This is the complete recording and presentation of the 2022 Heads of Administration in EU Delegations - Information Webcast
- Presentation slides
- Transcript - click here
- You can apply here: https://epso.europa.eu/en/job-opportunities/heads-administration-eu-delegations
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COMPUTER-BASED TEST PREPARATION:
- Beginner’s Guide To The EPSO Verbal Reasoning Test - FREE
- Pro Tips For The EPSO Verbal Reasoning Test
- Beginner’s Guide To The EPSO Numerical Reasoning Test - FREE
- Pro Tips For The EPSO Numerical Reasoning Test
- Maths Refresher For Numerical Reasoning
- Beginner’s Guide To The EPSO Abstract Reasoning Test - FREE
- Pro Tips For The EPSO Abstract Reasoning Test
- Beginner’s Guide To The EPSO Language Comprehension Test - FREE
- Master the EPSO Computer-Based Test (online training) - see when our next session is coming up!
ASSESSMENT CENTRE PREPARATION:
- Introduction To The EPSO Assessment Centre - FREE
- Info on the new Online Assessment Centre format - FREE
- EPSO Case Study Exam Insights
- EPSO Case Study Simulations (with the option of Evaluation)
- EPSO Competency-Based Interview Insights
- Personal Coaching services for each stage of the EPSO selection process
Transcript Quick Links
INTRO - Introduction, greetings and sound check (00:00-04:25)
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)
Legal disclaimer: We are going to provide you with information that is as accurate as possible, but EU Training is not the official source of information. Please always read the Notice of Competition, which is the Bible of European career exams.
ABOUT EU TRAINING (04:25)
We have been in business for more than 15 years. Our community has grown to over 100,000 candidates, registered users, and thousands of members who have already become EU officials, which we are very proud of. If you are on Facebook, please check out our community, we have over 56,000 people in various facebook groups, which you might want to join to receive tips and useful information.
We have just released two useful resources regarding EPSO. One of them is an ebook, about the new EPSO Competency Framework, which relates to the Assessment Centre’s new competencies. The other one is about the new EPSO system and the reform of the selection procedure, which is underway and will be done in stages. By reading these you will get a clear idea of what's coming. Not a radical change but various steps in the process will be finetuned.
This particular competition has not been changed, it is already released and is pretty much carved in stone, not subject to change.
We offer a variety of test packages. Our database has over 25,000 questions in 24 languages and over 17 million test questions generated through our platform.
We have over 100 hours - close to 200 - of webinars like this one, with over 10,000 participants. These are methodological webinars on abstract/numerical/verbal reasoning, different aspects of the Assessment Centre, and a very wide selection of topics.
WHERE WILL YOU WORK? (08:40)
PLACE OF WORK: EEAS - EUROPEAN EXTERNAL ACTION SERVICE
For most competitions this is a pretty straight forward answer but for this particular competition it's different as the Delegations are outside of the EU. There is a pretty diverse range of representation, it really covers the entire world, there are only a few countries where the EU does not have a representation.
All of these are potential places of work for this competition.
This is a pretty standard EPSO competition, where you have to do the Talent Screener and the various steps afterwards.
GRADE AST4 - 40 POSITIONS
40 positions are available on the Reserve List, which is a pretty solid number of places.
In terms of the salary, we have a salary estimation calculator on our website, but my estimation would be 3,000-3,500 EUR net per month, depending on in which country you get the position and your family status.
Your application has to be placed sooner than later, just make sure you do not leave it to the last minute as there might be some circumstances or technical difficulties that might prevent you from sending it in at the last minute. Make sure you finalise your application a couple days before the deadline.
Make a draft, work on it, come back to it a couple days/weeks later and work on it some more. I am not just speaking about the application but the Talent Screener itself as well, because it takes a bit of time to maximise it into its best possible form. This will have a major effect on whether you pass to the next level or not.
ARE YOU ELIGIBLE? (14:05)
You have to meet the objective and subjective criteria to qualify for this competition.
They are pretty straightforward and are the same for every EU competition.
- You must have EU citizenship, meaning you must hold a passport from one of the 27 EU member states.
- You need to have completed military service, if that's a precondition in your particular country as in some countries it is still obligatory.
- Meet the character requirements of the job - you might be subject to some security clearance, given the sensitive nature of this particular job.
