Pre-selection follow-up


The previous post was not all. There is a follow-up to pre-selection. It is related to interviewing, lobbying, etc…


When the Blue Book comes out, the services of the Commission have access to it. They can see all the profiles and CVs and depending on what they need, they can decide to contact you for an interview.


It doesn’t have to be the same DG you applied for. If you are wanted, you are wanted. If you are lucky enough, you may be contacted by a couple of DGs.


In general, it’s an interview just like any other job interview. Make sure you sharpen your language skills, make sure you show lots of drive, interest, market yourself the best way you can and don’t forget to ask questions about the job, what will be the tasks, what will be the challenges, how is the team, the working hours, the dress code or anything else you deem important.


You could even have a list of questions prepared (just in case). Most importantly, at the end of the interview, if you feel that all went well, reassure them of your availability and interest in taking the job.


Also, ask for some contacts (names, e-mail addresses, phone numbers). They might not give them to you, but you can still ask to try to stay in contact.


What I learned from my advisor after I came to Brussels was that he had actually made a list of potential candidates who were fit for the job. He interviewed them, but I was his first choice. Had I refused the job, he would have given it to the second choice.


In case you are contacted by more DGs and you interview with all of them, you can tell to all that you want to take the job. But then you will have to weigh which is the one that really tickles your appetite and give them a firm answer. Don’t forget to inform the others you are no longer interested. You can always try to negotiate, just like any other job. I met trainees who told me they were contacted by different DGs. Yet, I remind you not to take any kind of promise for granted (see my posts on the Blue Book trainees and The Breakthrough) . You can only be sure of the traineeship when you receive the offer by e-mail.


When it comes for lobbying, remember that in the pre-selection e-mail you have a list of e-mails addresses from different DGs. You can contact them if you want to lobby, meaning nuke them with updated CVs and motivation letters. It’s simply up to you. I didn’t do it (maybe because I was a bit ignorant at the time) and still got the traineeship, but I know other trainees did it. You learn a lot of things and hear funny stories after you come to Brussels and meet the rest of the crowd.


One more thing, if you changed your phone number, e-mail the Traineeship Office your new number. You cannot update it by yourself in the older application form, but they will do it for you.


I know the period after pre-selection can be quite stressful, but just hang in there and have faith in you.


22 Responses to “Pre-selection follow-up”

  • maya:

    Hi, i read some posts in ur blog and i found the info useful. i got the preselection mail last week but no one called so far. why do you say not to take promises for granted? it’s commission officials and they should know what they’re talking about.

    • adminchiara:

      You are right. Commission officials should know what they talk about. It so happened that I heard some bizarre stories from past applicants who were told they would be selected to become trainees, but they actually were not. I don’t have any other “behind the scene” details. Not only it is disappointing and hurtful, but you can easily lose confidence in something you believed to be fair.
      Like I said, keep in mind you are not the only one interviewing for the job, but make yourself as available and marketable as possible if you want to stand out from the crowd and get it. With real jobs (this is just a traineeship) it’s all the same. Wait to get the news by e-mail and don’t be hasty into taking words for granted.

  • zuja:

    Hi, thank you for your useful blog!
    I have a slight problem – although I found my candidate number on the list of pre-selected candidates but didn´t receive any email from the Traineeship Office concerning my pre-selection. I tried to write the contact person listed in the previous email, but noone replied, it has been a week. Now I don´t know what´s going on…
    Did anyone you know have this kind of trouble?
    I find it quite weird, should I contact them until someone writes back?
    Thanks a lot for the answer!

    • adminchiara:

      Hi Zuja,

      Thanks for your feedback. I appreciate it. :-)

      I don’t know exactly what e-mail account you have, but I know that in the past there were some technical problems with e-mail accounts like hotmail or yahoo. Basically, just like in your case, the applicants didn’t receive e-mails from the Traineeship Office (TO). I couldn’t really explain why.

