I am a laureate, ask me whatever you want

Charly Brown Fri, 07/06/2018 - 12:25

Hello everybody!

Yes, I am on a reserve list and a I would like to share my experience, strategy and, the most important thing in my humble opinion, my positive attitude towards the process. I honestly think that being in a reserve list is a matter of luck, psychology... and some other things. So, I am at your disposition, ask me whatever you want and you do not find in the internet.

However, I will not comment about the recruitment phase yet. Being on the reserve list is nothing, just a selection of potential candidates until you get effectively recruited (hopefully) as an EU official. I am just living this process, so you surely will understand that I still do not have a good rear view mirror to talk about it.

Charly Brown.


Can you give me some

cariboul Sat, 07/07/2018 - 09:36

Can you give me some information about the ac? I'd be especially interested in your experiences and strategies for the interview, case study and group exercise.




Hi again! Have you been

limusina3_122080 Wed, 11/21/2018 - 07:15

Hi again! Have you been recruited? Please Inform about what didb you do to contact people to hire you.


Hello and thank you for

jorgiton9_117679 Mon, 07/09/2018 - 12:45

Hello and thank you for making this topic.

I would like to know to what process did you attend (generalists, specialist...)?

How much time did it take you to get on the reserve list? Did you prepare by yourself, with an academy...?

And as they asked in a previous comment, could you share your experience at the assessment centre?


Thanks in anticipation

Hello, thanks for offering. I

mianaguna Mon, 07/16/2018 - 23:29

Hello, thanks for offering. I'd like to knwo if you can share your experience in the interview and e-tray and any hints on the preparation. Thank you!

Hello Charly, 

danijela.vuk_90923 Tue, 07/31/2018 - 17:52

Hello Charly, 

Congratulations to being on the reserve list. I have passed the CAST myself a week ago, and I read here that there should be vacancies appearing in my EPSO account. However, I find nothing. Do you have similar experience?



Hello Danijela:

INAP2017AD_ETRAY74 Wed, 08/22/2018 - 15:31

Hello Danijela:

I have no idea how the CAST process works. I found vacancies at the EPSO intranet just some days after I was notified my results. You could ask to EPSO directly.

Hello Danijela,

stella_noone_125728 Sat, 03/02/2019 - 16:20

Hello Danijela,

I am interested in to know how they invited you to the CAST? Did you get an invitation directly from the EPSO or how did they contact you? Sometimes, some candidates have been working at the Commisson already as interimaires, or through a Blue Book traineeship. Thanks for letting me know.


Hello Danijela,

marta Sat, 01/14/2023 - 15:24

Hello Danijela,

I am preparing for the CAST - but I am at the beginning, so if any advice on how to working on ahead of the test please advise. Many thanks. Best Marta

Hello, I will try to provide

INAP2017AD_ETRAY74 Wed, 08/22/2018 - 14:58

Hello, I will try to provide some information about the topics you selected. Here we go!

First of all I should raise your awareness o the what I think are the most important areas to prepare: Psychology, calmness, positive attitude and, of course, good luck. In my case it was a generalist process. However, most of my recommendations are useful for every EPSO process.

I personally think that overcoming the process is a matter of self-confidence. If you look back at the four points I named just before, this is three out of them. You might be perfectly bilingual in English (I am not, and it is not needed at all!), French or German, know a lot about the EU and legal issues, have been working for 15 years in Brussels or have an extense contacts database of Commission workers... this will go to waste if you do not face the selection process on the sel-confidence base. I did it because I think I am prepared enough and deserve the position. Otherwise I would NEVER have passed.

Good luck, my fourth item, is just the icing on the cake, but can ruin the shole cake if does not work with you. That's why I think you cannot get dissapointed if you do not pass at first or second attempt. It is really important to have loads of self-confidence to insist if good luck was not matching your fate last time.

Once the pyschological frame

INAP2017AD_ETRAY74 Wed, 08/22/2018 - 15:29

Once the pyschological frame is set we can go on further development.

One aspect I think is essential is keeping a humble profile. This means trying to live the preparation process as a kind of training course and extract the better from the invested time keeping a low profile. Look, I tried it two years before in two different selection process and did not pass the CBT by 1%... Of course I was not happy, but I did not blame stupidly the "eurocrats", "silly exams procedures", "cheating accusations" or other third parties. No. Instead, I looked at my image on the mirror and asked myself sincerely how I could improve for next time. And I got valuable answers as: the need yo be ice-cold calm when sitting the CBT, to remind that I had a very nice job so I had nothing to loose trying this (but time), etc. The sooner you assume this is YOUR responsability and only yours and stop blaming the rest of the world if you do not pass the exams, the better and more prepared you get to pass them!

Regarding the preparation process, I prepared basically by myself, I just bought the EU Training books on CBT (1st exam) and AC - Assessment Centre (3rd exam) and read it dozens of times as a sacred BIBLE. On the contrary, I prepared the e-tray (2nd exam) with a local online academia ruled by a guy that passed several processes and understood very well the role of competences. I only had a live session with Jan de Sutter during one day for the AC, but it was extremely useful since I got  two very valuable feedback points:

1) Myself: I was on the correct way as Jan did not find any major problem in me. I remember that I got almost barely angry because I thought he did not want to correct my wrong areas. However, he did not find any area needed of urgent reparation. Jan is not good, but VERY good.

2) The others: I saw on some of my classmates exactly the kind of attitude that I do not recommend at all to pass these selection process: denying the reality, thinking they are the best of the world (total absence of humility), rejecting valuable pieces of advice from the experienced trainer (even traying ot have arguments...), spreading urban legends, etc. I detected at leats 3-4 candidates that I was SURE they won't pass. And they didn't. But good luck plays its role as well: I bet on other 2 extraordinarily good and competent candidates from I was learning a lot during the training session... and they finally did not pass. I am sure they had a bad day.

3) The team: Yes, once you have only the AC exams ahead it is useful to rely on the team and share advice and knowledge. Actually I am sure that most of my success is partly a merit of my AC team composition (group test). We were all collaborative and friendly people trying to reach a common better result. Oh, yes, we chatted just before and were happy to check a team atmosphere at first sight. 

Competences, how to deal with them and the way to improve them, are essential, the cornerstone of the whole training process. I calculate that after passing the CBT I spent most of my time (80% at least) working on my competences development. I did it so intensely that I noticed how I improved my competency management at daily work! This way, I might pass the process or not, but I would get  anyway a very valuable experience from the learning process. The fact of receiving this kind of free gift even if I failed, reinforced even more my self esteem so I could sat the exams feeling even stronger.

With all this in mind you have the draft self-confidence and psychologycal picture. I will develope some approach techniques regarding the AC later. But believe me: I think that the e-tray test is the hardest part of all this.

Hi, Charlie! First of all,

pesadilly_116824 Wed, 08/22/2018 - 19:22

Hi, Charlie! First of all, congratulations! It's nice to hear about your successful experience. You seem to be a very optimistic and positive sort of person and it's contagious :) 

Can you tell us about the interview? How did you prepare it and how did you feel the Day D? Thanks in advance!

Hi pesadilly,

INAP2017AD_ETRAY74 Thu, 08/23/2018 - 13:18

Hi pesadilly,

I had 2,5 months to prepare the AC (interview, presentation and group) and almost 2 months for the case study after being notified I passed the e-tray exam. I think it is more than enough. The case study examination is conducted in every Member State in a separate day. As I said before, I concentrated on reinforcing my competences. This is the core work from which the rest will flow naturally, I think. So I paid attention carefully on what competences I would be tested against for every exam and focused my energy on them. For instance, it makes no sense to take care of leadership competence for the case study, but it is very important for the interview and group test. With this in mind I divided my available time in a very unbalcned way, more or less like this:

  • 70% interview
  • 20% group test
  • 10% presentation
  • 10% case study

The reason behind this abnormal distribution is very personal. My professional life's performed tasks have been very similar to a EU official. I spend most of the day writing reports (case stdy), giving speeches (presentations)  and dealing and negotiating with stakeholders ans externals (group test). So I consider myself very well trained for these exams. However, on the other hand, this was the first time I had to face the structured interview. Therefore, I decided to concentrate on reminding my professional background, selected experiences (both good and bad end) and writing and polishing a personal report that I still remember by heart. 

I just made a single draft of case study 10 days before the test. And only one. I checked it was ok, good length, no major fails, enough. The same with the presentation, only one home test. And the group test was not properly tested, but my psycological nature is very alligned with the EPSO requirements of non-dominant role, collaborative attitude, open and friendly reception of other's ideas, etc. So I had just to be myself taking care of not failing on stupid things. I remember that I committed a major mistake interpreting the text we were given at the group test. A group mate raised my attention by signalling the mistake. What do you think I did? Discussing? Denying? No, I checked the sentence, noticed he was right and recognised at the moment thanking him very much about with loads of humility. But just one second after I proposed a new idea based on the information I received and it was accepted by the whole group. Bingo! This is the team attitude.


