Wednesday, 26 August 2009

EPSO heavily criticised by European Court of Auditors

The European Court of Auditors has just issued a very critical report on EPSO, the European Personnel Selection Office.

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.
This is an impressive, if not to say devastating list of shortcomings.

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!

36 comments:

Jon Worth said...

Thanks for digging this up! I agree with your sentiment on this - I did take a concours and didn't get into the final 600 of 18000 applicants because I couldn't be bothered to learn useless stuff about fishing quotas in the Mediterranean etc.

The problem is also the sort of people that pass the concours - i.e. anally retentive of useless facts - are precisely the wrong sort of people the institutions should be recruiting.

Anonymous said...

Full-blown assessments are prohibitively expensive. For budgetary reasons the second stage will consequently only serve to weed out perhaps 40% of candidates (compare it to the interview-stage of the concours now). Hence, all of the culling will down based on computer-based MCQs. I must say I would prefer the classical concours formula then. At least candidates had to write up an essay there.

You'll get even freakier "bêtes de concours" with this approach.

rose22joh said...

Good article.
Have to say (having sat the concours but not got through but having worked in and with the EU institutions for a decade) that I hope the assessment centre based process will result in candidates with directly relevant administrative experience having a chance to demonstrate this.
At the moment the institutions are filled with very bright people but very few with significant relevant outside experience - that's why the SNE roles have been so valuable in policy development. But while those SNE staff add value, they are least likely to have the time to sit and study random EU trivia on e.g. who won the Sakarov prize because they're already pursuing a busy career.
While academic qualification is of course important, the ability to get things done - leadership, project management, briefing and clear drafting skills etc. - is more important than the ability to write a nice essay on an esoteric European issue.

Anonymous said...

and don't forget, once you have passed the concours, you have no career under the new system. heads you lose, tails they win.

Anonymous said...

I also read the report and, if I well remember the cost per laureate is assessed in €7.000 circa. The report doesn't stress on the fact that selected people (who struggled one year and half) lay on the list for years and sometime they will never be offered an opportunity. In the meanwhile the EU bodies hugely increased other form of recruitment, not using at all the Reserve lists.
So, even if I recognize that the recruitment must be carried out in respect of Institutions priorities, I think that some kind of right should be granted to the laureates.
Further, I think that since EPSO spends so much money to select qualified candidates, EPSO should somehow look after to this people and support them in gaining opportunities in the institutions. In other words, they should enhance the fruits of their work.
Differently, it's just another way to waste public money.

Nick Heenan EPSO said...

I must say I find your article pretty unbalanced on two counts:
Firstly, if you were to compare this particular Auditors report to others you would discover that their criticisms of EPSO's procedures are relatively mild.
Secondly, any such "audit" is necessarily retrospective. We have published and are currently implementing a major development programme to modernise our competitions and to adopt best practices of industry. This will be launched in March 2010. All recommendations made to EPSO by the Court of Auditors in their report - have already been addressed. Gone is the EU knowledge test, as part of an overall change of emphasis within our competitions to measuring (or more accurately - predicting) the competencies of candidates "on the job", rather than assessing their prior knowledge of the Institutions and EU policies. In this electronic age, anyone can acquire knowledge if they know where to look. The candidates we seek are talented people having the skills necessary to apply such knowledge in their work.
This change of approach will be implemented not only in the computer-based pre-selection tests, but also through a series of written and oral exercises undertaken during a day spent in an Assessment Centre. We anticipate that the overall selection process can thus be cut to 5-9 months total duration, from submission deadline for application forms to the first succesful candidates of a competiton taking up their jobs.

Anonymous said...

How about this for a selection/recruitment procedure:
1) Nothing but computer-based testing: math/verbal/specialism
2) Recruitment in order of rank
3) Probationary period of one year during which lay-offs should be a lot more common than now by use of a fact-based, written, transparent file.

In other words: you slash the actual selection cost to shreds (almost no more need for epso under this scheme actually), you reduce witing times to a minimum, you remove any appearance of nepotism. However, the onus will now lay with the HoU having to scrutinize and possibly fire new recruits. This should be possible at any time during the probationary period with a week's notice.

