostly in the case study and the oral presentation that this competency is tested: candidates must demonstrate that they are not only able to identify a problem or analyse a complex file but they can come with actionable, specific proposal or plans as a result of their exercise. Diploma Requirements: The minimum qualification required to sit an EU competition and become an EU official varies whether it is an Assistant (AST1 or AST3) exam or an Administrator (AD). For Administrators, a university diploma of at least 3 years (Bachelor level) is the absolute minimum requirement, while for Assistants in the AST1 (entry level), no diploma is required other than a high school or vocational school l certificate (though for AST1 who have no specialised education, generally 3 years of work experience is needed). For AST3 level, a university diploma is not required if the candidate possesses a high school level education and 6 years of relevant work experience, otherwise a diploma is needed (usually in field that is relevant to the topic of the competition, e.g. project management or audit) with only 3 years of work experience. The diploma must be recognized by an EU member state's public authority. Disqualification: Candidates may be disqualified in case they provide false or intentionally inaccurate information, such as their basic qualification, citizenship, diploma or other infor information. If a candidate does not show up in the test centre, he or she can also be disqualified, similarly to when a candidate fails to submit documents despite being requested to do so by EPSO, or breach the rules of the exam in the test centre or in the Assessment ssessment Centre by using

unauthorised external help, mobile devices or other. An appeal may be launched against any disqualification in the normal way, ie. by filing a complaint to the selection board and/or to the European Ombudsman. Economic and Social Committee: Committee One of the EU advisory bodies representing the interest of European regions and local authorities that is based in Brussels, along with the Committee ittee of the Regions. It is EPSO that recruits officials for positions in the Economic and Social Committee, along with the Committee of Regions and other EU institutions and bodies. It is interesting to note that the Committee of the Regions and the Economic Econo and Social Committee share the administrative services, including translation and interpretation services, which may therefore affect employment opportunities. Economist: This is one of the profiles in the Administrator (AD) open competitions, though in some cases Assistant (AST) exams may have an AST3 economist or economics-related economics profile announced for more technical positions. Economists are required to have a relevant diploma, which is nevertheless not limited to studies in economics in a strict sense but any other subject that is closely associated with the tasks of an economist is also acceptable. Decision is always made by the Selection board on the admissibility of the diploma. EPSO: See European Personnel Selection Office. Office 7

http://www.eutraining.eu/epso_glossary
Copyright © 2013Arboreus

EPSO Account (or EPSO Profile): Each candidate to EU competitions needs to register in two ways: you need to create an online account on EPSO's website in which you provide information about yourself, your qualifications, language knowledge wledge and other relevant information. Secondly, you need to apply for a specific exam that is currently open. All this information is shown in your EPSO account (or profile) so you can consult it at any moment, update contact information if needed and this is is where EU institutions take the information from when they need it. EPSO Address: EPSO' s official address is European Personnel Selection Office, Candidate contact service, Office C-25 5/34, B-1049 1049 Brussels. The phone number is by y phone: on +32 (0)2.299.31.31. The Assessment Centre is located at the corner of Rue Stevin and Avenue Cortenbergh enbergh in Brussels, Belgium. E-tray Exercise (or In-tray tray Exercise) Exercise): The electronic, computerised version of the in intray exercise simulates a work environment on a computer where e-mails mails need to be read, sorted and responded to in a timely manner. This test is used for Assistant (AST) exams in the Assessment Centre phase, mainly for AST1 exams (secretaries) but possibly for other AST profiles as well. EU Careers: See European Personnel Selection Office Office. EU Competition: See EU Recruitment Exam. EU Exams: See EU Recruitment Exam.

EU Institutions: The European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO) is the centralised recruiting arm of all EU institutions such as the European Commission, the European Parliament, the Council of Ministers, the European Court of Auditors, the European Ombudsman, the European Economic Eco and Social Committee, the Committee of the Regions, and the European Court of Justice. It does not recruit, however, for EU agencies located in Member States, nor does it recruit for the European Central Bank or the European Investment Bank. EU Jobs: EU or European Union jobs can be mainly split into those in which employees work for EU institutions directly, and those in the th private sector which are nevertheless working in close cooperation with these institutions, such as research, academia, consultancy, diplomatic dip posts and other fields. For a detailed presentation of EU jobs and learn how to gain employment, please read the t free e-book accessible via the link below. EU Officials: Anyone who has passed recruitment exams via EPSO and was placed on the reserve list is eligible for an EU job in one of the EU institutions. titutions. Becoming an AD or AST level European official means a permanent employment contract that is covered by the Staff Regulations which spells out the rights and obligations of EU civil servants. EU Recruitment Exam: See Concours. Europass CV: A special CV format that is suggested to be used by European employers mployers and job seekers, the 8

