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Improving selection and recruitment procedures

Why an active and constructive social dialogue is needed to improve selection and recruitment procedures in the European civil service ?

Speech by Georges Vlandas on 11th Dec 2023 trade unions’ seminar on EPSO selection procedures

The first guarantee of an efficient, agile and innovative European civil service is the quality of the selection and recruitment process put in place by the Institutions.

Despite that, selection and recruitment in the European institutions are in crisis, and not a week passes without EPSO, the body responsible for selecting staff, receiving some very severe and varied criticism, even from the institutions themselves.

This crisis affects us in many ways.

  • Firstly, the candidates themselves are being badly treated.
  • Second, the departments cannot obtain the additional human resources needed to perform their function.
  • Next, there are concerns about the validity and reliability of our recruitment and selection procedures.
  • The proportion of permanent official staff is decreasing while that of the contract and temporary staff is increasing.
  • Finally, this reflects badly on the Commission’s image, not only in relation to other institutions, but also and, above all, in relation to European society as a whole.

The situation is sufficiently concerning that the search for solutions needs a robust collaborative assessment of the various malfunctions in the selection and recruitment procedures.

And this is what our present meeting aims to contribute to.

To mention the most important of these:

– procedures that take too long and therefore fail to attract new talent;

– invalid and unreliable selection tests that fail to recruit the staff we need;

– the time lag between recruitment procedures and job offers;

– issues related to multi-lingualism.

For a new perspective on the content, selection process and nature of competitions, we need an active social dialogue involving all stakeholders – staff representatives, DG HR, EPSO management, including the other Institutions. We also need a broader consultation involving other stakeholders, including those from civil society, such as. former candidates, recruitment and selection experts, and so on.

The challenge is to formulate a new selection and recruitment policy that will attract and recruit the competent motivated European staff of diverse talent that we need.

This future recruitment process would mainly take the traditional, but revised, form of external competitive examinations and the parallel recruitment of contract or temporary staff, with the option of their permanent integration into the European civil service through internal competitive examinations or ad hoc assessment procedures. The future of our European civil service is at stake.