If you sum 70+20+10+20 it

INAP2017AD_ETRAY74 Thu, 08/23/2018 - 13:53

If you sum 70+20+10+20 it makes 110%. It is a mistake, of course. Trying to deny the mistake and selling another thing as "I wrote that as a metaphore of the need to work harder, beyond 100%" is exactly the kind of attitude that I think can give you a direct ticket to nowhere, especially during the group exercise or the presentation, where I said twice "I do not know, but I would make this and this and ask whoever".

Actually, 70+20+10+20 makes

mpacholska@go2.pl Thu, 12/06/2018 - 15:50

Actually, 70+20+10+20 makes 120.... LOL :-D

The D-Day I was nervous, of

INAP2017AD_ETRAY74 Thu, 08/23/2018 - 13:33

The D-Day I was nervous, of course. But much less than I expected. The reason behind is very simple: I had nothing to loose but some time in Brussels. On the other hand, I might win a lot. 

I tried to enjoy the experience. And I mean really enjoy. I had fun, a learnt a lot, the hell! I made friends, I enjoyed Brussels, even I went out the evening before to have a beer and share tremors and fears with other candidates and after the exams we had fun with some beers. This attitude was essential since I faced the exams as a kind of game. Look, it is like TV-contests: You have nothing to loose but a lot to win. But if you do not try to enjoy the experience and you fail... what can you take back home? Nothing but regrets and some resentment.

About the interview it will flow away if you do the homework before. Just learn the STAR method and go for it! I remember that the examiners were not very experienced and I noticed it at first glance. This impression was reinforced when the examiners supervisor entered the room to control them, since they got suddenly quite nervous. It was weird to be the most calm and relaxed room when you are the tested guy, don't you think so? It made me more confident about ;)

I don't know if I am optimistic. What I am sure is that I have a new professional door open and now I am more free to choose my future life. Some people are afraid of enjoying this kind of freedom, they get nervous because they were told during their whole life exactly what to do and when or what is expected from them. This is exactly the oppposite of what is expected from an EU official. Of course they must obbey and respect the hierarchy, but an EU official is entitled to perform their duties with a degree of autonomy and proactivity for the sake of the best service.

I am sorry for the spelling

INAP2017AD_ETRAY74 Wed, 08/22/2018 - 15:33

I am sorry for the spelling mistakes, I cannot modify the contents...

Thanks Charly for sharing all

limusina3_122080 Thu, 08/23/2018 - 08:29

Thanks Charly for sharing all your feelings and work with us!
Just a question e-tray is on AST exams only isnt It?
Could you give me complete title if EU you purchased?


Hello Alazne,

INAP2017AD_ETRAY74 Thu, 08/23/2018 - 13:01

Hello Alazne,

At all, the e-tray is mandatory, nowadays, for AD. Look: https://epso.europa.eu/apply/job-offers/competition/2956/description_en. The AST candidates sit the e-tray exam but just as a part of the AC. This way, the AST candidates should overcome two steps instead of three for AD.

Regarding the books I bought they are "The Ultimate EU Test Book" for CBT and "The Ultimate EU Test Book - Assessment Centre Edition" for AC.




Regarding the available time

INAP2017AD_ETRAY74 Thu, 08/23/2018 - 13:45

Regarding the available time for the tests( in particular e-tray and case study), yes, it is very scarce. And the reason behind is very smart. The more limitted, the more authentic your answers and your attitude. Limitting time is, IMHO, a very smart way to select candidates since they are less prone to lie. Yes, it is hard, it adds pressure on the preparation, but it works out.

Some trainers say that you might take notes during the case study or even drwaing a kind of diagram... Hell, I am dying to know how this is possible and where they find the available time! No way, I cannot recommend taking notes, but again this is very personal. I consider myself a very fast reader and I had only 4 minutes remaining after I concluded the case study (60 min in total), so I performed a quick review and that's all folks! But most of the candidates sharing the room were taking noted and also were not even able to answer 2/3 of the questions, so they scored under 6,66 out of 10... 

Thanks so muchs again for

limusina3_122080 Thu, 08/23/2018 - 17:00

Thanks so muchs again for your desire if sharing everything? By the way did you meet any mother there? I mean I am mum of two children and of coutse It IS very hard to work part-time job, raise children, time out for myself and study for this but I have the need to try It. I am 38 years-old. Could you leave your email address? Maybe you are not willing to do It.
See you

Alazne from Spain which nationality are you?

Dear Alazne,

INAP2017AD_ETRAY74 Thu, 08/30/2018 - 11:38

Dear Alazne,

Why asking about a mother? I mean, what would be the difference compared to a three-kids father? This father would face the same issues than your Spanish mother, riight? #equality But yes, I remember some mothers taking care of large families that were very well prepared to see their names on the list. 

Anyway, time cost of preparing the EU competitions has nothing to do, but really nothing to do, with Spanish competitions. Of course you have to "study", meaning preparing the tests. However, you are not entitled to learn by heart stupid long texts since 2009. I calculated my average dedication to this competition and I am sure it is not more than 1 hour daily. I only had to skip some films in the evenings.

No, EU competitions are not easy at all. Success reate is below 0,5%. But they are nor hard to prepare and time consuming is reasonable.


I forgot to mention that my

INAP2017AD_ETRAY74 Thu, 08/30/2018 - 11:53

I forgot to mention that my wife backed me giving the maximum support to the trial and we celebrate the final results as a team success. Not me, but us. This means not only taking care of children or going to the supermarket when I had to study, but expressing support and wishing to live abroad. When you have a familiy, being on a reserve list becomes a common goal. Take all the family onboard from the beginning or you will have unexpected problems trying to steal a valuable part of your brain.


Hi again,

limusina3_122080 Sun, 09/02/2018 - 18:20

Hi again,
If you would like to keep writting to me and share your point of view I would be very pleased.
My email is: limusina3@hotmail.com
Maybe I wasnt clear enough regarding to take care of little children. I didn't mean to offend you and I dont either see TV in the evenings...haha.

Thanks for all your comenta. Congrats

Hi, to be a mother is not an

LM Mon, 09/24/2018 - 14:15

Hi, to be a mother is not an issue. I'm a mother of 3 (of which one son with autism), I have a serious illness and have to go often to the hospital, I work full-time (with 50 min to go to work)... This is real, not a bad joke, it's just my life and I'm not complaining nor asking for private help. I study as everybody here. Of course I have the support of my husband and I hope I will have a bit of luck (and I wish the same for you too). I already passed successfully an AST3 competition, so it's feasible. I don't want to offend you but don't waste time thinking that you are in a bad position, just study. You can do it :-)

Hi, LM

Tonel Wed, 09/26/2018 - 07:53

Hi, LM

Could you, please, tell me, what kind of writing test you had for an AST 3 competition you had mentioned before?I'm preparing an AST 3 communication one and I have no clue about what type of "drafting note" we should write for the specialist field, how this writing test was before.Thank you! ps-sorry for changing the subject and interfering like that, I might add that I'm a mother of two boys also, to take part in the discussion?:).For me,  playing with my kids it's the best  way of relaxing after some epso related exercises.For every (epso) mother, I may add: You are amazing, you are strong and brave! Just keep going.

It was in the field of

LM Wed, 09/26/2018 - 09:39

It was in the field of statistics. My written exam was a case study : a lot of documents, tables and figures. If I remember well (...) I had to write a note (to my manager?) including a summary of the issue (garbage treatment) and answers to some more specific questions with sometimes some simple calculations. The time was scarce (as ever) so I didn't write a draft. I just put some key words on a sheet and started writing right after, living sometimes a bit of space for adding details if I had time in the end but first I wanted to write all my main ideas.

For communication, it could be different. Someone told me about writing a communication plan... Maybe someone else has some experience of competitions in this specific field...

I accept not only mothers in the discussion but fathers and no-parents too ;-) They have great ideas too ! Good luck to everyone !

Thanks a lot for sharing this

Tonel Wed, 09/26/2018 - 20:22

Thanks a lot for sharing this, LM.We will have two types of writing: case study and..writing smth/notes/have no idea!(related to the duties, sadly, no more explanations here).I've thought it's only one but ..About a communication plan, I think it could be a subjet for an Ad6 comm exam, not for Ast3-the assistants are supposed do have more "implementation" tasks, according to their notice of competition. If someone could help with some ideas, insights, own experience about that, please,feel free to share and take the epso eternal mystery out!:)

Hi LM,

INAP2017AD_ETRAY74 Wed, 10/03/2018 - 12:52

Hi LM,

Congratulations for your commitment, your spouse support, your AST3 success and your nice family ;)

I read your message and just got the feeling that you will succeed again in other competition, are you preparing something?

