The sheer number of comments at the main post ‘So I Won’t Be A Commission Official‘ has been causing problems, so all the old comments are here instead, and hence searchable.

2,067 Comments

  1. Hi,

    usefull as always in here. I have got a Q – I have been invited to sit the written test for translators. Could anyone share their expieriences of what kind of texts they had to translate, how they prepared, and was the second option language text easier, because my spanish is quite basic. Also what about the vocabluary, any secific one is more recomended over others? would be very greatfull if you could share your experience, please, thank you

  2. @ eucandidate

    I didn’t think our CVs will become available to all ‘European Institutions, Offices and Agencies’ – only Commission.

  3. eucandidate

    @Etni
    In which way different? I guess you get contacted directly whenever a Delegation is interested in your CV.

  4. Yep, results CAST RELEX 2008 are available. A positive one for me (FGIV – Econ. Trade Adviser), though I’m really curious about the chances of getting a call from one of the delegations for an interview…..

  5. Kostas

    Hello to everybody.
    Is there any excel file to calculate the salary of a Temporary Agent? If yes, can you please send it to anagno (at) epp.teicrete.gr

  6. @ all Cast 2008 reservists

    Cast 2008 results are out & in your profile. Accompanying email to warn you hasn’t been sent yet.

    I’m puzzled by the last paragraph:

    “Consequently, your name will be placed in the database (*) of eligible candidates for the profile in which you took your tests. Access to this database will be given to European Institutions, Offices and Agencies, who will select and invite for interview candidates who best fit their requirements. Please note that at the same time as your interview you will be required to provide all your supporting documents (diplomas, certificates and, where appropriate, relevant documents to prove your work experience) corresponding to the information you entered on the application form. ”

    What kind of database is this? I thought Cast relex database is different from other contract agents’?

  7. Ben Hook

    That goes for the EPSO 126/08

    Dear candidate,

    Thank you for your message.

    The results of the admission procedure should be published between mid-October and mid-November 2008.

    The written tests will most probably take place during the 1st half of December 2008.

    Kind regards,
    Your EPSO team/on behalf of Theo Duivenvoorde

  8. gotspe

    @ Ben,

    Hi – good to see another AD/79/06 laureate on here! I’m in the first merit group as well, and like you I’m starting to get a bit restless about the lack of news from bxl/lux. I’ve spoken to a couple of people there in an informal, off-the-record sort of way, but I haven’t been contacted for any interviews yet. Without going into too much detail, I have the distinct impression that the people recruited so far have indeed been insiders (people already working there on temp contracts and the like).

    I am a bit worried about the fact that there are no less than 60 people on the combined list for the two options, and that there is a recent CAST 27 list for Dutch translators as well. It may be true that the average age of the Dutch translators is high and a lot of them are about to retire, but at the same time I’ve also heard that the translation units are supposed to become smaller as a cost-cutting measure.

    I guess we just have to be patient. I can’t help but be a bit cynical about the “good news, we are improving selection methods” message on the EPSO site. Let’s hope that’s no reason to dismiss our reserve list as soon as it expires for the first time…

  9. frustrated

    Join the club, Ben. You are probably right “insiders” get preference. I made some enquiries a while ago as regards the possibility of DG admin stats on what determines a laureate’s recruitment speed… merit group, previous job at some Eu insitution, gender, nationality…. answer: “we don’t do that”.

    Well, not all forms of discrimination are equal I guess.

    Kop op

  10. Hi everyone,
    In april this year I managed to get onto a reserve list (translators with main language Dutch, AD5). Despite sending my CV to all possible language departments, I haven’t heard anything since. Only from the EP I got the message that there were very few posts vacant, and that these already have been filled in with laureates from the list (presumably people they already knew).
    I’m very curious about experiences from any other people who are/have been on a reserve list for translators. Is there a good chance of ever being hired by any of the institutions at all or are there (next to all other possible hurdles, which are already mentioned on this site) very few posts available? (I have no experience as a translator, but am in the first merit group, if this means anything at all). Or is it better to first try to get in another way (as a contract agent)?

  11. Hi everyone,
    I just got notice that I have been accepted on a reserve list. Does anyone know how long it usually takes to go from a reserve list to an actual offer and starting a job? I know it varies by agency, but I would like to at least have some idea.

