Analysis of Assistants (AST 4) in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) EPSO/AST/151/22 competition

Dear all,

This competitions is calling for you IT expert

If you believe a public administration can leave paper behind, and become a reference on IT and offer cutting-edge IT opportunities for hard workers professionals with sound careers, this competition is for you. Even more, if you think you can help a charismatic and sometimes awkward administration to be on the top of the digitalization, this competition is still for you. The European Institutions need more and more highly specialized technical profiles, the world is changing and you can be a part of that change. If you are looking for our analysis on the AD7-8 competition, find it here.

How many spots are available? When does the process begin?

A good number of spots are available, 205 spots in total!!!, distributed in 4 fields. The bad news are that you can only apply to one single field. Be careful! The process began on the 17 February and it will be open for joining until 22 Mars NOON (let’s say 11.59 AM CET). Until then, you can fill in and validate your application. Approximately, you have been given one month +2 days , that’s more than enough but don’t fall asleep.

205 post of AST 4 waiting for you, what are you waiting?

What are the criteria to be a candidate?

The general criteria, as usual: Enjoy full rights as a citizen of a Member State of the EU (UK is no longer an option), meet any obligations under national laws on military service, and meet the character requirements for the duties concerned.

Specific criteria – languages

Same thing than in the paragraphs of the left but visible in one look. Also you have a similar table in pag5 of the notice of competition.

LANGUAGE 1: You can choose among the 24 official languages of the EU and you should have, minimum, a C1 level. If you are a native speaker, you should qualify yourself as C2 and be CAREFUL! Do not say you have a level below C1 for any language skill (listening, reading, oral communication, written communication…), otherwise you will be disqualified automatically. The computer-based tests or CBT (verbal, numerical and abstract reasoning) will be taken in Language 1 and also we can fill in our application (except the Talent Screener) in this language.

LANGUAGE 2: ENGLISH or FRENCH (sorry, you can only choose between these 2, duty calls for it and EPSO explain long and clear why). Here we need a B2 level minimum (no need to have a degree to justify it, the tests in the Assessment Centre will be done in this language and if you can work through them, then you will qualify as having the level required). Remember not to put any item (written, oral level, or any other) below B2 level in your application.

REMINDER – Language 1 and Language 2 cannot be the same. Even if you try, the application form will alert you. On the bright side, communication with EPSO can take place in any of the languages you have declared in your application form at B2 level or higher.

Specific conditions – Work experience and studies

Let’s go one by one and in a re-orderly manner so the criteria are more visible to all you.

Be aware! To explain the part «professional experience in the field» or «ICT» as this case, means that when describing your professional experience in the application (CV – work experience), you must clearly identify the experiences and activities equal or similar to those you are expected to do in the European Institutions and described in the notice, so take a good look at the fourth column (relevant duties) of our tables. And don’t despair, if you find this task difficult, our webinar on this competition can be key to give you tips on the talent screener

Field 1: ICT infrastructures, cloud, networks and middleware:

Don’t forget to check the notice of competition for the full detail on the duties

Field 2: Digital workplace, office automation and mobile computing

Don’t forget to check the notice of competition for the full detail on the duties

Field 3: Development/configuration, testing, operation and maintenance of IT applications and off-the-shelf solutions; Data management, data analytics and artificial intelligence

Don’t forget to check the notice of competition for the full detail on the duties

Field 4 : Design, development/configuration, testing, operation and maintenance of IT applications and off-the-shelf solutions; Data management, data analytics and artificial intelligence

Don’t forget to check the notice of competition for the full detail on the duties

What are the test I have to pass? and the competition phases?

Based on the notice of competition + our experience we split the process in 3 phases: 1) fill in the application, 2) Talent Screener evaluation 3) the Assessment Centre. The celebration after you have passed the competition is up to you.

  • Phase 1 Fill in the Application – You’ve got until 22 March (noon) to send your application and before that, fill it in with love and care. This is the first step of the process, and the moment to differentiate yourself from the other candidates and all their experience (honestly, we don’t think EPSO expects a lot of candidates, but rather a few good ones with long CVs) in relation with the five different profiles. There are two clear pillars in your application
    • Work experience + Academic records – these will be used to confirm your eligibility = you have as many years of working experience in the relevant duties as required
    • Talent Screener – reply to the questions in the form within the application…yes! the competition begins here!! (see in the gallery below the list of questions per field)
  • …(Wait! we are still in phase 1) What is a TALENT SCREENER? The Talent Screener is a set of questions (see images above) related to your academic and professional background that you must answer in your application, you can find the questions on the Annex IV of the notice of competition. A couple of things to remember:
    • 1) The board of the competition is in charge of evaluating the answers
    • 2) Keep in mind that all candidates in the same profile and field answer the same questions.

