2021 Technicians & Support Workers EPSO Exams - Information Webcast | EU Training

2021 Technicians & Support Workers EPSO Exams - Information Webcast

This is the complete recording and presentation of the 2021 Technicians & Support Workers EPSO Exams - Information Webcast.

Presentation slides

Transcript - click here

You can access the Audiovisual & Conference Technicians profile here
You can access the Building Technicians profile here
You can access the Laboratory Technicians profile here

You can access the Laboratory Support Workers competition here

Want to join the conversation and talk to other candidates about this competition? 

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Webcast TRANSCRIPT

Transcript Quick Links

ABOUT EU TRAINING
WHERE WILL YOU WORK?
APPLICATION
ARE YOU ELIGIBLE?
WHY IS THIS A GREAT OPPORTUNITY?
HOW TO GET ONE OF THESE JOBS
RESERVE LIST
HOW TO GET THE JOB?
QUESTIONS PLEASE

INTRODUCTION

INTRO - Introduction, greetings and sound check (00:00-04:05)

Presenter: Andras Baneth (EU Training co-founder, author of Europe’s best-selling prep book The Ultimate EU Test Book, Co-author of The Ultimate EU Test Book - Assessment Centre edition and Former EU Official)

A warm welcome to everyone for this live webcast with EU Training. It’s about an EPSO competition for Technicians and Support Workers. This is one in our usual series of information webcasts where we decode what the details are for this particular competition, whether it differs in any way from others, how it works in practice, what sort of steps you need to take to get one of these jobs. Then, of course, I’ll be more than happy to answer any questions you may have at this very live session, or perhaps later when you watch it as a recording.

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ABOUT EU TRAINING

EU Training has a fabulous and robust community.

OUR COMMUNITY

  • Over 100,000 registered users over the many years we’ve been in business.
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TEST PACKAGES

Then we offer a really wide range of test packages.

  • Over 25,000 questions in our database, which I find is a very massive amount of questions, and it’s growing actually. We are adding new questions to the database whenever there’s a knowledge-based multiple choice quiz that EPSO requires, or we need to update certain parts of the database.
  • We have had over 17 million questions used by our users creating test simulations and preparing for the exams.

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  • Then we have a huge number of webinars, webcasts and information sessions. A large number of those are free, some you do have to purchase.
  • 10,000+ people have participated in our webinars.

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WHERE WILL YOU WORK? (05:00)

Let’s get into the actual topic of discussion which is the competition and a couple of practical questions around it and the actual exam process.

First question is where will you possibly work if, or rather, when you are successful in the competition and you get to the recruitment stage?

PLACE OF WORK

Now the place of work is usually, for most EU officials, Brussels or Luxembourg. But for this particular competition it’s a little more complicated than that. The idea is that once you are on the Reserve List, and I’ll talk more about that in a moment, so again - the selection process that the European Personnel Selection Office administers results in a Reserve List, the you are actually recruited from that reserve list - that is when they decide what the place of employment will be. It all depends on which European Institution will be the one that hires you. That is decided at the actual moment of the recruitment. Therefore, you cannot choose any of these locations when you apply for this competition and you do not really know at the moment of your application where you may end up. You certainly have a choice in the end, you will not be obliged to work in one place or another. But, obviously, if there is a vacancy and you get a phone call, after you are successful in the competition and you are on the Reserve List, from Ispra, Italy saying that they would like you to work as a laboratory support worker as a successful candidate in the EPSO/AST-SC/11/21, you can decide whether you accept the position or not.

Certainly there are lots of pros, perhaps some cons in terms of family relocation, but then they compensate you with different allowances and benefits to help you set up your life in those locations. But, the bottom line is, this is decided at the moment of recruitment.

Depending on which competition you apply for, or which profile you apply for, such as Audiovisual & Conference Technicians, then chances are you will be located in Brussels or Luxembourg.

If you are a candidate, a successful one at that, for Building Technicians, then, again, Brussels or Luxembourg.

When it comes to Laboratory Technicians though, then the choice is a bit more diverse. It might be Geel in Belgium, Ispra in Italy, Karlsruhe in Germany or Petten in The Netherlands. And very similarly for Laboratory Support Workers those same four locations would be on the menu. Again, this depends on where there is a vacancy and where you receive an invitation from. These are very different from other competitions where you would have Brussels and Luxembourg as Options.