  12. Hi everybody,

    I have just got the invitation for the written test of the competition EPSO/AD/116/08 Fraud Prevention. Any advice on how to prepare this test would be really appreciated
    Thanks in advance

  13. @riviere

    “Status on the reserve list” is above “Results of the competition”.

  14. riviere

    Where exactly is the motif ‘My status on the reserve List’ ?
    I have just checked my profile and cannot see any such box.

  15. kentia

    @sunflower

    I read in other forum 22/30…

  16. Thanks a lot Elena!

  17. @amix
    The Christmas holidays start on Wed, 24th of December and end on Sun, the 4th of January 2009.

  18. sunflower

    Which was the minimum score to be in the 960 group for the AST/53 competition?
    Thanks to anybody who knows something more.

  19. Dear Breach,

    Many thanks for the clarification!

    Good luck to all EPSO “reservists”!

  20. lucas trapaza

    to JFK and everybody else

    Breach must be right concerning “new fllaging tool” on EPSO profiles !

    By the way someone has a clue on Cast 27 “final stats” ?

  21. Breach

    It’s only exposed to permanent officials competition laureates. I’m on a CAST27 list as well and and don’t have it.

  22. Dear guys/gals,

    I have no “my status on the reserve list” link in my EPSO profile, although I’m on the reserve list for CAST27/Function Group IV/Project Adviser.

    Anybody else having the same problem?

    Thanks for your feedback!

  23. Hi guys,
    Anyone has any clue where I can find the holidays calendar of the European Commission as I am meant to start there as an AST and want already to book my flights home for the Xmas holidays.
    Sorry for bothering you,
    Thanks

  24. frustrated

    Breach,

    I have made little indices like that in the past, but can’t really say I derive joy from this…. tedious pasttime.

    Post-2004 most officials get hired in the lowest possible grade, be they EU12 or EU15. Most of what you see in AD5 are incidence data, newcomers. By and large these are EU12, that ony see EU15 in higher posts, but should stop to consider that this is also because the EU15 candidates of their generation have a harder time getting in, at which point the latter too would be scaled in at a low rank.

    Like I said, I’ve lost my appetite for this kind of “discussion”, which doesn’t mean I will stand for people denying the obvious… given my profile and the DG that is foremost interested, I ate a lot of shit over the last 18 months. Every now and then there are rumours of windows opening up, at which point you are informally asked to stay around for the second half of that month, because you might have to make arrangements for an interview…. it’s all very very cumbersome and probably not worth it.

  25. justice

    epso re-opened a competition

    A friend told me that Epso reopened some competitions. I wrote to EPSO and take a look:

    “Both competitions have been reopened for candidates who
    combined the following
    elements:
    EPSO/AST/29/06: main language english (1), 2nd language french, having chosen a
    querty / qwertz keyboard;
    EPSO/AST/33/06: main language italian (1), 2nd language french, having chosen a
    querty / qwertz keyboard;

    The decision to reopen these competitions has been taken by the selection
    boards, following complaints filed by candidates. The selection boards evaluated
    these complaints as justified. Therefore the above mentioned competitions have
    been reopened.”

    my letter to Ombudsman:

    I understood that someone decided to re-open these competitions but I and all the other candidates in these competitions have the right to be informed!!! I saw nothing published in my profile or on EPSO website or in an OJ.
    These competitions were reopened under tables….

    This is not transparency and I intend to address to European Ombudsman to understand better how it is possbile in a competition at the European level to re- open a competition without publishing nothing in an OJ. Very strange.

    At national level a situation like this will finish in a Court of Justice.

  26. Breach

    @frustrated:
    I’m sure you know of this document:
    http://ec.europa.eu/civil_service/docs/bs_sexe_nat_grade_en.pdf

    It’s updated every couple of months. If you cross-reference historical data (which pre-supposes you have older versions of the data), you can draw some sound trends on “which nationalities get which posts” percentage-wise, etc. I’m sure would make for an amusing analysis, but personally have no time for it :-]

  27. synchronicity

    Has anyone gone to an interview for Head of Unit, Law, AD 9, with Romanian or Bulgarian citizenship, which has recently passed. If so, could you please send me your e-mail address or/and phone number to synchronicity {at} abv(.)bg. I’ll be most appreciative if I can call you on the phone or talk with you via e-mail about how did it go. Thanks a lot in advance for the time and effort to contact me.