They should check with the French ministry of finance that recruits/used(?) to recruit some of its fiscal inspectors that way. By a lot of minority groups this was perceived as a safeguard against all sorts of discriminatory practices.

All of the above, of course, implies there is a European consensus on what selection procedures are meant to do, in my opnionion: instill a sense of objectivity/transparency (do not underestimate this for Southern/Eastern EU MS) and weed out the worst candidates (not necessarily select the best, big difference). To anglosaxons/northern Europeans this may sound ludicrous, but I have yet to see an alternative model that would hack it in prcatice.

Having gone through a concours up to recruitment (the testing day and interview were actually the least time-consuming part) I can assure for some candidates (those with good scores, but bad passport/gender and lousy inside connections) the above approach would vastly improve on the current cavalcade of Chinese whispers, all sorts of official/non-official quota, weird "internal" vacancies circulating all over the place/bizarre reservation procedures blocking you for months/...

Anonymous said...

To Nick Heenan,

a full day at an assessment centre (including all sorts of group interaction games) is pretty expensive. I really do not believe this will ever become a susbstantial part of the selection process (meaning you will select the top 5/2 percentile group and perhaps only throw out half in the following stage).

In other words: the new procedure will be even more biased toward CBT-MCQs. At least under the past concours formula the essay (that all candidates took at the first testing day) could be weighed in as a further filtre.

My advice: drop the non-written part altogether and let the HoU do the pruning... but that would be like asking turkeys to vote for Xmass of course ;-)

Julien Frisch said...

Dear Nick,

thank you for your reaction to this post, I appreciate that!

Regarding your points:

1) As an EU citizen I read the Auditors' report without particular knowledge of other reports, and even if I might have some more knowledge than some of my peers it is still difficult to make such kinds of comparisons. But if I read a report in which the only positive remark is that you coped with the post-enlargement changes it makes the report sound very negative.

2) I have seen from your response to report published together with the Auditors' text that you have been and will be addressing them as you have pointed out again in your comment. However, since these are new changes without measurable results so far, I have remained hesitant - but I am the last one not to let myself convince that it actually works out the way you want.

Altogether, I have to make such points as strong as I can, because the creation of public debates on EU-related topics is hard enough if the only thing you can deal with are administrative documents - so I am often purposefully unbalanced, but to a side where I think it's worth making a strong point.

In any case, thanks again for your reaction - we need this kind of public interaction to make the EU a better polity!

Anonymous said...

To epso's defense we have to note that the cost estimate doesn't allow for the introduction of CBT-procedures nor does it compare to the pre-epso era. Epso puts a face on the selection, meaning it will be criticezed. Before, with the commission DGs basically doing what they wanted (a bit like the executive agencies now), no-one had a clue whom to complain about.

Julien Frisch said...

For all the readers not familiar with EPSO-language: CBT means "computer based test".

(This information was sponsored by Google.)

Dick Nieuwenhuis said...

From inside the house and having had experience with the selection procedures let me add two things that are important to keep in mind when discussing time and money for such procedues:
- each and every EU citizen must have an equal change to participate. That implies that you have to develop a selection procedure that gives that possiblity indepent of nationality, age, sex, etc. Needless to say you pay price for this (democracy) moneywise and in time.
- recruitment should not be on ranking (only) as suggested because the newcomer needs to fit in a team where you already have certain expertise and background (including languages and cultures).
EPSO is largely improving the system but by and large it wasn't so bad at all (some national systems are worse) and the institutions get highly qualified staff.
That candidates have to do some efoort for that seems reasonable to me, no?

Anonymous said...

Hi Dick,

Sorry 'bout my anonimity, but I like to keep things that way... have been bashing quite virulently at the commission/epso for a while now.

1) "- recruitment should not be on ranking (only) ... as suggested because the newcomer needs to fit in a team where you already have certain expertise and background (including languages and cultures)."

--> by "languages" you mean oral skills then? Given the fact that you can well do the CBT in several languages I would otherwise fail to see the point here. You could also have candidates write an essay in a foreign tongue, would make sense to me as writing policy dos in several languages is probably an important part of the job for some profiles.
There are plenty of international accreditations (Cambridge TOEFL, Goethe Institute, ...) that would do the trick also.

