APPLICATIONS OPEN: EPSO Administrators In External Relations Competition! | EU Training

APPLICATIONS OPEN: EPSO Administrators In External Relations Competition!

The European External Action Service (EEAS), with the support of the European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO) has just released an official Notice of Competition calling forward applications from specialists with professional experience in the field of External Relations seeking a career as part of the EU's diplomatic service.

Below we explore the specifics of this competition and the selection process that you will need to undertake.

To help candidates prepare for this competition effectively, EU Training held a FREE LIVE Information Webcast to discuss all the key components of this competition and how best to get ready for each round of testing. CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE RECORDING OF THIS FREE SESSION

Want to join the conversation and talk to other candidates about this competition? 
Get helpful hints and advice from other candidates via the EPSO Administrators in the field of External Relations Exams Facebook group.

Getting ready for this competition?
Access practice packages here, and view methodology webinars here - some are even FREE!

Competition Snapshot  I  Eligibility Criteria  I  Selection Process  I  How Can You Apply?


Competition Snapshot

  • Open for Applications: 10 September, 2020
  • Application Deadline: 13 October, 2020 (12-noon Brussels Time)
  • Grades: AD5 and AD7
  • This competition covers two grades - you may only apply to one
  • This competition includes a Talent Screener
  • Posts will mostly be based in Brussels

Under this competition, the following grades and reserve lists have been advertised, from which the European External Action Service may recruit new members:

Grade Candidates Sought
EPSO/AD/382/20 - AD5 53
EPSO/AD/382/20 - AD7 33

Recruited Administrators (grades A5 and AD7) with a specialisation in External Relations will work for the EEAS, which is the EU's diplomatic service, helping the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy carry out the Union's Common Foreign and Security Policy.

These specialists will be tasked with promoting and protecting the EU's interests and values in its relations with third countries, international organisations, and to contribute to the conduct of the Union’s Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). Additionally, they will cooperate with the national diplomatic services of the EU Member States, the Council and the European Commission, in order to ensure consistency between different areas of the Union’s external action.


Eligibility Criteria

Candidates will need to satisfy the following:

  • Have EU citizenship
  • Fulfilled any military service requirements
  • Meet the character requirements for the duties concerned
  • Have knowledge of at least TWO official EU languages:
    • Language 1: Have a thorough knowledge (minimum C1 level) of one of the 24 official EU languages - will be defined as your Language 1.
    • Language 2: Have a good command (minimum B2 level) of either English OR French and MUST BE different to your Language 1 choice - will be defined as your Language 2.

Qualifications & Work Experience

Administrators - AD5 Grade:

  1. Completed university studies of at least 3 years attested by a diploma, Plus a minimum of 1 year of professional experience in the field of External Relations.

Administrators - AD7 Grade:

  1. Completed university studies of at least 4 years attested by a diploma, Plus a minimum of 6 years of professional experience in the field of External Relations. OR
  2. Completed university studies of at least 3 years attested by a diploma, Plus a minimum of 7 years of professional experience in the field of External Relations.

Please consult ANNEX IV of the Notice of Competition for examples of minimum qualifications.  


Selection Process

Please note: You can complete your application in any of the 24 official EU languages, BUT your Talent Screener MUST BE completed in your chosen Language 2 (English or French)​.


This phase of the competition is made up of a series of computer-based multiple-choice reasoning tests. If the number of candidates exceeds a certain threshold, these tests will be held at the start of the competition process otherwise it will be held at the Assessment Centre phase.





Pass mark


Language 1

20 questions

35 min


Numerical Reasoning

Language 1

10 questions

20 min

Numerical + Abstract Combined 8/20

Abstract Reasoning

Language 1

10 questions

10 min

  • The results of the computer-based MCQ tests are eliminatory and will not be taken into account in your final overall marks.
  • However, you must reach the minimum pass mark in all tests and get one of the highest scores in order to move past the next stage of the competition.


EPSO will check the data provided by each candidate via their online application against the eligibility requirements of this competition. Remember that you can fill out your application in any of the 24 Official EU languages - except for the Talent Screener, which needs to be completed in your chosen Langauge 2 (English or French). 

If the computer-based multiple-choice reasoning tests take place at the beginning of the selection process, eligibility will be checked in descending order of the overall marks obtained during this exam until the number of eligible candidates reaches a certain threshold defined for each grade before the tests take place.


You MUST complete your Talent Screener in Language 2 - English OR French.

The selection board assigns a weighting to each selection criterion and based on the information provided in the Talent Screener each candidate will receive a score. Only those candidates with the highest overall marks will go through to the next stage. Therefore, you should include all relevant information in your Talent Screener answers, even if you have already mentioned it in other sections of your application form. The questions are based on the selection criteria included in this notice - see ANNEX II for the list of criteria.

Getting this part wrong can easily jeopardise your chances of moving through to the next stage of the selection process - which you don't want to risk. To better understand how the EPSO Talent Screener works it is advised that you view this webinar recording - Everything You Need To Know About EPSO's Talent Screener.

Need help with your EPSO application or Talent Screener?
Take a look at our Application Assistance service


Those who scored the highest marks in the Talent Screener will be invited to the Assessment Centre. A maximum of 3 times the number of successful candidates sought for each grade via this competition will be invited to this phase.

Please note that the Assessment Centre will most likely take place in Brussels and will need to be completed in your chosen Language 2.

8 general competencies, as well as field-related competencies required for such a role, will be tested through 5 tests:​

  1. Case Study
  2. Group Exercise
  3. Written test in the field
  4. General Competency-based Interview
  5. Field-Related Interview

Each general competency will be awarded a mark out of 10, with a total pass mark required of 40/80. 

In addition to this, the Field-Related Interview will require a minimum pass mark of 25/50, and the Written Test In The Filed a minimum pass mark of 25/50.


After checking candidates’ supporting documents, the selection board will draw up a Reserve List for each grade of eligible candidates who obtained the highest overall score, until the number of successful candidates sought is reached.


How Can You Apply?

Make sure to ALWAYS check the official Notice of Competition and understand the rules relating to the exams. For full details on this selection procedure read the official Notice of Competition and the General Rules Governing Open Competitions to ensure you have the required qualifications and satisfy the eligibility criteria before applying. 

To start the application process, click below for the different grades:


Are You New to EPSO Competitions? 

EU Training offers a wealth of practice materials for all stages and levels of the EU institutions’ selection exams.

Check out our FREE E-bookswebinarswebcasts and e-learning materials to help you excel.

If you have a question or need additional help in understanding the EPSO processes, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Want to see what these EPSO Pre-Selection exams look like? 
Try our FREE EPSO Exam Demo

Unsure how the EPSO selection process works? 
View our short video - ‘New To EPSO Competitions’


Useful reading:

How To Make The Most Of Your EPSO Talent Screener

The Motivation Challenge - What To Write In Your EPSO Application?

13 Best EPSO Preparation Resources - Free and Paid

What EU Job Applicants Should Always Keep in Mind

6 Reasons Why EU Exam Candidates Fail