Want to work for the EU Institutions?

February 3 2014 by Alix Vazeux

Find out more about  EU Careers (https://www.facebook.com/EU.Careers.EPSO) selection procedure https://bit.ly/1dcQBry and try some sample tests: https://bit.ly/1dcOVyo



Permanent contracts

Open competitions and reserve lists


The EU institutions select candidates for permanent contracts through open competitions. These are tests and assessment exercises designed to measure your professional skills and a number of core competencies. In view of the very large number of applicants, this is the fairest and most transparent selection procedure. This means that spontaneous applications cannot be taken into account. Applicants who pass a competition are placed on a reserve list from which the institutions draw recruits as and when they need them. The aim of a competition, then, is not to fill a specific post, but to constitute a reserve pool for recruitment needs as they arise. The format of these competitions varies depending on the profile being sought. Each competition is announced by a competition notice, giving full details of the profile, the eligibility criteria and the selection procedure. Generally, it takes 5-9 months to complete the selection procedure, starting from the date of publication of the competition notice.

Overview of competition stages


An open competition generally involves two stages – Admission and Assessment. Both stages focus on your professional skills and these general competencies:

Analysis and problem solving identifying critical facts in complex issues and developing creative and practical solutions
Communicating communicating clearly and precisely both orally and in writing
Delivering quality and results taking personal responsibility and initiative for delivering work to a high standard of quality within set procedures
Learning and development developing and improving personal skills and knowledge of the organisation and its environment
Prioritising and organising prioritising the most important tasks, working flexibly and organising workload efficiently
Resilience remaining effective under a heavy workload, handling organisational frustrations positively and adapting to a changing work environment
Working with others working co-operatively with others in teams and across organisational boundaries and respecting differences between people
Leadership (For graduate (administrator) profiles only) managing, developing and motivating people to achieve results


How specific competencies are tested, will depend upon the profile you apply for.

Admission stage


The admission stage is an initial eliminatory round that determines which applicants are admitted to the assessment phase. It is done either by computer-based testing and/or by sifting CVs (in specialist competitions). The best applicants are invited for the assessment.


Assessment stage


The assessment stage involves a series of exercises designed to assess candidates’ suitability to fill the profile sought. Allcandidates are assessed in an objective and standardised way:

  • by several assessors
  • during the same set of exercises
  • against clearly defined competencies.



Types of tests and exercises: Types of tests and exercises depend on the profile you apply for. Here is an example of the competition to select graduates for generalist profiles in fields such as European public administration, law, economics, audit, etc.


  Where Type of tests Language Result
Admission A test centre in or outside Europe Verbal, numerical and abstract reasoning skills Your main language Applicants with the highest scores move on to the second stage, provided that their application also fits the profile.
Situational judgment skills Your second language(English, French or German)
Assessment A test centre in or outside Europe General competencies tested by:


Your second language


Applicants with the highest scores are added to a database (“the reserve list”) from which the EU Institutions recruit.

Brussels or Luxembourg



How specific competencies are tested, will depend upon the profile you apply for.


Reserve list  If you are one of the highest-scoring applicants in the assessment phase, you will be placed on the reserve list. This means you may be selected for a job interview at one of the EU institutions. Reserve lists for generalist competitions are valid for 1 year. For other profiles, they are valid for longer.