Team chemistry/culture: that's up to the HoU to see, but something like "he's not popular" certainly wouldn't suffice to kick some-one out during the prob period. I don't like this argumenr, smacks of what I'm about to write below.


"That candidates have to do some efoort for that seems reasonable to me, no"

DG ADMIN should publish data on the impact nationality/gender/merit group/previous employment with EU services/... have as covariates on overall time-to-recruitment (if any). This is a basic time-to-event analysis and they have the data... you would be in for a surprise on how little individual lobbying effort would help once you corrected for those factors.

Btw: several HoU simply told me they assumed all laureates had access to the "internal" vacancies. Hence they concluded that is no-one comes knocking on the door, it's because they lack interest.

Pretty bad hay...

Julien Frisch said...

Thanks, Dick!

I agree that candidates should need some effort, but in the end it is about finding those who are most qualified for a certain position in a speedy way, not in having excessive procedures that might not be suitable to find appropriate candidates.

Personally, I regard application procedures as a mutual process, in which both sides show each other's interest - but if one side makes the procedure look as if the other was just begging, this principle equality disappears.

And a lengthy process with a lack of information, as pointed out by the CoA would definitely qualify for such a lack of balance.

Julien Frisch said...

For all the readers not familiar with EPSO-language: HoU means "Head of Unit".

(This information was sponsored by Google.)

PS.: Thanks for writing abbreviations at least once in their full beauty, because there are non-insiders like me reading, too...

Anonymous said...

Pretty interesting though, that we have commission officials actually chipping in (officialy that is). Reminds me of Glasnost ;-)

Here's one to (re)act on:

If you read some of te Carolyn Ban papers there's some matter-of-fact anecdotal info shedding a "peculiar" light on the selection/recruitment practices.

" [... This raises, however, the question as to whether, in seeking applicants who “fit the mold,” the process gives too great an advantage to people who have already worked within the institutions. Indeed, one person who participated in a Selection Board and described it as a ‘strange experience’ reported that “If you already worked in the Commission, you were a stagiaire, or you’d been employed, you had a 100% chance of passing your oral exam because this is already a colleague, so go through.” ..]"

Source: The Making of the New Eurocrats: Self-Selection, Selection, and Socialization of
European Commission Staff from the New Membner States, Ban 2009

Will epso/DG ADMIN respond to these elements by presenting the tax-paying public with a less anecdotical (and hence more compelling) analysis on their side or should we wait for an external audit (presumably after some ghastly Cresson incident)?

Nick Heenan EPSO said...

To clear up a couple of specific points raised in recent posts:
The whole point of computer based testing (in a pre-selection stage) is that we offer these tests to everyone that applies. There is a saying around these parts that "we have no shortage of applicants, but we sometimes do have a shortage of the right applicants"!
Computer-based pre-selection ensures we are totally fair and even-handed. Yes competition is fierce and yes, we will only take a fixed (pre-published) number of people forward to the subsequent Assesment Centre.
Since March 2009, we have also offered applicants the opportunity to self-assess if they are sufficiently well prepared to take the computer-based tests BEFORE they actually fill in the application form. This helps us to keep the number of applicants down (saving us money and saving many ill-prepared candidates a lot of wasted effort).
Running an Assessment Centre is indeed relatively expensive per candidate, but best practice has proven this to be the most cost-effective way of measuring candidates' abilities. That is why we will only offer the assessment centre stage to "sufficient" candidates to allow us to select the number of people that we actually need (again it's a published number).
Finally - candidates that do take the assessment centre tests will be told much quicker than before whether or not they have passed the competition. At the same time as notifying the result, we intend to give all such candidates written feedback on how they have done (strengths & weaknesses).
In summary, these major changes to our competitions serve not only to modernise our approach to the selection of staff, but also to significantly shorten the time that this takes.

Anonymous said...

Nick,

I appreciate the effort you are making here, but as there is no set ratio laureates/stage-2 canditates I remain sceptical. I venture that this will at best approximate the current knock-out percentage of some 40% in the concours interview stage. I do not see how the assessment centres will ever play more than a marginal role here.

