Analysis of Assistants (AST 3) in 6 the fields: 1. Financial management; 2. Accounting; 3. Public procurement; 4. Graphic design; 5. Social media; 6. Webmaster, a.k.a EPSO/AST/154/22 competition

Dear all,

We are now at that time of the year when tree leaves are falling… and so are the vacancies and opportunities to work in the European Institutions! EPSO has released a new competition offering 492 new positions (almost 500 if you prefer round numbers) to a wide range of profiles from experts in financial management, accounting and public procurement to media experts (social, web, graphic design). The European Institutions need more and more highly specialized technical profiles, the world is changing and you can be a part of that change. Spanish version of this post available here.

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

A good number of spots are available, 492 spots in total!!!, distributed in 6 fields. The bad news are that you can only apply to one single field. Be careful! The process began on the 22 September and it will be open for joining until 25 October 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.

if you don’t believe us about the number of spots, just check the notice and do the math

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 (of the 27 Member States, sorry, 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 but visible in one look. Also you have a similar table in pag 8 of the notice of competition ;-).

I.-LANGUAGE of the APPLICATION: You can choose among the 24 official languages of the EU and you should have, at least, the ability to write your application in that language. Ok, but the question is, in which language should I draft my application? should I do it English? French? Or my native language if it is none of the previous? You have the right to do it in your EU official (one of the 24) language but nobody guarantees someone from the board will be able to read it and, in such case, they would have to translate it. If so, will all the details of your application be properly captured by the translation? If you are uncertain of the answer, better to use a common use language in the institutions, such as English or French. Besides, the check of the CVs for eligibility criteria will be faster if there is a high number of applications in those languages (English and French). For Spanish and Italian speakers, the chances of having someone who can read them are high so the risk of using them is rather mitigated, for other languages, our answer is that you should verify the chances of having fluent readers of your language in the board of evaluators.

Also on languages, bear in mind that, as a candidate (= after you formally submitted your application) of this competition, EPSO will communicate with you (via the EPSO account or by email) in one of the languages that you have declared to have knowledge of at level B2 or higher in the ‘Ability to read’ section in the application. But if you want to complain about an error in the computer-based multiple-choice questions (MCQs) or do a requests for review you have to submit the requests or complaints in English or French. For other questions is any of the 24 official languages (again, the more spoken the language is, the faster they can deal with your communication)

II.-LANGUAGE of the Reasoning test (CBT): You can choose among 24 23 official languages of the EU, all except ENGLISH and you should have, minimum, a C1 level. For your mother tongue, 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 that language.

III.-LANGUAGE of the ASSESSMENT CENTRE: ENGLISH or ENGLISH (sorry, you can’t choose, duty calls and EPSO explains it long and clear why in the notice). Here we need a B2 level minimum of English (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, when describing your level of English in the application, not to put any item (written, oral level, or any other) below B2 level.

Specific conditions – Work experience and studies

Let’s proceed by grouping fields, we will first deal with field 1 and 2 and then with profiles from 3 to 6. in an orderly manner so the criteria are more visible to all you.

Be aware! In the part «professional experience in the field or relevant» 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 twice (please check our table below): first in point 3.3 Specific conditions (do you need more hints?) and later in Annex I – Typical duties, so take a good look at the columns of our tables, explain your experience and keep calm! If you find this task difficult, perhaps our next webinar on this competition that will take place on 11 October webinar( click to see the recording) can be key to help you fill in your application.

What are the tests that I have to pass? And the competition phases?

Based on the notice of competition + our experience, we split the process in 4 phases: 1) fill in the application, 2) CBT 3) elegibility checking 4) the Assessment Centre. The celebration after you have passed the competition is up to you. Before we continue, remember you can join our Telegram channel YSE to be updated in all the steps of this competition, vacancies, our trainings and useful infos.

Phase 1 – Fill in the Application

You’ve got until 25 October (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 in relation with the six different profiles. So, keep it focused : Work experience + Academic records – these will be used to confirm your eligibility (= whether you have as many years of working experience in the relevant duties as required) so you need to explain your work experience according to the items described in the notice (central and right side column on the tables below).

Field 1 – Financial management & Field 2 – Accounting and treasury

Field 3 – Public procurement & Field 4 – Graphic design and visual content production & Field 5 – Social and digital media & Field 6 -Webmaster (click on the side arrows to change the table)

… (Wait! we are still in phase 1) How can I prove my experience is relevant? This time is up to you and to explain it clearly, by using the key words of the task described as a requirement. Remember you will have to provide evidence of all those experiences described (Check annex III point 1 b) to see what it’s accepted to prove it).

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 test allows) of the compared merits of all the candidates. If you think we can be of help, check our past webinar where we focused on tips to fill in the Talent Screener for past specialist competitions. BUT if you are looking for a fresh view on this competition, check our next webinar on the subject on 11 October. webinar( click to see the recording)

Phase 2 – CBT – The reasoning test

Right after ending the period of application, about couple of weeks later, you can expect the time to book your computer-based tests (CBT) test will open, then you will take the test either from home or from Prometric centers during the second half of November and early December. This time the CBT’s bring a hidden surprise.