      What I would do in your place is first check the spam folder in my account. Sometimes the messages go directly there because of anti-spam filters. If there’s no e-mail there from the Commission, then next option is contact the Traineeship Office through the contact form on their official website (but you already did that). It may take a while till they reply, but every time I contacted them by e-mail, they always replied to my questions. If you are really impatient, then try to even call them. But the fact that your application number is published on the official website from the TO is enough proof that you made it to the Blue Book at this stage.

      Yet, if the TO gets back to you, I’d appreciate it if you could let me know what the problem was. This way I can update my blog and other applicants can find out what to do when confronted with a similar situation.

      Good luck to you! :-)

  • Tamara:


    First of all, thanks for the useful blog you have been writing. I find the info posted here really useful because there are some precious details that I did not find on the Commission’s website.
    I applied for the next March period and having read the procedure milestones here so far I have one question. How does the interview look like? Shall I fly to Brussels for a personal meeting and interview? Do they contact me through a phone call?
    I am only asking it in advance in the hope that I will be lucky enough to be pre-selected.
    Thanks for your answer in advance!

    • adminchiara:


      Thank you for commenting. Questions are always welcome. :-)

      The answer is: NO, you do not have to fly to Brussels at all. The contacts/interviewing/etc. are done by phone only. And although most of the DGs prefer to contact the candidates by phone, there are some others that do not and simply select their choice candidates without contacting them in any way (so I’ve heard). So be prepared for both. If you changed your phone numbers in the meantime, then I recommend you send an e-mail to the Traineeship Office and ask them to change the older numbers with the new ones. Always use the contact form from the Traineeship Office website.

      As for the interview, well, it really depends on the DG, the profile the DG is looking for, the interviewer, etc. It’s all relative. In my case, for example, I was told what my tasks would be and then they asked me if I was interested in that type of job (which I was, of course), then I was given details about the team, the working languages. After that, it was my turn to ask questions about the “job” offer. Of course, you want to know what are the challenges and their expectations from you, how they deal with deadlines, what are the working hours, what is the dress code, etc… You have to show you’re interested! I’m sure other trainees had different type of experiences. You might be even given an example of work situation and be required to tell how you would deal in that situation. So, be careful, too!

      I hope I have been able to answer your questions. And hey, I really appreciate your enthusiasm. Best of luck to you! :-)

  • Manu:

    Thanks for the informative blog.
    I have made it through preselection for the March 2012 traineeship and was wondering whether i should lobby or not.
    If i do lobby what documents (updated cv?, cover letter etc?) should i send and to whom (directly to the DG email id listed in the preselection letter or ?

    Please help me with these questions?
    Thanks in advance!!!

    • adminchiara:

      Hi Manu,

      Congratulations on being preselected! :-)

      If you decide to lobby, then I suggest to target DGs that you’d like to work in and not all of the DGs. Lobbying means sending an e-mail of motivation to those particular DGs (yes, the ones mentioned in the preselection e-mail). If you want to be really professional, then you could send by e-mail a letter of motivation with an updated CV in PDF format. It’s all up to you to decide.

      Good luck!

      • Manu:

        Thanks for the quick reply. I have one more question. Whom do we send the email to in the concerned DG? Is it to the DG Head or secretary to DG or to a Traineeship coordinator in the DG?


        • adminchiara:

          Hi there!

          Like I said in my previous comment, you send them to those e-mail addresses you received in the preselection email. There are such e-mail addresses for almost each DG and they ‘exist’ for this particular purpose: trainee lobby. 😉

          Make sure your English is as perfect as it can be, express yourself clearly and concisely. Don’t write novels! No one has the time to read nowadays!

          • Manu:

            I finally decided to lobby and emailed my updated CV and motivation letter to the three DGs i applied to. Is it necessary to find the email ids of the Heads of Units and email them as well?
            This tension is killing me :)))
            Thank you for all the help.

          • adminchiara:

            Hi back!

            I can understand you’re impatient. :-))

            I’m not sure how many of the HoU would actually read such e-mails. They’re very busy people and in my opinion they don’t quite deal with this. But well, if you really want to give it a shot, then it’s simply your personal choice.