http://www.eutraining.eu/epso_glossary
Copyright © 2013Arboreus

template of which can be downloaded from the link below. European Central Bank: Based in Frankfurt and responsible for the monetary policy of Eurozone countries, the ECB recruits its staff independently of EPSO. European Commission: The European Commission, the largest client of EPSO in terms of recruitment targets, employs some 32000 permanent officials and several thousand more temporary agents and contract agents in Brussels, Luxembourg and around the world. European Court of Auditors: The European Court of Auditors, based in Luxembourg, is a relatively small institution, but all its staff is recruited via EPSO. European Court of Justice: The European Court of Justice, based in Luxembourg, employs a large number of lawyer-linguists, linguists, along with others who work in the secretariat of the Court. EPSO regularly recruits EU staff for the Court.

organise competitions for the EEAS is the near future.

European Ombudsman: The European Ombudsman, similarly to the European Data Protection Supervisor, is a small entity with a few dozen EU officials in Strasbourg. Their posts are nevertheless neverthel filled in via EPSO competitions. European Parliament: The bulk of the European Parliament's staff is recruited directly by the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and given give a temporary contract that is now under the Staff Regulations, however, there are a few thousand permanent jobs at the EP that are filled in via EPSO recruitment exams. European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO): (EPSO) The European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO), created in 2003, is the centralised recruiting arm of all EU institutions such as the European Commission, the Council of Ministers, the European Parliament, , the European Court of Auditors, the European Ombudsman, the European Economic and Social Committee, the Committee of the Regions, and the European Court of Justice. It does not recruit, however, for EU agencies located in Member States, nor does it recruit it for the European Central Bank or the European Investment Bank. EPSO has been instrumental in modernising the EU recruitment procedures by not only rere labeling the procedure as EU Careers but also by making sure that anyone seeking a European career or job ob in EU affairs can take part in an unbiased, streamlined and centralised selection procedure to work for EU institutions. 9

European Data Protection Supervisor Supervisor: The European Data Protection Supervisor is a small entity compared to other EPSO clients but occasionally there are specialist or generalist (lawyer) er) exams organised by EPSO to recruit for the EDPS. European External Action Service (EEAS) (EEAS): As a main rule, the European External Action Service (EEAS) comprises national ational diplomats designated via their national channels, former officials from the Council of Ministers and from the European Commission. EPSO, however, may

http://www.eutraining.eu/epso_glossary
Copyright © 2013Arboreus

EPSO, as a main rule, handles all recruitment for permanent posts, and occasionally administers CAST exams but it does not deal with the selection of individual temporary agents or contract agents. European Public Administration (EPA) (EPA): This is one of the profiles in the Administrator (AD) open competitions that tends to be the most popular one given that any college or university diploma qualifies applicants to choose this profile. That may include a diploma in history, political sciences, languages, engineering or any other, unlike other profil profiles which tend to require a "relevant" degree. Diplomas issues outside the European Union usually have to be recognised by the candidate's country of residence or citizenship to be eligible. Decision on the adminissibility of a diploma is always made by the Selection board of the given EU competition. Those who pass this competition can reasonably expect a job offer from virtually any EU institution, given the horizontal nature of their profile. Financial Policy Officer: This is one of the profiles in the Administrator (AD) open competitions, though in some cases Assistant (AST) exams may have an AST3 financial policy officer or finance-related related profile announced for more technical positions. Financial policy officers are required to have a relevant diploma, which is nevertheless not limited to studies in finance in a strict sense but any other subject that is closely sely associated with the tasks of a financial officer is also acceptable. Decision is always made by the Selection board on the e admissibility of the diploma. Those who are recruited on the basis of this profile can expect to work at the European Court of Auditors, uditors, the various Directorates