Did the cost-effectiveness analysis feature outcomes as a function of said knock-out percentages?

When we did this stuff for fresh-minted graduates in the private sector we used the assessment centres to knock out > 80%. For more experienced profiles they were just considered informative (also done on an individual basis and actually only because internal procedures obliged us).

I just don't see it... worse, you'll have lost the essay. Now if there was one prognostic tool helping to weed out the worst elements in view of the ability to write policy docs it was the "write a policy doc" stage. This will now be mixed up with the rest of the stage 2 assessment as I understood and hence only weigh in for very little.

Run the cost-effectiveness on that one.

Julien Frisch said...

@Nick

To me, your point sounds convincing. If it works out, good so.

@anonymous

You could still run the essay under an assessment centre if you'd really consider it helpful. I suppose it depends on the post whether this is actually needed. And if I may add: I don't have the impression that most policy documents are written in a particularly stylish way which would speak against the argument that so far the best writers were chosen.

Anonymous said...

@ Julien

"You could still run the essay under an assessment centre if you'd really consider it helpful"

That's just it! If you do not treat it as a separate stage, but throw it in with the rest of the assessment centre tests, then the essay part will never play more than a very marginal role. This is because the whole stage 2 assessment will be so preposterously expensive that only few candidates (few propotional to the eventual number of laureats) will be invited to it, hence few candidates will take the essay.

You either need a seperate stage (--> at a cost of more witing time) or need to have all candidates write one in the first stage (you only correct the essays for the top percentile afterwards, as done before).

"I don't have the impression that most policy documents are written in a particularly stylish way which would speak against the argument that so far the best writers were chosen."

--> how would leaving out/downgrading the essay then impact this alreday dismal situation?

Franc67 said...

Sorry, if I break the argumentation, which is getting technical. However, since EPSO is reading, and it seems a great opportunity, I would like to say that something is not working in the recruiting system. And it would be wrong to say that the problem is in the competitions.
BTW, I participated in several EPSO competitions and I have to say that maybe it is not perfect but is very fair (and it's important).
It is when you pass the comp that it gets strange, completely un-transparent. You don't know nothing about RL development, but you see plenty on vacancy notices for CAs or temporary posts (usually more than 3 years) which will be awarded without any consideration of competition results.
Sorry if I look to my case but, as many other laureats, I cannot stop to wonder why after many months on two RLs, a quite relevant working experience, nothing happens!

Anonymous said...

Must actually agree with Franc.

The selection part in my case took about 18 months... which is long, but at least it was clear-cut and there were chronological milestones: inscription - test day - results MCQ - results written - oral - final results.

What happened afterwards ("the recruiment stage"), however, was a dog's dinner: quota based on nationality / no access to internal vacancies / lack of info on various reservation procedures /people cutting corners /...

In all this took 3 years (reserve list to first day at the job). I can assure you working my way in took a lot more effort than preparing the concours.
For most of this mess the commission is to blame and not epso. The only complaint I have is that it took some serious nagging and pointing out they were in breach of a European directive on personal data protection before they granted on-line access to laureates' flagging status.
Before that they just spend their days answering calls and sending mails "please contact us again in three months' time". Other than that, epso did OK.

The whole process, however, was a PR disaster. None of my friends would even consider applying after having seen from closeby what amount of BS I had to put up with and how many hoops they made me jump through.

Anonymous said...

BS = BullShit

Bitte sehr, Julien ;-)

enrico said...

I strongly agree with franc67that the real problem is not the Epso phase, although quite long it is fair (and compared to Italian experience, it is quite a good outcome). I did not study so much on silly european stuff but I managed the test. Indeed the risk of false positive during the Epso phase probably exists, but once you choose among a panel of 10,000 candidates, the risk statistically is quite moderate. It is the recruitment phase really poor managed and I really do not understand why most of the reforms involves the selection procedure and not the recruitment. Also the reform about your status (the knowledge of "flagging") are only aimed to improve the "passive" information, but do not improve the huge asymmetries between "insiders" and full external laureates, probably not living in Bruxelles. Also lobbying (which is officially forbidden or at least discouraged) becomes very difficult. This is quite disruptive for your professional and personal life, you keep your usual life with a sort od "damocle's sword" above you.
And I can assure it is a widepread feeling among the laureates, as you can see from several blogs on the subject matter.
In any case congratulations for the blog.