  28. frustrated

    The flags actually carry quite some interesting info.

    Each flag has a colour
    with a specific meaning:
    Green Flag: This is the default flag, meaning that the laureate is not currently
    involved in any way with an Institution. In principle, all laureates are initially
    assigned a Green flag when a Reserve List is published on e-RL. Please bear in mind
    this means that whenever an Institution is no longer interested in recruiting a laureate,
    this Institution will revert the laureate to Green flag status.
    The comment in your EPSO profile ‘status in the reserve list’ will be as follows:
    Laureate available for consideration by any Institution with a ‘quota’ in the list
    *****
    Yellow Flag: The laureate has attracted the interest of an Institution. This
    Institution will schedule an interview in order to better assess whether the laureate
    matches the Institution’s requirements. Where a laureate is yellow-flagged for an
    Institution, no other Institution may ask for flagging, or otherwise attempt to contact
    the laureate. Normally, a laureate cannot remain yellow-flagged for an Institution for
    longer than a period of three months.
    The comment in your EPSO profile ‘status in the reserve list’ will be as follows:
    Laureate available for consideration only by Institution to whom allocated.
    3
    *****
    Orange Flag: A letter of intent has been issued by an Institution or the
    Institution has requested an extension of 45 days in order to complete the eventual
    recruitment procedure. Where a laureate is orange-flagged for an Institution, no other
    Institution may ask for flagging, or otherwise attempt to contact the laureate. If the
    laureate declines the potential offer, or if the Institution has decided not to recruit the
    laureate, the Institution will revert the laureate to the green flag status.
    The comment in your EPSO profile ‘status in the reserve list’ will be as follows:
    Interview arranged/request for extension of 45 days. Available for consideration only
    by the Institution to whom allocated.
    *****
    Blue Flag: The laureate already works for an Institution and this Institution is
    interested in recruiting him/her. Where a laureate is blue-flagged for an Institution, no
    other Institution may ask for flagging, or otherwise attempt to contact the laureate.
    The comment in your EPSO profile ‘status in the reserve list’ will be as follows:
    Laureate currently employed by an Institution. Available for consideration only by
    the Institution to whom allocated.
    *****
    Red Flag: The laureate is in the process of being recruited by an Institution.
    The comment in your EPSO profile ‘status in the reserve list’ will be as follows:
    Laureate in process of being recruited or already recruited by an Institution.
    Unavailable for consideration by the other Institutions.
    *****
    No Flag: The laureate is not available due to special circumstances (i.e. the
    laureate has renounced working for an Institution or is not available for a certain
    period or should otherwise no longer be considered for recruitment).
    The comment in your EPSO profile ‘status in the reserve list’ will be as follows:
    Laureate not available due to special circumstances.
    The laureates may consult their status in the Reserve List via their EPSO profile
    about one month after receiving the letter informing them of their results.

  29. frustrated

    Damawand,

    see reasons instanced by Breach.

    Headcounts… honestly I have no reason to lie about this… DGs have rolling EU12 quota, at least for AD posts… I do believe most people are aware of this. Based on going counts “windows” of opportunity may open up to organize AD interviews for EU15 laureates and often they “collapse” at the next head count when a few confirmed EU15 hires are made (sorry aout the wormhole-trekkie terminology).

    So, no… not all animals are equal. Not when it comes to the type of selection, nor to recruitment.

  30. Breach

    (Seeing my grammar in my last post, no doubt I’m still ‘lingering on a reserve list’ 🙂

  31. Breach

    It IS an improvement. I’ll just point out two practical cases where it helps greatly:

    1. You were flagged, you went to an interview. Sometimes they never tell you that you have been unsuccessful. Seeing that you have been “unflagged” helps.
    2. Being flagged for a while is not good — during that time, no other institution can contact you. The legal period for an institution to be flagged is currently three months. If you think there is an unjustifiable reason for being flagged longer than need, you can contact EPSO and have yourself “unflagged” so that your chances are once again with all institutions.