Good luck. 

Hi!! thank you very much for

valeriodiaz Sun, 08/26/2018 - 18:36

Hi!! thank you very much for sharing your experience. What would you say is the key to pass the e-tray? Thanks!

The key to prepare e-tray,

INAP2017AD_ETRAY74 Thu, 08/30/2018 - 11:48

The key to prepare e-tray, IMHO, is to be really fast and keep calm. Time is really scarce and gets even more limitted if you face the exam in a nervous state of mind. 

The best way I found to take advantage of limitted time is skipping ALL the recommendations I found about taking notes, making diagrams and other time-consuming methods and relying, only, in your memory and rapid reactions. In fact, I remember I could read every email (and two or three of them are essential) and answer all the questions. I had no reasonable way to know whether my answers were correct (or simply very good) or not. In addition, I hardly can remember some of them. But I am sure that my elections were honest and came directly from from the intimate connection with my "competences brain", fully trained since I was notified the CBT results on competences development. Let's say that I gain competence on competences (and also my natural high reading speed, and loads of luck helped a lot ) and just after I faced the exam. I did not think about the answers, I just replied as soon as possible because I trusted my answering was honest after mental training on competences.

When I knew I passed the etray I could not believe it, it is a kind of lottery. But I think I bought most of the lottery tickets, right?

What was your general

jcksthwrth_122365 Fri, 09/14/2018 - 11:45

What was your general approach to practicing?

I cannot understand your

INAP2017AD_ETRAY74 Wed, 10/03/2018 - 12:02

I cannot understand your question, sorry.

How exactly did you proceed

justyna Thu, 09/20/2018 - 14:06

How exactly did you proceed with your "mental training on competences" after CBT results?

Reading and reading on the

INAP2017AD_ETRAY74 Wed, 10/03/2018 - 12:04

Reading and reading on the competences meaning. Figuring out how I approached to a situation that I lived some day, what I would change, what not. Finding examples of successful application of competences in past experiences or situations, etc.


stefania79 Thu, 09/20/2018 - 17:21



First of all congratulations for being on the list!!!

I did 2 times the AD5 Etray and unfrtunately I didn't manage to pass to the Assessment Centre phase... I agree with you, I think E-Tray is the most difficult test.

Now I am going to seat the AD5 Etray again and I really would like to make it this time. Do you have more suggestions on how to practice and how to better approach the test? How much time did you spend, more or less, for reading all the emails, before answering ther questioins?

 You wrote that you prepared the e-tray with a local online academia, could you please tell me which one and provide the webpage?

Thanks a lot and good luck for the recruitment process!



Hi Stefania,

INAP2017AD_ETRAY74 Wed, 10/03/2018 - 12:25

Hi Stefania,

Thank you.

I spent approixmately 44 minutes when I passed my only e-tray try. I remember I had 6 minutes left to verify my answers and I even modified some of them... but only some of them! Regarding the emails reading time, I cannot say for sure, but I remember I had a careful comprehensive reading of the preliminar screen, where I hardly remember you are given 5 minutes (maybe only 3?) to have a digest of the new situation that you have to face and that is normally stressful, difficult or imposible to manage: a bad day at the office. The most important thing, in my opinion, is to remain as calm as possible during that screen and take time to enter a "relaxed flow state of mind"; this is, make your heartbeat rythm lower, breathe deeply, trust wholly yourself and face the test in a positive way. Then, in my opinion, the rest comes alone if you did your homeworks.

I started by reading ALL the emails in time order. So, I checked the first two emails and noticed that the upper email was the lasts one, so I found the first one at the bottom of the pile. I went directly to the first one, of course. It is always a welcome email from your HoU or similar saying that you have to do many things for an unexpected reason and gives some advice to overcome the nightmare. The most valuable email is, however, the second one, where you find the tasks in detail, your colleagues, the roles and some explanations. Critical things happen only in, let's say, 2 emails more. And half of them are useless... But I recommend to read all even if you need to read them again when answering the questions. I think I took 15-20 minutes for 21 emails. Yes, fast reading is essential!

When answering the questions you are given 5 options, from the "I completely disagree (1) to I agree at all (5)". Some trainers recommend to never answer extreme replies (1 or 5) and always being moderate, 2, 3 or 4. I personally think that this is a terrible mistake. One never knows how the system scores the different answers but these guys think that they found the Coca-Cola formula... If you are sure about completely agreeing or not to a statement, go for it! I did it and of course I cannot regret at all on the result.

At some point I was not very sure what I was answering or for that, so I began to think that I was lost and had no idea I was doing. But this was proven to be a false perception from myself. The point is that I entered "the flow state of mind" and I was answering and working totally concentrated in such a way that I did not notice even what time was. I experienced this state of mind many times when sat for exams at the University, by the way... I think this is the optimal state of mind to face the test and you should actively look for it. However, the answers will not be good if your competences training was not good enough, right?

The local academia name is OposicionesUE, easy to google, I will not provide any link to avoid spam regulation. I am sorry, but as far as I know the competences issues are worked only in Spanish. However, you can write to check. 

Good luck with the e-tray and try to enjoy it. Third time's charm!

Charly Brown.


SK Fri, 09/21/2018 - 17:33


Thanks for your insights. They actually really confirm mine. I did the full Assessment Centre (basically tried for fun and got lucky back then) in 2012 and passed but did not get on the reserve list for 1 point (had 10/20 on the case study). I am doing the competition again and failed the etray last year... hopefully more luck this time around. 

I especially agree that everything has to do with the competencies. You have to leave and breathe the profile of a civil servant.. really guys do not underestimate the competencies. When you get your competency passport (after the assessment centre) it is quite revealing about how it all works. Any point that you get on the etray and AC (any task) is because you did something that fit a specific definition of a specific competency. The more you know about these competencies, the closer your own personality truthfully is to how EPSO defines these competencies, the better your chances. Another thing I fully agree with is self-confidence. I think it is incredibly helpful to have it naturally and if you don't, work hard on it and stay calm... be yourself but the best version of yourself. And for those parts of your personality that are not aligned with the competencies tested - identify them and work on them. I think keeping a positive attitude goes a long way! Good luck everyone, hope to meet some of you at the AC this year :)


skazakova Fri, 09/21/2018 - 17:35


Thanks for your insights. They actually really confirm mine. I did the full Assessment Centre (basically tried for fun and got lucky back then) in 2012 and passed but did not get on the reserve list for 1 point (had 10/20 on the case study). I am doing the competition again and failed the etray last year... hopefully more luck this time around. 

I especially agree that everything has to do with the competencies. You have to leave and breathe the profile of a civil servant.. really guys do not underestimate the competencies. When you get your competency passport (after the assessment centre) it is quite revealing about how it all works. Any point that you get on the etray and AC (any task) is because you did something that fit a specific definition of a specific competency. The more you know about these competencies, the closer your own personality truthfully is to how EPSO defines these competencies, the better your chances. Another thing I fully agree with is self-confidence. I think it is incredibly helpful to have it naturally and if you don't, work hard on it and stay calm... be yourself but the best version of yourself. And for those parts of your personality that are not aligned with the competencies tested - identify them and work on them. I think keeping a positive attitude goes a long way! Good luck everyone, hope to meet some of you at the AC this year :)


INAP2017AD_ETRAY74 Wed, 10/03/2018 - 12:40


I cannot agree more on what you said.

Just a particular reflection on being the best version of yourself: Some people will never meet the bar. And they should face it... and accept it.

It is not a metter of just being among the top 1% or whatever it takes, what I mean is that this work is not adequate for everybody. On the other hand, some people that do not pass the exam would never be happy with this kind of work. For instance, lot of people complain about the CBT verbal reasoning "poor" translation when the point is that they do cannot reach the needed verbal reasoning ability to pass the exam. Others complain about how fast they have to read the emails at the etray test... but I lived ordinary days at my office that I had to perform even faster! Is everybody talented or gifted or prepared to perform this kind of work? At all! And I recommend to be totally honest with oneself prior to make any movement towards this long and tiring process of competing for a EU position.

My regular work duties are very similar to what I will find at the European Institutions and, to some extent, I can accomplish them with satisfactory results. That was the very first reason I put on the table before preparing myself for the competition. After, I found the European motivation, the pride to serve 500 million people, the international experience and so on. But first of all we DO need to ask ourselves very honestly: Am I mind shaped enough for this work? Will I be happy performing these BUREAUCRATIC tasks for a looooong time in Brussels or Luxembourg?