Anonymous said...

The ECA-report shocked me in one particular regard: the ECA comes to the conclusion that the thresholds to be admitted to the written tests should be lowered. In the opinion of the ECA, this would ensure to have a sufficient number of testtakers who would actually pass the written tests...

On the other hand (read the papers by Carolyn Ban - or just ask EPSO) it is known that the examination board usually draws up a list of key words and then checks if these key words are mentioned. The British EU Staffing Branch of the Cabinet Office even warns to come up with genuine answers and recommends to write something average.

However, in a concours that I recently haven't passed (AD 5 concours, I got kicked out because of written test b) the examination board informed me about the respective weights of 1) knowledge in the field 30/40 2) ability to understand, analyze and summarize 6/40 and 3) drafting skills 4/40. Thus, only 10/40 actually was about "non-specialist-knowledge-skills" like writing...30/40 was specialist knowledge, checked against a list of pre-formulated key words.

So - these previous comments that the written tests would really reveal if you are a good writer of policy documents - is nonsense.

The written tests are jeopardy. If you happen to write something average and this matches the list of key words, you are in - no matter how dumb you are. If you come up with something smart - you are kicked out, because it is too genuine... (I scored 28/30 in the preselection, and also quite good in written test a)) Furthermore, I do have extensive experience in writing papers etc.

I do think that EPSO is on a good way now and am very much looking forward to the new procedures starting next year. I hope that a high margin of contestants is going to be kicked out in the preselction, and am sure that well organized assessment centers help to hire the people with both high IQ and EQ.

I don't understand how an institution like the ECA can give a recommendation to lower the standards and continue to blow out the places on reserve lists in a lottery like the current written tests.

In performance audit, effectiveness is one of the major issues. Don't they see that their recommended way is totally ineffective?

I am really shocked.

Anonymous said...

@ ANON 27 SEP

If large numbers of applicants take the writing test, 10/40 should be more than sufficient to ensure analythic/synthetic/stylistic prowess will make the difference.

That's the whole point... if you have a lot of candidates handing in essays, you can always choose to use the essay as an exclusion criterion (let's say you choose to knock out 80% in this stage). Average marks for the top percentile with such a large pool of candidates will then be pretty damn high and every added point will mean a huge jump in the ranking. So, good stylists among the "keyword-aspergers" should rise to the top.

You illustrate perfectly why the essay part shouldn't be drowned in the assessment day (where we know but few candidates will be invited to as assessment centres charge you an arm and a leg).

"However, in a concours that I recently haven't passed (AD 5 concours, I got kicked out because of written test b) the examination board informed me about the respective weights of 1) knowledge in the field 30/40 2) ability to understand, analyze and summarize 6/40 and 3) drafting skills 4/40. Thus, only 10/40 actually was about "non-specialist-knowledge-skills" like writing...30/40 was specialist knowledge, checked against a list of pre-formulated key words.

So - these previous comments that the written tests would really reveal if you are a good writer of policy documents - is nonsense"

Anonymous said...

but why would anyone want to kick out 80% of the testtakers? We are talking about the written tests here! The target is to admit about 50% into the next stage - the oral exams. Does it make any sense at all to admit someone based on a subjective criterion such as "writing style"? - of course not! is 10/40 sufficient? 1 point more makes the difference? Why that? People are kicked out because they did not receive sufficient points in the knowledge part (which - as I had mentioned in my previous post - is checked against a set list of key words). about 60-70%, dependning on the competition, do not receive the minimium # of points (50%) in written test b) and are therefore not admitted to the orals! So - even if you score the 10/40 for your excellent writing skills, you are still 10 points away from the passing score of 20 points. if you did not mention the exact keywords, you are kicked out anyhow.

So - again: I wouldn't mind if they would test writing skills in the course of an AC.

But I totally object the weird system they use now, as this is not choosing the best, but a pure random selection!

Another Anonymous said...