In this way, the responses of all the candidates are structured in the same way, which allows the board to make an evaluation (as objective as such a type of test allows) of the compared merits of all the candidates. Remember to look at Annex IV or the application form for all the details, and if you think we can be of help, check our past webinar where we focused on tips to fill in the Talent Screener for specialist competitions. BUT if you are looking for a fresh view on your competition, check our webinar on the Administrators and the Assistants-ICT Talent Screener.

  • PHASE 2 – Eligibility & Talent Screener evaluation. Here you can do nothing but wait. It is the task of the board to read first your CV to see if you have all the years of working experience required and then, in a next step, read your Talent Screener and rate it. We remind you that the selection based on qualifications will be carried out only for those candidates deemed eligible, using solely the information provided in this Talent Screener section (in language 2) WITHOUT cross-checking with the rest of your application. [Yes, this was mentioned in Phase I but just in case you skipped that part]. You should therefore include all relevant information in your answers, even if already mentioned in other sections of your application form. The best of all this is, after the evaluations, only up to 3 times the openings will go to the Assessment Centre. We are talking about about 1050 candidates in total and you are one of them because you have written a great application 🏆.
  • Phase 3 – Assessment Centre. Congrats! You are one of the candidates with the highest marks in the Talent Screener and you have been invited to the Assessment Centre. We have reached the final round, in which we will also have to present all our documents related to education and professional experience in digital format (they need to be uploaded into a platform before doing the Assessment Centre tests), so prepare them in advance to avoid a last minute rush.

First, we’ll have the computer-based tests (CBT). We know, you though you have escape it… keep dreaming. Still, there is no need to get a high mark, only passing it is enough (like it is the case for CAST exams).

Easy one, just an overall of 20 points to pass it.
  • Now talking about the other tests, the competition turns classic. You will have to face the following tests: Case Study and Competence-Based Interview. Between the two tests you can gather a total of 70 points, with the particularity that you need and overall 35/80 to pass, but not minimum marks per competence. Also pay attention, here you have 7 competences to be assessed, in AD competitions there are eight.
Some practice, some effort and a some guidance and it will be done 😉
When you see your name on the reserve list
  • Anyway, although the more points we get in competences part the better (we can help with that), the key part is the field-related test where you will have to demonstrate your knowledge, and above all, your relevant experience for this position. To do so, you will have the Interview in the Field (also structured but with clear focus on your work experience) up to 100 points in that test (we can help on that).
  • Final Step – after a long process and passing the Assessment Centre, EPSO will check the validity of all your records and professional experiences (comparing them to the input of your application). For these, they will use the documents uploaded at the beginning of phase 3 – right before your first test of the Assessment Centre. So, keep your documents ready for upload once you have passed the Talent Screener!!! Once you get the final OK for this part, you will see your name on the reserve list and ready to find a job as officer of the European institutions.

When will EPSO contact me?

All the situations under which EPSO will write you in your profile, not by email, although sometimes we may get a warning message.

Many of you ask about when EPSO will tell you that you have passed to the next phased, or have been invited to the Assessment Centre, or…. you read/heard rumors about the development of the competitions somewhere. Better to isolate yourself from that noise and focus on the real messages. EPSO commits itself (it’s in Annex II of the notice of competition) to communicate with you after the Talent Screeners have been evaluated to inform you on the results and to invite you to the Assessment Centre. In the meantime, it can take weeks or months to receive any information or being notified that we have passed to the next phase of the competition, so keep calm. If you are feeling desperate for the lack of news, you can always contact EPSO too, as candidates you are entitled to do so but be careful, replies can be a bit cryptic or copy/paste from the notice.

What can I expect of this job? Is my degree valid?

Table of the amounts of basic monthly salaries for each grade and step in function groups AD and AST referred to in Article 66 of the Staff Regulations, applicable from 1 July 2021

Both are typical questions of the candidates, therefore we invite you to check Annex I and Annex II from the notice of competition. As you can see from the images above, go to Annex I of the notice to find all the details of your expected tasks to be performed once you are an administrator in the area of ICT (The Commission counts on you!!!). And last but not least, let us remind you an AST4 (step 2) will join the institutions with a net salary above 4.200 € and this can be higher depending if you have family dependent on you and other conditions.

Can you help me?

Let share some useful links for this competition and any other.

List of useful resources

  1. El CBT o los test psicotécnicos (ES)
  2. The Assesment centre (EN)
  3. 10 free resources (EN/ES).
  4. YSE trainings (English and Spanish) :
    1. CBT (in Spanish)
    2. Assessment sessions – for all the Assessment test (Theory in English or Spanish. Practice can be done in EN,FR,ES)
    3. Application review (EN/ES/FR/IT/DE)
    4. CAST Sessions -have you been invited to a job interview? Do you want to improve your chances of being selected in a CAST process?

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