Official Journal of the European Union

CA 315/1


(2011/C 315 A/01)

This guide is an integral part of the competition notice and candidates must read it carefully.













Create your EPSO account


Check that you satisfy the eligibility conditions


Apply online

Application procedure

Special arrangements for taking tests


Grounds for disqualification relating to the application process




























What is a full application file?


When does the file have to be submitted?


How does the file have to be submitted?


What supporting documents have to be included in the full application file?


Supporting documents relating to the general conditions

Supporting documents relating to the specific conditions

Supporting documents relating to knowledge of languages (if required by the competition notice)















The European institutions select future officials through open competitions, which involve a series of competitive examinations. The competitions are open to all citizens of the European Union (1) who meet the specified requirements. This procedure gives all candidates a fair chance to demonstrate their abilities and guarantees selection based on merit while observing the principle of equal treatment.

Candidates who pass a competition are placed on a reserve list from which the institutions draw recruits as and when they need them. The aim of a competition, then, is not to fill a specific post, but to constitute a reserve pool for recruitment.

A selection board is appointed (2) to select the best candidates in the light of the requirements set out in the competition notice. The board compares the candidates' performance in order to assess their suitability for the duties described in the notice. Its task is not only to evaluate their knowledge but also to identify those who are best qualified in terms of merit.

Competitions are organised:

either in annual cycles,

or to meet specific needs of the institutions.


The institutions are looking for candidates who are talented, motivated, and highly qualified in their field, and who have the following competencies in particular:

Analysis and problem solving

Identify the critical facts in complex issues and develop creative and practical solutions


Communicate clearly and precisely both orally and in writing

Delivering quality and results

Take personal responsibility and initiative for delivering work to a high standard of quality within set procedures

Learning and development

Develop and improve personal skills and knowledge of the organisation and its environment

Prioritising and organising

Prioritise the most important tasks, work flexibly and organise own workload efficiently


Remain effective under a heavy workload, handle organisational frustrations positively and adapt to a changing work environment

Working with others

Work cooperatively with others in teams and across organisational boundaries and respect differences between people

An additional requirement for posts in the AD career bracket (administrators) is:


Manage, develop and motivate people to achieve results


Applying for a competition involves two stages:


The first stage is to apply online.


The second is to submit a full application file. Unless the competition notice states otherwise, this file does not have to be submitted until later and you should do this only if you are asked via your EPSO account (see point 6.1 below).



Create your EPSO account if you do not yet have one.


Check carefully that you satisfy the eligibility conditions for the competition.


Take the interactive tests proposed.


Fill in your online application.


Confirm and validate your online application by the given deadline.

2.1.1.   Create your EPSO account (3)

When you apply, you will be asked to log in to your EPSO account or, if you do not yet have an account, to create one following the instructions online. You must have a valid, functioning e-mail address to do this.

EPSO accounts serve as an online interface between EPSO and candidates. They are used for communicating with candidates, storing and updating their personal data, and for keeping track of their applications in compliance with the rules on data protection.

You are not allowed to create more than one EPSO account (see also point 2.1.4 below). Your one and only account will remain valid for any future applications you may make.

2.1.2.   Check that you satisfy the eligibility conditions

Before applying, check carefully to make sure:


that the profile you wish to apply for is not incompatible with others. When competition notices for different profiles are published at the same time, you may not be allowed to apply for more than one profile. Choices that are incompatible are indicated in the competition notice;


that you satisfy all the eligibility conditions, both general and specific; this means you must read the competition notice and this guide carefully and accept the terms set out in them.

Competition notices do not set any age limit, but please note the retirement age laid down in the Staff Regulations of Officials of the European Union (‘the Staff Regulations’), which can be found on the EPSO website.

2.1.3.   Apply online   Application procedure

To apply, follow the instructions for the various steps on the EPSO website.

You will be asked to take some interactive sample tests. These will give you an idea of the level required for the admission tests to the competition.

The responsibility for completing your online application before the deadline is entirely yours. We advise you not to wait until the last minute before applying, since if the lines are exceptionally busy or the Internet connection goes down, you may have to repeat the whole online application process; and once the deadline has passed, you will no longer be able to do so.

