2022 Administrators and Experts in the Fields of Defence Industry and Space - Information Webcast

This is the complete recording and presentation of the 2022 Administrators and Experts in the Fields of Defence Industry and Space - Information Webcast

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INTRO - Introduction, greetings and sound check (00:00-03:25)

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)

Why don't we get started, we have about an hour, and I’ll be presenting about the competition for experts and administrators in the field of space and defence industry, which is a very special one and very unique. It’s a very new kind of field, a new topic. It's a new area for the European Union to be dealing with and to be hiring experts and administrators in this field.

You might know about my background, I’ve been involved with EU training for quite some time, and you might know the Ultimate EU Test Book which I authored and co-authored depending on which edition we are talking about and I used to work for the European Union and I have been dealing with EPSO exams for many years, over a decade.



You might be familiar with our company, with the services that we provide. We have a pretty robust community, over 100,000 candidates, former candidates, those interested in EU careers, EU jobs, any aspect of European career, and we have a lot of people following us or liking our page on Facebook - a very vivacious and active community. We also have a lot of materials to offer you, a lot of it is free, part of it is paid. There are a lot of packages.


There are 25,000 questions, perhaps even more by now, it could be already around 30,000 given that we offer verbal reasoning in all 24 EU official languages, we offer numerical reasoning, we offer all sorts of computer based tests, knowledge tests, EU knowledge tests, and all the rest, and interestingly almost 17 million questions have been used so far.


You can also watch the webinars, not just information sessions like the one we are having right now, which altogether add up to over 100 hours, but also a lot of instructions or instructor-led webinars and training courses that you can watch and use at your own pace. You can access those online, you can purchase some of them, others are free to use and a small fraction is also available on Youtube or other platforms.



With that, let's get started with the more substantive questions or with the more substantive part of the presentation as to where the work is going to be once you have successfully passed the selection tests and selection exam, you are invited to an interview and you are offered a job. When that happens, it might take around 6 to 9 months. It's a relatively long process, depending on your perspective because those of you who have been following EPSO developments (the European Personnel Selection Office exams) would know that sometimes it takes even longer, perhaps a year and a half, and because of COVID some exams have been going on for two years. That is not to discourage anyone, but to say that the 6 to 9 months that the exam will likely take, from now when its been launched and published until the reserve list on which your name will hopefully appear, it’s published and then you can be hired, recruited, so that takes close to a year but ideally a few months less, roughly 9 months as I said before.


When the recruitment happens that's a question where you might wanna end up working and it's not so much your choice in this particular competition, because it will only be Brussels that a European Commissioner Directorate-General would hire those who are on the Reserve List as a result of this particular competition. That particular DG is the Directorate-General for Defence Industry and Space called DEFIS, which is a very new Directorate-General in the European Commission. It shows the political administrative financial economic importance that the EU attributes to this particular field, when it comes to defence industry and space. Now this is not the only DG that will hire those who have passed this particular competition, so it could be maybe DG GROW which deals with the internal market or it could be another Directorate-General. But, essentially this is the number one DG that is looking to find permanent staff at the appropriate level that we will look at right now.



What is the application, what does the application process look like? So the application process, basically the first and the most important point here is, how many places there are available at the end of these competitions.


And that brings me to the very first point, that we are talking about, essentially two parallel competitions which have been announced together, so they have been announced at the same time, and there are two separate positions in each, but you can only apply to one of the fields and one grade. So you cannot pick, cannot choose more than one from these four options.


  • Administrators in the field of defence industry - 32
  • Administrators in the field of space - 35
  • Experts in the field of defence industry - 16
  • Experts in the field of space - 17

What you can see on the screen, essentially you have the administrators in the field of defence industry, and there are 32 places, and in the administrators in the field of space there are 35 places in the end, experts in the field of defence industry 16 places and experts in the field of space - 17 places and its at AD7 or AD9 levels. You need to choose based on your background work experience and other criteria that we are gonna cover which one you qualify for and which one suits your profile best.