How can you get a security clearance? It is not really your concern, as this should be given and they will basically take care of that as the EU institutions are in touch with national authorities, the relevant services in your country, which can provide that information to the EU institutions.
For every EPSO competition you have to pick Language 1 AND Language 2.
- Can be any of the EU’s 24 official languages (minimum C1 level).
- You need to be pretty much fluent in this language. This is completely independent from your passport. For example I could be an Estonian citizen and pick Portuguese as Language 1, as long as I have the fluency and the written ability in that particular language.
This is very important:
- Must be English OR French (minimum B2 level), you have to pick one which you can speak with the greatest ease, let's say you can participate in a live interview in this language.
- Has to be different from Language 1
- This will be the language in which you have to sit the Assessment Centre.
For example, me, as a Hungarian, could choose Hungarian as Language 1 and French as Language 2. Or Language 1 - English, Language 2 - French.
If you have the luxury to choose multiple languages because you are a polyglot, then as Language 1 choose the one which you can process easily and Language 2 in which you can actively express yourself the best.
LANGUAGE 1 AND 2 MUST BE DIFFERENT.
This could be the tricky part as there are essentially 2 scenarios.
- A level of post-secondary education of at least 2 years attested by a diploma in one of the following areas: law, business administration, human resources management, finance, accounting, logistics, building management or engineering, followed by at least 6 years of relevant professional experience related to the duties of described in ANNEX I.
- A level of secondary education attested by a diploma giving access to post-secondary education, followed by at least 9 years of relevant professional experience relevant to the duties described in ANNEX I.
In terms of the post-secondary degree, you could have a bachelor or masters degree but not necessarily, as long as you have two years of studies with an official certificate or diploma that qualifies you for the post, that's good enough.
The tricky part is to know whether your degree qualifies you for the job, when it was issued outside of the EU. In this case you need to have a homologation of your degree to make sure it can be translated into an EU qualification.
The concept of relevant work experience is that it will be properly judged and evaluated by the selection board whether that certain experience is relevant, so you will have to make your case to assure them that whatever experience you have gained is relevant for this particular position.
I can see some questions coming in:
Q: Is there any constraint for CA (Contract Agent) applying for this AST?
A: For those of you who are not familiar with the jargon, if you are a Contract Agent then you are hired on a fixed (relatively short-term) contract, does that impact in any way your chances to succeed or to apply for this particular competition? The answer is no. Anyone who meets these criteria can apply for this competition. It's an open competition and whatever your status might be right now, you can apply.
Q: What about a degree in economics?
A: Presumably that fits, if it's, finance, accounting, logistics, law, business administration, to me whether it's a bachelor degree or Master's degree, almost certainly that fits the bill.
Q: I do not understand qualifications. If I have an Italian masters degree in political science, is that relevant as education?
A: It almost certainly is, political science is close to business administration, I am pretty sure you had some subjects related to law, therefore I would quite confidently say (not 100% sure), that it is a relevant degree, especially if you have a BA or MA, that certainly meets the criteria.
Q: If someone doesn't have any EU institution experience, but does have experience in the private sector, like academia, can you apply?
A: Of course you can apply, by all means, as this is not an internal competition where you need to have a certain status and/or experience from inside an EU institution. This is an open competition. The question is, what are your chances?
Let me separate two things: one is the formal criteria and the other one is your chances of securing a job.
The first one is pretty straight forward, because it's everything I am describing here, as long as you meet the criteria and pass the test. Your work in the private sector, as long as it is relevant to the nature of the tasks, means you don't need to have worked in the EU institutions to have gained relevant work experience.
Once you pass the competition, recruitment begins and the delegations would like to hire you because you were successful in this competition. This is a more delicate question, whether your experience is really the one they are looking for in order to hire you. There is a webinar we did some time ago, on how to get a job once you are on the Reserve List. I share a lot of ideas there on how to turn your place on the Reserve List into an actual job. Hopefully that answers your question.
Q: Are some languages in Language 1 more valuable?
A: It's not about the equality of the languages. On one degree it has no impact on your actual application, if that's your mother tongue and you are really solid in that one. The reason I am a little conflicted or hesitant to answer this, is at the point of employment, as long as you declare information about the other languages that you speak, you need to make your case that you are really competent in other languages as well.
