We have started experimenting with videos of all kinds, so below you can check a short, 15-second creative we did on EPSO exams and preparation. Like it? Hate it? Let us know in the comments!
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The winner of our latest caption contest plays on the fact that after enough preparation for the EPSO abstract reasoning test, shapes and objects in the physical world, from french fries to traffic lights, all start to seem like building blocks in a test.
Have you ever wanted to see through all the fog surrounding EPSO's selection procedures?
Online EU Training is here to help you with that. Our new infographics will tell you everything you need to know about getting a job within the EU - in less than 3 minutes!
Now that webcast is behind us, is there any specific issue you would like to have answered on our website?
· Is it necessary to have any kind of second language certificate?
No certification is necessary and language never has to be proven in an EPSO exam by documents, only by practically demonstrating your knowledge via e.g. verbal reasoning or the assessment centre.
· Are the AD7 tests significantly more difficult than the AD5s?
No, they are more likely the exact same level as the AD5, the difference is in the required work experience to qualify for AD7.
Read on for further questions and answers!
Some of our users who recently purchases our Situational Judgement (SJT) simulation tests expressed some concern about the sudden and unannounced change in the number of test questions included in the packages. We indeed made some changes to much better reflect the real EPSO SJT tests and we probably could have better explained the need for this change. I am taking the opportunity now to do just that.
Some EPSO exam candidates might have heard the name of 2010 Administrator (AD) exam applicant, Dimitrios Pachtitis. Mr. Pachtitis is the candidate who successfully challenged EPSO’s pre-selection method by highlighting the "mis-allocation of competences
For all EU career fans who live in places where extreme cold and snow has arrived, here is a truly European account of how Finns cope with winter:
+15 °C, Spanish wear caps, gloves and winter coats, Finns are sunbathing.
+10 °C, French desperately try to get their central heating on. Finns plant flowers.
+5 °C, Italian cars won't start. Finns...
Presenting complex issues such as how European Union institutions make decisions has never been easy. Hence the new genre of infographics has emerged: don't talk about it, show it!
A great example of summarising what the European Parliament, the European Commission and the Council of Ministers do has just been posted on the Irish Institute of European Affairs (IIEA) website...
In a somewhat startling about-turn, I have decided for the time being not to pursue secretarial jobs, having made it to the AST1 reserve list. Believe me, this has been a very difficult decision to make, but it feels like the right one for, at least for now. As much as I desperately want a job in the European Commission, so this is pretty heartbreaking, I have realised that to start in such a junior position would not make sense professionally, financially or...
So, I’m on the EPSO reserve list. Now what? In theory, I have a year in which to get a job in the EU institutions, otherwise I have to start all over again!
Having come this far, I’m not about to sit around and wait to see if I get ‘flagged’. Instead, I decided to consult...
For the whole of July, I had been gingerly logging in to my EPSO account every single day, waiting for the little red flag to say that I had ‘1 new email’. Well, the end of July came and went, with no sign of the assessment centre results. Just as I was about to start harassing the EPSO team and inundating their inbox with emails of complaint, I logged in to my account on Monday early August and there it was! (click to read more!)
The EPSO Assessment Centre - (Part 2).
The day began with the candidates being taken into a large meeting room, where the EPSO representative sat down with us to explain what was going to happen and give us our individual schedules. There would be four parts to the assessment, as outlined in the invitation letter... (click to read the full post!)
As a fun experiment, based on EPSO's Ongoing Exams page, we have created a beautiful word cloud with Worlde.net to see what the European Personnel Selection Office is mostly focusing on - in their words at least. Here it goes!
As you can see, the most important and commonly used words include: candidates, EPSO, Assessment,Invitation, Tests...
Following the CBT tests for the AST1 competition, I was extremely surprised and happy to receive a letter in my EPSO account inviting me to attend the assessment centre. However, when I looked at the date, my heart sank as I realised that I was not going to be available.
