Let’s go with the second call EPSO/AD/392/21-2 on food safety (you can check also our analysis of Administrators AD7 in the field of health EPSO/AD/392/21-1 and Administrators in auditing, inspection and evaluation in the field of health and food safety EPSO/AD/392/21-3). Here we got 30 spots (out of 101 in total) for those who carry a detective soul inside. This competition, together with the ones for Administrators in the field of sustainable agriculture and proofreaders, accounts for the lion’s share of the competitions expected for this spring 2021 (besides the CBT sill running for EU law, Secretaries and External Relations,). Sticking to the commitment with you, YSE brings you our analysis of the competition, composed of the finest ingredients and medicines.
How many spots? When does it begin?
A good number of spots are available, in total 30 spots most likely to work in DG SANTE (Brussels). There is something for all of you!!! Be careful though, the process has begun on May 20th and it will be open until June 22nd 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 +5 days , that’s more than enough but don’t fall asleep.
What are criteria to be a candidate?
General criteria: enjoy full rights as a citizen of a Member State of the EU (UK is not longer an option), meet any obligations under national laws on military service, meet the character requirements for the duties concerned. Above all, decide which profile you want to apply for (we know, it’s not a formal criteria but a personal one 😉
- Profile 1 – Policymaking and law-making in the field of health EPSO/AD/392/21-1
- Profile 2 – Policymaking and law-making in the field of food safety EPSO/AD/392/21-2
- Profile 3 – Auditing, inspection and evaluation in the field of health and food safety EPSO/AD/392/21-3
Our advice? Choose whatever profile fits you best, there are 30 spots for each profile 2 and 3 and 41 spots for profile 1, there is no big difference in the number of spots and a CV that fits one of the profiles well can determine your success. If you are reading this post, it means you have selected profile 1 – Policymaking and law-making in the field of health.
Specific criteria – languages
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 CAREFUL! do not put any item of the language level (speaking, reading, etc) under C1, you would be disqualified automatically. The CBT (verbal, numerical and abstract reasoning tests) will be taken in this 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). Here we need a B2 level minimum (you do not need a language certificate to justify it, the tests in the Assessment Centre will be in this language and if you can work through them, then that means that you have 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 one. Even if you try, the application form will alert you. On the bright side, communication with EPSO can take place in one of the languages you have declared in your application form at B2 level or higher.
Specific conditions – Work experience and studies
- Option 1 : LONG ACADEMIC BACKGROUND+PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE – you’ll need a university degree (of minimum 4 years length attested by a diploma in one of the following subjects: natural sciences (in particular, veterinary medicine, agriculture, chemistry, food and nutrition legislation, biology, food chemistry) , social or political science, law, economics, or other subjects directly relevant to the nature of the duties in this field [shorter than in the other two profiles but still quite broad]. Besides the degree, you’ll need at least 6 years’ professional duties of this field as indicated in Annex I
- Option 2 : SHORT ACADEMIC BACKGROUND+PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE – this time with a 3 years degree attested by a diploma i in one of the following subjects: natural sciences (in particular, veterinary medicine, agriculture, chemistry, food and nutrition legislation, biology, food chemistry) , social or political science, law, economics, or other subjects directly relevant to the nature of the duties in this field. With this you’ll need at least 7 years’ professional duties of this field as indicated in Annex I.
REMEMBER! “duties of this field as indicated in Annex I“ means that when describing your professional experience in the application, 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. Bear in mind EPSO is looking for people with real experience on the subject. This webinar can help understand exactly what we mean, but if you are looking for something tailor-made for this competition, on June 14th we’ll organise a new webinar specific for this process.
What are tests I have to pass? What are the competition phases?
Based on the notice of competition + our experience we split the process in 5 phases : 1) fill in the application, 2) The CBT test, 3) the eligibility checks of the files of the candidates, 4) Talen Screener and 5) the Assessment Centre.
- Phase 1 – You got until 22 June (noon) to send your application and before that, fill it in with love and care. This is the first step of a competition and the way to differentiate yourself from many other, perhaps hundreds, of candidates and also give you the green light in phase 3 and phase 4.
