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Careers at EU institutions - 05/03/2009

Map of Europe super-imposed over a crowd of people ©EC

An overhaul of the selection process for civil servants begins.

Interested in working for the European Union? Before filling out the application, you may want to try one of the sample tests offered by the European recruitment office (EPSO).

The tests can be found on EPSO’s new website, along with a simplified application form and access to online help. Also available for the first time – notices of upcoming competitions in 23 official EU languages.

The revamped website is the first step in a major effort to improve the way the EU recruits. By changing its methods, EPSO hopes to speed up the application and selection process and enlist candidates with more skills and experience.

Every year tens of thousands of people apply for positions in the European civil service. They include interpreters, translators, lawyers, secretaries and administrators. The process is daunting – starting with a battery of tests – that can last for one or two years. This can discourage candidates, putting EU institutions at a disadvantage as would-be employers.

“We recognise that there is stiff competition for the brightest and best, and so we are determined to speed up, streamline and better focus our efforts to attract and select people,” explains EPSO director David Bearfield.

The selection tests are currently being re-designed. From 2010 it will be less important for candidates to memorise a multitude of general facts and figures on the history of the EU, and much more important to demonstrate their professional skills and expertise. The timetable for competitions will be changed and shortened so that they take place in annual cycles, and also made much shorter, just 5-9 months.

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