If you have the luxury, that you have the sufficient number of years of experience that qualify you for a higher grade, so AD9 is the higher grade, then you can still apply for AD7 theoretically, but you need to make a choice, you cannot apply to both. If for any reason you decide that is more suitable for you, you can still do that downwards, but not upwards, given the number of years work experience that is required.

-------- I can see there are a couple of comments coming in… Here is one:

Q: Will DG DEFIS hire and onboard all the people on the Reserve List at the same time?

A: No, that is not going to be the case. Recruitment has to be understood as a separate phase from the selection process. Right now we are looking at the selection process, at the end of which there is a reserve list. Then once you are in the reserve list, it's up to the institution when they decide to invite you for a specific position or specific interview related to a specific position. When they do that and you show yourself to be fully qualified, then they can extend a job offer. That is obviously not going to happen at the same time for all the candidates or all the laureates who are on the reserve list. Probably it will take a couple of weeks, perhaps months and some people may be offered a job sooner, others later, but again, this is not going to happen all at the same time. So, hopefully that answers the question.



In terms of the number of places available, a couple of points. This is actually a pretty good number - however small or limited it might seem, it's a pretty good number when it comes to the number of vacancies or places on the reserve list available. Sometimes there are competitions with 5 or 10 or 15 people only available but this one, especially when it comes to the first parts in the defence industry and AD7 level, and then the space sector AD7 level, there are more places available.


Another point, a bit about the terminology: they talk about administrators and experts. It's a strange choice of words, to tell you the truth. I’ve been following EPSO exams for many years now and dealing with European Union issues, and the term expert appears in different contexts. Now, here we are talking about permanent officials, civil servants, but still they refer to the AD9 level as experts. And most likely the reason for that is they want subject matter experts, someone with a deep and very thorough industry knowledge in that particular field, This is by no means a generalist competition, this is a specialist competition, where, especially on higher levels they want those who really know this particular area, whether it's the defence industry or space.

-------- I can see from Guiseppe here is another question:

Q: If I apply to AD9, can I be redirected to AD7 by the selection committee?

A: That's a good question, sometimes they offer this possibility, so you wouldn't be disqualified or they wouldn't lose good candidates. I don't remember seeing this in the notice of competition, but it's something I will check and get back to you, but again, the Notice of Competition should explicitly say if that's the case. I don't remember that in this particular situation they offered it, which doesn’t mean it's not there, but again, this is something we’ll double check to make sure that I give you accurate information.


And by the way, I forgot to mention in the beginning, the legal caveat that whatever I tell you is obviously to the best of my knowledge and to the best of our understanding of all the information available and given our perspective and expertise. BUT this is not the official source of information, that is only the Notice of Competition, and that is only whatever the European Personnel Selection Office and specifically the selection board or selection committee is going to communicate to you that is the bible and the true source of information for you.


In terms of the deadline, 19th of July , so you have a little over a month (at the time of this webinar’s live broadcast) to get your application drafted and submitted, everything happens online. By the way we also offer assistance for this, that's a paid service, so if you are interested in getting our advice or guidance to fill out the talent screener, which is something we are gonna look at in a moment. Or if you have dilemmas or questions: if it's just a one off technical kind question, we are happy to answer that, no problems, send us a message and we will get back to you, that's obviously a free service. But if you want one of our experts to have a look at your application, take a look at its complexity and give you guidance and advice, you can let us know just make sure you do that in time, because we get a lot of these requests close to the deadline. Bottom line, make sure you fill out everything, don't leave it to the last moment, because there could be technical problems or you might be held up for whatever reason and the point is that you jump this very easy hurdle, keeping to the deadline.



Now, the most important, perhaps one of THE most important questions in the context of any competition, is really whether you are eligible. And as we will see, there are different parts of eligibility, in the context of every competition, and the case is the same here.


  • You must have EU citizenship
  • Completed military service requirements
  • Meet the character requirements of the job

You have certain general conditions, the ones you see on the screen, being an EU citizen, make sure you do have a character requirement that is needed for the job. I can easily imagine that this particular job, meaning when they extend a job offer to you, might require some national security or other security clearance - make sure that is not going to be a hurdle. And number three - that you have completed the military service requirements if that is compulsory in the country that you are coming from or the country of your passport and that doesn't cause any trouble.