Be honest before answering and good luck!


Sarah_90197 Sun, 09/23/2018 - 18:24


First of all congratulations for passing :)

 I was wondering if you could maybe tell us what is the method that you adopted for Etray?

Did you first spent a few minutes reading the emails (how long)? Or just went directly to the questions and came back to emails only if needed?


Hi and congrats for making it

debbiemanousos@hotmail.com Sun, 09/23/2018 - 19:52

Hi and congrats for making it! I would be also interested to know which online academia you used for the e-tray preparation and how you worked on developing your competences? For the e-tray my problem is that even if I can read fast, I cannot remember the details or where I found them without taking notes. Also some of the answers in the e-tray can be correct in isolation but in that particular context they are not because of a little detail in the emails that might not be easy to spot or because it requires some analysis to allow you to deduce the right answer. Any advice on that? Thanks!

Sometimes, it seems to me

py_89762 Wed, 10/17/2018 - 18:57

Sometimes, it seems to me that some people enjoys so much the "invited star's" role in this type of pages. " I am the one who posess the required gift and all of you, my defective criatures, should reflect upon your scarce talent and your even scarcer possibilities to pass this exam" seems to be the undercover message of some previous posts. Ha, ha, ha.... total crackers....!!

Indeed, I must admit that passing the EPSO exams is quite an achievement and surely a good reason for boosting people's self-esteem. Nonetheless, I would like to recall that the procedure does not end up with getting included in a reserve list. In fact, this represents just half the way. The real goal here is to be hired, dear peers, and after making it to the reserve list, another battle commences: getting a permanent position in the EC.

In this second phase, even more obscure than the previous one, the relevant criteria are slightly different to those required in EPSO's stage. Indeed, first of all, here it is highly recommended to have the right connections. Not less important is to have a perfect command of English and a thorough knowledge of French. This latter question requires further explanations to avoid misunderstandings. Perfect command in English does not mean a C1 or even a C2, it simply means that your level of knowledge of the language is similar (or close) to that one of a cultured native person. Do you know why this is so important...?? I' ll put it plain: Because although you are in a reserve list, you are still undergoing a competition procedure and some other candidates, particularly those already working for EC, are competing with you and are TRULY BILINGUAL. As a consequence, on equal conditions, the cake will always be for the person who wil be able to credit the best English skills. In a lower scale this also happen with French, a language not so oftenly officially used but with a great deal of presence of the EC daily life. Another reason for concern is the, in my view, more than obvious preference for people already working for EC (interimaires, National Experts, Contract Agents and similars..) as well as for young people holding fantastic CVs including brightful certificates issued by the most prestigiuous Universities of EU (College of Bruges, Oxford and  the like..) and USA. Finally, I would like to remark the issue of the age, particularly relevant in AD5, as the Units expect to meet under 40's candidates. Being above this border, is a clear disadvantage unless you credit a long adminsitrative or/and international experience on the field related to the post.

The above related is the real scenario that the talented and lucky people engrossing the Reserve listis will face to get a job in EC. Because of this I would like to recommend humbleness and self-criticism to some peers in this forum at a time that I would like to send a great deal of courage and hope to everyone here, themselves included, for sure.

Good luck to everyone. Ignore certain remarks and go ahed. Pursue your dreams and never give up. Success is a product of many ingredients, some are not essential but courage and strengh are always needed.

Exactly. I agree on most of

Laureate Thu, 11/01/2018 - 10:22

Exactly. I agree on most of your points. Hopefully, many people who write on this forum will succeed in EPSO competitions. In this way, they will discover the harsh reality of the Reserve list, aka Waiting list, for which no EU training, or other website, material will ever be enough to prepare them. Of course, this is not to deny that the topic starter may indeed have a suitable experience of the kind that will land him an administrator job soon. I am curious to see how many applications the topic starter has sent until now and if (hopefully) he has been recruited or at least attended any interviews during 2018...

Many equally talented laureates with a good attitude will wait (statics do not lie in this case) for many years and see dozens of their applications getting rejected and multiple unexplained failures in interviews...As it has already been demonstrated in other threads of this forum.

I can only agree with the

kj57 Tue, 10/30/2018 - 16:43

I can only agree with the last comment. Furthermore I can add that I'm not sure if passing a competition means so much. I think you just need a bit of luck to pass the first two rounds. The third round is a bit more about skills and competencies but it still depends on the competition you face... (for example the group exercise can really depend on the group you are in...) 

I also passed the competition for administrator in june but until now I was never invited for an interview. (Maybe I'm too selective for the jobs I'm applying) For the 4 jobs that I applied I only received twice an acknowledgement of reception of my application. Untill now I never got an e-mail about being (not-) selected. So being in a reserve list really means being halfway...





Hi Charly Brown,

limusina3_122080 Thu, 11/01/2018 - 18:01

Hi Charly Brown,
Is It that hard to get a job after passing all exams? Anyone can confirm this reality?

Hi limusina,

INAP2017AD_ETRAY74 Fri, 11/30/2018 - 09:58

Hi limusina,

Of course it is hard, a kind of different competition after the reserve list competition itself. This is nothing i did not know before opening this helpìng forum thread. For this very reason I said on the opening comment:

 I will not comment about the recruitment phase yet. Being on the reserve list is nothing, just a selection of potential candidates until you get effectively recruited (hopefully) as an EU official. I am just living this process, so you surely will understand that I still do not have a good rear view mirror to talk about it.

Being on the reserve list is nothing... but this "nothing" opens the door to wonderful opportunities.

After some months on the road I can say that I am so fortunate that I was invited to hold 6 interviews out of 17 applications. In addition, I received two unsolicited interview proposals for, I guess, difficult to fill but interesting vacancies. I am afraid but I had sadly to reject both interview opportunities, for which I think I had a "winner" profile, but it was imposible to reconcile the workplace location with my personal life. Feedback comments from the Heads of Unit for those unsuccessful interviews (still waiting for the outcome of one of them) were extremely useful to understand how this works, to detect my weak points and work hardly on them.

8 interview proposals is a very good rate for only some months of active seeking. You might think that I received 8 golden tickets that were to waste. But given that my "eurocrat" experience is limited, I took these encounters as valuable lessons to face the next interview in a better, if possible perfect, way


Hi there,

limusina3_122080 Fri, 11/30/2018 - 10:47

Hi there,
Do you live in Brussels? Did you arrange interviews to have them in one or two days?
I would like to work in Brussels nowhere else, first I have to be selected to do CBT for AD7 customs in Brussels, is It hard to pass talent screener?

It depends on your profile.

strangequark Fri, 11/23/2018 - 23:31

It depends on your profile. You have to be a very good fit for the position otherwise it is likely that there is someone else who is a better fit. Some people will get recruited soon, but you should understand from the beginning (even before you apply) that there is no guarantee what so ever to be recruited. This is clearly stated in each and every notice of competition!

I was recruited recently. After more than 5 years on the reserve list...




Hi strangequark.

INAP2017AD_ETRAY74 Fri, 11/30/2018 - 10:03

Hi strangequark.


It is clear, the recruiter goes for the perfect matching. I think that we should walk on the HoU shoes before facing the interview, even before writing the application letter.


Bonjour Charly,

Pierrot Thu, 01/17/2019 - 13:15

Bonjour Charly,

Et toutes mes félicitations. Toutes les informations que tu as données sur ce post sont très utiles. Merci à toi d'aider les collègues qui n'ont pas encore franchi l'Everest.

Une question spécfique : comment as tu préparé le raisonnementr abstrait ? Seulement Eurtraining, ou as tu utilisé d'autres sources (livres, etc..). Comment as tu trouvé l'épreuve coparée aux supports d'entrainement ?

Est-ce que tu pourrais me donner UN conseil de préparation. Je veux vraiment faire la différence sur cette épreuve.

Par avance, merci !



Bonjour Pierrot,

INAP2017AD_ETRAY74 Wed, 01/30/2019 - 12:34

Bonjour Pierrot,

Merci pour ton message. J'espère que c'est utile. Je vais continuer en anglais par respect pour les autres.

For my first and failed CBT I prepared the abstract test using any kind of information and test templates I could find in internet. I must say it was completely useless. The best thing to do, IMHO, is taking very seriously the EPSO style and get used to it, i.e. their shapes, rotations and figures, and do some training. The mock test is the best guide, I think.

Some advice? Well, as I said formerly, just be the best version of yourself, keep calm and go for it! I did not find any magic formula besides keeping the faith in the most trustworhy person on earth: YOURSELF!