Note, too, that the application procedure itself can take quite some time because of the amount of information you have to fill in. The information requested mainly concerns:

your diplomas/qualifications: the field, the periods of study, the level of your studies, and the date(s) when you obtained the diploma(s),

your professional experience (if required): name and address of your employer, the nature of the duties performed, and their starting and ending dates,

your reasons for applying (giving details),

your knowledge of languages; depending on the competition, you will be asked to state which of the official languages of the European Union you have a command of:

BG (Bulgarian)

FI (Finnish)

NL (Dutch)

CS (Czech)

FR (French)

PL (Polish)

DA (Danish)

GA (Irish)

PT (Portuguese)

DE (German)

HU (Hungarian)

RO (Romanian)

EL (Greek)

IT (Italian)

SK (Slovak)

EN (English)

LT (Lithuanian)

SL (Slovene)

ES (Spanish)

LV (Latvian)

SV (Swedish)

ET (Estonian)

MT (Maltese)


In the case of specialist competitions (based on qualifications and tests), there is an additional tab that has to be filled in: the talent screener. This involves a series of specific questions about your experience and qualifications relating to the field of the competition (see 5.2 ‘Selection based on qualification’).

We suggest, in particular, that you collect all this information before starting the application process.

We must also stress the crucial importance of filling in this information with great care and ensuring that it is correct, since it will be verified against the supporting documents, as specified in the competition notice. If it is found at any stage in the procedure that the information given in your application is false or not evidenced by the appropriate supporting documents (see 6.1.4 below), you will be disqualified from the competition.

As long as you have not validated your application, you can modify any of the data you have entered.

Once you have validated your application, you will no longer be able to make any changes; the data entered are immediately processed by EPSO with a view to organising the competition. For updating your personal data, see point 2.1.1.

You must notify EPSO of any technical problem as soon as possible, using the contact form available on the EPSO website.   Special arrangements for taking tests

(a)   When you apply

If you have a disability or a condition that might pose difficulties for you when taking the tests, tick the corresponding box on the online application form and indicate what arrangements you consider necessary to make it easier for you to sit the tests.

Please send either a medical certificate or a certificate attesting your disability issued by a recognised body (as the case may be) as soon as possible after validating your online application:

either by e-mail to: EPSO-accessibility@ec.europa.eu,

or by fax to: +32-2 299 80 81, addressed to ‘EPSO accessibility’,

or by post to:

European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO)

‘EPSO accessibility’


1049 Brussels


quoting the number of the competition and your application number (be sure not to omit these).

The supporting documents will be examined so that special arrangements to suit each case can be made in order to satisfy (as far as possible) requests that are judged to be reasonable.

(b)   After applying

If the condition referred to in above develops after the deadline for online applications, you must inform EPSO as soon as possible. Please state in writing what arrangements you consider necessary and send the relevant supporting documents by e-mail, fax or post to EPSO at the address indicated in

2.1.4.   Grounds for disqualification relating to the application process

EPSO takes care to see that the principle of equal treatment is observed. Consequently, if at any stage in the procedure EPSO finds that:

you have created more than one EPSO account,

you have applied for profiles that are incompatible,

you have made any false declarations,

you will be excluded from the competitions in question.

Fraud or attempted fraud may render you liable to penalty. We would point out that anyone recruited by the institutions must show themselves to be of the highest possible integrity.


To ensure that all general texts and all communication between you and EPSO are clearly understood on both sides, only English, French, or German will be used for the invitations to the various tests and correspondence between you and EPSO.


Your results and all invitations will be sent to you solely via your EPSO account.

It is up to you to consult your EPSO account at regular intervals — at least twice a week — to keep track of the progress of the competition and to check the information relevant to your application.

If you are prevented from doing so because of a technical problem that is due to EPSO, you must notify EPSO immediately (see point 3.2 below).

General information on the successive stages of competitions can be consulted on the EPSO website (www.eu-careers.eu).