You have more specific, call it more subjective or specific, conditions of eligibility. Part of it is the language part and then part of it will be about your job or work experience. In terms of the language part, it's quite straightforward, as it is in most competitions recently. We make a distinction between language 1 and language 2.


  • Language 1 is one, any of the EU’s 24 official languages.
  • You can choose Maltese, and you can choose Irish (Gaelic), you can choose Estonian, you can choose Romanian, you can choose Italian, whatever language you speak pretty much fluently, which is independent from the passport that you hold.
  • Me, as a Hungarian, I could easily choose English, or I could choose Finnish, if I spoke Finnish, but this is to make the point that this is independent from the country of your passport. It's entirely up to you which of the 24 you choose as language 1.
  • The reason why that is important, as you will see in a moment, is that some of the competitions or the tests will be conducted in that particular language.


  • And then you have Language 2, which must be different from Language 1, and one of these languages must be English.
  • That's a pretty easy choice for most people, given their background for others who are polyglots, and speak many languages, well for them perhaps it's a more difficult dilemma, but certainly a good one, to make sure how they optimise their choice.
  • If you really speak multiple languages or if your mother tongue, which is an EU official language, and you speak English, and perhaps one more, you want to make sure that the tests, that you will be required to sit in Language 1, you choose a language that you master best.
  • You choose a language in which you can read and write and communicate fluently. And then you can choose perhaps as language 2, English.

And this is also interesting, where French is not being mentioned, again interesting, because in the past it was usually English or French in this particular case they chose English and lets hope there is no legal issue around it. Hopefully EPSO and their staff have checked all of the legal parts regarding the equality of languages and equal access of all European Union citizens to be able to access these opportunities.


Here comes the tricky part with the qualifications. In the qualifications you can see, we are going to cover Field 1 first and you can see as I am looking at the screen to make sure I provide you all the accurate information and all of you can see that as well. When it comes to AD7, AD9 in the Defence Industry, so that's the first field, Defence Industry administrators are AD7 or Experts are AD9. There are two scenarios as you can see:


  • You either have a university studies of 4 years in anything, Attested by a diploma, and 6 years of relevant experience. If you are a linguist, if you are a lawyer, if you are an economist, if you are an agronomist, that's fine, as long as you have an officially recognized degree that lasted at least 4 years, then you will qualify on that level, and then you need to prove the existence of 6 years of relevant work experience. That's scenario 1.
  • Or if your underlying university degree is 3 years, then you need to prove 7 years of relevant work experience.

In terms of how you prove it, often they would not request these documents throughout the competition itself, but certainly you do declarations on honour - giving your word. If ever they request official documents to prove the points and the claims that you made, you need to be ready to provide the documentation. This might be different, they might request the documents already now, we’ll see how they actually approach it in this particular competition. By and large, a declaration of honour would be sufficient throughout the exam, but you need to be ready to offer the documents.


And then looking at the field of space, a very similar concept but the numbers are slightly different.

  • 4 years of studies and then followed by 10 years of professional experience, that is relevant to the task and the job description that they list in the notice of competition.
  • Scenario 2: 3 years qualification and then 11 years of relevant experience. If you have a degree in chemistry and then you work 11 years in the European space agency, that will most likely be sufficient.

This is the kind of combination where you can have an underlying degree in any field whatsoever, but the work experience has to be relevant to the job and the tasks at hand.


Experience for both grades will be considered relevant and they give this definition of what is relevant work experience, it's not too long, but still a rather broad list of areas that they would consider relevant, you can see it's about

  • R&D and procurement
  • Defence industrial policy and/or in the space domain, not limited to space R&D, it could go beyond it
  • Space economics
  • Space law
  • Sat nav systems

It has to be connected to the duties that are listed in the Notice of Competition as mentioned before.


I see that there are quite a lot of questions that are coming in, and before I start telling you why this is a great opportunity, assuming you’re not already convinced, let me look at a couple of questions:

Q: How long does the reserve list last?