Best regards,


Hi Charly,

limusina3_122080 Tue, 02/05/2019 - 06:56

Hi Charly,
What do you mean with mock test? The one published on Epso website? Or eutraining ones?

Dear all,

INAP2017AD_ETRAY74 Wed, 01/30/2019 - 12:50

Dear all,

I did it. I have a position. After 23 applications and around 10 interviews, I am in.

I do not know if I will have some time to open a thread called "I have been recruited after being laureated, ask me whatever you want", but I will try. Now I can look back by the rearview mirror and recall that I learnt many things as well from this tiring but interesting process that I wish to share with you all.

I want to send you all my best wishes and loads of self-confidence. If I got it though my far-from-truly-bilingual level of English or French, my lack of prestigious Universities degrees, my almost null Brussels practical experience and the fact that I am not young at all, why you could not?

Just believe in yourself, and this is very important, after wondering whether this is the kind of job you really pursue or not... and go for it! Also insist on ignoring this kind of attitude (though this guy, Pannaiotis, must have been recruited, I guess!): https://eutraining.eu/content/im-epso-laureate-and-you-should-know 

As someone said on this very thread:

Ignore certain remarks and go ahead. Pursue your dreams and never give up. Success is a product of many ingredients, some are not essential but courage and strengh are always needed.

Oh, you do not know how right you are, man! Ignore certain remarks and go ahead...


Charly Brown.

Hello Charly B.,

lucia.leon_125098 Sun, 02/03/2019 - 13:14

Hello Charly B.,

congrats!!! Thank you for your explanation. I am always wondering wether it is question of having more titles or languages, but if you assure this is not the issue, I am more happier now. Your message encourages me to follow with the training to next exams.

Do you have any advice? I would be very grateful :-).



Hola Lucia,

INAP2017AD_ETRAY74 Sun, 02/03/2019 - 14:21

Hola Lucia,

I am afraid, but I do not want you to misunderstand my words.
I never said that degrees are not necessary. I just parodied the words written on this thread about the need of having degrees from posh Universities. Of course it would help, but it's not compulsory and I am some kind of proof.

However, of course you DO need specific education+allocated experience to reach a certain post, otherwise you have no real choices. The HoU examines very carefully your CV before offering you any interview.

I am happy that you feel more motivated after my words!!

Charly Brown.

Hi again,

lucia.leon_125098 Sun, 02/03/2019 - 15:20

Hi again,

thank you for your words. You do not worry, I have understood perfectly what you meant.

I have a question, do you think it would be interesting to buy the book "The ultimate EU test book  Administrators 2018"?

Best regards.



Hi Lucia,

INAP2017AD_ETRAY74 Sun, 02/03/2019 - 15:37

Hi Lucia,

Sure, after reading the book I felt better prepared to face the CBT.
However, I'd rather be cautious regarding the mock abstract exercises. I prefer being loyal to the EPSO style.

Charly Brown.

Hi Charly,

lucia.leon_125098 Sun, 02/03/2019 - 21:17

Hi Charly,


thank you so much for your help! I am going to buy the book and study it. I will take into account the mock abstract exercises.

Best regards.


Congratulations. I truly envy

kurtz Mon, 02/04/2019 - 11:50

Congratulations. I truly envy you. I am on a reserve list since april 218, I have applied for more than a hundred vacancies and got only 4 interviews, all of them unsuccessful. As you, I am not young (early 40s), I have not studied in elite universities and I haven't worked in the EU in any capacity. My professional experience and education are not closely related and both are distant from the kind of jobs the institutions offer. So, I must say that I'm not very confident at this point.

Hi Kurtz,

INAP2017AD_ETRAY74 Thu, 02/14/2019 - 10:47

Hi Kurtz,

Sorry to read that. But you should not get disappointed at all. In my opinion you are in the right way since you had four opportunities in only some months. It will take a bit longer, but they are genuinely interested in you regardless of all the handicaps you say you carry with.. you must have something interesting! Some others are not called for interviews in years...

If I were your personal coach I would insist on recalling EVERYTHING you could from your interviews. Above all, your mistakes. Errors are, by far, the most valuable source of data to build upon your future success. In addition, I would kindly ask in a very polite way to my "deniers", the HoU that finally did not select you, some feedback to help to increase your chances for next selection processes. If you look yourself at the mirror, i.e. if you try to think how is your performance as you were the interviewer, you will have more chances to convince the HoU at the other side.

Good luck and keep on!

Charly Brown.

Thanks and enjoy your new

limusina3_122080 Tue, 02/05/2019 - 06:59

Thanks and enjoy your new life! Btw this link you published doesnt work for me... Could you recopy It?


INAP2017AD_ETRAY74 Thu, 02/14/2019 - 10:49

Congrats!! Can we know where

limusina3_122080 Wed, 01/30/2019 - 14:52

Congrats!! Can we know where and city?

Hi limusina,

INAP2017AD_ETRAY74 Sun, 02/03/2019 - 14:15

Hi limusina,

Sorry, but I prefer not disclosing, on behalf of privacy. You surely understand.


Hi Charlie, many thanks for

eb Mon, 02/04/2019 - 12:17

Hi Charlie, many thanks for sharing your experience and congrats on passing the exams!

you mentioned that you were working to improve general competencies most of your preparation time. Could you please explain what was your method? there are some competencies like working with other or communication, delivering the results. have you read some books on how to develop those skills or it was another way?

many thanks in advance!


Hi eb,

INAP2017AD_ETRAY74 Thu, 02/14/2019 - 10:54

Hi eb,

It's all explained here. No magic formulas. Just find an appropiate source to unroll the competences ideas. E.g.: what is the meaning of "working with others?" It is not being able to keep silent in the office but cope with different problematic personalities, including yourself, among many other issues of dealing with your partners.

There is a lot of free information in this eutraining web. This, the book and some advice from the local academy I found was enough. But I am sure there must be dozens of "competences at work" books and videos from good psychologists to work in.

Charly Brown.

Hi there the local academy

limusina3_122080 Mon, 02/25/2019 - 07:20

Hi there the local academy was oposicionesue?

Hi Charly and congratulations

slopez8_126363 Tue, 02/26/2019 - 20:43

Hi Charly and congratulations on your achievement! I'm considering applying to the selection process this year but I'd like to know more about the kind of jobs I could apply to in the EU if I pass the selection process. I have a degree in Audiovisual Communication and little experience, and I woud like to know which agencies, institutions, etc. I could work in with my background. Where can I find more information about this, or who could I speak to? Also, if I decide I want to pursue a career in the EU, do you think it could be a good idea to strengthen my profile with another degree, maybe a masters, I was thinking something generalist like a degree in public policy, in case I get to the reserve list. Congratulations once again and looking forward to your advise.

Hi, Charly,

albert.sanchez_117485 Mon, 06/17/2019 - 20:13

Hi, Charly,

After passing some unsuccessful interviews, I am being recruited right now. My question may seem pretty silly, but here it goes: is there any dresscode for officials? I mean, are suit and tie compulsory at work?

Many thanks for your attention.

Congratulations on getting

JayGyGy Wed, 06/19/2019 - 07:07

Congratulations on getting recruited! Succeeding in the competition is only half the battle as you have discovered. Regarding the dress code, there is no set code for the entire Commission. It really depends on the DG; some are more conventional and formal than others. For example, those who work in the Berlaymont building generally have a suit and tie more often than those who work in one of the smaller, more obscure buildings. Also, if you deal with a lot of outside visitors (stakeholders etc.) you probably want to dress up more than when you are mostly dealing with colleagues. Maybe on your first few days you could have a suit and tie and then take a look around your unit to get the general feel of the place.


ada_558 Wed, 06/19/2019 - 16:14


I have a question about the interview stage. Is it a typical job interview or is there a particular structure/questions? How formal it is?


You mean the structured

INAP2017AD_ETRAY74 Sat, 06/29/2019 - 22:06

You mean the structured interview from the assessment centre?

I am already on the reserve

ada_559 Sun, 06/30/2019 - 17:03

I am already on the reserve list. I'm having interviews with 2 units next week. I'm asking therefore about the interview with the relevant unit.

Felicidades Albert!

INAP2017AD_ETRAY74 Sat, 06/29/2019 - 19:49

Felicidades Albert!

As Jagygy already told you, it depends a lot on the DG or institution. For instance, I never saw auditors wearing no tie. In general law, finance and economic-related positions are quite formal and suits are standard code. For my side this does not make sense if you seldom leave the office. On the other hand DG ENV seems to have some suit allergy, even in important events, does not make sense for me neither.

