The Assessment Centre

Since the introduction of the new competition procedure in 2010, EPSO uses a standard ‘assessment centre’ model based on competencies. This model has been chosen by the institutions 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 a computer in other cities.

In the assessment centre, candidates' general competencies and their specific competencies (related to the duties in question) will be tested by appropriate means. The assessment centre is carried out in the second language of the cadidates which either has to be English, French, Italian, Spanish or German. The following instruments might be applied:

Case study

The case study is a written test based on a EU related scenario, in which you are faced with various problems that you are asked to solve or to which you must respond. You have access to a number of documents and must solely rely on the material provided. The case study is carried out on a computer. Usually you can only open one document at a time. The tasks might be: Summarise the current situation! Identify the most important problems and develop suitable solutions. Taking into account the different priorities of the stakeholders what are your conclusions / recommendations?

The case study enables EPSO to assess your analytical and problem solving skills, your skills in writing and whether you manage to deliver high quality results in a certain time and whether you can set priorities and organise your work.

Group exercise

The group exercise is usually carried out in a group of 4-6, observed by 2-4 assessors. You receive a number of documents and must read and study them on your own within 10 minutes. All candidates receive identical documents, except for one document which contains 'special' pieces of information (of different stake-holders or interest groups). Afterwards, you team up with your group to discuss your conclusions and reach a collective decision within 40 minutes.The main task is to share the information and reach a reasonable compromise.


This is an individual test of your analytical and presentation skills, in which you are asked to come up with a proposal concerning a fictional work-related problem. After analysing the material provided, you have to present your ideas to a small group of people. The concrete task could be:

  • What are the positions of the different interest groups and what do they propose?
  • What are the main differences between the interest groups?
  • How does a suitable and reasonable compromise could look like?

Usually, you have 30 minutes to read and analyse the documents and to make some notes. There might be up to 2 assessors listening to your following 10 minute-presentation and raise a number of questions, afterwards.

Structured interview

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.

Specific tests

In AST selection procedures candidates have to sit different tests to asess their specific and general competencies, too. Language skills, office skills, finance skills, drafting skills (particularly spelling, syntax and grammar) and / or computer programme skills can be assessed.

Successful candidates will be issued with a 'competency passport' setting out their performance in the assessment centre, which will be sent to the EU institutions to help with the recruitment process.