A: The default rule is that the reserve list lasts one year and during that time everyone on the reserve list who wants to be hired, will be hired. Now in some cases this is not possible for one reason or another. Then there is a legal possibility to extend the validity of the reserve list. Also in specialist competitions like this one, reserve lists can be valid for 2 years or longer, given the nature of the exam, the duties, the job, and all the rest. This should not be a concern that you have passed the competition and you are not hired, unless you yourself decide that you don’t want to be hired because you change your mind in the meantime.


Q: In the call it is mentioned that an AD9 candidate could be invited to AD7. Do you know how it works?

A: Apparently someone looked it up, thank you very much, this was where my uncertainty was expressed. Iit seems in this competition also there is this opportunity for someone who applied for AD9, but the Selection Board found they are not qualified for AD9, they then can be transferred or called in to the AD7 if they are open to that opportunity. That's a pretty good way, a good opportunity by legally opening the path, that despite your applying for a higher grade, where you did not qualify, they can say that ok, it seems that you are fitting the bill for AD7 instead.

Response from EU Training Support - This is what we found regarding AD9 to AD7. It is in the NoC point 4.3.2.

Eligibility check: If the Selection Board considers that a candidate for AD 9 grade does not meet the eligibility requirements for that grade, it can reassign the candidate’s application to grade AD 7 in the same field provided that the following conditions are met:

  • According to the data in the application, the candidate concerned meets the eligibility requirements for grade AD 7 and
  • the candidate concerned gave consent in the application form for reassignment to grade AD 7. In cases of reassignment, the candidate will be considered as candidate for grade AD 7 for the remainder of the competition."


Q: Does a PhD in earth observation count as relevant experience?

A: Wow, I’ve never heard about earth observation as a topic, sounds pretty fascinating. I have a hard time telling you yes, or no. Making sure that I don't overstep my mandate here - presumably yes, to me, it does sound like it, whether the selection panel is going to consider that as relevant experience, it's entirely up to their judgement. And I think a lot depends on what this particular PHD included. Earth observation as in, is it the space in general, or is it about maybe, I don't know, climate change? It really depends on what that actually included, and if you are in a situation like this, not just this particular person who asked this question, but if anyone else has doubts whether their background or qualifications might meet those criteria, make sure you provide a lot of details, and to some degree you need to argue your case, you need to provide extra information or say this is what I wrote my thesis on, or these were the particular subjects that I studied. You need to put all of that into the documentation, so they have a better idea and can make a better judgement that you qualify for the competition.


Q: How is the relevance of experience calculated? The text mentions defence or space. Can I sum up the experience in defence and space to calculate the relevant experience requested for AD9 or AD7, (whatever field is chosen)?

A: Not sure I fully understand the question, but if your experience is kind of mixed in these two areas, I think you probably need to pick one, given that you need to choose one of the 4 fields, and then argue your case why your background meets those criteria, given the fact that they say defence and/or space, I think in your particular case this should not be a problem. And again, just by quickly looking at this I give you my very first intuition, my very first understanding of this, but this might be a question that needs to be looked at in more depth.



Looking at why this is a great opportunity , I’m pretty sure many of you are fully convinced already, but for others, who are wondering:

  • Certainly the salaries are very attractive and at AD7 level that's around 5 000-5 500 euros, on AD9 level its around 8 000 euro net per month,
  • There are pretty good benefits with health insurance, with European schools, with couple of other perks that come with the job,
  • Working on exciting and fascinating areas on the European level and especially in a policy area that is so new for the EU, where there is more emphasis and there is more support given to this area, I think this is a very good time to be dealing with these issues. This is good timing to get involved in a relatively new and interesting area.



How do you get one of these jobs? How do you get on the reserve list to get the job?


  • Eligibility declaration
  • Pick your Language 1 & 2 (One of these must be English)
  • Submit the application in any of the 24 EU languages, on time!
  • BUT the TALENT SCREENER needs to be filled out in English

19 JULY 2022

Now, certainly, step one is making sure that you fill out all the forms and everything that is required of you online. You get the eligibility declaration, you choose language 1 and language 2, making sure that you properly consider those aspects that I’ve described. You submit your application in one of the 24 official EU languages. Perhaps you might want to choose English, it's up to you, because you have, legally speaking, the right to submit the application in any of the 24. Then when it gets to the talent screener, then it has to be in English, and when we speak a little bit about the talent screener, what that is and how you can optimise your score. Make sure that you fill it all out by the 19th of July - a little over a month from the date of this live broadcast


When it gets to step number two, that's the Talent Screener. What is a Talent Screener? Why does it matter? How can you optimise your score? That is the crucial part to make sure that you convince and persuade the Selection Board panellists or members that you are fit for this particular competition.