I opted for chinos and jacket without tie for my first day (I look like a real state agent) and after I adapted to the environment. Sometimes I wear jeans and now in summer my HoU usually wears short leave shirt.
Needless to say, if I expect contact with stakeholders or some event I try to look smart. Casual, but smart.

When do you start on?

Charly Brown.

Many thanks both! I think I

albert.sanchez_117485 Sun, 06/30/2019 - 10:49

Many thanks both! I think I will start on the f1st August. I'm going to work in a law-related position, so I'm afraid I cannot avoid suit and tie. This will be totally different from my current job, especially during the summer, because I usually wear shorts and t-shirt.

I bet there will be much less

vadsfes Thu, 09/16/2021 - 01:46

I bet there will be much less sun in the institution city, so you would not regret so much your shorts ;)

Congrats! How long time

Robert Wed, 06/26/2019 - 12:37

Congrats! How long time passed after the AC until you were notified on the results?


Hi Charly!

Angela Thu, 07/18/2019 - 07:43

Hi Charly!

I have a question, once you are on the reserve list, can you update your CV?

Hi Charly, 

alexandru.marin1986_143000 Sun, 11/22/2020 - 15:59

Hi Charly, 

Thanks for your willingness to share your experience! I was wondering if you can help with a few questions:

1. If you are on the reserve list, do you still have to apply for the jobs they publish? Or you only need to wait for the various agencies to contact you, based on your profile? What happens if for a year there is no job suitable for your profile?

2. Do i need to be first on the reserve list before i apply to a specific job? 

3. What happens if you apply to a job and you are rejected? DO they take you out of the reserve list? 


Thank you!



Somedudereplyingtoquestions Wed, 11/25/2020 - 22:29


I cannot speak on behalf of Charly but I've seen there were some recent questions to which I can reply from my experience:

To Angela - You cannot update your CV information in your application for a competition. The information you provided at the time of your application to the competition is what HR services can access. But you can upload a CV in your EPSO account. You can also update this CV repeatedly. However, from experience of most people I know in the institutions they have applied proactively to job vacancies and were not contacted by a specific service. 

To Aurora - 

1. Yes, I would recommend that you apply for vacancies. I know only very very few people that were approached by a service from an EU institution. I think there is no guarantee nor obligation that a service from an EU institution approaches you once you are on a reserve list. The reserve list expires after some time. For generalist competition it is meant to be valid only for one year but all of these reserve lists have been repeatedly extended for a longer duration (4-6 years). Special competition reserve lists have a longer validity and likewise get extended regularly. Nothing happens if you haven't found a suitable job after one year (unless a reserve list is really expiring). You are not penalised. I know people who waited for a bit longer than a year to find a job once they were on a reserve list, - both from generalist as well as very special profile reserve lists.

2. Yes, you have to be on a reserve list to be able to apply for a vacancy for a permanent job. It may be a bit different for the CAST system. I have heard of one case of a person assuming hat the reserve lists were soon going to be announced. This person applied for a vacancy that was about to expire. One or two days after the deadline of this vacancy, the reserve lists were out. Apparently that was no issue. 

3. Nothing. You are not penalised for not getting a job offer after one or several interviews. However, in case you are on a reserve list and receive a job offer that you refuse, note what it says on the EPSO website "You have the right to refuse any offer, but there is no guarantee of another offer before the reserve list expires. Please also be aware that a comment may be added to your file." Not sure what that means. I know of one person who actually refused two job offers (figured after the job interview that this wasn't for them). There was no issue with their recruitement when they accepted a third job offer they received. 

Hello everybody, this is

INAP2017AD_ETRAY74 Sat, 05/08/2021 - 17:19

Hello everybody, this is Charly.

I agree completely on all points dude, thanks a lot.

Just some words after getting 2-years' experience in the EU Institutions and having re-read the thread.
Yes, it works. The approach I told you about how to overcome this process works. Never give up and trust yourself based on a thorough screening of your capacities. Sooner or later the hanging fruit will be yours.

I finally joined the EU Institutions working precisely in the field I always loved most. Of course it is not the 100% perfect job (does it exist??), but my life and my family's is quite better since we moved to Brussels. I work much more, being a public servant in the EU Institutions is far from being on holidays! But I really like what I do, I often find very interesting colleagues and have opportunities to speak different languages. I can communicate now in 6 languages. When I was 25 I was due to get my B2 in English...

I feel proud of the EU doing the most for it, though the vaccines mess, the need of more unity and the lack of common taxation. There are many, many things to be improved, and we work precisely to turn them into a reality. I feel lucky that I lived the spring 2020 lockdown in this friendly city and astonished of how quickly all my family developed a command of a variety of languages. Even amazed on how fast I learnt French (with the support of the Commission), a language that I seldom use at work, but I fully recommend it if living in the mostly French-speaking, though multilingual Brussels.

And if you are offered a job that you really do not love... I would take it anyway. Just 2 years later you are set free to jump to another position and, anyway, the variety of tasks that you may exposed to is so huge that you never know what you will finally do. Actually I got new knowledge and skills collaborating with other services in an area that has finally become my professional life's goal. Who knew in advance?

You never know anything, but yourself. Take the best version of you and put it at work. Here you will find your corner.

Good luck and go for it!

Charly Brown

Hi Charly, 

elisa91 Tue, 05/11/2021 - 21:40

Hi Charly, 

Super interesting to read your story! Especially how you have experieced the process and prepared for the tests. 

I'm currently preparing for the CBT and have been making the sample questions in practice and exam mode endless times. By now, I can make the questions in exam mode fairly easy and quick once I have seen them before in practice. But I struggle to succeed when I see them for the first time. I feel like I am not making any progress and being a bit stuck on the learning curve. 

Do you have any tips regarding learning methodologies? Is there a place to buy the EU study material second hand?

Thanks in advance!


Hi elisa,

PigPenny Wed, 07/07/2021 - 14:50

Hi elisa,

do you regularly check answers after practicing?  I have always found them so useful to learn what is exactly required.

I have never praticed anywhere else.


Hello Charly,

Tony Smith Thu, 06/17/2021 - 20:08

Hello Charly, First of all, thanks a lot for the quality information you've been sharing with us for such a long time. For me it was very valuable since the beginning, when I embarked in this process. Second, congratulations on your success, it's been very inspiring indeed. And third, I would like to know your thoughts on the pandemic and/or budget restrictions regarding their impact in the recruitment processes. I'm a laureat in a specialist competition since the very beginning of 2020 and very few vacancies were published in my area of expertise since then. I applied twice and got 1 interview so far. Many thanks in advance and again, congratulations, Tony

Hi Tony,

INAP2017AD_ETRAY74 Sun, 03/27/2022 - 18:54

Hi Tony,

This is Charly again.

Very nice to know from your success. Please let us know if finally you got an opportunity to show your potential at work!

Hello Charly Brown and all

PigPenny Wed, 07/07/2021 - 14:46

Hello Charly Brown and all readers,

I'm in!  I am a laureate in a reserve list too!  Wow it's so good.

I wish to ackowledge my debt, apart from general ones as my family etc. , specifically to:

  1) EU training: I have been practising on this website for many years and many competitions, and I have always had good results; of course, I have spent some money with them, but an amount that if I get recruited I'll earn in a couple of days!  for sure the best investment in my life;

  2) you, Charly Brown, and other contributors of this forum: your words have been really inspiring even when results were not sufficient to qualify, I have followed it and got a lot of strength: I can say now that I completely agree with you, you are right in everything;

  3) the group of colleagues I have specifically prepared with this last year, all of whom living far from me, all met during EU competitions, who have been a source of encouragement, of support, of benchmark, and also of constraint to prepare in due times!  not all of them are in, unfortunately, but I am sure they will in next competitions.

I am now starting a different journey to try and be recruited, but there are useful tips for that too here.

So good luck to all of you, hope we meet in Brussels!



(oh gosh, will I succeed in wearing a tie daily?)

Hi PigPenny.

INAP2017AD_ETRAY74 Sun, 03/27/2022 - 18:57

Hi PigPenny.

Congrats! I feel really happy that sharing my experience was valuable for you!

Did you finally succeed in getting recruited? Please let us know.

Should we open a new hread entitled "I have passed a competition and got recruited, ask me whatever you want"? ;)


Dear Charly Brown, PigPenny

silvia.nanni5@studio.unibo.it Sat, 04/02/2022 - 12:17

Dear Charly Brown, PigPenny and all contributors,

You have been such a valuable source of tips, encouragement, support and inspiration during the past year - Thank you very very much!!

I would like to acknowledge my debt to you all and be of assistance, too, for those who are navigating the journey of a competition and of the Assessment Centre.

