(This guest blog post was written by Joanne Fry in her private capacity. 3rd part is here)
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.
Without a second’s hesitation, I clicked into it, like ripping off a plaster to get the pain over quickly; all I saw was the first line of the letter – “I am pleased to inform you…” and immediately shouted out “YEEEEEEES!!!!!” I had done it! I’d passed the assessment centre and got on to the reserve list!
My mind was a complete blank for the rest of the day; I felt dazed. I’d been preparing myself for bad news, trying to reassure myself that it wouldn’t matter if I didn’t get through, and resolved to start my preparations for the next round of competitions. I was so surprised that it was good news that I couldn’t quite process it.
The following day, once it had sunk in that I had succeeded, I decided to read through the detailed breakdown of my performance at the assessment centre, which is known as a ‘Competency Passport’.
The competencies measured were: Analysis and Resolution of Problems, Communication, Quality and Results, Learning and Development, Prioritisation and Organisation, Resilience and resistance to Stress and Working with Others. These are all marked out of 10, based on combined scores from the interview and the inbox exercise.
It’s worth pointing out at this point that the comments on the inbox exercise are generic and automated, based on the score you got. Therefore, in my opinion, the interview comments are more important because they genuinely describe what the panel thought of your answers.
Overall, I scored 74/100; this is made up of a score of 50/70 for the competencies and 24/30 for technical skills (drafting exercises). Pretty good, not perfect, but easily over the minimum requirements, which were 15/30 for technical skills and 40/70 for the competencies.
Although I felt very pleased with my scores and in particular the comments about my interview, I realised that effectively, the part of the process that I had the most control over was finished.
So, what would be the next step?
How would I go about finding vacancies, getting interviews and ultimately securing a job? Whilst there is a fair amount of information about the testing stages of this recruitment process, there is almost no information about what happens after that.
The letter from EPSO explained that the Competency Passport would be sent to the European Institutions, along with the details in the online application form, and that EPSO would send the reserve list to the European Institutions. The letter then referred candidates to the recruitment website at http://europa.eu/epso/success/expect/index_en.htm, so I had a look.
Apparently, it would seem that all there is for a candidate to do after getting on to a reserve is sit tight and wait, and keep checking their status on the reserve list via their EPSO account. There is a ‘flagging’ system which is all explained on the website, and this, in theory, is how institutions will notify candidates if they wish to call them for interview.
As if, having got this far, I (or any of the other candidates) am going to be happy to just cross my fingers and wait for that magic ‘flag’ to appear. This whole process needs to be a lot more open, transparent and accessible.
I don’t have a strategy at this point, but I’m sure there must be something I could be doing to improve my chances, and when I find out what that is, I’ll share it!!
(to be continued....)
Questions? Comments? Post them below!
About Joanne: It has always been my ambition to work on a European level; during my MA studies in Public Policy and public Administration I found that the area I was most interested in was European Integration; the role of the Commission in European Public Policy is fascinating, and is the subject of great debate. I would relish the chance to work in such a fast-moving political arena. European Integration formed part of my MA Public Policy degree and I have written several Master’s level essays on the subject. In terms of having a familiarity with the European Union and its institutions, I worked in the European Parliament in Strasbourg for a year during my undergraduate degree, which gave me some insight and first hand experience of the way EU politics works.