March 20, 2009
About two weeks ago the European Union Personel Selection Office (EPSO) announced that selection and recruitment of EU staff will become easier. However, how exactly the new test will look like is unclear.
The press release announcing the change in the recruitment competitions (“concours”) is full of blah-bla. Only in the “background” part it explains the two main changes to the selection procedure:
- From 2010, candidates will be tested on the basis of competence rather than knowledge.
- The time lag between a candidate’s initial application and taking up employment will be cut from over 15 months today, to just 5-9 months.
The second point is of course very welcome, no one is in favour of waiting nearly two years for a job after making an application.
The first point, however, is not very clear yet. Up until now, all candidates for EU civil servant jobs had to pass a pre-selection test followed by a written test and an interview. The pre-selection test is currently composed of multiple choice questions testing EU knowledge (history, policies, facts) and numerical and verbal reasoning. It is followed by a another multiple choice test and a written test in the specific subject area. Finally there is an personal interview before candidates will apppear on a reserve list, from which they can be recruited.
How will the new tests assess the “competencies” of candidates? Let’s look at the definition of “competence”:
Competence is the ability to perform a specific task, action or function successfully. (Wikipedia)
Now compare this to the term “knowledge”, which is also used to “mean the confident understanding of a subject with the ability to use it for a specific purpose if appropriate” (Wikipedia).
I cannot really see how the pre-selection test could be anything different than multiple choice questions: in this first phase several thousands of candidates go through the tests and only an automatic computer-based analysis of the answers allows quick procedures. So maybe the only change will be that pre-selection tests will already contain questions specific to the policy area that candidates apply for. We will only know when the new rules are in place, which will not be before end of 2009.
In the meanwhile you can watch the promotion video below and look at the new, but still rather confusing EU careers website (which now runs on the address eu-careers.eu – a bit too similar in my view to the commercially run eu-careers.com)
Update: I found a document which explains quite in detail how the new selection procedures will work. In short: the EU knowledge test seem to disappear and you will have “behavioural test” in the first phase and group exercises and presentations in the second phase. See the full document for all details. Here is a quick overview of the new phases:
Author : brusselsblogger
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