For Field 1 -Financial management & Field 2 – Accounting and treasury, you will have 15 questions in the numerical reasoning (5 more than usual), while in the verbal only 15 (5 less than usual). To pass, you will need 8 out of 15 in numerical and 12 out of 25 from the combined score of verbal and abstract. BUT, yes now it comes the big BUT, only those candidates who obtain one of the highest scores in the numerical reasoning test will have their application checked for eligibility (and minimum 12 out of 25 for verbal + abstract) by order of results and until they have as many candidates as 3 times the number of spots offered. So it doesn’t matter if you have 10 , 20 or 30 years of relevant working experience, you need a high result in the numerical reasoning.

Pay attention, evil…we mean…the numerical is in the details

And if we go for Field 3 – Public procurement & Field 4 – Graphic design and visual content production & Field 5 – Social and digital media & Field 6 – Webmaster, the picture changes a bit. You will have the usual distribution 20 verbal, 10 numerical and 10 abstract reasoning questions. To pass, you will need 10 out of 20 in verbal and 10 out of 20 from the combined score of numerical and abstract reasoning. BUT, yes now it comes the big BUT for these ones too, only those candidates who obtain one of the highest scores in the verbal reasoning test will have their application checked for eligibility (and also the minimum 10 out of 25 for numerical + abstract).

Almost business as usual but still highest mark in verbal is needed

Phase 3 – Eligibility check

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. It doesn’t matter if you have 20 or 6 years, once you have passed the threshold of having enough experience you go to the assessment. We remind you that the selection based on compliance with the eligibility conditions will be carried out only for those candidates who pass the CBT and by decreasing order in their result of numerical (profile 1 and 2) or verbal (profiles 3-4-5-6) . You should therefore include all the relevant information in your application form. The best of all this is, after the evaluations, the number of candidates who will go to the Assessment Centre will be only up to 3 times the amount of openings. We are talking approximately 1500 candidates in total and you are one of them because you have written a great application 🏆.

Phase 4 – Assessment Centre.

Congrats! You are one of the candidates with the highest marks in the CBT, you have the required experience 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 with the bureaucracy.

Now talking about the other tests, the competition turns into a classic. You will have to face the following tests: Case Study and Situational Competency-Based Interview. Here you have 7 competences to be assessed (in AD competitions there are eight). Between the two tests you can gather a total of 70 points, with the particularity that you need an overall 35/70 to pass, but no minimum marks per competence. Don’t get over confident, do fine on these two and you will be fine for this part although the more points we get the better (we can help with that).

Some practice, some effort and a some guidance and it will be done 😉
When you see your name on the reserve list

Anyway, the key part is the field-related test where you will have to demonstrate your know how on the field, explaining, in detail, your relevant experience for this position. The Interview in the Field is also somehow structured but as it has a clear focus on your work experience, is much more interesting and rewarding, you can get up to 100 points in that test (we can help on that too), approx. 60% of all the available points.

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 4 – right before your first test of the Assessment Centre. So, keep your documents ready for upload once you have passed the eligibility check!!! 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.

What is the timing of the competition? 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.

The expected calendar for this competition is the following: after the closure date for the submission of the applications, mid-November you will have the opportunity to book your CBT slot, then taking the CBT end November, early December. After that, they will run the eligibility checks in Winter, and then the Assessment will come in mid-Spring onwards. So get ready to confront the CBT very soon and the Assessment Centre in Spring 2023!!

Many of you ask about when EPSO will tell you that you have passed to the next phase, 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 III of the notice of competition) to communicate with you after the applications 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.

How much will my salary be?

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

One of the most typical questions of the candidates is the salary that you will get. An AST3 (step 2) will join the institutions with a salary starting at 4.500 € and this can be higher depending if you have dependent family members and other conditions. To that amount, you will have to add 16% extra of expatriation allowance and subtract the cost of the taxes (you pay taxes to the European Commission), health insurance and pension, all them proportional to your salary, so expect around the same amount, 4.000 € in net salary. By the way, we refer to step 2 as any first entrant in the institutions can’t join above that step, it means you have at least 3 years of professional experience, what in this competition, is obvious. And if you are worried about life in expensive countries the basic remuneration is supplemented by an allowance linked to the living conditions prevailing at the place of employment, so don’t worry too much.

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?

3 comentarios en “Analysis of Assistants (AST 3) in 6 the fields: 1. Financial management; 2. Accounting; 3. Public procurement; 4. Graphic design; 5. Social media; 6. Webmaster, a.k.a EPSO/AST/154/22 competition

    1. Hola Laura,

      Por partes – para presentar la candidatura este post o su version en español te ayudarán , además del webinar (gratuito) que haremos este martes 11
      Para la fase inicial, el curso de CBT arranca en 21 de octubre (precio 295€/270€ si tiene derecho a descuento). Aquí todos los detalles -https://forms.gle/bp5kP86kEVSi9fxY9
      Después , para la fase assessment, organizamos formaciones por separado para cada prueba – todos los detalles aquí – https://forms.gle/ywbGj7UTh7Ch3APe6
      Escríbenos a Yasemoseuropeos@gmail.com con tu teléfono y podemos llamarte para darte más detalles de las formaciones.
      Un saludo
      Equipo YSE

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