The first event of the Careers SC, a roundtable with young professionals about EPSO competitions, held on Thursday, 16th April 2015, was a good way to get our dream careers started. The massive participation of the trainees, the precious information and suggestions given by the speakers invited were motivating and inspiring in convincing us that, after all, working in the EU institutions is not such a far-away dream as some of us might think.
Our after-work meeting had the purpose of providing all of us with the basic tools needed to understand how an EPSO competition is structured, the various steps to go through and, last but not least, some practical information about the skills the assessment centre is looking for in the candidates, from the pre-selection test up to the final interview.
In the first part of the roundtable, Mr. Aron Szentpeteri, a colleague of Andras Baneth (author of several EU Test Books and founder of Online EU Training), showed us the structure of an EPSO test, from the most difficult part, the pre-selection test, up to the e-tray exercise, the group exercise and the final interview. His explanation, together with some practical exercises that we made together (numerical, abstract and verbal reasoning and situational judgement test), gave us an initial overview of what to expect when applying for a post.
The second part of the meeting involved two young officials who recently joined their translation units at the Commission and the Parliament. They brought their personal and motivating experience, showing us that the career path to get to the institutions is neither easy nor impossible: seeing them where they are now, we still have some chances!
The first to talk about her experience was Ms. Guenda Carbonelli, who works as a translator in the Italian Unit at the Commission: after a PhD in Italian Studies, she decided to take part in the competition for translators and, after just one try, she got a job at the Commission. Among the many pieces of advice she gave to us, we would like to remember what she said about the group exercise and the final interview where the candidates, among other things, are assessed on how well they can fit into the existing working group: “Just be yourself”.
Our second speaker was Mr. Pierre Le Chevallier, a translator in the French Unit of the Parliament. When arriving in February, his main doubt was about being able to fit in the team after working for some years as a freelancer, but we know he is doing very well! His main advice? To practise for the EPSO competition every day, no matter in what condition you find yourself, so as to be ready for the big day! Another important thing he underlined was the following: no matter how many languages you speak, you have to be self-confident and able to deliver a speech in front of an audience – that is an aspect which the assessment centre takes into great consideration when choosing a candidate from the reserve list.
Finally, we would like to thank all of you, trainees, for taking part in the discussion with your questions, motivation and curiosity. We would like to thank Aron (he came on purpose from Budapest for this presentation), Pierre and Guenda for bringing their precious contribution to our roundtable – it would have been impossible without them. Thanks also to the members of the Careers SC, who put a lot of effort in organising the first Careers event of the Summer 2015 Traineeship Session.
Upcoming events to be announced soon!
Fabio, on behalf of the Careers SC