For all correspondence with EPSO, you must use the contact form on the website; but please check first that the information you want is not in the competition notice, or in this document, or on the EPSO website, in particular in the ‘Frequently asked questions’ (4).

To ensure the selection board's independence, it is strictly forbidden for anyone outside the board to attempt to contact any of its members. The one exception is that candidates may follow the procedures laid down in the competition notice to write to the chair of the selection board via the European Personnel Selection Office in order state their case or assert their rights. Any direct or indirect intervention by candidates that does not comply with the procedures referred to above is forbidden and may result in disqualification from the competition. Any correspondence intended for a selection board must be sent only to EPSO, which will pass it on to the board.

EPSO takes great care to apply the principles of the code of good administrative conduct (5), including in its correspondence with candidates. However, under those same principles, EPSO reserves the right to cease any correspondence if that which it receives from a candidate is improper — i.e. repetitive, abusive and/or pointless.

In all correspondence to do with an application, candidates must quote their name as given in their application, the competition number, and the number they received when they applied online.



Where competitions require it, EPSO organises tests for admission to open competitions as described in the competition notice. The tests, which involve a series of multiple-choice questions, are done on a computer in centres specialising in this kind of test.


When the admission tests have been organised, you will be invited, via your EPSO account, to reserve a date within a range indicated in the invitation. As a rule, you will be offered several possible dates and centres.

A list of centres throughout the European Union (and possibly in some non-member countries) will be sent to you via your EPSO account. The availability of some dates in some centres may be limited if the number of candidates foreseen for those centres is low.

Depending on the competition you have applied for, the tests may include the following:

verbal reasoning test, designed to allow an objective assessment of your ability to think logically and understand verbal information,

numerical reasoning test, designed to allow an objective assessment of your ability to think logically and understand numerical information,

abstract reasoning test, designed to allow an objective assessment of your ability to think logically and understand the relations between concepts involving no linguistic, spatial or numerical elements,

test(s) in the field chosen,

test(s) of language skills,

test(s) of specific professional skills.

At the admission test stage, the following test may also be held:

situational judgement test, designed to assess behaviour in a working context. Each question describes a work-related scenario and presents four possible courses of action in response (multiple-choice format). You have to choose what you think is the best AND the worst option, given the situation described.

So that you can familiarise yourself with the computer-based test procedure, a hyperlink to a tutorial and a practice test will be included in the letter inviting you to attend.

The admission tests are marked by computer.



Scrutiny of:


admissibility of applications;


compliance with the general conditions;


compliance with the specific conditions.

EPSO checks whether your application is admissible, i.e. whether it was submitted by the deadline and in accordance with the conditions laid down in the competition notice. Only applications that satisfy these conditions will be taken into consideration.

If your application is admissible, the information given in your online application will then be checked for compliance with the general and specific conditions, as specified in the competition notice; this information will be verified at a later stage against the supporting documents provided. In some competitions, the first check is made directly on the basis of the supporting documents.

All the conditions for admission, both general and specific, must be met on the date(s) specified in the competition notice.

Only applications that satisfy all the conditions spelled out in the competition notice will be taken into consideration.


In the case of competitions based on qualifications and tests (competitions for specialist profiles) the selection board screens the candidates who fulfil the conditions for admission to identify those whose qualifications (in particular diplomas and professional experience) best match the duties and selection criteria set out in the competition notice. This selection is made solely on the basis of the information given by candidates under the ‘Talent screener’ tab of the online application form in response to the questions asked. The selection process involves two stages:

A first selection based on qualifications is made solely on the basis of the responses ticked under the ‘Talent screener’ tab of the online application form and the weighting assigned to each of the questions. The selection board sets the weighting according to the importance attached to each question. The online applications of the candidates who obtain the highest number of points then go through to a second selection stage. The number of applications to be examined at that stage is specified in the competition notice.

The selection board then examines candidates' answers and awards 0 to 4 points for each answer. The points are then multiplied by the weighting for each question.

Finally, the selection board draws up a list of candidates in the order of the marks obtained after the second screening. The candidates with the highest marks go through to the next stage of the competition (the competition notice specifies how many will be admitted).