EU Institutions, however, are all on the menu for both competitions selection and recruitment:

  • European Commission
  • European Parliament
  • Council of the European Union
  • European Court of Justice
  • European Data Protection Supervisor
  • European Economic & Social Committee

Which institution hires you is decided at the moment of recruitment. For example if you are a conference technician you could work at the Council of the EU or you could work in Luxembourg at the Court of Justice, or you could also end up working at the European Economic and Social Committee in Brussels.

EPSO’s task is to find suitable candidates to place on the Reserve List, but they work for the benefit of all the Institutions. EPSO does not run competitions for the European Commission only, they do this for all of the EU Institutions and bodies.

I see there is a question from Yolanta: 'Do you stay on the Reserve List if you refuse an offer? How long is the Reserve List valid for?'

Very good question. Yes, you do stay on the Reserve List. And you can refuse an offer. Whether you want to, or whether it’s a good idea - that’s a bit of a gamble sometimes, a bit of a dilemma, whether you can expect a reasonable offer before the Reserve List expires. Because the Reserve List does expire after a while. It is usually stated on the Reserve List how long it’s valid for. The general rule of thumb is that the more specialist a competition is, and this one is considered a specialist competition, then the Reserve List will be valid for more than a year. It might be valid for two or three years. And typically it is valid until everyone who wants to be hired from that list is actually hired. For example if 10% of the candidates are still on the list after two years, chances are they do not want to be hired because their life circumstances have changed. But, the point is for specialist competitions the Reserve List can be valid for two years or longer. And if there are still many candidates that are not hired from the list, yet there is need from the Institutions to take those as future staff they might even extend the validity of the Reserve List.

I see another question here: 'Wondering if they will take into consideration those that made it AST-SC 2 for Meeting Operators?'

Previous competitions do not apply to new ones, in the sense that whatever exams you have passed, whatever scores you received on the computer-based tests or at the Assessment Centre, or Talent Screener, that does not carry over to subsequent competitions. Even if you were successful and got on the Reserve List, or did not succeed, that really has nothing to do with any other competitions. Obviously, if you practiced a lot for those competitions, the knowledge stays with you, hopefully, and then that’s something you can apply to new competitions. But from a procedural perspective, it does not carry over.

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APPLICATION (12:10)

Perhaps you are more interested in how to get started and how to enroll in these competitions, then we’ll talk about the different tests and what you can do to maximise your score.

POSITIONS AVAILABLE

This is something you are most likely already aware of, because it’s written in the Notice of Competition. We already know that for the AST3 part of this competition there are three profiles:

TECHNICIANS COMPETITION:

  • AUDIOVISUAL & CONFERENCE TECHNICIANS - 92 places
  • BUILDING TECHNICIANS - 114 places
  • LABORATORY TECHNICIANS - 20 places

That’s a pretty good number of places. Compared to other competitions and compared to how many people are selected in any given competition, these numbers look good. This means you will have much better chances of getting on the Reserve List. Obviously, with the caveat that it all depends on how many candidates apply. Because if you have only 200 lab technician applicants and 20 places then the chances are one in ten. But for audiovisual if you have 2,000 applicants then despite there being a much higher number of places on the Reserve List the proportions are vastly different. It does all depend on the number of candidates, yet, given these numbers I think your chances are by and large pretty good. It’s not that there are an extremely limited number of spaces and you need to be the one percent of the one percent of best performing candidates.

The above competition covers three fields and you can ONLY APPLY TO ONE FIELD per competition.

LABORATORY SUPPORT WORKERS:

  • GRADE AST-SC1 - 15 places

This is a different grade, a different level in the EU’s hierarchy and pay grade. AST-SC1, AST refers to Assistant level and SC is secretary. Obviously this is not a secretary position, but in terms of salary and official ranking that is the level at which they would like to hire.

APPLY BEFORE 26 OCTOBER 2021

In terms of the deadline, that is pretty much a month from now. Make sure you don’t leave your application until the last moment. Often candidates may not get to finalising their application or pressing all the right buttons, ticking all the boxes and filling in all the fields that are necessary. Maybe a day or two before the deadline is the way to go. You just don’t want to risk missing the deadline. Make sure that by the 26th of October everything is done and everything has been sent to EPSO through their website.