At that time I was extremely busy and the original assessment centre date coincided with one of my marking deadlines, so there was no possible way I could go. Fearing the worst (that it would just be ‘tough luck’), I emailed the EPSO candidate contact service...
Having decided a year ago to make a commitment to getting a job in the European Commission, I realised I had some serious work to do if I was going to be ready for the EPSO Competitions this year.
I started researching everything I could about the various stages of the process, and what competitions I would be eligible to apply for. For 2010-11, my options were Administrator (AD5-7) in the field of European Public Administration and Assistant in the secretarial field (AST1), so I applied...
EU job seekers are often wondering where is it better to live, Luxembourg or Belgium, given the choice?
We are in no position to decide on such a crucial matter, but here is a list of dilemmas you will face if you need to choose between these two eminent countries.
In 1957 when the Treaty of Rome was signed, its authors had a very ambitious goal: to prevent war happening again in Europe. It's quite straighforward and easy to measure - you either have war or you don't.
In 1962, JFK gave a famous speech that rallied the entire country to go to the moon before the end of the decade. It spelled out a big, ambitious objective that almost everyone could be enthousiastic about.
What do EU leaders in 2011 have as their goal when they think about the future of this enterprise? What does the President of the Commission...
When you see 100m sprinters run, you know the importance of a single second: the difference between the fastest and the last one. Those EU career candidates who have recently done the accuracy and precision tests have learned the same lesson: 9 seconds per question was nearly impossible to do...yet some candidates still managed somehow.
Performing in the middle ranks is easy, and you don't need much practice. If your aim is...
The EU has been struggling with what they call 'lack of legitimacy' or 'democratic deficit'. This in plain English means that very few people actually know what EU institutions are doing in Brussels, and even fewer Europeans understand how these bodies work.
So, as they said before the Irish vote on the Lisbon Treaty: "if you don't know, vote no!", meaning not to support the European integration and its institutions.
What does the EU do to actually explain to citizens why it is needed? Not enough.
That is why we at Arboreus, without any EU or other public money or help, decided to create eight e-learning courses , many of them FREE, that explain, with dozens of examples, how each EU institution works, what they do, why they exist, which topics they deal with and ...
It's a cliché to say that technology is changing our world. But two linguistic innovations from Google may change the way European diversity can live on while bringing Europeans closer to each other.
The question until now was: if we want a democratic EU with 23 official languages, how can that work without compromising on efficiency? Look at the European patent: an issue unresolved for 40 years because European leaders could not agree which 3 or 5 languages will be the 'dominant' ones to translate all patents into - so a political stand-off followed.
Now, thanks to technology, Google offered to translate for free all European Patent Office filings via ...
2010 has been an eventful year at Arboreus Online EU Training:
(click to read on & see our promise to you for 2011)
The way most European institutions communicate and the mindset of the interactive web 2.0 communications is in utter contradiction. There is a compelling story to tell, but most EU institutions should learn how to say it.
True, the European Parliament is still much better than other EU bodies such as the Council of Ministers in understanding how online communications work: they have set up their own TV channel, regularly host live chat events, and try to speak the citizens' language, even if there is still a lot of room for improvement. EPSO, the recruitment office, has also been a rare exception within the Commission, but...
(Click to see the comparison chart of bureacratic vs. web 2.0 cultures!)
We at Arboreus have been working on e-learning presentations about the European Union policies and EU institutions for several months.
We are launching e-courses about the European Parliament, the Council of Ministers, the European Commission, the EU Treaties, the EU's Commercial Policy, EU Law and the Judicial Bodies, Various EU institutions including the European Economic and Social Committee, the Committee of the Regions, the European Central Bank and others, so we thought a a few teasers could get you in the mood.
Prepare for Europe's 1st ever online EU training multimedia e-courses - available for everyone, everywhere!
Launch date: Before the end of January 2011 - let the countdown begin! Click to see 5 more screenshots!