Under the new competition procedures, EPSO uses a standard ‘assessment centre’ model, based on competencies. This model has been chosen by the institutions to enable them to identify the most suitable and competent candidates for the profile required. After the admission tests and/or selection based on qualifications (if any), candidates are invited to an assessment centre session, which is normally held in Brussels. Some exercises, although part of the assessment centre model, may be organised on computer in other cities. In this case the procedure for making practical arrangements (reserving a date and place) will be much the same as described in point 4.2.

In the assessment centre, candidates' general competencies (see point 1.2) and their specific competencies (related to the duties in question) will be tested by appropriate means, which may — depending on the competition — include the following:

case study in the field in question: this is a written test based on a scenario to do with the EU, in which you are faced with various problems that you are asked to solve or to which you must react, relying solely on the material provided,

exercises relating to specific skills,

oral presentation: this is an individual test of analysis and presentation, in which you are asked to come up with a proposal concerning a fictitious work-related problem. After analysing the documentation provided, you have to present your ideas to a small group of people,

structured dialogue(s): this is an individual exercise designed to obtain, in a structured way, relevant information about your general skills (and specific skills, in the case of specialist competitions), with the focus on your experience in situations encountered in the past,

group exercise: after absorbing a certain amount of information on your own, you are put in a group with several other participants to discuss your conclusions and reach a collective decision,

mailbox: this is a computer-based test in which you are asked to answer a number of questions using the documentation provided in an e-mail inbox, where you will find all the information you need,

practical language tests,

verbal reasoning test (6) (see point 4.2),

numerical reasoning test (6) (see point 4.2),

abstract reasoning test (6) (see point 4.2),

situational judgement test (6) (see point 4.2).

A detailed explanation of these items will be given in the ‘Assessment Centre’ brochure that candidates will receive when invited to take part in this stage of the competition. Please consult the competition notice to see which items will be used for your competition.


Following the competition procedure, the selection board draws up a reserve list containing the names of the successful candidates. The list is then sent to the institutions, since responsibility for recruitment rests solely with them. Note that they will also be sent a document known as a ‘competency passport’ setting out your performance at the assessment centre, which they may use during the recruitment procedure and with a view to your career development.

The reserve list and its expiry date are published (7) in the Official Journal of the European Union and on the EPSO website. The validity of the list may be extended in some cases. The decision extending a list will be published only on the EPSO website.



6.1.1.   What is a full application file?

This is a file comprising a signed copy of your application form and all the required supporting documents.

6.1.2.   When does the file have to be submitted?

Unless the competition notice states that the file must be submitted at the same time as the online application, candidates invited to the assessment centre will be expressly asked to bring their full application file with them on the day of the tests. EPSO will disregard and will not return any files submitted that were not explicitly requested. In accordance with the data protection rules, the files will be destroyed.

6.1.3.   How does the file have to be submitted?


Print out, from your EPSO account, the online application form that you validated.


Sign it in the appropriate box.


Attach all the supporting documents required (see 6.1.4) after first numbering them.


Attach a numbered index of all the supporting documents enclosed with your file.


Submit your file in accordance with the instructions indicated in the invitation sent to you or in the competition notice.

6.1.4.   What supporting documents have to be included in the full application file?   General

Do not submit any originals; you need only enclose uncertified photocopies of the documents required. References to websites do not constitute supporting documents for these purposes. Printouts of web pages do not count as valid supporting documents either, but may be enclosed as purely supplementary information.

When completing your application, you must not simply give references to previous applications submitted or to other documents enclosed with previous applications. None of the documents enclosed with your application file will be returned.

Please note that if you are placed on the reserve list and offered a post, you will have to produce the originals of all the requisite documents for certification before you can be recruited.   Supporting documents relating to the general conditions

To prove that:

you hold the required citizenship,

please enclose a copy of a document proving your citizenship (e.g. your passport, identity card or any other official document specifying your citizenship, which must be valid on the closing date for online applications).

No supporting documents are required at this stage to prove that:

you enjoy your full rights as a citizen,

you have fulfilled any obligations imposed on you by the laws on military service,

you meet the character requirements for the duties in question.