    Also, it’s excellent home page for us lingering on a reserve list. :-]

  32. damawand

    Frustrated,

    All right, now it is just a bit clear to me. So this new thing in epso profile is about letting you know if you were flagged. I was aware of the process of reserving a candidate by an institution, but did not know that it’s called flagging.
    Anyways, letting you know about flagging you (what an expression!) does not help enormously. If you are flagged, consequently you’ll be contacted by someone who flagged you becuase he/she is interested in you. Otherwise they wouldn’t bother to flag you. So if you would be contacted anyways, the purely formal prior information from epso is no big deal. What matters is that someone potentially wants you which you will eventually know without any intermediate messages.
    So I am not sure I see the improvement…
    And you talk about headcounts… What does it mean? I thought that they don’t count heads and that everybody on the list is equal. All people get recrutied regardless of the nationality (I see this really), except perhaps of some exceptional situations where say for instance a unit composed of 4 persons in total already has 2 French people, then I guess it would be normal to go for any other nationality except French when recruiting a fifth person.
    By any chance do you know which comment talks about flagging? (there are now almost 2000 comments to go through…)

  33. eucandidate

    Hi,
    does anybody knows if EPSO itself does the shortlisting for a position and then forwards the CVs to the Delegations (how many??), or the actual Delegations have access to the database with all candidates’ CVs and they can pick whoever they want…
    Cheers!

  34. justice

    epso re-opened a competition

    A friend told me that Epso reopened some competitions. I wrote to EPSO and take a look:

    “Both competitions have been reopened for candidates who
    combined the following
    elements:
    EPSO/AST/29/06: main language english (1), 2nd language french, having chosen a
    querty / qwertz keyboard;
    EPSO/AST/33/06: main language italian (1), 2nd language french, having chosen a
    querty / qwertz keyboard;

    The decision to reopen these competitions has been taken by the selection
    boards, following complaints filed by candidates. The selection boards evaluated
    these complaints as justified. Therefore the above mentioned competitions have
    been reopened.”

    my letter to Ombudsman:

    I understood that someone decided to re-open these competitions but I and all the other candidates in these competitions have the right to be informed!!! I saw nothing published in my profile or on EPSO website or in an OJ.
    These competitions were reopened under tables….

    This is not transparency and I intend to address to European Ombudsman to understand better how it is possbile in a competition at the European level to re- open a competition without publishing nothing in an OJ. Very strange.

    At national level a situation like this will finish in a Court of Justice.

  35. Poniboy

    Hi Everybody,

    Concerning the RELEX 08 exams, I have just received an e-mail from EPSO about a complaint I made about question 46 of the V&N test. I am sorry if you had this one ok but there was a mistake in the table, so finally it has been neutralised (one point for all candidates).

    And they told me that the final results “should” be published this month.

  36. @student & AD
    Thank you very much. I am a little bit concerned that my superior won’t be amused about my tests scheduled one week after taking up my duties in his unit.

  37. frustrated

    Damawand,

    I have been whining and nagging about this for ages. I even believe that legally (as epso is storing personal information on you in the form of “reserve list staus” and that that information could change instantaneously) they practically had no other choice.

    The status has to do with the various “flags”… read around in this thread, their meaning is posted somewhere.

    Of course, the whole system has little sense in a quota-era where a different logic applies (I know my flag says “not reserved”, whereas in reality I’ve been contacted informally to arrange something as soon as headcounts temporarily allow for it).

    But again, this is a change for the better, I hadn’t expected it from these folk.

  38. damawand

    Hi frustrated!

    I guess you shared with the forum some new invention of the recruitment office. But that concerns only those who have been lucky in the concour. Interesting to know anyways. I just wonder what this “status on the reserve list” means. I thought that the only status you could have is just the status of being a concour winner. And then if they contact you and eventually recruit you, the reserve list does not matter to you any more. Or is there some intermediate stage? Some other “status”. Share this too please. And what is it in particular that made you so surprised as an old cynic?
    Ciao!

  39. waiting4bxl

    maybe they’ve read the earlier comments on this blog… 😉

  40. ANTHOULA CHATZIVASILEIOU

    I think that the feature “my status on the reserve list” is very helpful but personally I have not found this relevant click in my epso profile.
    Is it activated for all candidates or there is a way to activate it?

  41. frustrated

    “Dear candidate,

    In an effort to improve the transparency and the quality of its information, EPSO has implemented a new system to allow candidates to monitor their status on a reserve list.
    To view your status, you should open your EPSO profile http://www.europa.eu.int/epso and click on “my status on the reserve list”.
    We trust that you will find this new feature helpful.”