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ARE YOU ELIGIBLE?(11:00)

THE most important question tends to be whether or not you are considered eligible for the competition. There are some general and some specific requirements that you need to meet.

GENERAL CONDITIONS

These are typically not hard to meet.

  • You must have EU citizenship, which, presumably, you all have.
  • You need to have completed military service, if that’s compulsory in your country.
  • You need to meet the character requirements of the job.

That’s not a very high bar to jump over. What could be more complicated, and we’ll look at it in a moment after the language rules, are some specific background achievements or certain professional qualifications that you need to have in order to be eligible.

LANGUAGE RULES

This is about following the playbook EPSO has been using for many years.

LANGUAGE 1

  • Any of the EU’s 24 official languages (minimum C1 level)
  • I usually say it’s not necessarily your mother tongue because you may have grown up speaking Russian or Luxembourgish, neither of which are an official language of the EU.
  • You need to choose from one of the 24 and it could be really anything. It doesn’t matter whether it’s truly your mother tongue or you just speak it at such a level that it’s almost like your mother tongue. Which means you’re completely fluent, you can express yourself perfectly, you can read and write in that language perfectly.
  • It can be any of the 24 and really independent of the passport you may carry.

LANGUAGE 2

  • Must be English OR French and different from Language 1.
  • Minimum B2 level
  • For example, me - despite being Hungarian and Hungarian is my mother tongue I could choose English as my Language 1 and French as my Language 2. But I just as well could choose Hungarian as Language 1 and then French as Language 2.

It is entirely up to you. There’s a bit of best practice that might go into your decision where for Language 1 I encourage you to choose a language in which you can process information the fastest, somewhat passively. Which means reading and writing you can do relatively fast in Language 1. Then Language 2 would be a language in which you can actively express yourself the best, spoken and written. This is the language with which you can really express your thoughts with the greatest sophistication and accuracy. If you have the luxury to choose from many languages because you are a polyglot then try to consider this logic and choose your languages accordingly.

QUALIFICATIONS & WORK EXPERIENCE

Once you have done that comes the hard part, or perhaps the more challenging part for some candidates because everyone’s life and professional experience is just so different. You need to be able to demonstrate the existence of certain professional experience or education, in case it is requested, and it will be requested at one point.

TECHNICIANS COMPETITION: EPSO AST/150/21

FIELD 1: AUDIOVISUAL & CONFERENCE TECHNICIANS

  • Post-secondary education attested by a diploma in an area related to the duties of FIELD 1 as indicated in ANNEX 1.
    PLUS
    A minimum of three years professional experience relevant to those same duties.

You have perhaps usually a Master’s or some other formal, accredited education attested by formal qualification degree of sorts, where you learned to master your trade. And on top of that you have three years relevant professional experience. That was option one.

OR

  • Secondary education (essentially a high school degree) attested by a diploma giving access to post-secondary education
    PLUS
    A minimum of six years professional experience to the duties of FIELD 1 as indicated in ANNEX 1.

You don’t necessarily need formal qualifications to apply for the job. You need to have a high school diploma, a baccalaureate essentially and you need to have at least six years of experience.

Or if you have formal qualifications (degrees) then it’s three plus three.

FIELD 2: BUILDING TECHNICIANS

The principles here are similar. Perhaps what slightly differs are the kind of topics that your post-secondary education covers. That’s a question of what sort of course or formal education you followed after your high school degree and does it make you a relevant and suitable candidate for this competition.

  • Post-secondary education attested by a diploma in Building Security, Occupational & Building Safety, Building Technology, Energy & Environment Management of Buildings or in another area directly linked to the duties of FIELD 2 as indicated in ANNEX 1.
    PLUS
    A minimum of three years professional experience relevant to those same duties.

Then again you have the other option where you do not have any formal qualifications in this particular field, you have a high school diploma but then you do have six years of relevant work experience.

OR

  • Secondary education (essentially a high school degree) attested by a diploma giving access to post-secondary education
    PLUS
    A minimum of six years professional experience to the duties of FIELD 2 as indicated in ANNEX 1.