By signing the application, you declare on your honour that you satisfy these conditions. This is why it is essential that you sign your application form.   Supporting documents relating to the specific conditions

It is your responsibility to provide the selection board with all the information and documents it needs in order to verify that you fulfil the conditions laid down by the competition notice on the date specified in it.


Diplomas and/or certificates attesting successful completion of studies. In the case of post-secondary diplomas, include as much detail as possible, in particular concerning what subjects you studied and for how long, so that the selection board can assess how relevant your diploma is to the duties in question. If you have followed technical or professional training, or attended a further training course or specialisation course, indicate whether it was full-time, part-time, or an evening class, what subjects were covered, and the official duration of your studies.

The selection board will allow for differences between education systems. Examples of the minimum qualifications required for each category can be found on the EPSO website. Note that the competition notice may lay down stricter requirements.


Professional experience (if required by the competition notice)

It is important that you specify the nature of the duties you performed in as much detail as possible so that the selection board can assess how relevant your experience is to the duties for which you are applying. All the periods of professional activity in question must be covered by the following supporting documents:

references from former employers and your current employer attesting that you have the professional experience required for admission to the competition; the references must state the nature of the duties performed, their starting and ending dates, and their level,

if you cannot enclose references from employers, photocopies of your employment contract(s) and your first and last pay slips may be supplied in place of employers' references, but they must be accompanied by a detailed description of the duties performed,

in the case of non-salaried work (e.g. self-employed, liberal professions), invoices or order forms detailing the work performed or any other relevant official supporting documents may be accepted as evidence,

in the case of competitions for conference interpreters, where professional experience is required, documents will be taken into consideration only if they show that the experience relates specifically to conference interpreting and clearly indicate the number of days and the languages interpreted.   Supporting documents relating to knowledge of languages (if required by the competition notice)

In general, no supporting documents are required, except in the case of certain competitions for linguists (please refer to the competition notice). In those cases the competition notice will state that you must provide evidence of your knowledge of the languages required in the form of a diploma or a written note explaining how you acquired your knowledge of them.


Candidates involved in selection procedures have the specific right of access to certain information concerning them directly and individually, as described below.

You will automatically be sent the following information:

(1)   Computer-based admission test stage

Your test results. These will not show the wording of the questions or of the answers, but merely the reference number/letter of the answers you chose and of the correct answers.

(2)   Assessment centre stage

Your overall marks for each competency assessed (specific competencies in the field and general competencies) and your competency passport, except if you failed to complete the tests.


You can request a review if:

EPSO has failed to observe the provisions governing the competition procedure,

the selection board has failed to abide by the provisions governing its proceedings.

Note that selection boards enjoy wide powers of discretion in assessing whether and to what extent your answers are correct or incorrect. It is therefore pointless to contest your marks unless there has been a manifest error in law or in fact.

EPSO will forward your request to the chair of the selection board if it comes within the board's remit, and you will be sent a reply as swiftly as possible.


Submit your request, stating the grounds on which it is based, within 10 calendar days from the date when the letter from EPSO is sent to you online:

either using the contact form published on the EPSO website,

or by fax to: +32-2 295 74 88.

Please quote in the subject line of your letter:

the competition number,

your application number,

one of the following: ‘Request for review’ or ‘Demande de réexamen’ or ‘Antrag auf Überprüfung’ (your choice),

what stage (8) of the competition your request concerns (e.g. admission tests, admission refused, assessment centre).


If at any stage of the competition you consider that EPSO or the selection board has acted unfairly or has failed to comply with:

the rules governing the competition procedure, or

the provisions of the competition notice,

and that your interests have been prejudiced as a result, you can take the following action:

you can lodge an administrative complaint under Article 90(2) of the Staff Regulations of Officials of the European Union:

either by post to:

European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO)

Open competition EPSO/(quote the competition number)


1049 Brussels


or via the contact page on EPSO's website.

