The report is based on "an in-depth examination of a sample of 16 competitions of different types (specialists and generalists, heads of unit and entry level grades, administrators and assistants); and an analysis of EPSO's database, comprising all data concerning 176 competitions launched from 2003 to 2006 and completed by early 2008" and led to the following observations:
- increase in the number of competitions was managed effectively;
- lack of timely and consistent information on the Institutions’ staffing needs;
- the personnel selection process took too long;
- delays during the competition phase;
- the yield from competitions did not meet targeted numbers and did not achieve the broadest possible geographical balance;
- specific language requirements may deter good candidates;
- communication regarding competitions was suboptimal;
- pre-selection tests eliminated more candidates than was necessary to meet targets;
- shortcomings in management information;
- cost incurred by EPSO was about 7 100 euro per laureate (successful candidates);
- weaknesses in EPSO's databases.
The recommendations that the Court of Auditors draws up following these observations are clear-cut and directly linked to the shortcomings addressed above. For those of you interested in more details it is also worth reading the annexes where the Court presents the comprehensive figures regarding the selection procedures of EPSO.
However, the main paragraph of the report for me is this one:
"27. Unduly long selection procedures result in the Institutions not being able to recruit candidates as and when required, and may deter good candidates, either at the outset or during the procedure. Furthermore, according to candidate satisfaction surveys carried out by EPSO in March/April 2008, the respondents were least satisfied with the overall duration of the competitions, which had a negative impact on candidates’ perception of the European Institutions as a potential employer."It is exactly this time perspective that has never made me interested in applying for an EU job.
Not a single moment did I think about entering the competition, because I don't have the time and the interest to go through a process that takes this long and at the end of which I don't even have a job immediately.
So even if there might have been some interesting posts in EU institutions, the gatekeeping effect of the EPSO procedures made that I didn't even look for them. Not to speak of useless examinations forcing to learn masses of unnecessary details that have not much to do with the practical work one has to execute.
Apparently, EPSO will reform its procedures:
"The major change introduced [...] will be the organisation of general competitions on an annual cycle basis. Written and oral tests will be done in “assessment centres”, introduced in order to assess candidates by applying selection methods that focus on key competences required. It is foreseen that this new approach will be operational in the first quarter of 2010."This reform (short: EDP) is also the main element of defence that EPSO uses in its reply to the CoA report.
But it'll have to be seen whether this will bring about the change needed - and the envisaged time perspective of 9 months for an application procedure still appears to be quite excessive in a world that is quickly moving and in which my generation does not have the time to wait for a huge organisation to decide whether we are "worth" entering its holy spheres.
Altogether, the report shows the weakness of the EPSO system, its inability to handle the selection procedure in an efficient manner - and thereby represents the image of the EU institutions that - right or wrong - are accused of bureaucratic procedures and closure to the outside world.
PS.: By the way: The longest ever discussion on the EPSO procedures can be found on Jon Worth's blog, with 820 comments since May 2006!