Selection processes in the European Commission: First steps

For European nationals looking for a chance to work internationally, permanent (versus temporary or part time) jobs with the European Commission may represent an interesting opportunity. In this first of two posts, we talk you through the overall approach adopted by EPSO, the European Personnel Selection Office, which runs selection processes for the Commission.

What jobs are available?


Each year, EPSO publishes a calendar of posts it will be looking for fill during the year at


These are broadly divided into generalist/administration jobs (categorised as Administrator or Assistant and graded) and specialist jobs, requiring specific knowledge or skills, such as translator or agricultural expert (see job profiles at


You can be hired on permanent and fixed-term contract. Permanent staff are selected through open competitions intended not for specific posts, but to fill a reserve pool for recruitment needs.


All the information given below concerns the selection process for a permanent contract, i.e. to become an EU civil servant.


One word of caution: as already hinted above, getting through the selection process for a job posted does not guarantee you a job.  The search may be for, say, 10 people for a certain role, but only, say, 4 positions may be actually offered immediately, the other candidates being held in EPSO’s database with the possibility that they will be offered a job in future. In other words, after passing an EU competition the succeeding applicants’ name will be placed in a database of “recruitable fonctionnaires”. When a particular vacancy is available, Commission services will use this database to withdraw candidates to enter in this particular selection process. This means that you may have passed a competition of a given profile, but may be offered a position for a different one (provided that you comply with the position’s requirements).


All the planned job competitions planned for 2014 can be found at


Registering with EPSO


To be considered for any of these jobs, you need to create a profile on EPSO. This does not pre-qualify you for any jobs, but merely serves to register you so you can subsequently apply online if a job opportunity arises which you want to pursue.


The general requirements are that –


–       You have to be a national of a member state

–       You must have full rights as a citizen

–       You must have fulfilled your national obligations, eg military service

–       You must meet the character requirements for the duties involved.


You can register with EPSO at


Applying online


You can upload your CV to store it online but you will still have to complete a new online application for each job you apply for, which needs to be very detailed and up to date. In addition to the registration data, the online application has four tabs, each of which has to be completed:

–       Your profile – complete curriculum vitae, with specific (day) dates of starting and finishing each eduction and training, employment and indication of your language capabilities)

–       Your motivation and strengths – describing how your education and experience is relevant to the job, what is your interest to apply, what could be your contribution to the EU, and what have been your main two achievements.

–       Eligibility – confirm that you meet the general and specific conditions.

–       Talent screening (only in the specialist posts online application, not in the generalist ones) – how you match up against each of the specific requirements detailed in the advertised job.  IMPORTANT: This information will be used to rate your applications against other candidates and identify the best to be invited to the next selection stage of the competition.


Do you have insights on selection processes in any employer? If so, please share these with our readers by mailing us at


This post was updated on 8 February 2014