The talent screener is basically a set of questions that you need to answer comprehensively. It's not a survey, it's not a simple Q&A form. It's essentially a screening tool, where they try to evaluate and try to assess whether you have the right background and the right experience to qualify for this particular competition. Now, how it's being scored, scoring is very straightforward, usually you have around 8 to 10 questions and each question can get 1 to 3 or sometimes 1 to 5 points, which they then add up and turn that into an overall score.


Simply asking this question is already a step forward. You may not otherwise have thought about the possibility that you can actually optimise your score. Many candidates think, here are the questions. I'm gonna fill that out and that's it, and hope for the best, but it goes a little beyond that. You can actually increase the points that you have and optimise the points that you get. A couple of tips to that effect:

  • Try to answer yes, to as many questions as you can, obviously being truthful and being honest at the same time. They ask you: do you have experience, in I don't know, dealing with space technology, I am completely layman when it comes to this field, so forgive me if my examples are a bit silly, again, when they ask you a yes or no question, try to answer yes, and try to make the point that you do have the experience there. Obviously if there are some nuggets of information that you can put forward as positive arguments.
  • You probably want to provide a lot of valuable information, and be very comprehensive, but then making those good judgement calls, what you leave out and what you put in, being to the point and not talking too much or writing too much. We’ve seen so many talent screeners over the years, where candidates write a full novel about their life and about their background. That is not whats needed, it has to be to the point, it has to be formatted, in the way that the assessors can quickly scan it and they can quickly look through it to find keywords that they are looking for, some jargon maybe and technical terms, which show that you have that particular experience.
  • Often candidates write very abstract answers, it's not concrete enough, there are no dates, there is no word about achievements or results, or the specific projects you worked on, or budgets that you have dealt with and it's just too high level, saying, well I have been dealing with this particular area for so many years, and I have great expertise - this doesn't say anything. Make sure that you are very concrete,
  • If some questions in the talent screener resemble one another, you probably want to make sure that you don't just copy / paste your previous answer, but you spend enough time to reformulate and make it applicable and make it relevant to that particular question.
  • And then readability plays a large role here. You want to make sure the formatting, the bullet points, the numbers, the headers are actually helping the assessors to score your application. And let me add a footnote, there are plans, and there is chance, maybe not in this competition yet, but soon enough, there will be some automated tools, computer assisted, or call it artificial intelligence but maybe doesn't go that far, some algorithmic way of scoring talent screeners and not human assessors doing it. In that case the structure is going to be really important, not because of the visual aspect, but that an algorithm can properly read it. Putting in the key words and dates and relevant information that is easy to process, easy to analyse.
  • And then going further, also think about the talent screener a tiny bit as a motivation letter. It doesn't have to be so emotive and you don't want to talk so much about your motivation to work for these institutions or the European Commission in particular, but you do want to make sure that you present your background in a way that speaks to the Notice of Competition, the Annex 1, where they list of tasks and duties, they want you to work on. Make sure whatever you have in your background, that it corresponds to whatever they are looking for, not just ‘I did this, I did that, I have that experience and this experience’. It has to be connected to the job, not so much the job description but job profile description.
  • As mentioned already, the institutions are fairly jargon-, terminology- and keyword-driven, they want to see the terminology that they use. If you are coming from industry, or you worked in another government agency and you apply for this position, try to look around the DG’s, the Directorate-General’s, website. Read their annual report, try to look around and see what kind of terminology, words, expressions, terms do they use? And try to use those in your application
  • Not only do we have one-on-one or personal consulting coaching services, there is also a webinar I did some time ago: Everything You Need To Know About EPSO's Talent Screener. That’s available on our website as a recording, it's still very much relevant for this particular competition.