General (DGs) of the European Commission dealing with financial policy, financial regulations, EU budget or anti-fraud anti efforts, or possibly at the European Economic and Social Committee or the Committee of the Regions. Flagging System: "Once on the reserve list, candidates (or as they are called at this stage, ""laureates"") are ""flagged"" by the EU institutions, meaning that their profile listed in the ""E-laureates"" " database can be assigned different statuses, such as any institution can recruit them, they are reserved for a specific institution etc. Each flag has a specific color and meaning to it. For more information, see the The Ultimate EU Test Book's free chapterhere." Freelance Interpreter or Translator: Translator Freelance interpreters and translators are not recruited centrally trally by EPSO but the European Commission's DG Translation and the SCIC (interpretation service) occasionally publishes calls for applications from private individuals or service providers to work as an external translator or on-call call interpreter. More information and an up-to-date list can be found in our EU jobs menu, available at the link below. Function Groups: Function groups refer to the AD (Administrator) or Assistant (AST) function group, which is determined for each recruitment competition organised by EPSO. Within function groups, there are different grades, which represent the level in the hierarchy for Assistants and Administrators alike. This is also reflected in the salary sa of the EU official in that given level. Accordingly, there are AST1-AST11 AST11 levels, whereas for AD there is 10

http://www.eutraining.eu/epso_glossary
Copyright © 2013Arboreus

AD5-AD16, AD16, the latter being the level of a Director General. Group Exercise: The Group Exercise is one of the tasks in the Assessment Centre that is compulsory in all Administrator (AD) profiles. This means that groups of 3-6 6 candidates are required to take part in a simulation based on a background file that all of them must read and then try to come to a conclusion within 30 or so minutes. Assessors are not part of the group exercise and they only observe the individual behaviours, leadership, analytical and communication skills of each participant. Head of Unit: In the EU hierarchy, the first managerial position is that of a Head of Unit which is considered a rather senior function given that at least 9 and in some cases 12 years of work experience is required to be appointed as a Head of Unit. Only Administrators can assume such position and they must have AD9 grade or higher to be eligible. EPSO recruits Head of unit in a similar fashion as other Administrators with the exception of having additional requirement requirements for leadership and managerial skills. Information and Communication Technologies Technologies: ICT is one of the sub-profiles profiles or domains of the Administrator exams, though h this field is not announced each year but only upon specific need from EU institutions. Internal Competition: Occasionally every 4-5 5 years EPSO and EU institutions may announce internal competitions in which only existing Administrator, Assistants and temporary agents

(but not contract agents) can take part who are already working in an EU institution. The goal is s to help in the career mobility of those who may be eligible for higher positions or temporary agents who wish to obtain a permanent employment contract. These exams follow the same rules as any other set by EPSO and the Staff Regulations. Interpreters: Similarly to translators, interpreters may be EU officials (or work as external freelancers). To be part of the core staff, the same EPSO competition must be passed as for anyone else. In the annual cycle, the linguist and interpreter exams are announced in the summer, usually around June or July of the year. Abstract, verbal and numerical reasoning tests must be passed, along with a live translation or interpreting exercise, group exercise, exercis a structured interview and possibly a case study as well. In-tray Exercise: See E-tray Exercise. Language 1: See Language Requirements. Language 2: See Language Requirements. Language 3: See Language Requirements. Language Requirements: Citizenship and languages are de-connected de and they are not linked in any way, except for enlargement-related related exams where specific citizenship and language rules are determined. 11

http://www.eutraining.eu/epso_glossary
Copyright © 2013Arboreus

In some cases, the candidate’s citizenship or the given exam’s specific language profile automatically determines the required first language uage (e.g. compulsory French as first language for translator exams in the French language), whereas in other instances candidates are free to choose their first language as long as the above rules on citizenship and the official EU language requirements are respected. The second language is candidates' first foreign language and in most cases it must be English, French or German, except for some linguist exams (and sometimes for certain Assistant exams) the second language is usually the one for which candidates didates are sought, along with the third language (if required at all). In no case can any two languages be the same. Laureates: The term laureates refers to those candidates who have been placed ced on a reserve list as a result of their successful application and examinations and now are recruitable by any EU institution until the end of the validity period of the reserve list. Lawyer (Law): This is one of the profiles in the Administrator (AD) open competitions, though in some cases Assistant (AST) exams may have an AST3 legal policy officer or law-related related profile announced for more technical positions. Legal affairs officers are required quired to have a relevant diploma in law. Decision is always made by the Selection board on the admissibility of the diploma. Lawyers are mainly employed by the European Commission, the European Court of Justice or the European Data Protection Supervisor, but any other EU institutions may offer positions for those who passed a recruitment exam in law.