Please quote in the subject line of your letter:

the competition number,

your application number,

one of the following: ‘Complaint under Article 90(2)’ or ‘Réclamation article 90, §2’ or ‘Beschwerde Artikel 90, Absatz 2’ (your choice),

what stage of the competition (8) your complaint concerns.

Note that decisions by a selection board in a competition cannot be annulled or changed by the Director of EPSO following an administrative complaint. There is therefore no point in submitting a complaint against a selection board's decision, although the rules in force leave this option open to candidates (9).

A decision by a selection board can be challenged directly before one of the courts of the European Union without the need for a prior complaint under Article 90(2) of the Staff Regulations.

You can submit a judicial appeal under Article 270 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and Article 91 of the Staff Regulations to the:

European Union Civil Service Tribunal

Boulevard Konrad Adenauer

2925 Luxembourg


Note that appeals concerning an error of assessment relating to the general eligibility criteria are not matters for which the selection board is responsible and will therefore not be admissible before the European Union Civil Service Tribunal unless an administrative complaint under Article 90(2) of the Staff Regulations has first been made following the procedure described above.

For details of how to submit an appeal, please consult the website of the European Union Civil Service Tribunal: http://curia.europa.eu/jcms/jcms/Jo1_6308/

The time limits for initiating both types of procedure (see Staff Regulations as amended by Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 723/2004 (10) — http://eur-lex.europa.eu) start to run from the time you are notified of the act allegedly prejudicing your interests.


Like all citizens of the European Union, you can make a complaint to:

European Ombudsman

1 avenue du Président Robert Schuman

CS 30403

67001 Strasbourg Cedex



Note that complaints made to the Ombudsman have no suspensive effect on the period laid down in Article 90(2) and Article 91 of the Staff Regulations for lodging complaints or for submitting appeals to the Civil Service Tribunal under Article 270 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. Note also that, under Article 2(4) of the general conditions governing the performance of the Ombudsman's duties, any complaint lodged with the Ombudsman must be preceded by the appropriate administrative approaches to the institutions and bodies concerned.


If your name is included on the reserve list, you may be invited by an institution for an interview, but this does not mean you have any right to or guarantee of recruitment.

Under the Staff Regulations, recruitment depends on posts and funds becoming available. Recruitment will be at the grade indicated in the competition notice.

If you are one of the successful candidates, you may initially be offered a temporary contract, depending on the nature of the post concerned. In this case, your name will remain on the reserve list.

Under the Staff Regulations officials can request a transfer to another institution or agency at any time during their career. However, you should note that, in the interests of the service, newly recruited officials can be transferred only in exceptional and duly justified cases during their first three years of service at least. Any such transfer is subject to the agreement both of the institution or agency that originally recruited the official and of the institution or agency to which the official requests to be transferred.


For more detailed information on the following points, please consult the EPSO website:

reimbursement of candidates' travelling expenses,

equal opportunities,

data protection,

pay and social security benefits.

(1)  Subject to any derogations that may be granted under Article 28(a) of the Staff Regulations of Officials and any specific measures adopted with a view to recruiting citizens of countries joining the Union.

(2)  The names of the selection board members are published on the EPSO website (www.eu-careers.eu).

(3)  The term appears in three languages on the EPSO website:


DE (German): EPSO-Konto;


EN (English): EPSO account;


FR (French): compte EPSO.

(4)  Under the heading ‘FAQ’ on the EPSO website.

(5)  OJ L 267, 20.10.2000, p. 63.

(6)  If candidates have not already taken a test of this kind at the admission test stage (where one has been held).

(7)  A successful candidate may explicitly request that their name not be published. Any such request must reach EPSO no later than two weeks after the date when a candidate's results are uploaded to their EPSO account.

(8)  Indicate the stage in English French, or German only.

(9)  Case 34/80 Authié v Commission, judgment delivered on 26 February 1981, published in [1981] ECR p. 665 (paragraph 7 of the judgment); Joined Cases 4/78, 19/78 and 28/78 Salerno et al. v Commission, judgment delivered on 30 November 1978, published in [1978] ECR p. 2403.

(10)  OJ L 124, 27.4.2004, p. 1.