Let me pause here for a second before we look at the assessment centre phase. I see many questions are coming in:

Q: How does someone prove on the last question on the talent screener, that they have 7 or 10 years degree in this sector? I was a bit puzzled here.

A: You certainly don’t have a 7 or 10 year degree, but you might have 7 or 10 years work experience in the sector. Now how do you prove that? Well, you can say that I worked in this particular sector or organisation in this and this role for three years and these were my duties. Then 4 years here and then 3 years there. Basically that adds up, and that is all relevant, and kind of proves the point. I understand that given the nature of the task, and it's a little open, R&D and it's a vast area, dealing with it from an academic perspective and that's also vast. It is hard to really paint that concrete picture that they are looking for but you need to make those points by giving the details of your background and it all should add up to 7 or 10 or 11 years.


Q: If someone is an officer in a member state’s air force, a pilot for more than 20 years and holds a master of science and a phd, are they eligible?

A: Pretty impressive! Well, a member state’s air force? I would as an outsider be making an educated guess, that sounds pretty relevant to me. If you are in the air force in the accounting department, that may not be. But if you are in the air force and you are dealing with technical matters or machine maintenance or you are a pilot and you are flying these jets and you have experience with space and defence, and just flying of these amazing vehicles, but also in policy - a political sense, then that sounds pretty relevant to this particular profile.


Q: Do I have to prove in each question in the talent screener that I have the requested years of experience or simply overall in the topic?

A: Now, again, it depends on the questions in the talent screener. If that's a question that they require you to prove that number of years of experience, yes. Then some questions they really look at your background or your studies or your profile and other aspects of your application, so again, answer the question to the best of your abilities.


Q: How do you frame your PHD experience as a work experience? Normally the EU recognizes funded PHD as work experience for recruitment purposes.

A: Yes, usually that's the case, when a funded PHD would typically by default be recognized as work experience, so I hope, for Alexandra, that answers your question.



The Assessment Centre is where those who have been shortlisted on the basis of the talent screener will be invited to. The number of people invited to the assessment centre is typically three times the number of places on the reserve list. You saw how many places there were for AD7 for AD9. If it was 36 in one of the profiles, you do the math, and it will be roughly, 100-110 people who will be invited for that particular competition and segment to the assessment centre. The location of the assessment centre has been online. There's not been an in-person assessment centre for almost two years, since covid started. We will see how that develops, so they might do an assessment centre in Brussels, but it’s not yet sure.


In terms of what you need to do in the assessment centre, it is quite typical, classic, straightforward. First you need to do a CBT:

  • Computer based tests, which are abstract, verbal and numerical reasoning tests. These are the classic kind of psychometric tests that we also offer in all languages on our website and the EPSO has been using forever.
  • You need to do an Oral Presentation, which in an online setting is slightly different. It was actually just last week that we did a webinar with tips and tricks on how to Master the Oral Presentation with lots of ideas of how you can come across as best as you can through the camera.
  • Then there is an SCBI, which is a situational competency based interview. This is a special kind of interview with a background document scenario and they ask you questions in relation to that information pack.
  • You have field-related tests or field-related assessments, which are conducted in English. There are two tests there, one is the Field-Related Interview. That is an interview broadly based on the talent screener, but not limited to it as such. They can ask anything about your professional background, or your knowledge in the field. That's where they truly check that you meet all the criteria, the professional substantive criteria that they have outlined.
  • And then there is a written test in the field, which is most likely going to happen online through a computer at your home or wherever you wish to take it.

There are essentially these five tests, so just to recap: The reasoning tests, the situational competency based interview (SCBI), the oral presentation (OP), then you have the field related interview (FRI), and the written test (WT). That package is the assessment centre.

If everything goes well, and why wouldn't it, you are placed on the reserve list after a ranking, right? That's the reason why you have all these tests. You are given points, and then there is a ranking. The 3 to 1 ratio will be then 1 to 1, that's how many people are placed on the reserve list.