Leadership: Leadership is one of the competencies that is assessed by EPSO, however, it is only onl required for Administrator (AD) roles but not for Assistants. Leadership does not necessarily mean a managerial skill but rather the ability to deliver results, gather a team or co-workers co behind a specific goal, make sure there is no deviation from plans s without prior consent and a certain level of social adaptability is also needed. Learning and Development: This competency is one of the 7 that EPSO is evaluating in candidates via the Assessment Centre exercises and exams. To achieve a good score in this competency, candidates must demonstrate they are able and willing to learn new topics, issues and subjects, and provide examples from their career or personal experience of situations uations where they faced a challenge by an unknown topic and they decided to learn about that issue and succeeded. Linguists: Linguists are the common name for translators and interpreters, however, ever, lawyer-linguists lawyer are considered as specialists given their required diploma in law. Linguist exams are announced each year in June or July for different language combinations, but the exam they need to pass is by and large the same as for any other Administrator dministrator profile. Linguists are always AD level officials once recruited and they can move to other non-linguistic linguistic positions after the initial 2-3 years. Lawyer-linguists: Lawyer linguists are always Administrator (AD) level officials who may even be recruited at a higher level (AD7 instead of AD5) to attract most candidates, with the condition being that 12

http://www.eutraining.eu/epso_glossary
Copyright © 2013Arboreus

they must stay in their position for at least 3 or more years without being able to transfer to other EU institutions or positions. A legal diploma is required, along with the knowledge of at least two or three languages at a very high level so that they can carry out translations and revisions from multiple source languages languages. Lawyer linguists generally work for the Council of Ministers, the European Court of Justice or the European Parliament, though some other institutions may employ a few of them as well. Main Language: See Language Requirements. Minimum Requirements: See Admission Criteria. National Quota: In EU institutions, there is no national quota for Member State citizens, however, there is a requirement in the Staff Regulations providing that a "proportional al representation" is required. This means that each Directorate General has benchmark figures on the nationality of its staff and aims to recruit new officials in a way that meets this requirement. Notice of Competition: Every EU competition starts with a Notice of Competition, which is the official and authentic document in which the details and condi conditions of the exam are provided. The NoC is published in the Official Journal of the EU (also online) and it provides the number of people EPSO plans to place on the reserve lists, the language requirements, the diploma or qualification requirements and many oth other details.

Numerical Reasoning: One of the tests in the pre-selection selection phase of the EU exams (or for specialists, it may be required in the Assessment Centre itself). Using a table with semi-complex complex data and multiple cells, it requires basic calculation (adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing), occasionally also percentage tage calculation. Generally, there are 10 numerical reasoning questions in a competition, and the allocated time is 20 minutes. Official Journal: Published by the EU's Publication Office in Luxembourg, it is the authentic document in which all administrative and legislative documents are published every very weekday. In the EU career context, the Notice of Competition is also published in the Official Journal given its legal nature. Open Competition: Every EU competition that EPSO publishes on its external website is by default open to anyone who meets the formal criteria (including EU officials who may wish to apply to jump to a higher grade, or temporary agents who wish to "finalise" their contract). On the other hand, EPSO occasionally (usually every 5 years) organises internal competitions which are only open to those already working as permanent or temporary staff at the Commission or other institutions (depending on the exam's specific requirements). Oral Presentation: One of the exercises in the EPSO Assessment Centre for generalist Administrators and in most cases, AST3 (senior assistants) is to make a presentation of up to 10 minutes based on a background round file, and then be ready to answer questions for another 8-10 10 minutes. 13

http://www.eutraining.eu/epso_glossary
Copyright © 2013Arboreus

Specialists usually are not required to perform this exercise given their relatively different profile. In most exams, it measures competencies such as:
• • • •