FIELD 3: LABORATORY TECHNICIANS

Following this logic, it’s very similar for Lab Technicians.

  • Post-secondary education attested by a diploma in an area related to the duties of FIELD 3 as indicated in ANNEX 1.
    PLUS
    A minimum of three years professional experience relevant to those same duties.

OR

  • Secondary education attested by a diploma giving access to post-secondary education
    PLUS
    A minimum of six years professional experience to the duties of FIELD 3 as indicated in ANNEX 1.

This is pretty straightforward. However, in most cases, the relevant experience can cause some challenges to some candidates. What is a truly relevant experience? It refers to the Annex of the Notice of Competition. You could say ‘I did this, I did that, my job was quite related to this part, or that part, and does that qualify?’

Question: 'Do you think as an architect I’m eligible for Field 2?'

On the face of it, I presume yes. Again, without digging deeper and the legal disclaimer that I’m not the Selection Board that will make those judgement calls, it sounds like it would be relevant.

LABORATORY SUPPORT WORKERS COMPETITION: EPSO AST/150/21

For Lab Support Workers there are three scenarios:

  • Post-secondary education of at least one year attested by a diploma directly related to the duties as indicated in ANNEX 1.

OR

  • Secondary education attested by a diploma giving access to post-secondary education
    PLUS
    A minimum of three years professional experience directly related to the duties as indicated in ANNEX 1.

OR

  • Professional training (equivalent to European Qualification Framework Level 4) of minimum one year.
    PLUS
    A minimum of three years professional experience.
    Both the training and the experience must be directly related to the duties as indicated in ANNEX 1.

You can see this is a mix and match of degree qualifications and experience. Again, depending on your background you really need to check to what degree do you fulfill these criteria.

Question: Can computer scientists be considered eligible?

I would not want to answer that. It’s hard to tell. It really depends on which profile you are applying for and what degrees you have relevant to the tasks that are required in the job, and as I said, it can often be a difficult thing to decide.

If you are somewhat uncertain, but you have some good persuasive arguments why you qualify, I would encourage you to do so, because the Selection Board will check all the supporting documents and then they will decide on your case. Therefore, do not immediately disqualify yourself if you think you are in a grey area.

Obviously, if you have a non-relevant experience and non-relevant degree or qualification, that’s a different case.

Hopefully that gives you some clarity. For most of you this is a clear cut thing, you have the right profile, the right experience and you do fit into one of these categories. Then comes perhaps the least difficult thing...

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WHY IS THIS A GREAT OPPORTUNITY? (28:30)

Well you probably would not be listening to this webinar or interested in this opportunity were it not for the great opportunity it is.

  • ATTRACTIVE SALARIES
    • Salaries are often very attractive. It certainly depends on which part of Europe you might be coming from, in relative terms, about how attractive the salary is.
    • Even for local Belgian, Dutch or Italian expats these tend to be very attractive salaries nonetheless.
    • Good news is that on the EU Training site, we have a salary calculator. It gives you a very close estimate of how much you could earn. You enter all the relevant data about your family status or where you are relocating from, if you need relocation, the level of your desired position, like AST3, and then it will give you a rough estimate of how much your salary could possibly be.
  • GOOD BENEFITS
    • Apart from that you have good benefits, good health insurance and European schools if you have children, so overall it’s pretty interesting.
    • And of course you are working in an international environment, in interesting European Union topics and projects, which is also a great motivational factor for most candidates.

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HOW TO GET ONE OF THESE JOBS? (26:40)

Now comes the next big questions, HOW do you get one of these jobs? This is something I’d like to cover in the next couple of minutes. I will be sharing with you the kind of exams you need to go through and some ideas on how to make the most of those.

STEP 1 - APPLICATION PROCESS

You could be submitting your application in Romanian, even if it’s not your Language 1 or 2. This is all for transparency and openness of the selection process.

  • You need to declare your eligibility base on all the criteria that we’ve covered so far
  • You pick your Language 1 & 2, presumably based on the logic I suggested.
  • Then you can submit the application in any of the 24 EU languages.
    • You could be submitting your application in Romanian, even if it’s not your Language 1 or 2. This is all for transparency and openness of the selection process. ​
  • BUT the TALENT SCREENER needs to be filled in in either English OR French.