  • Verbal reasoning - LANGUAGE 1 - 20 QUESTIONS - 35 MINUTES
  • Abstract reasoning - LANGUAGE 1 - 10 QUESTIONS - 10 MINUTES
  • Numerical reasoning - LANGUAGE 1 - 10 QUESTIONS - 20 MINUTES

What do these computer-based exams look like? Most of you will likely be familiar with this, you can do practise tests on our site, EPSO’s website and everywhere else. This is held as part of the assessment centre, so it's not a pre-selection tool, it's part of the assessment centre as I just described, in official EU language other than English, so basically, your chosen language, depending on which one is not English.

  • Verbal reasoning, just to quickly run through, those of you who may not have seen it yet, it's really a reasoning test, it's not selected on purely linguistic comprehension, but there is a bit of logic to it. You need to make logical assumptions and deductions and find the correct answer, and then you have 35 minutes and 20 questions, which is a pretty challenging exercise but absolutely possible with a bit of practice.
  • Then you have numerical reasoning, it's the counting based on a table and charts. You have interpretation, reasoning, estimation, calculation. Here you have 20 minutes and 10 questions, so you have two minutes per question. Again, might be a bit challenging, but absolutely doable, and then you have the
  • Abstract reasoning, where you need to find the next one in the sequence, which is 10 minutes and 10 questions.






Now, the pass mark is interesting here. I need to cheat because this is different in every competition, you can see there for the verbal reasoning you need to get at least 10 points, so 10 out of 20. Then you have the numerical and the abstract - they combine these two and the pass mark has to be 10 and 20. Which means you can completely fail in numerical reasoning and pass all the questions in abstract and still go to the next stage or vice versa. Again, this is not that difficult but you want to make sure that you jump that hurdle, and make sure that you do this properly. Right? You need to have at least 20 points combined.




And then going on, when it comes to the assessment centre, what they do there essentially they measure your general competencies. There are 8 competencies that they evaluate you upon, so these are communication skills or competency working with others, competency in resilience, competency on delivering quality results. There are a couple of others which are publicly available. And again, they don't test it directly saying let me test your resilience, but through the tests that I have outlined, the written test, the oral presentation, the interview in the field, and all the others, so that is the tool, the method, through which they evaluate these points. And then you have the subject matter knowledge, the field related knowledge where you need to get 50 points out of 100, which is necessary, but not always sufficient, because there is a competition between candidates, so you need to get the highest score. You need to get as many points there as you can.


Q: I may have misunderstood, can you clarify? The verbal, numerical and abstract reasoning, cannot be in English?

A: That's correct, it cannot be in English, it has to be in another language. SO the abstract, numerical, verbal reasoning test has to be in another language, not English.


Alright, going on, this is just to emphasise the point that there is a ranking. It's not just getting the pass mark, but there is a ranking, where they compare candidates scores, and that's how they establish the top 36, 15, whatever number on the reserve list they want the top number of candidates.




Once you are on the reserve list, we spoke on the validity earlier on, and then there is recruitment if all goes well.




And a couple of tips, how do you actually get through all of these challenges and exam phases?

You probably want to practice. And this mostly refers to the assessment centre part. Because for the talent screener you want to use those ideas to properly put together your talent screener.

However, once you reach the assessment centre phase, I very much advise you to practice a lot. Both, the online computer based tests, but also practise for the other parts, the interview, the written test. There are a lot of methods and best practices that I think will be very helpful, and we have webinars for that, we have coaches, group classes, we have all sorts of tools that we make available for all interested candidates.

Look at the methodology, because there are a lot of best practices, good ideas, good methods that you can adapt and apply to succeed.

Being persistent is key, given the relatively long timeline I have mentioned earlier, and making sure you don't give up halfway, or say that this is taking too long, or simply I am no longer interested.

And doing the simulations perhaps with a colleague or with a friend or with a coach online and mastering these methods, so you can perform really well at the exam, and we are very happy to help you in that journey and provide you with all the tools that you might need as I said there are a lot of materials and resources, free and paid simulation tests and evaluation services, workshops, webinars, free and paid, there are a lot of tools on our websites on eutraining.eu. And really make use of these, you can download the ebooks, you can get access to all these online and offline tools, and send us a message if you have any questions or you are stuck with something.