EPSO's recruitment reform from March 2010 has been a huge success. It has lowered the barrier to entry for many potential candidates by eliminating the much hated EU knowledge tests (think of "How many times has Viviane Reding been a European Commissioner until now?") and thus opening the door for some 37,000 applicants for the Administrator exams this spring.
But this new system has a huge inherent danger: many of the new recruits will know very little about how the EU institutions operate when they start working in them...
Cartoons are an excellent way to shrink a large piece of wisdom into a small piece of image.
It shows self-confidence and maturity when a person, an organisation or country is able to laugh at itself. That's why dictators in Africa, Asia or even Eastern Europe are so furious about expressions of funny drawings. On the other hand, being shown in a cartoon shows that the public opinion cares about what they do.
So why are there so few caricatures about Europe, the European Union or the EU institutions?
When was the last time you actually used a pen? We may be total geeks at Arboreus, but a few days ago when we had our executive meeting and looked for a pen, we realised that since we moved to our new office in the summer, we used a pen only once: to sign a contract with a bank some three months ago. Isn't that strange?!
A Belgian newspaper (source unknown as we only received a clipping from a friend) recently gathered what EU employees tend to think about Belgium and more specifically, Brussels...and also found out what the locals think of the "lazy, wealthy expats'". Not very flattering - on either side!
Click here for some highlights - what EU officials think of Belgians (by the way, is there such a thing? or only Walloons and Flemings...)
This video was just released by the European Commission in the ongoing debate on the EU budget reform (and especially in view of recent plans to introduce new sources to the budget). The question is: does the video reach its goal? By the way, what are its goals?
When it comes to social media, most EU officials, decision-makers and public affairs specialists are uncertain what it actually means, so their dilemma is translated into the question 'Should we use Twitter or Facebook in our online efforts?'.
This is the same as, when building a house, you would ask 'Should I build a kitchen or a bathroom?'. In short: focusing on building blocks instead of the building will not take you far.
The core concept of social media is ...
The Financial Times ran an article this weekend on 'Why proper English rules OK' about the disproportionate advantage native English speakers enjoy against their non-native counterparts, also in the EU institutions.
Is it true? Yes.
Is it fair? No.
Does it need to be considered by those dealing with EU affairs? Absolutely.
So why is the matter so serious...?
200 million euros spent per year while the EU budgets are in crisis. Normal? Certainly. Thousands of EU officials, including all Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), their assitants, EP staff, 27 European Commissioners, their staff, desk officers from Commission DGs and hundreds of lobbyists commute to Strasbourg for 4 days each month of the year (sometimes even twice after the summer holidays). Costing millions, causing carbon emissions and travel time to meet with the very same people they could easily meet in Brussels, when will this monthly exodus end? Never.
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How likely you are to pass an EU competition?
Distortions, misunderstandings, purposeful misleading of facts have always been around (some are really funny, actually). But the more the European Union deals with ”sensitive” issues, including justice, foreign policy, sports or other areas that used to be labeled as strictly national, the more such voices will arise. However, the Europen Commission and the European Parliament have done painfully little to set the facts straight.
Sure, there is a Blog on the Commission's UK representation on setting British media straight, but it's viewed by less than 1000 people which can hardly be labeled as effective counter-communication. Or look at an old-school press release on the EU budget myths issued in 2007 (three years ago!). But this is a drop in the ocean of misconceptions...
France and its President, Nicolas Sarkozy has been busy expatriating (deporting) roma settlers from the country in the last couple of weeks, and the European Commission was painfully silent all the way..until a few days ago when the two Presidents clashed loudly at the European Council. The Commission, especially since Barroso first took office in 2004, has been acting as a bureaucracy instead of a political body. Maybe a new chapter has just opened?
In the age of Google and Facebook, being findable has become the most important asset you can have.
Websites are optimised to show up as the 1st hit in Google when specific words are searched. But what about your CV when those searching for an EU expert, a Greek translator, a consultant with experience in the European Parliament, type in those magic words into LinkedIn, a recruitment database, or EPSO's e-laureates list? Adding the right words into your profile description can make or break a job interview invitation.