Whether you choose a more widely spoken language or not, I dont think it's going to have any negative impact. Having said that, if you speak multiple languages, I suggest as Language 1 that you consider choosing a language that is more widely spoken. But it's not supposed to disadvantage you in any way if you put, let's say, Maltese, which is a wonderful language, however, not so widely spoken.
We will get to more questions later.
WHY IS THIS A GREAT OPPORTUNITY? (31:10)
I probably do not need to convince most of you, not just because the salaries are attractive, but there are other great benefits as well.
- ATTRACTIVE SALARIES
- 3 000-3 500 euros net per month
- GOOD BENEFITS
- Health insurance and access to European schools
- Working for European institutions around the world can be a wonderful experience, as most of the other jobs are in the headquarters.
- Working on interesting international projects and supporting the work of these institutions.
HOW TO GET ONE OF THESE JOBS? (32:00)
This is probably the main question on everyone's mind. After you filled out all the documents, ticked the right boxes, answered all the questions and handed in your application what comes next?
STEP 1 - APPLICATION PROCESS
- Eligibility declaration
- Pick your Language 1 & 2
- Submit the application in any of the 24 EU languages, on time!
- BUT the Talent Screener needs to be in either English or French.
Think carefully about each step of the competition. Make sure that when you prepare, you only focus on the next step.
STEP 2 - CBT Reasoning Skills Exams
These are the multiple-choice, Computer-Based Tests
- Verbal reasoning
- Abstract reasoning
- Numerical reasoning
LANGUAGE 1 - 20 QUESTIONS / 35 MINUTES
It's a reasoning exercise, which is not about reading comprehension, it's about logic and thinking, based on a text. 20 questions in 35 minutes and you need to do certain logical steps to get to the right answer. You need to make deductions, or understand what is a possibility, what's a fact, how the information inside the text compares to its own inherent logic, and then say which statement is the true one. You have to pick one out of four options.
LANGUAGE 1 - 10 QUESTIONS/20 MINUTES
It's based on a chart, numerical information, and you need to do either a full calculation or an estimation. You will have a calculator available on the screen, which helps, but your enemy is not so much the complexity of the test, but rather the time, as you have to answer 10 questions in 20 minutes.
LANGUAGE 1 - 10 QUESTIONS/10 MINUTES
This is usually the least favourite for most people. It's about finding the logic in how certain shapes and forms move, how they compare to each other and then finding the next one in the sequence.
The good news is that the scoring for this competition is relatively easy.
Each of these tests has a certain scoring. The pass mark is enough, so you are not competing against other candidates.
|VERBAL REASONING||NUMBERICAL REASONING||ABSTRACT REASONING|
|0 / 20||0 / 10||0 / 10|
PASS MARK - 20/40
You need to attain the pass mark in this exam to be invited to Eligibility check.
Total possible score is 40 and you need to have 20 to pass. Even if you completely mess up the abstract reasoning you can still make it up by getting enough points in the other two, so it's not incredibly difficult. .
CBT scores will NOT be added to your final Assessment Centre score. This is only a hurdle that you need to pass.
STEP 3 - TALENT SCREENER (37:30)
When all this is done, that's when the Talents Screener and the Eligibility check come into play - whether your profile, your background and experience makes you eligible for this particular competition.
The candidates that make it through the Eligibility check and get the highest scores will be invited to the Assessment Centre.
This is a very important part so you want to make sure that all your answers really convey a message that you have the right profile and you should pass to the next phase of the competition.
WHAT IS THE TALENT SCREENER?
It's usually scored from 0 to 3 points per question, which they will add up for the overall Talent Screener.
HOW DO YOU MAXIMISE YOUR TALENT SCREENER SCORE?
There are a couple of best practises, a couple of good ideas, we also have a dedicated webinar on this, but I am going to share a couple of points:
A FEW TIPS:
- Try to answer ‘YES’ as much as possible, but obviously you want to be truthful and accurate, you do not want to distort information. Try to be positive in your answers.
- Concrete vs. Abstract answers. This is a very common mistake that candidates are too abstract in their answers. For example they say ‘I have this many years of this experience in an Asian country’ - What is the experience, how many years, what country exactly? I encourage you to be very specific and give concrete examples.
- Provide lots of valuable information, but give only relevant and meaningful answers, leave out space fillers. Give facts and numbers. The more information you give, the better. But - do not overdo it. For example if you have worked on 52 publications, say it, but do not list all 52 of them.