I yet do not know if I will get to the reserve list, but I am here if anyone would like to know more about the interviews, the written test in the field, the case study and all the preparatory work (both practical and mental) that these tests require.

Best of luck to you all!


Dear Silvia,

PigPenny Mon, 04/18/2022 - 01:44

Dear Silvia,

I am glad I have inspired you for a part.  You are a very positive person.

Good luck for your competition!

Dear PigPenny and all,

silvia.nanni5@studio.unibo.it Sun, 07/10/2022 - 14:41

Dear PigPenny and all,

Made it to the reserve list, can you believe it? I am over the moon!

Thank you very much all again.


Dear Silvia,

PigPenny Thu, 07/21/2022 - 14:14

Dear Silvia,

congratulations!!!  that is so good news.

I am happy that I have been useful to you.

Now enjoy this sensation and start preparing for being recruited, I think you already can see vacancies in your EU profile.  There is plenty of suggestion on how to deal with it in this forum too.

And please keep us updated

Fingers crossed for you!

Hey Silvia,

INAP2017AD_ETRAY74 Wed, 09/07/2022 - 12:57

Hey Silvia,

So wonderful you got it! Congratulations!

Now a very different process has begun. But no worries, you will eventually get it. 

I am so happy that my little pieces of advice had somehow boost your morale to get your goals. Please, keep us updated on your career evolution.



Dear Charly and all,

PigPenny Mon, 04/18/2022 - 01:40

Dear Charly and all,

Yes I did it!  I am a EU officer by now (on probation period, of course).

I was a good profile I guess, since I got a high percentage of interviews out of applications sent (no copy-pasted motivation letter and possibily personalised CV) and even got an interview from someone I did not apply to, they contacted me directly.

And, you know, when you are having interviews, panels are assessing you of course, but it is also you who are assessing them!  I met a great team and I am happy it is with them who I am working with presently, but also other teams/panels I liked less. 

If ever I will meet a rounded-head colleague who tries to kick a football while a girl pretends to keep in position... I'll know I have met you! :D

Oh, and there is great news too: I do not have to wear a tie daily ;)


Hi Charlie and all

Juan Luis Muñoz Sun, 10/10/2021 - 18:30

Hi Charlie and all contributors.

I'm in a specialist competition. I've scored 35/40 at CBT, and EPSO is now assessing our aplication TS. I have plenty of expertise, I assume I'll be invited to the AC.

Thus, any advice about how to train for AC please?

Thanks in advance!

Hello Juan Luis Muñoz,

PigPenny Thu, 11/25/2021 - 21:31

Hello Juan Luis Muñoz,

good luck for your competition, you have already done a good deal!

For AC I can tell you about my story:

1) I read all I could about the topic in this site and in this thread too;

2) I listened to relevant webinars;

3) I participated in a classroom training with Jan De Sutter in Brussels, although I had to travel and spend some days there (it was before Covid-19, now plenty of seminars are on-line);

4) I got the "bible" of EU competitors, The ultimate EU Test Book - The Assessment Centre, which I found very helpful, all CBI questions were there;

5) I have also prepared some sessions with other colleagues (not all of them of my same competition).

If I can quote Horatio, nulla dies sine linea, meaning that even when you are too busy or too tired, do try to read something or to reflect on a possible situation to quote as an example, even little, but every day.

Finger crossed!

Dear All,

Efi Kon Wed, 11/02/2022 - 17:38

Dear All,

Thank you for sharing with us your know how. You are all very helpful. I would like to ask a few questions regarding the reserve lists' next steps.  I am on a reserve list of a specialists competition  which has

not been published yet.

Since several institutions will have access to our CV on our EPSO account, should we upload only a CV without a cover letter?

Furthermore, I see several vacancies on my account but I don't know how to apply for them. Shall I send an e-mail?

Will I see a different appearence in my account when the reserve list gets published?

Thank you in advance for your guidance! 

Dear Efi Kon,EU selector

PigPenny Fri, 11/04/2022 - 13:45

Dear Efi Kon,EU selector

great job!  you have already done a lot.

Yes do upload a CV on your account, without any cover letter: make it clear and rich especially for a EU selector, highlighting your experience in the field but especially your EU-related work and your capacity to work with others.

Do also apply for vacancies you could be interested in: instructions on how to apply should be in the applications, but you have to send a cover letter and a CV by email to the address written in each of them.  In this case, please personalise your CV according to what they are looking for: those who read it need to find easily the matching with the required position (or with the most points they are looking for), they will not spend too long and too much effort in guessing if the requirements are met in a long CV.  Use the cover letter for the same purpose: short and strict to the point.

The publication of the list is just a matter of transaprency, nothing is going to change for you.

Best wishes, I hope I will be soon able to call you a colleague!


Dear PigPenny,

Efi Kon Fri, 11/04/2022 - 20:31

Dear PigPenny,

Thank you very much for your reply.

I also hope I will call you a colleague soon!

Best regards,



Dear Efi, PigPenny,

silvia.nanni5@studio.unibo.it Sat, 11/05/2022 - 07:55

Dear Efi, PigPenny,

I agree with everything you wrote. Personalizing the CV and motivation letter is the way to go. Especially trying to find examples within your experience of how you have performed the tasks that they would like the new post holder to take forward. And even saying stating that you are eager to learn is important.

One other suggestion I was given was to give a quick call to the contact person for the vacancy - usually the Head of Unit. This is because he/she has a lot of inside knowledge on the profile they are looking for, which can help you tailor the cover letter and CV further or get to know you even before applying. It may be somehow scary to just someone you don't know up, but I can say it has worked for me!

By the way, I was offered a post as official, so I am in!! So happy, and many thanks again for everyone's advice and support! You have been like friends along the journey :)


Hi Silvia,

Efi Kon Mon, 11/07/2022 - 12:57

Hi Silvia,

Thank you for your advice and congratulations for your new position!

Best regards,


Dear Silvia,

vadsfes Fri, 11/11/2022 - 15:03

Dear Silvia,

I am so glad to hear that!  I was sure it was just a matter of time, but it is always good to see it actually happen.

We are now a nice group of 'EU officials from Charly Brown's thread' LOL

But we are not here to celebrate ourselves: our (different) stories are evidence for encouraging those who have not succeeded... yet.  Go on, believe in yourself and you will join us too.



Dear PigPenny,

Anonymous Sat, 11/05/2022 - 11:30

Dear PigPenny,

You have written that "instructions on how to apply should be in the applications". I understand that I am supposed to apply for (some of) the vacant positions in my EPSO profile. However, there are no published vacancies in my EPSO account yet. Is this normal, when do they appear, am I doing something wrong? 

Many thanks for your help, highly appreacited!


Dear anonymous,

PigPenny Sun, 11/20/2022 - 03:48

Dear anonymous,

when I was informed that I was in the reserve list, a new button appeared in my EPSO account in connection to the selection: 'Show vacancies'.

When clicking to each vacant post notice, I could see a pdf file descibing the post, the DG, the requirements and the ways to apply: these are the internal Commission tool, for actual officers, and a dedicated email address, for external, including people on the lists.

I home this answers your doubts.

Good luck,


Dear all,

mrod Wed, 01/04/2023 - 23:23

Dear all,

Thank you for this very useful post

I have a question regarding appointment after being in a reserve list.

Most Notices of Competition indicate that the procedure is to build a reserve list for "mainly" XXX DG.

My question is what that mainly means. If you pass the competition and enter the reserve list you can only work in DG XXX or you can move to other DGs as a first appointment.

I am asking as first appointment.

If you want another DG how to move?

Thank you very much.

Dear mrod,

Silvia Sat, 01/07/2023 - 17:40

Dear mrod,

As far as I understood from these first months as official, the European Commission encourages mobility between units and DGs. And, in general, learning new skills, subjects, topics. So I would say that, if you land a position in one DG, surely you will have opportunities to move to another DG if you wish to and put effort in it!

But you were asking about the first appointment. Each DG who launches a competition is interested in recruiting as many laureates as possible from the reserve list. However, I know that it happens that they open their laureate list, so that other DGs can recruit laureates. I don't think this is guaranteed, but it is a possibility.

In my case, I applied to several DGs - including those that were not directly entitled to recruit from the laureates list - and got invitations to interviews. So my encouragement is to apply to as many relevant vacancies as you think - even in DGs that are not the main target for your competition. You might or not end up in your 'ideal' DG as first appointment, but it is likely to be a valuable experience that will get one step closer to your ideal job!

What do other laureates or officials think about this?

Best of luck and keep us posted!