And you might want to join the community on Facebook, which we created for this particular competition, it's called SPACE AND DEFENCE COMPETITION - EPSO EXAMS - there are fellow candidates and others that you can discuss news, rumours, updates, ideas with.

Then you might wanna look at the books that are available, my The Ultimate EU Test Book Administrators 2020, and then there is another one for the Assessment Centre specifically, which we updated last year, in light of the COVID and the online developments.



Q: Are there case study simulations related to space and defence?
A: I don't think we have any right now. Actually, what I know for sure is we do not have competition-specific, meaning no space and defence, specific case studies. The case study is more about the method of how you process information, how you write a summary, how you handle this particular exam, but it's not specific to a specialist competition. I don't think we’ll put together a file specifically for space and defence, it's more about, as I said, the method of addressing a case study challenge.

Q: Do you know the calendar of the test? Will they start before the summer break?
A: I think it's almost certain, it's not going to start before the summer break, given that 19th of July is the deadline to apply and then essentially most institutions and others will go on holiday, so basically you cannot reasonably expect any test or exam or update before late August or perhaps even later.

Q: A relevant experience obtained until the 19th of July counts?
A: Yes, I think that the cut off date is probably the application deadline for you to have gathered the relevant experience. If maybe even those days count, to make sure that adds up then you probably want to make sure that you send in your application maybe the day before.

Q: Do you provide customised training for the competition?
A: Yes, so, I think Rita has already answered that, we are and will be providing customised training for this particular competition.
*EU Training support: Watch this space! We will be holding training sessions for the Reasoning Skills computer-based tests as well as for the other parts of the assessment centre. We will be publishing these here, on our website towards the end of July 2022.

Q: Are the questions during the test more difficult for AD9 then for AD7?
A: The abstract, verbal, numerical tests might be a little more difficult. The tests themselves, the actual questions. And I say might, because it's not always the case. In some cases when there is a competition in AD5 and AD7 level, they sometimes differentiate in the contents in the actual abstract, verbal, numerical reasoning tests difficulty. I say it might be the case here as well, but it's not a certainty. The difference between these two is really the official requirements or work experience, and then in terms of the actual exercise that they will require you to do might differ as well. The written tests or the way they conduct the field related interview might be different. Whether the actual computer based tests are more difficult for AD9, again, it might be, but not necessarily.

Q: How long is the overall process supposed to last for publications and selection?
A: So that's what I meant in the beginning, roughly 6 to 9 months, and again, with a lot of caveats, whether that timeline is feasible, whether EPSO can stick to it, or there is a new COVID wave, lot of uncertainties there, but roughly the 9 months is the ballpark.

Q: How many people do you think will apply?
A: If I knew that I would be a millionaire or a lottery winner. It's so hard to tell, my guess would be maybe 5 to 10 times as many as on the reserve list. I could be really way off, I could be way off on either side, because defence and space sounds very interesting. But how many people in some countries meet the official criteria? How many of you who have 7-10 years of experience are interested in maybe moving to Brussels, if not already here and then starting a new career. There's just so many variables, really I have a hard time even guessing.

Q: Could there be positions related to EU External Relations in terms of defence or space?
A: Yes, to your point, as I said it's not just the directorate general for defence and space that is going to hire staff, but it's also other EU institutions possibly, and it might as well be external relations, DG Trade or other related directorate-generals.

Q: Is it possible to apply to both AD7 and AD9 competitions?
A: No, so you need to choose one. You might recall at the beginning there are 4 areas, 2 main domains, each having two of AD7-AD9. The other one as well, the space and the defence and you need to pick one. Now, as we kind of concluded earlier, if you apply for AD9 and do not qualify for it, but you qualify for AD7 then they might offer you that transition into AD7. But again that would be more of a risky bet, you probably wanna make a good choice that you fully qualify for.



So with that, thank you so much for being here and thank you so much for the questions. Thank you so much to our staff who have supported this.

We will help with anything we can - please let us know, here is our email address, so just message us and we will be happy to point you to the right resource or direction or information.

Good luck everyone, and I'm not saying see you in space, but hopefully see you in Brussels! Wishing you a very successful preparation for this competition. Thanks for being here.