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Introducing a faster, leaner and more accessible competition model!

On 31 January, EPSO’s governing body, the interinstitutional Management Board, decided to drop oral tests from EPSO’s selection procedures, as part of a fundamental rethink of the current selection process.

Competitions will put greater emphasis on candidates’ qualifications and on a set of written tests, all to be conducted in one testing session. All tests will be done online via remotely proctored testing. We invite you to read our information and guidance notes on remotely proctored testing to allow you to become as familiar as possible with this testing environment.

With a ‘competition phase’ based exclusively on written tests, it will be possible for EPSO to reduce competition timelines to just 6 months, and, eventually, less.

Following the competition, the selection board draws up the reserve list containing the names of the successful candidates. The list is then made available to the institutions for recruitment purposes.

The first competition under the new competition model was published on 22 June 2023 (Economics). Regular updates are available on EPSO’s website: Upcoming selection procedures | EU Careers (europa.eu), where you can also register for a notification system.
 

Main novelty

The ‘Assessment Centre’ and its related oral tests, in place since 2010, ceases to exist.

However, candidates’ general competencies will still be reviewed via post-reserve list interviews by the recruiting services of the EU institutions that are hiring. The choice of whom to recruit remains entirely with the institutions themselves.
 

Main benefits

Speed: the aim is to complete open competitions within 6 months and eventually less (from the moment of publication to the establishment of the reserve list).

Efficiency: all tests will take place online, in one single testing session, therefore in just one day for each candidate.

Modernity: online testing is faster, more flexible, in line with today’s digitalised world, ‘greener’ and more accessible to the vast majority of candidates, wherever they are.

Transparency: the sources used for the creation of the EU knowledge test, to be used for generalist competitions, will be pre-published online by EPSO, levelling the playing field among candidates.

Quality: in the new EPSO competition model, successful candidates show satisfactory cognitive abilities, are among the best in field-related knowledge and in written communication/drafting skills. They have the right diploma and/or working experience.

Clear competencies: The general competency framework adopted by EPSO in April 2022 remains valid.

Diversity: with a faster, leaner and more accessible competition model, EPSO also wishes to stimulate applications by a more diverse pool of candidates.
 

Main structure of the new model

Verbal, numerical and abstract reasoning tests

The verbal, numerical and abstract reasoning tests remain part of the selection procedures. Usually, results will not be ranked, one will only need a pass mark. The weight given to each of the three skills may vary depending on the profile being selected. 

An EU Knowledge test for generalist competitions
A Field-related Multiple-choice Questionnaire for specialist competitions

The focus of the EU knowledge test, for instance, will be on meaningful substance questions related to the functioning of the EU, its policies and procedures.

Candidates will have the opportunity to check online the sources used to create this test, making it accessible even to those who have never studied EU affairs at university or worked previously in this field. The source materials used for the creation of this test will be published at the same time of publication of the Notice of Competition.

No source materials will be published by EPSO for the field-related multiple-choice questionnaire for specialist competitions.

Case Study

All competitions will include a case study to assess candidates’ written communication skills (i.e. drafting skills).

A digital skills test

A digital skills test could be introduced for some competitions, such as the AD5 generalist competition, in line with the needs of the EU institutions.
 

Main steps of a competition

  • Publication of the Notice of Competition
  • Self-assessment of eligibility via Experience Assessment Survey Instrument (EASI)*, followed by application
  • Reasoning skills tests on a pass/fail basis
  • EU knowledge test for generalist competitions or Field-related Multiple-choice Questionnaire (FRMCQ) for specialist competitions - ranked
  • Digital skills test (when applicable)
  • Case study (assesses drafting skills) corrected only for those with the best results in EU knowledge or FRMCQ
  • Eligibility checks at an appropriate stage (final verification before placing on the Reserve List; checking of second language, if necessary)
  • Reserve List (database of successful candidates, published by EPSO at the end of each competition, used by EU institutions for their specific recruitment needs)
  • ‘Single ‘Request for Review’ window – Candidates have the option to request a review of the decision establishing their test results if they believe there has been a material error or a breach of the competition procedure rules, which may impact the results of the selection process. This request can only be done once, in line with the procedures contained in the notice of competition.

* EASI is a tool aimed at providing optional feedback to interested candidates to help them understand better their likelihood of admission (eligibility) to a competition, based on their qualifications and professional experience, compared to the requirements laid down in the Notice of Competition. The feedback will only be shared with candidates themselves and will not be shared with any member of the Selection Board.