Yes mrod,

PigPenny Thu, 01/19/2023 - 21:20

Yes mrod,

I agree with Silvia.  If a list is for DG XX, DG XX has the priority.  Having said that, after some time the list is open to every employer.  But even before, even soon, you can apply to posts in other DGs (equal posts: if it is an AST list, you will not be hired to an AD post), the only thing is that apart from assessing you personally the hiring DG will also evaluate if asking for you to DG XX is feasible.

This means that yes you can apply to whatever DG and no, if they do not call you to the interview it does not mean they are not interested in you, maybe they are not at ease in asking for you to the DG for which the selection was launched (but maybe another DG is at ease).  Anyway it is not something you can influence, so do not worry about and try.


I have some questions for

marioflagiello1584_158566 Mon, 01/09/2023 - 13:36

I have some questions for more experienced people here. To be eligible for the reserve list you have to win a notice of competition or it is open also to people which arrive in the final stages of a competition? Is experience in national public administrations highly valued when they evaluate work experience? Beginning to study for those competitions at 38 years is in your opinion too late to partecipate?

Hi marioflagiello1584_158566,

Manrod Fri, 01/13/2023 - 18:17

Hi marioflagiello1584_158566,

38 is not young, but not late. I have passed the competition at 39.

Experience in public administration is valued equally IF relevant. The IF is important.

I have a question about

marioflagiello1584_158566 Wed, 01/11/2023 - 10:26

I have a question about reserve lists and competitions. How does it work? If in a competition there are for example 20 available jobs in a DG for AD6, the winners of the competition are directly employed in the DG at grade AD6 or 20 people get online access to the reserve list where it is needed to be accepted by an employer to get a job? To enter the reserve list you have to win the competition or also people which arrive at final stages of a competition get access to it? If you have access to the reserve list you can get a job for a different administration and different grade than what you have competed for? Sorry for the stupid question i am just now beginning to compete for Epso competitions.


David @ EU Training Fri, 01/13/2023 - 16:43


We have a free webinar on the EPSO selection process you might find helpful:


You can also find relevant information in the Notice of Competition.

Best Regards,
David Herman

Hello marioflagiello1584,

PigPenny Thu, 01/19/2023 - 21:26

Hello marioflagiello1584,

To be in a list, you must pass the related competition.  At that stage you can be hired to whatever structure / administration* that has a post corresponding to the grade of the list.  For example, if you are in a list for Assistant, you cannot be hired as an Administrator, and viceversa.

Follow the seminars in this website and prepare with them, for me it was successful.  Good luck.



* not all administration hire through EPSO, for example the European Central Bank has an indipendent hiring system; but most posts in the European bubble pass through EPSO.

Hello people,

uli.sawczuk_159214 Sun, 02/19/2023 - 06:50

Hello people,

For those who made it to the reserve list, could you please share with us your scores on the interview and case study?


Dear Uli,

PigPenny Thu, 02/23/2023 - 21:03

Dear Uli,

what specific selection are you interested and why?  People could not be willing to share this information if you do not motivate them :)


Good point, thank you for the

uli.sawczuk_159214 Thu, 02/23/2023 - 22:02

Good point, thank you for the tip!

I am participating in a competition for an AST/Linguistic Assistant position. I would be really grateful if people who have passed one of these selection processes could share the scores they got in the assessment center, for each specific test (Competency-Based Interview, Case Study and Finalisation of a Text). 


Dear all.

AMC1977 Thu, 07/06/2023 - 18:53

Dear all.
As most of you, I'm considering to start preparing for generalists ad5 competition. But I have some doubts for the experienced people in this process. Is it worth for a really experienced person(20 years in automotive industry in managing positions)? Do you consider I could have opportunities with such a background, supposing I get pass the 1st step, not easy at all?.
How demanding is an industrial background for these kind of positions?. Thanks in advance for your comments.

Do you mean if your

strangequark Wed, 08/02/2023 - 20:00

Do you mean if your background will be in demand? (The sentence does not make a lot of sense with "demanding".) In short: Yes, experience will likely increase your chances of being recruited once you are on a reserve list. But be aware: you will not have access to leadership positions (except project management roles). You would be recruited at AD5 step 2 (your experience will not be taken into account beyond granting step 2). For a Head of Unit position people need to be at least AD8 + 2 years. In the best case (!) scenario this will take 8 years before you are even eligible to apply for leadership roles (middle management). So passing an AD7 competition would be better (but they are rare and it needs to be in your field).


danivallo_167118 Wed, 10/04/2023 - 17:14


Do you know how to find out what work experience would be considered relevant regarding AD5 generalists recruitment process?

Thank you!


INAP2017AD_ETRAY74 Mon, 10/02/2023 - 15:15


In addition to the valuable information provided by strangequark: Yes!!! Your profile will be really apreciated and demanded by specialized technical DGs as DG GROW, DG MOVE and DG CLIMA, but also DG ENV which is in charge of sustainable products and betterie performance. Road transport is a key topic of the Commission, for instance for legislation and studies on the tailpipe emissions, the batteries and electric powertrains for electric vehicles, internal combustion engines performance and the like. And some execuitve agencies as CINEA would be interested as well. Indeed I would give it a try and send my spontaneous application to targetted Units (check "Who is who" in the internet) to give it try as contract agent (Group IV). Sometimes the Commission struggles to find talented and experienced people for certain specialized vacancies.

Good luck!



danivallo_167118 Wed, 10/04/2023 - 16:59


What work experience do you think is relevant to help you succeed in the recruitment process? 

So, I made it to te reserve

Nancy Tue, 10/10/2023 - 12:21

So, I made it to te reserve list for a competion for specialists (AD7). I have a great experience in the related industry (approx 18 years) in public and private sector, which means that I really do fit into the profile of the specific job for this area of expertise. However, as I've heard from former classmates and colleagues that already work in this specific DG, they will not hire anyone for the next 3 or more years. The results were out a year ago, I had excellent score in all areas (interview, MCQ, SBCI etc), however NO JOBS!

Nothing related is published in the list of vacancies. I have seen that for some competitions that issued and finalized 6 or 8 months after the one I participated, there are already available vacancies everyday, but not for the competition that I participated. 

It's been 2,5 years already since I applied, I am not getting any younger, in fact I'm getting closer to my retirement. So my question is, should I try to apply to any other generalist position? Or my CV and certifications will scare off the recruiters? :-)  I have applied to some, but in most cases I didn't even got a rejection letter. 


Any ideas? 


Hello Nancy,

PigPenny Fri, 10/20/2023 - 13:55

Hello Nancy,

first of all congratulations for being in the list!

Secondly, I suggest you apply to whatever vacant post suits you, even if it does not fit perfectly with your background.  I really cannot imagine how your CV could scare the recruiters either they would appreciate (usual case), either they will not consider it relevant.  But most AD posts are published for every leve from AD5 to AD14, so an AD7 would fit perfectly.

You could always apply to any specialist post published after.  I am surprised of people who know for sure that for next 3 years (!) no recruitment in the area will be made. 

Good luck!


Eva Thu, 02/01/2024 - 09:45


Congratulation to you!
How is the planning of the sending of final results and reserve list.
Does EPSO communicate the score of the different step before to tell you if you are on the final list ?
And what was (for you) the delays bettween final results and signature of the reserve list ?

Tanks a lot.

Due to the ongoing EPSO

David @ EU Training Thu, 02/01/2024 - 21:12

Due to the ongoing EPSO freeze, no competition has reached its final stage yet since the new competition model was introduced last year. That said, in the new format, all tests take place on the same day so we cannot speak of "different steps". All candidates are informed about their final result, and the reserve list gets published on the competition page, too. It used to happen roughly a month after the final tests, so I expect something similar in the future.

Thanks for your answer, my

eva.G Fri, 02/02/2024 - 09:47

Thanks for your answer, my question was for the competition under the old model  AST/151/22 and AD/398/22. For example they annouced yesterday that the signature of the reserve list of AST competition will be done the 17th of February, but I dont know if we will receive results before. 

So it's been several years

what happend Wed, 03/06/2024 - 10:57

So it's been several years did you get the job or kicked out of the reserve list?

Hi everyone! thank you for

nassiamg_119188 Thu, 03/07/2024 - 20:45

Hi everyone! thank you for your insights :)

I have also made it to a reserve list by REA, it was an external selection, the results were out at the end of 2022 and yet no offer. I am already working at the Commission as a contract agent but my time is coming up. I tried a few times to send a spontaneous application, they don't accept them. It's really frustrating, you have to go through such a competitive process for 10/20 posts in total, they don't contact you and if you try to apply for a post, you are filed in the spontaneous applications folder.

Do you have any similar experience with the executive agencies? Any insights you have would be extremely useful.

thank you!!