What I never understood about the new system is how it will work in terms of numbers? At least the first round of aptitude tests will not require any preparation, and yet is supposed to be a "threshold test" ie sift in not cut out. So then surely there will be loads of candidates who pass that first stage who must then be taken to assessment centres, which you say is costly and time consuming? Am I missing something?

Anonymous said...

why should there be a lot of people who pass this first round?? all logic tests have in common that you can't really prepare much. I guess what they'll do is the same as they have always done: only allow a set number of candidates into the next round (assessment centers).

Another Anonymous said...

If Anonymous is right then the only people who will ever get to an assessment centre will be those who are outstanding on logic tests. Maybe a bit better than the sort of person who is anally retentive of useless facts, but still hardly a guarantee of the right candidate? It strikes me the flaw in the system is still there- too much reliance on tests which don't have much relevance to the knowledge/skills needed to do the work.

Anonymous said...

ANON AUG 26 here

Happy newyear to all.

In going through the latest posts I'm getting the impression the idea that the AC will only be of marginal importance is finally hitting home.

Imagine this: AD-5 EPA profile 30,000 candidates for 120 laureates. AC costs about 1000 a pop per day (and this is a low estimate, at least for the Brussels'area). Remember: they wanna do this annualy... imagine the money they're gonna burn.

What's gonna happen? Previously, about 40% at most got kicked out in the oral exam round (these boards took up lots of time from officials involved, hence the need to keep numbers low). --> 200people invited to an AC is our best guestimate then.

This means the selection is done in the knock-out round and whatever the AC may correct for afterwards, this will only have a marginal impact. Leave out the essay and you are certain of one thing: writing will NOT count. That the way the essay is quoted could be improved is another discussion, but its place if before the AC phase. So is the place of every other thing that would matter, however imperfect the gauging method.

And yes, these will the same asperger IQ freaks as before. Don't get your hopes up the AC round will sift out the humanoids. These will already have been eliminated before. This stage is to weed out the absolute freaks (photophobic, stammering, druling, ...). Believe me, I saw the guy before and after me at an oral AD round... it was a very reassuring idea these creatures would be put in a room and made to interact.

Anonymous said...

I am a EU_10 laureate of an AD5 competition with international professional experience, living abroad for more than 10 years and still waiting in the reserve list to be contacted by the EC since January 2009. Till now only the laureates who were Temporary Agents and worked inside the Commission and passed the competition like me were hired, they became permanent. I am a little disappointed by the way the EC manages these lists, I studied a lot to pass the exams and then I had to start my lobby, it is like a game without an end. Now I am receiving only polite e-mails in which different Heads of Unit tell me they have no vacancy. May you offer me any piece of advice regarding the recruitment I am here eagering to listen to it. To whom I must write more and more e-mails..

Anonymous said...

Romanians and Bulgarians are the flavour of the week now and I would start worrying, ANON EU10. This is how so many EU15 AD laureates have been made to feel over the last few years. The irony of th whole affair is that you had indeed better elbowed your way in as a TA and taken an internal concours. Instead you chose the hard way (relatively hard at least, still single-country concours after all).

Anonymous said...

I am an IT specialist in a TA list for EU_10, too and I refused a TA job because I was waiting for a permanent position, you know, with 2 kids it's not so easy to let my job ...now you tell me it's better to go for a TA job:(

I am wondering how the EU publishes a lot of books about the employment, the EU jobs, the geneder equality and then they decide for CA and TA contracts because they pay less for the same work:( what rights and equalities?

Anonymous said...

I al sorry, ANON EU10, but that was a tactical blunder. Perhaps you weren't well informed, but most of those that got in as TAs were regularized (after some pseudo comp). At least some knew this well beforehand. Especially if you made a regular comp (though single-country comp, I keep stressing) you would have been a hot asset at a given moment.

Anonymous said...

My competition was for all EU_10 countries, more than 7 000 candidates for 35 positions. It' s a shame that EU institutions do this internal competitions before they employ the persons which succeeded in a EPSO competition. I am sure that almost 2/3 of laureates are suitable workers in a EU environment, otherwise they couldn't pass the EPSO concours.
How many of the old EU staff could manage a EPSO competition today? Anyway, this is another story, another period of history, enough tough for newcomers, at least I was told by a EU_15 old staff...