- Do not copy paste previous answers. Even if the questions resemble one another and it might sound like they are asking the same question twice, present it in a different angle. Make sure the answers are unique, taylor-make it and finetune your answers to each question.
- Readability and clear communication will influence your assessors’ understanding of your professional background. I cannot emphasise enough how important that is. It's about presenting the information in a way that it is easy to process. Make sure the visual layout helps them to process the informíation. Don't just dump information into the Talent Screener, make sure it's easy for the Assessor to read and scan through it.
- Use a structured layout with bullet points
- Use titles
- Clear references
- Short but to the point references
- EU institutions and EPSO have their own jargon and terminology. Learn the lingo and use it. Read their annual report, their activities and get familiar with their system. Take a look at the EAAS’ various pages and see what kind of jargon they use, get familiar with them and use it.
- What's in it for them? Think of this as a motivational letter. Keep in mind that you are pitching yourself to the institutions. Think about how you can add value to their work. Make sure to link your personal background and work experience with the needs of the EU or institutions you are applying to. Think about how your knowledge can be helpful inside the EU institution. How you can use your expertise in the benefit of the EU institutions.
- If you want to write a stellar Talent Screener join our live webinar or check out the video of “Everything You Need To Know About EPSO’s Talent Screener”
Let's pause for a second and I’ll answer a couple more questions:
Q: Are UK homologations accepted now, or not anymore?
A: I would guess not anymore. It's something that you might want to ask the EPSO directly or the selection board, they will tell you.
Q: Do they later reconsider the CBT or do they ignore it, once we have passed?
A: According to the current EPSO system, for permanent positions - AST/AD positions - you need to sit the abstract/numerical/abstract reasoning test if that is part of the selection procedure. The score you get there is only for that particular competition. In this case, this is only for this particular competition.
Opposed to this, in the new system, when that goes into effect, the plan is that you are going to sit the abstract/verbal/numerical reasoning test and if you pass, you get to keep that score for a long time. You don't need to re-sit those tests for every single competition. That's the future, but for this particular competition, you need to sit the tests and if you apply for another competition or maybe you are already enrolled in another competition, for every competition you need to sit these kinds of tests, if that is part of the selection process.
Q: I am from Argentina, with an EU citizenship, is a diploma from outside the EU accepted?
A: My understanding is, you may need to get equivalence, the homologation, to make sure that they recognise it, because it may not be obvious that a non EU degree is recognised. It is probably best to ask the selection board or EPSO about this.
I'll answer more in a couple of minutes.
STEP 4 - ASSESSMENT CENTRE
A maximum of three times the number of successful candidates sought will be invited. That means roughly 120 candidates will be invited to the Assessment Centre.
TESTS : Language 1 & 2
LOCATION: ONLINE OR IN PERSON
For the last two and a half years it has been only online, the chances are this will also be online.
ASSESSMENT CENTRE TASKS
SEVEN general competencies will be tested through two exercises in Language 2, and EPSO will evaluate you through this.
CASE STUDY EXAM
Computer based, background documentation, with lots of documents that you need to analyse.
SITUATIONAL COMPETENCY-BASED INTERVIEW (SCBI)
Special kind of interview, also based on a background file, which you receive a couple days before the test. We have multiple kinds of material on our interface which can help you prepare for this exam.
FIELD RELATED COMPETENCIES WILL BE ASSESSED BY ONE EXERCISE - Language 2
Your professional competencies, which is broadly based on the Talent Screener. This is where they actually test, how well do you know what they are looking for. This is the most professional interview related to the actual tasks that they require you to perform once you are hired.
ASSESSMENT CENTRE SCORING
|PASS MARK 35 / 70|
SEVEN GENERAL COMPETENCIES
|PASS MARK 50 / 100|
FIELD RELATED INTERVIEW
They will add up your scores, based on certain criteria - the competencies that they are measuring - do a ranking and then those who get the highest overall score will make it onto the RESERVE LIST. You need to be among the top 30.
SUCCESS! RESERVE LIST (52:26)
- NUMBER OF PLACES - the number of candidates placed on the Reserve List, we know that there are 40 places,
- VALIDITY - typically it has a validity of one year, but sometimes it can be extended to 2 to 3 years.
