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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. All candidates 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.

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