VALIDATE BY APPLICATION DEADLINE: 26 OCTOBER 2021

WHAT IS THE TALENT SCREENER?

A few words about the Talent Screener. I will describe what it is and how you can make the most of it.

HOW IS THE TALENT SCREENER SCORED?

It is scored in a way that every question tends to have a score value from 0 to 3. That is most often how it is scored, with the caveat that this competition might be different but the logic will certainly remain the same.

Then depending on how many points you get from each of the answers you gave, they are added up and then in the end there is a cut-off point that you need to make. They then rank candidates accordingly.

HOW DO YOU MAXIMISE YOUR TALENT SCREENER SCORE?

How can you make the most of it to improve or increase your chances the best you can?

Here are a couple of tips:

  • Try to answer ‘YES’ as much as possible, as long as you are being truthful and honest and there’s no distortion of the facts.
    • Why? Because if you say no that is 0 points. But if you answer yes, you may be able to come up with arguments, bits and pieces that will yield a point or two.
  • Provide lots of valuable information, but give only relevant and meaningful answers. Leave out space fillers.
    • They will ask about your professional background, your experience working with certain tools, on certain projects. They want to know that you are a relevant, high-profile candidate that they should pass to the next stage, and ultimately get into the institutions.
    • You want to provide a lot of valuable, tangible, practical pieces of information. Do not be vague:
  • Concrete vs. Abstract answers - scores are based on hard evidence like facts, figures, places and dates.
    • Try to add very specific pieces of information like the budget of the project you worked on, time frames, levels of responsibility, how many people you worked with, make it very concrete.
  • Do not copy / paste previous answers.
    • Some questions may resemble other questions in your Talent Screener, I advise you not to copy/pasted your answers.
    • Or copy/paste as a draft but then customise it, fine tune it in a way that it will still be a unique answer.
    • Even if the question resembles a previous one and you give pretty much the same information, I encourage you to make it more relevant to that specific question, you may want to leave out certain parts, or emphasise different parts in comparison with the previous question.
    • You want to give unique answers.
  • Readability and clear communication will influence your assessors’ understanding of your professional background:
    • Use a structured layout with bullet points
    • Clear references
    • Short but to-the-point descriptions
    • You want to present information in a way that makes it easy for the assessors, the people reading your answers and scoring your Talent Screener, to understand your written words, and then hopefully turning them into points.
    • Even if there is no bolding or underlining, you can cut the paragraphs and lay it out in a way that’s easy to visually scan and get the most important information.
  • What’s in it for them…? How is your experience working on building automation in Estonia relevant for the EU institutions?
    • Take a look at the website for the Joint Research Centre. Take a look at the website of the Building Management Department of the European Commission, or Real Estate Management even. Take a look at a website about how conferences and audiovisual technology is being handled inside the European Parliament or the European Commission.
    • Google these websites, you can find them and get a bit of sense of how they are doing things right now. Then you can connect your past experience with the kind of profile, the kind of business needs of the European Institutions so you can make a better case for why your experience is truly relevant.
    • And this you can express nicely using words on the Talent Screener you submit:
  • EU institutions and EPSO are formal and terminology-driven. Learn the lingo and use it.
    • Keep in mind that institutions tend to be fairly formal. They like their own terminology. You can find those on those websites I mentioned, you can find them in annual reports where they talk about how they managed conferencing online and web streaming in the past year.
    • You can research and find their lingo, which is largely industry-specific. You are probably familiar with some industry jargon already. But it’s also European Institution specific. By adopting a similar choice of words you can improve the impression you make and prove you are a relevant candidate.
  • And then finally, if you are interested in more tips and more ideas, I actually did a webinar exactly on this topic, the Talent Screener that you may want to watch, which is called:

STEP 2 - PRE-SELECTION CBT EXAM

The Computer-Based Tests are:

These are classic, many of you are likely familiar with them. Still, just to make sure everyone is on the same page, I’ll describe them in more detail.
The very important question here is when are you required to sit these tests, the abstract, verbal numerical reasoning tests? And the answer to that is that there are two options. We don’t know yet where in the process this is going to take place.