If you are selling bathroom design, where do you convince buyers that you are worthy of their attention?
In the showroom? Your catalogue? Online? Oh no.
Dozens of home remodeling stores polish their showcase every single day while forgetting that customers spend a long time in their salons browsing around: they will eventually end up visiting the local bathroom.
Suprisingly, they have not realised that it's not just a human need being catered there: it is prospects using items that are being sold right outside the toilet door....
Are you waiting for the BIG idea to start your own business? Don't.
Successful businesses are not based on creating a brand new industry from scratch. What makes them stand out is having a simple, single idea that they execute with such perfection and quality, applying such operating procedures that had never existed before.
Think of FedEx, the parcel delivery service. Postal services had been around for a long time, so there was not much to innovate there. Yet FedEx realised there was a need for overnight shipping even to remote desti...
The Maslow pyramid, or the hierarchy of needs, is a well known concept of the basic and higher-level needs of human beings. Did you know that the same exists for Internet users?
This week we have undergone one of the toughest days in the life of Online EU Tests (or rather our new brand, Online EU Training). Moving servers, upgrading to a new site, migrating data and fine-tuning a new system cuts into level 1 and 2 needs: internet was working for our users, but many times you could not connect, got interrupted or the system slowed down.
If you are at a brunch party, which foods do you pick? The ones you like?
Partly yes, but much rather those that are easy to access: those with the wrapping off, item unpacked or sliced up nicely in a row. If you need to spend even a bit of effort accessing it, you'd rather pick something already prepared for you: even a minimal threshold will keep you away (except for that 1% of guests who are too hungry or too enthusiastic about a finger food to leave it behind).
A website registration to access a free demo, a hard-to-open door in the en...
In the new EPSO recruitment system, it is even more clear that the EU wants to find people whose goal is to work for a cause, an issue that is larger than themselves. Meaning: don't come just for the money.
So I wonder if EU salaries were, say, 40-50% lower (thus similar to Belgian private sector wage levels), would people still be interested in working for European institutions?
We know the surveys that gauge candidates' motivation why they wish to become EU officials, and "salary" usually only appears in the 2nd or 3rd place. H...
Two small news for today:
1. The EU has come out with its new logo for 9 May 2010, which is Europe day (commemorating the end of World War II and the Schuman Declaration). Creative artists showing unity, peace and diversity on an interactive poster to the internet generation? Visually challenging, funny, highly unique image to raise awareness, get citizen support and tell a story? Well, check it out here and despair. We are in 2010, not 1972 in Eastern Europe.
2. After years of institutional wraggling, the EU has finally "elected" (rea...
...when opportunity meets preparedness.
Are you prepared enough for your EPSO exam so you can make the most of an unexpectedly straight-forward numercial reasoning question set?
Are you prepared for the job interview so when asked about showcasing your abilities, you can present the printout of the website where you had published an article a few months earlier?
Are you knowledgable about the EU so when a MEP you have been chasing for a traineeship interview passes by you in a Brussels restaurant, you can rise to the opportunity to ...
Before the 21st century, you had to make your pick: you buy or make cheap mass products or high-priced customised products (or services). If you are a fashion company, you could either be H&M or Gucci, but not both at the same time. Mass or customised, but not both.
Today, in the age of Internet and online tools, a new concept has appeared: mass customisation. Companies are discovering that customers can create personalised version of their mass products without requiring the personal efforts (time and attention) that had previously been ...
EPSO certainly wishes to attract a large pool of candidates for its contract agent (CAST) exams, but the way information is presented seems quite inefficient. Here are some pain points I suggest improving:
'Call for Expression of Interest’ : would an average candidate know whether this is a simple indication of interest or an actual application for a selection exam? Would be worth clarifying what each term means already on the main page in one bullet point so that prospective applicants can have a quick overview
CAST or cast: the expre...