though there is still a pre-screening screening in the form of a so-called called Talent Screener. Typically, the pre-selection selection tests include abstract, verbal and numerical reasoning tests and a Situational Judgment ment Test, and for Assistants, there are extra tests such as accuracy and precision, and organising and prioritising. The language of the pre-selection pre tests is Language 1, except for the Situational Judgment Test which is usually conducted in Language 2. Professional Experience: EU career exams usually require the following professional experience: for general Administrators, on AD5 level exams no work experience is required; on AD7 level, at least 6 years of experience is required (for lawyerlawyer linguists this is usually only 3 years); for AD9 level, at least 12 years is required. For Specialists, it depends on the specific profile, but usually the same me number of years is expected. For Assistants on AST3 level, the rule is either having a secondary education diploma in the given field and 3 years' of experience, or any qualification giving access to post-secondary post education and then 6 years' of relevant experience. It is important to check the specific requirements of each competition as it may vary from one exam to another. Recruitment: Recruitment is final phase of the selection procedure and it is NOT handled by EPSO (they only deal with 'selection' of potential new officials but they don't themselves recruit). It is up to the specific Directorate General or EU institution to decide who they wish to invite for 14

resilience communication analysis and problem solving delivering quality and results

Organising and Prioritising Test: One of the tests in the pre-selection selection phase of the Assistant exams for EU careers. reers. This test requires candidates to check a table with various information about schedules, timetables, agendas, vehicle capacities and other practical information and find the best solution to a practical organisation or logistics problem. The tasks tend end to be relatively easy, it is the time pressure that makes them rather challenging. Preparatory Courses: Many candidates of EU Career exams decide to practice and learn in a dedicated ted manner and to have the guidance of a professional trainer. Methodology in the EPSO exams is crucial, therefore preparatory courses can increase performance in the pre-selection selection tests significantly. Moreover, these courses often cover tips and tricks for r the Assessment Centre, which can prove also highly practical to learn about EPSO assessors' expectations. Pre-selection Tests: Pre-selection selection tests refer to the exams that EU career competition participants are required to sit to be considered for the Assessment Centre. For most exams, pre-selection selection tests are required given the large number of applicants. However, when the number of applicants (most for Specialist exams) is lower than n approx. 600, EPSO does not require these tests to be taken,

http://www.eutraining.eu/epso_glossary
Copyright © 2013Arboreus

a final interview from among those who had been placed on a reserve list. Recruitment happens after 2-3 3 candidates are invited for a 'classic' interview in which they are asked questions on their knowledge in the specific field, motivation and personal profile. A medical examination is required and if all goes well, l, a job offer is extended towards the candidate who then becomes an EU official, with a 9-month probation period. Reimbursement of Costs: In order to provide equal chances for all EU citizens, EPSO reimburses a flat-rate rate travel cost and hotel expenses for those who need to travel to Brussels to the Assessment Centre. For the pre-selection selection exams, there is no reimbursement possible (even if a candidate has to travel to another country ry where an exam centre is located in case there is no exam opportunity in his or her own country - though each EU Member State has at least one exam centre, the above situation may happen in other continents around the world). The reimbursement may take a few weeks but it is a right that all candidates have once they are invited to the Assessment Centre. Reserve List: After passing all stages of an EPSO competition, successful candidates (also also called 'laureates') are placed on a so-called called reserve list. This list is published in the Official Journal of the EU and everyone on it can be recruited by any EU institution for a permanent post. Each reserve list has a validity of 1 1-3 years, depending ing on the competition and also on when the next competition in the same field is due to be published.

The validity can be extended in case there are still candidates on the list, based on the decision of EPSO. Resilience: One of the 7 competencies that are measured and evaluated in EU competition candidates via the Assessment Centre's various exercises such as the Oral presentation, the Structured Interview erview or the Group exercise. Resilience refers to the 'ability to cope under pressure' and 'maintain an effective performance under heavy workload'. It can also refer to the ability to handle 'organisational 'organisati or administrative stress'. The most common exams in which this competency is tested is the oral presentation and the structured interview. The most important aspect of resilience in the structured interview is to demonstrate a specific event when stress management or the efficient handling of a frustration stration can be proven via a specific, unexpected event instead of talking about a prolonged period of heavy workload. workload Salary of EU Officials and Civil Servants: Servants The salary of EU officials, civil servants, temporary agents and contract agents is set out in the Staff Regulations and multiple factors are considered. These include the official's seniority, work experience, the exam (s)he had passed and on the basis of f which (s)he was recruited, child allowance, the place of recruitment (expatriate e allowance) and other factors. The average net monthly salary of an Assistant at AST3 level is around 3200 euros, while for an entry level AD5 Administrator would earn around 4500 euros. 15