The first option is, that if there are a lot of candidates, and ‘a lot’ is hard to define, but they usually look at, as a benchmark, maybe ten times more than the number of places on the Reserve List, then the Selection Board may decide to do the Computer-Based Tests first. It will become a selection test at that stage.

The second option is, if there are not that many candidates, perhaps not ten times as many, but perhaps only six or seven times the number of places on the Reserve List, then the Computer-Based Tests, the abstract, numerical, verbal reasoning, will be held at the Assessment Centre. Then it will be part of the larger package, but then it will already be one step ahead because then it doesn’t become eliminatory.

So if there are a lot of people interested, they have built in this ‘safety valve’, where the candidates sit these computer-based tests so they can be filtered at the beginning of the competition, and then there are fewer people to deal with. Whereas, if there aren’t so many candidates then this CBT becomes part of the overall score and it’s not eliminatory, yet it’s still an important part of the exams, it will be one of the many exams that they will need to sit.

1. VERBAL REASONING

  • Administered in Language 1
  • 20 questions
  • 35 minutes to complete it

Again, I presume this is not new information to the large majority of you. It’s a logical test, it’s not about reading comprehension but you need to think about whether what’s written there is a possibility or a fact, etc, and then you find the correct answer.

2. NUMERICAL REASONING

  • Administered in Language 1
  • 10 questions
  • 20 minutes to complete it

Very similar, this is a thinking exercise, a logic exercise, where you need to calculate, estimate, ‘guesstimate’ and then find the correct answer. Whenever it’s possible, try not to use the calculator, just try to estimate. It’s always faster. But you do get a calculator so you don’t need to count in your head, but, again, it does take a bit of extra time typing on the physical keyboard to try and find the correct answer.

3. ABSTRACT REASONING

  • Administered in Language 1
  • 10 questions
  • 10 minutes to complete it

This tends to be the most difficult for most candidates. But then again, everyone has this right brain vs. left brain kind of thinking, where you’re stronger on one side, and for some people this is really easy. This exercise is about finding the next pattern in a sequence.

CBT SCORING

Scoring is the way EPSO has been doing it for some time for most competitions. They separate the verbal reasoning so that you truly need to pass with at least 50%. Whereas the Numerical and Abstract Reasoning are combined so you only need 50% of the combined scores.

  • VERBAL REASONING (0/20)
    • Pass mark: 10/20
  • NUMERICAL REASONING (0/10)
  • ABSTRACT REASONING (0/10)
    • Pass mark: the two above COMBINED 10/20

You can have zero points in Numerical Reasoning and 10 points in Abstract Reasoning and you would still pass.

If this is used as a pre-selection test because there are many candidates - remember this was Option 1, you probably need to reach among the highest scores because the ranking of all the candidates will be based on that score.

IF the CBT is part of the Assessment Centre, your scores needn’t be that high because you can actually get more points by performing well in other parts of the AC.

That’s when it becomes more important which part of the process this test will be used in because that determines how well you need to perform.

The good news is that on EU Training we have thousands, tens of thousands of abstract, numerical and verbal reasoning tests which we’re continuously revising, improving, adding to and updating. We actually have the verbal reasoning tests in all 24 languages of the EU. No matter which language you choose for the competition you can practice verbal reasoning in any of the 24 official languages.

STEP 3 - TALENT SCREENER REVIEW

Only after this comes the Talent Screener Review. Those who got the highest scores in the computer-based tests and made it through the Eligibility Check will have their Talent Screener reviewed and scored using the logic I described.

Step 4 - ASSESSMENT CENTRE

Then comes the fun!

  • Approximately three times the number of candidates sought will be invited.
  • Depending on which profile you apply for, you have a one to three chance, or three times the number of places, to be among those candidates. Then you will be invited to sit the tests.

By the way, one important piece of information I forgot to mention, that when it comes to the AST3 competition, you can only choose one profile. You cannot apply for both the Building Technicians and Audiovisual Technicians, you need to choose one.

Going back to the Assessment Centre, it will be run in your Language 2, meaning either English or French.

The location is either online or in person. It used to be entirely in person, then the pandemic hit and now it’s slowly planned to be coming back, but the Assessment Centre predominantly happens online right now. There are online tools that they developed and put in place.