- RECRUITMENT - might be preceded by an actual interview, but that's akin to a job interview, given the fact that you have already proved yourself for a specific position.
HOW TO GET THE JOB? (53:15)
It's really a serious competition, just like all other EPSO competitions, so take it seriously. And remember that it requires full dedication. To get this kind of job here is some methodology:
Practice. A lot. It's just like with any sport, depending on what physical condition you are in, or in this instance your skill level - you need consistent and regular practice, not just a week or two before an actual competition.
- Practice consistently for 10-12 weeks.
- 1 hour a day or 10 hours per week
- Understand each phase of the competition
- Do not leave it to the last moment.
Prepare consistently. Consistency is the most important.
- You want to practise constantly.
- Whether it’s for one hour a day or 10 hours per week, as long as it’s regular and you are serious about it, that's really the most important.
Learn the methodology.
- I highly advise you to look into test methodology, because there is a way to optimise your performance.
- We are really here to help you - we have a lot of material, personal coaching, webinars and e-books that you can find on our website, some of this is completely free, some of it is paid services. We try to provide a very broad range of services.
- We also offer free advice, so send us a message through the contact form.
- We haven’t offered in-person training sessions and coaching in a while, since covid hit, but if you want to invite us to some sunny place we’d be happy to hold a tailored training session! ;)
Persistence is key!
- You might want to form a study group, speak with friends and prepare together, motivate each other even though you are competitors, challenge each other.
- Do lots of test simulations.
EU TRAINING IS HERE TO HELP YOU GET INTO PRACTISE MODE!
We have coaches and trainers, offering group classes, as well as individual coaching and training.
- Verbal Reasoning - 24 LANGUAGES!
- Numerical Reasoning
- Abstract Reasoning
- Case Study Simulations + Evaluation
- CBI Workshops
Here is an indicative list of webinars that are available, along with E-books and all the rest.
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
- Maths Refresher for Numerical Reasoning
- Case study insights
A WEALTH OF RESOURCES:
- Free E-Books
- Lots of Tips & Tricks
- Free Demo Tests
- Training Sessions and Simulations
- Via Skype, or face-to-face in Brussels
There is a group on Facebook that you might want to join to share information, updates and preparation tips: “Heads of Administration in EU Delegations”
You might know my books - The Ultimate EU Test Book. For this particular exam we have put the Assistants edition here, but the Administrator edition may be just as applicable, at least for the Verbal, Numerical and Abstract Reasoning parts. Then there is the Assessment Centre edition, which really focuses on the various exercises in the Assessment Centre.
QUESTIONS PLEASE (56:40)
Q: What if you have a bachelor degree in business administration, but it happened during your professional experience?
A: I don't think it is cumulative or it needs to be, as long as you have the required years for the professional experience, which is the full 6 years, whether or not you studied in parallel, to me it sounds like you qualify.
Q: I have a degree in human sciences history, eight years professional experience in an EU institution, does it qualify?
A: You’re putting me on the spot here! :D On the face of it, based on what I understand here, presumably yes. I am not the ultimate authority to decide on this, though. To me it sounds good enough.
Q: May I prepare the application in different languages? The professional experience in English and the Talent Screener in French?
A: The Talent Screener has to be in English or French (Language 2), whereas the core application is in Language 1, so in that sense, yes, you may. Pay attention to what needs to be done in which language and be consistent in that.
Q: I was removed from a previous AST competition, although I have 15 years of experience working in document management.
A: Without knowing any more details on why you were removed, it could have been a formal nuance, you may not have attached the right certificate, or didn't tick the right box, it could have been something mundane or formal criteria. If you have an official complaint, there is a complaint procedure, usually very short, maybe ten days or an ombudsman can be contacted.
Q: Is it realistic to pass the test for people in their 60s?
A: If you mean whether you can apply for a competition in your 60s - yes, of course you can apply. If you go through the entire selection process, successfully pass the exams and make it on to the Reserve List, that's one thing (and entirely possible). How much willingness there is from the EU institutions to hire someone in their 60s, close to pension age, that's anyone's guess. That's an employment question.
THANK YOU FOR PARTICIPATING
I think I answered all questions, if something is left unanswered, send us a message.
I am very grateful for all of you for being here, thank you for participating, good luck to everyone!
For free advice: firstname.lastname@example.org
(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.)