http://www.eutraining.eu/epso_glossary
Copyright © 2013Arboreus

Sample Tests: EPSO itself makes sample tests available for candidates on its website, and Online EU Training has also a large number of free tests and a free demo available for anyone interested in EU career exams. Scientist and Scientific Jobs: EPSO from time to time published open competitions for scientists and scientific jobs as "Specialist" exams. ams. These always include a Talent Screener in which candidates are required to state their professional background and prove their profile's relevance to the job. Other than that, candidates are still required to go through an Assessment Centre and in mos most cases they also need to take an abstract, verba verbal and numerical reasoning test. The most likely place of employment is in DG Research of the European Commission, or the Joint Research Centre of the Commission, which has offices in several EU countries. Seconded National Experts (SNEs): : The so-called called Seconded National Experts (SNEs, or based on the French abbreviation, ENDs) are civil servants from an EU Member State who are sent for a specific amount of time to work in a European Commission or European Parliament directorate. The goal is to bring a national perspective or a subject matter expertise to the given unit's policy work. Selection Board: A Selection Board is an independent body set up for every competition that EPSO announces and administers. Legally speaking, each Selection Board acts on its own and it is responsible for the proper management and supervision of a given competition.

The Selection Board can also check the prepre selection tests that candidates are required to set, and in most cases it is the Selection Board members who act as assessors during the Assessment Centre. It is also them who decide ecide on the eligibility of candidates' work experience and qualifications. They are not part of EPSO but composed of EU officials who volunteer to become members of a Selection Board. There is usually a staff representative and/or a trade union member in each board, along with an administrative assistant from EPSO who is formally speaking not part of the board. Situational Judgment Test (or Situational Judgement Test, SJT): Situational Judgment Tests are part of the prepre selection tests in most competitions and they require candidates to choose the most favorable and least favorable course of action in a given situation. It is a computer-based multiple-choice multiple test, and candidates are expected to have a basic understanding of EU institutions' values, corporate culture and code of conduct conduc to successfully pass the test. Specialists: Among Administrator (AD) exams, we can distinguish between generalists, specialists and linguists, though in administrative terms there is no such distinction at the time of recruitment or employment. Exams which are not scheduled on a regular annual basis s and the ones requiring specific, usually scientific, legal or economist profiles with experience in a specific field would be considered as a Specialist exam. 16

http://www.eutraining.eu/epso_glossary
Copyright © 2013Arboreus

These competitions have the same tests as the others but there is a more stringent Talent Screener ener in which the profiles, work experience and other factors are carefully checked to make sure that only candidates with a fully relevant profile are allowed to take part in the Assessment Centre. Staff Regulations: EU officials, temporary agents and contract agents are bound by the Staff Regulations which is the official 'labour code' setting out the rules of their employment, obligations, rights, pension, salary and any other matter concerning their relation with the EU institutio institution or body they are working for. The reason for the Staff Regulation's existence is the independence these 'agents' or 'servants' enjoy from any governmental or other entity: they are not bound by the labour laws of any EU Member State given their only affiliation is towards the EU institution that employs them. Statistician (Statistics): This is one of the profiles in the Administrat Administrator (AD) open competitions, though in some cases Assistant (AST) exams may have an AST3 statistician policy officer or statistics statistics-related profile announced for more technical positions. Statistics policy officers are required to have a relevant diploma, which ch is nevertheless not limited to studies in statistics in a strict sense but any other subject that is closely associated with the tasks of a statistician ian officer is also acceptable. Decision is always made by the Selection board on the admissibility of the he diploma. Statisticians can mainly expect to work for EUROSTAT, the European Union's statistics agency in Luxembourg, or various other departments of

the European Commission such directorate for Regional affairs.