ASSESSMENT CENTRE TASKS

There are SEVEN GENERAL COMPETENCIES WHICH WILL BE TESTED THROUGH TWO TESTS:

  • Case Study
  • Situational Competency-Based Interview (SCBI)
  • These will be done in Language 2

The general competencies are about what sort of skills you have as an individual employee. These are tested through two different kinds of exams. From these exams they decode, take the information, on how you score on a given competence. These seven competencies are evaluated through two tests. One is the Case Study exam and the other one is the SCBI - Situational Competency-Based Interview.

These are pretty classic. We have lots of case studies on our website. You can do simulations and you can even ask for personalised evaluations. And then we have the SCBI where our trainers run courses both in-person in Brussels and online, either one-one-one or a group session.

FIELD-RELATED COMPETENCIES REQUIRED FOR EACH FIELD WILL BE ASSESSED BY ONE TEST:

  • Field-Related Interview in Language 2

This means an interview about your particular subject matter, about your particular chosen area of expertise. They would test in an interview format how your expert knowledge compares to others and how well you know your stuff.

How do you prepare for this? You certainly want to revise core information about your subject, revise with a textbook related to your field, definitely revise as many of those as possible so you are truly knowledgeable about different aspects of your work. You also probably want to look up some resources found on EU institutions websites. If it’s, for example, about conference technology then you probably want to look at the European Parliament and the European Commission and the Economic Social Committee and the Committee of Regions where they tend to run an enormous number of events. They would certainly have materials online linked to this subject area about the kind of technology they use or the kind of challenges they face. You can certainly do a bit of research online just to get familiar with the kind of projects that they work with so you can have more idea about the type of questions to expect in the field-related interview.

ASSESSMENT CENTRE SCORING

You can see there is a pretty big difference in the relative weight of the scores between your general competencies and your expert knowledge.

  • SEVEN GENERAL COMPETENCIES
    • Pass mark 35/70
    • Each worth 10 points
  • FIELD-RELATED INTERVIEW
    • Pass mark 50/100

Those who get the highest overall score get placed on the Reserve List. This is where it’s truly a competition. You don’t only need to pass the 50% pass mark, but more importantly you need to rank well compared to other candidates.

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SUCCESS! RESERVE LIST (45:40)

Then when you’re on the Reserve List:

  • Number of places
  • Validity
  • Recruitment

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HOW TO GET THE JOB?(45:50)

We have some good tips, and also, there is a dedicated webinar, if you are interested, it is called ‘How to Get a Job Once You Are on the Reserve List’. Hopefully you’ll get there very soon. Although, you may ask how long this whole process takes. Chances are 6-9 months, which is rather long, I understand that. But still much shorter than it used to be. It does take some time to go through all the hoops of the process. Our advice:

  • Practice.
    • Practice consistently for 10-12 weeks.
    • I often compare it to sports competitions where you cannot just get into shape two weeks before an important physical challenge. This is more of a mental challenge, but you do need some time to practice and get in the mode for numerical reasoning, read up on your professional area of expertise, and perhaps do a group class or in-person training face-to-face for the Assessment Centre.
  • Make a plan.
    • Prepare consistently, whether it’s for one hour a day or 10 hours per week, as long as it’s consistent and regular.
    • Again, it is similar to preparing for a sporting event. You cannot just do it once a week and expect good results.
  • Learn the methodology.
    • Very important to know that there is methodology. We have a number of e-books on our website. Many of them are free. You can download them. There’s a lot of advice on shortcuts, about study methods, ways to find the answers to difficult problems, it is possible to learn the methodology.
  • Persistence is key!
  • Do lots of test simulations!
    • Obviously, the more you practice, the better you will get.

I see here someone wrote ‘EPSO said 11 months as a fast track competition’. Uff, yeah, well, my 6-9 months was perhaps more optimistic, based on the rumours and indications I hear from EPSO that they are trying to speed it up. But, yes, perhaps I should be more realistic, set your expectations and just say ‘in less than a year’. :)

Our website is available for you, we’re here to help. Our team is here to help you, ask them questions, send messages through our support contact or our Facebook page, or any other channel you find us on. We’re happy to help, obviously there’s no cost involved. We will give you information and try to point you in the right direction.