    Well, have you ever… even an old cynic may yet find himself surprised.

  42. New Boy

    Hi All,

    Decided to go ahead with the challenge and “try” to pass the AD Concours”

    To date whilst waiting for the appropriate concours, I’ve gone through the question and memorised the answers “Ultimate EU test Book” and complemented my knowledge by reading a few further articles!

    Feel the volume that one needs to memorize is a lot – and being in full time employment does not help

    Would you mind sharing to study routine / experiences? (Books / Websites you recommend?)

  43. @ Elena

    The only problem I can think of is that your SYSPER2 profile might not be ready in time for you to request special leave for the oral tests — after your 2 days of Welcom session, you’ll report to your unit and hopefully will have the computer and accounts up and running the same day you report to the unit. However, if something goes wrong, you might be waiting for a computer or the account to work for a while. Normally it’s really simple, you just request the special leave and send your GECO (leave officer) a PDF of the invitation, then your HoU gives an opinion and the GECO approves. After the exam, you send the GECO the participation certificate, and you’re all done.

    In any case, it is your RIGHT to participate, and NO ONE may prevent you from doing so. It’s in the staff regulations.

    What DG are you in?

  44. student

    Hi Elena,
    No worries, you can accept the invitation. Actually, if you apply for an EPSO competition, the day off does not count as a holiday from your leave (you will see the system they use in the Commission). Good luck!

  45. embarrassment of riches…

    Hi everybody,

    I have a problem. I will start soon to work for the EC.
    I have also registered myself for one of the HoU-Competition. Today, after the selection board re-assessed my application, I received an invitation for the assessment center and oral test, both taking place about one week after my acttivity at the EC starts.
    Does anybody know if I will encounter any problems if I accept this invitation? I am a little bit confused…
    Many thanks.

    Elena

  46. stefano

    @nnn

    Depence a lot. In my case the first time it took something like 1 month to get an appointment.
    Be patient, the recruitment really takes a lot of time, papers, signatures, medical examinations and so on.

    Good luck.

    Stefano

  47. Stefano

    @Alexander Ivanchev

    The game is easy… Collect as much papers as you can to protect yourself if yout HoU will attack you, and find a way to demonstrate his/her innattitude to be an HoU….
    But I find this approach very inefficient, with the EU workinsg standars, could take a contract renewal (if you are a CA or TA) to collect mistakes from your HoU is he/she is not so stupid.
    And you are right, I don’t know how many times my HoUs were blaming me, because I was doing more than expected… A the typical phrase is..
    “Yes, but politically…..”

    Politically we can be inefficient….

  48. Stefano

    @Lia

    I had a minor issue, and not wit my boss, the result of using Art. 90, was that someone took the courage in the hierarchi to solve the problem, without going to the court.
    I think the problem is to wait for a cascade effect: if my career is blocked because a person before me is not acting as should, the only way to have a normal career is to remove the person by my command chain. I do not think it is so difficult to understand that most of the HoU/Directors likes to be promoted, because they justify their power, and because they love themlself before the others. I have personally seen strange reactions when people where taking bad results from their CDRs coming from bad reports from assistants and/or officers. A people who is leaving the commission because an unacceptable behaviour of the HoU for sure will have a big impact n the HoU history, and an article 90, will increase the magnitude of the effect.
    Depence on what you want, to be honest, I’m not interested in having a career, and I’m not interested in accepting such a similar behaviours from people who earn tons of public money. They must be professionals like every manager all over the world, if they work with qualified people, no matter about colour of the skin, religion, nationality. Keep your problems with minorities outside the EU door.

  49. Alexander Ivanchev

    Technically, wouldn’t that be the European Union Civil Service Tribunal? Fighting against the system is a noble, but futile effort, in general, I’d think… I’ve had an interview with a really arrogant and unpleasant HoU (imagine if that’s the impression I got during the interview what would be like actually working with such an individual), so I guess you have your fair portion of bad bosses everywhere. Unfortunately, unlike the (successful part of the) private sector bad management seems to have fertile soil to cultivate dysfunctional management and a** attitude in the public sector to a far greater degree. And they do tend to cover each other too :-). Also, besides all reforms I still have the impression that whistle-blowing still tends to get the responsible employee punished rather than those responsible…

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