as

the

Structured Interview: The Structured Interview is one of the key exercises in the EPSO Assessment Centre. It is not to be confused with a classic job interview which it is not: candidates are asked questions about past st situations in their life to demonstrate to which level they possess (or do not possess) a given competency from the 7 or 8 competencies ompetencies identified by EPSO. Assessors tell candidates which competency is being tested so they can adapt their answers accordingly. ingly. Given that the style and type of questions that are asked are relatively known, it is possible to prepare very well for this exam. Talent Screener: See CV sift. Temporary Agent: According to EPSO and EU civil service portal, temporary agents may be employed to perform a wide variety iety of tasks, within one of the following categories: (a) for non-standard non (highly specialised jobs) or temporary tasks (b) to make up for staff shortages in cases where competition reserve lists have been exhausted ; (c) for Commissioners' private offices offi ('cabinets'); (d) for specific requirements in the scientific sector. As a temporary agent in type (d), candidates could work in one of the various research centres set up by the EU to promote research and to manage European framework programmes for research search and development. As a temporary agent in type (c), candidates could work in the private office of a Commissioner during their term in office. Temporary agents in types (a) and (b) can be employed to do a wide variety of work, 17

http://www.eutraining.eu/epso_glossary
Copyright © 2013Arboreus

essentially the same kind ind of work as permanent Commission officials. However, this depends on factors such as the temporary needs of the Commission and the situation with regard to filling vacant posts. Although the rules on the length of initial contracts and subsequent contract act extensions vary, as a rule, temporary agents in types (a), (b) and (d) may be hired by the Commission for a maximum period of six years and temporary agents who work in Commissioner's private offices are hired for a duration linked to the mandate of their Commissioner. The Ultimate EU Test Book: The best-selling selling preparation book on EPSO competitions by András Baneth, published by John Harper Publishing first in 2005 and updated ted annually. Currently the 2013 editions for Administrators and Assistants are available in major bookshops and via book retail websites. Time Limits in the Pre-selection selection Tests Tests: The following time limits are indicative and may not be the same for every exam. 35 minutes to answer 20 verbal reasoning questions 20 minutes to answer 10 numerical reasoning questions 10 minutes to answer 10 abstract reasoning questions 20 situational judgment questions in 40 minutes 6 minutes to answer 40 accuracy and precision questions (for AST exams only) 30 minutes to answer 24 prioritizing and organising questions (for AST exams only)

-

25 minutes to answer 25 secretarial field eld questions (for AST1 exams only)

Traineeship: Traineeship in an EU institution is a very popular first step towards an EU career, though it is limited to 5 months in duration and cannot be prolonged (at the European Commission), though for other institutions the system is less streamlined and this often results in more flexibility (e.g. at the European Parliament Parli or the Court of Justice). There are different traineeship schemes, the most well-known is the so-called called "blue book" one which welcomes some 600 people twice a year at the European Commission and got its name from a blue book in which pre-selected pre candidates' names were listed in before an online system was put in place. Trainees are in most cases paid approximately 1000 euros a month if based in Brussels, whereas in other countries where EU institutions are based this sum may vary. For anyone seeking a career in European affairs a traineeship provides valuable experience and insight. Translators: This is one of the profiles in the Administrator (AD) open competitions, though in some cases Assistant (AST) or contract agent (CAST) exams may have translation-related related profiles profile announced as well. Translators are usually required to have a diploma but there is no obligation to have in translation or language studies so as to ensure that candidates with a broad range of profiles are eligible. Translators are employed by all EU institutions, stitutions, and many work in Luxembourg for the European Parliament or the Council of Ministers in Brussels. 18

-

http://www.eutraining.eu/epso_glossary
Copyright © 2013Arboreus

Travel Expenses: See Reimbursement of Costs. Verbal Reasoning: One of the tests in the pre-selection selection phase of the EU exams (or for specialists, it may be required in the Assessment Centre itself). Using a short paragraph of text on virtually any topic, candidates are required to choose from 4 or 5 answer options the one that fully matches the statements in the original text. There is always only one correct answer because other options may contain insufficient information or false statements. Since 2011 EPSO has requested candidates to sit the verbal reasoning tests in their Language 1. Working with Others: One of the 7 competencies that are measured and evaluated in EU competition candidates via the Assessment Centre's various exercises such as the Oral presentation, the Case study and the Group exercise. This competency requires candidates to demonstrate understanding towards their team members, cooperation with colleagues and a generally positive attitude when tension arise within a group. Best tested in the group exercise and the structured interview.

19

http://www.eutraining.eu/epso_glossary
Copyright © 2013Arboreus