SIMULATED PRACTICE TESTS

  • Verbal Reasoning - something we are really, really proud of that we have questions in 24 LANGUAGES!
  • Numerical Reasoning
  • Abstract Reasoning
  • Case Study Simulations
  • SCBI Workshops

WEBINARS

  • Free - Beginner's Guide Webinars:
  • Beginner’s Guide To The EPSO Verbal Reasoning Test
  • Beginner’s Guide To The EPSO Numerical Reasoning Test
  • Beginner’s Guide To The EPSO Abstract Reasoning Test

Pro Tips Webinars:

  • Pro Tips For The EPSO Verbal Reasoning Test
  • Pro Tips For The EPSO Numerical Reasoning Test
  • Pro Tips For The EPSO Abstract Reasoning Test

Others:

A WEALTH OF RESOURCES:

We try to cover the full spectrum of preparation.

JOIN AN EPSO COMMUNITY

There are many EPSO communities as well, different groups that you might want to join dedicated to these particular competitions

BOOKS
My books are relevant here too, there is an AST version which is more applicable in this competition.

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QUESTIONS PLEASE (49:50)

Q: Could I apply for both competitions, the AST and the AST-SC?
A: The answer is yes. Those are two separate competitions with their own codes. Those you can apply for both. Obviously, you need to qualify for both, in terms of education or professional experience. But if you think you have the right experience and qualifications for both then there is no limitation on the application. The limitation only applies for the AST where there are different profiles. There you have to pick just one profile out of the three.

 

Q: Do you think that if you mention a Master’s degree or PhD it could be considered being overqualified for this technical competition?
A: Well, this is a difficult thing. What comes to mind is that you may not be overqualified, or they may not even formally care that you’re overqualified, in the selection part. When you are applying and you put in whatever education you had, showing you went all the way up to PhD in this particular field, they may think you are overqualified, but in procedural terms what they are allowed to look at is if you have the minimum qualifications. They have not set a maximum qualification. They are not going to ask if you are overqualified. As long as you meet the minimum criteria then that’s it, you are eligible for the competition.

Once the selection process is over and recruitment starts, that’s where it might cause problems. Maybe the person hiring you doesn’t even have a PhD, and they want to hire a lab technician to work under them on technical tasks then they may not want to hire someone with a PhD in this particular field. They may have second thoughts about that. That’s why I’m saying in formal procedural terms it should not cause a problem, but in practical recruitment terms it might. But then again, are you going to deny having a PhD? It is a rather personal question, perhaps. Ask yourself: Do I really want to work in this particular job where I am actually vastly overqualified? Again, it’s more of a personal choice, imagine yourself in that situation when you do get an offer and you need to say yes or no, will you want to go ahead with it?

 

Q: The level of difficulty on the CBT tests, will it be the same as the AD5?
A: Typically no. Typically they do distinguish between the levels AST3 and AD5. Chances are that it will be somewhat easier given that it’s an AST competition.

 

Q:  Is SJT (Situational Judgement Test) part of the Assessment Centre?
A: The answer is no. It’s no longer part of the Assessment Centre. It used to be, but not anymore. For those who ever even heard of the SJT need not worry, this is not part of the Assessment Centre any longer.

 

THANK YOU FOR PARTICIPATING

If you are interested in follow-up questions, or something comes to mind that you’re wondering about feel free to ask us: support@support.eutraining.eu, We will be happy to follow up and happy to answer.

Thank you wholeheartedly for participating, thank you very much for being here. Do feel free to share all the resources and information we put out there for you. They are for the common good. You may be wondering if you should increase the number of your competitors, but if you have friends or colleagues who may be interested then please do pass it on to them.

Thank you again for dialing in from the four corners of Europe and perhaps even beyond, even if you’re watching the recording.

I wish you a lot of success in these competitions. These are great opportunities for those in the field and a lot of places on the Reserve List which gives a good indication of the great need the Institutions have. Once the competition concludes, chances are you’ll be hired quite fast.

Enjoy the rest of your day!

(PLEASE NOTE: The official source of information on EU competitions is the European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO). We at EU Training, however, do everything in our power to provide you with the most accurate and up-to-date information possible based on the official documents from EPSO.)