- (wait we are still in phase 1) What is a TALENT SCREENER? This is a list of questions related to your academic and professional background that you must answer in your application, you can find the questions on the Annex II of the notice of competition. The board of the competition is in charge of evaluating the answers. Keep in mind that all candidates 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. As an example, on the right you can see the points, all in the area of auditing, inspection and evaluation in the field of health, that will assessed in the Talent Screener (look annex II or the application form for all the details).
- Phase 2 – The first test will be the classical CBT (Computer-Based Test) which includes verbal, numerical and abstract reasoning. Remember, you only need to get a 10 out 20 in verbal or 10 points out of 20 for numerical + abstract combined. This phase will be passed by all those who exceed the minimum score, but the evaluation of the eligibility criteria and the Talent Screener (the two following phases) will be done in order of your CBT results [if the CBT took place upfront, see next paragraph]. Focus, keep calm and get a good result, this is easier than it looks, trust yourself!
About verbal, numerical and abstract reasoning, we won’t give too many details here (you can visit our blog and also here some links to our resources and trainings. If the amount of candidates is not high enough (up to EPSO to set the number, under our experience we bet that “not high enough” might mean under about 600 candidates), the CBT will take place during the Assessment phase and you will skip this phase for the moment.
- Phase 3 –Eligibility checks EPSO will verify whether you comply with the conditions for participating in the process (assessment of your CV to check that you really meet the profile and experience). Make sure that your CV fits that of an expert in health and food safety, do not forget to put all your relevant information (degree and work experience, even if you describe it in the Talent Screener part, doesn’t matter. Consider the CV part and the Talent Screener as two different applications, as the selection board will look at them separately. After they review CVs in the order that came out of phase 2 (results obtained in the CBT) and they make sure who meets the participation requirements, the pool of candidates who pass to phase 4 will be filled, up to a total of 10 times the available spots (we are talking about 300 candidates).
- Phase 4 – Talent Screener evaluation. Here you can do nothing but wait. It is the task of the board to read your Talent Screener and rate it. We remind you 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). You should therefore include all relevant information in your Talent Screener answers, even if already mentioned in other sections of your application form. The questions are based on the selection criteria included in this notice (check the photo above). The best of all this is that up to a total of 3 times the openings will go to the Assessment Centre. We are talking about about 90 candidates (3 × 90, math does not deceive 🙂), you are almost there!
- Phase 5 – Assessment Centre (AC). We have reached the final round! Before the actual Assessment Centre, you will have to present all your supporting documents in digital format (what used to be the famous USB memory stick, now in the online Assessment Centre you need to upload the pertinent papers to the system, so prepare them in advance). As concerns the tests that you will encounter in the Assessment Centre, since last year, the group exercise has been replaced by a Situational Competence-based interview. The rest of the tests will be business as usual, that is, a field interview, a written test in the field and a case study based on competences. For the tests based on your competences, no prior knowledge is required. You must perform at your best in all the 4 tests, as each competence is only evaluated by one single test, as you can see below.
BUT (yes, big but) the real differences among candidates will be in 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) and the written test in the Field (focus on your practical knowledge for the position.
What can I expect of this job? Is my degree valid?
Both are typical questions of all the candidates, therefore we invite you to check Annex I and Annex III from the notice of competition. In Annex I (image on your right) you can find the expected tasks to be performed once you are an Administrator in the area of health and food safety (you won’t be caught by surprise). Also we remind you an AD7 will join the institutions with a net salary above 6.000 €, which can be even higher depending on personal circumstances such as having family members depending on you.
In the Annex III we have a fantastic list of degrees and academic titles that are eligible to apply for this competition, also ordered by country. You can check if your degree is enough and the right one to apply for this competition.
Can you help me?
Concerning the dates foreseen for the next phases of this competition, there is some solid hope that the announced dates will be the correct ones, given the fact that all other competitions at the CBT stage and with remaining candidates to take the CBT have adopted the same dates. In case you still need some help with the CBT, check this (in English) and this for CBT trainings in Spanish . Don’t forget to join our webinar, on 14 June, which will focus on the Talent Screener for this competition.