            So… make your choice. 😉

  • Mihail:

    Thank you for the informative blog adminchiara, really appreciated.

    I’d like to make one thing completely clear :). After the pre-selection procedure is over each applicant receives an e-mail with “yes or no”. Those with yes are added to the blue book and then those with “yes” saying could try lobbying, right? Depending on their are selected or not they’d receive a second e-mail of selection. What’s after the e-mail of selection? Is it another e-mail of recruitment?


    • adminchiara:

      Hi Mihail!

      I will say “yes” to all your questions. In the “selection” e-mail you are warned that you passed selection and you should expect to receive another e-mail with the “contract” or placement offer or, as you call it, “recruitment”. It usually takes 2-3 weeks from the “selection” e-mail to the “recruitment” e-mail.

      In each e-mail you receive from the Traineeship Office there are instructions. Make sure you read and follow these instructions.

  • Daniela:

    Thank you for your insights. This blog is really useful.

    My case in short- The next day after receiving the email informing me that I am pre-selected, I had an interview with a Unit. They told me that they were interviewing candidates that morning and that they would make the final selection the same evening. Then they called me in the evening and said that I am their first choice and offered me the trainee position which I took immediately (it is my dream DG). They also told me not to take any other offers as this would cause problems in the procedure (?). After I read your blog, I am not sure anymore if should stick to this “agreement”.

    Another question: As I am a Non-EU national- Could the Trainee Office reject the DG’s choice because of the quota? Or are the DG’s informed about how many nationals from a certain country- or non-eu nationals, they are “allowed” to chose?

    Thank you in advance :)

    • adminchiara:

      Dear Daniela,

      Congratulations on being pre-selected. :-)

      In my opinion, and please note this is simply my personal opinion, you shouldn’t take for granted words that disappear in thin air. If it’s not written black on white, then it has no binding obligation. This means that you may say “yes” to your dream DG just as you may say “yes” to any other DG that may contact you after. They cannot know or find out whether you already had been contacted (unless you deliberately tell them, which I wouldn’t advise). If you read the pre-selection e-mail carefully, which was sent by the Traineeship Office, you will notice that they strongly recommend not accept any verbal or even written offers from DGs. You can only consider the contract which will be sent to you if you are selected. I think the Traineeship Office may have a good reason to make such a recommendation. So don’t be afraid! Be bold, sharp and try to maximize your chances regardless of one or other DG may ask of you.

      The Traineeship Office doesn’t reject the choice made by DGs because the Traineeship Office does not interfere in the selection process. It is entirely up to the DG to decide whom they want to select. The Traineeship Office will simply send the offers based on whatever shortlist they receive from the DGs. In other words, at this stage of the process the Traineeship Office is simply a “proxy”.

      As for a nationality quota per DG, I don’t think there is one. I think the nationality quotas apply only to the total number of applicantions received for a specific nationality.

      All the best to you for what’s to come! 😉

  • Gandhali:

    Thanks for this blog, it helped me in the application procedure.
    I have received a mail confirming my pre-selection for March 2013, yet I still have not received any call for interview. Should I worry? DO you recommend sending a mail or any communication to the TO?


    • adminchiara:

      Hello Gandhali,

      The pre-selection e-mail means that your CV made it to the Blue Book database with other 2499 people and that you are there, available and eagerly waiting to be selected to become a trainee. There are units at the Commission which call on candidates for interviews and there are units which simply select candidates without any interview.

      According to the calendar posted on the TO website, candidates who were selected to become trainees should have received an e-mail in December confirming their selection. If you have not received the selection e-mail yet, you should indeed contact the TO by e-mail.

      At the same time, in order not to lose time and cover your back, I would suggest you start a new application for the next session. The closing date is 31 January at noon, Brussels time.

  • Nico:

    I have a big doubt and it´ss about my new address. My new address is different from the one in the application form. So far I was pre-selected and I´m waiting for the interview (or not). Shall I inform them about my new address or better wait and see if I´m selected and then tell them? My worries are about the contract, if I get lucky and I´m selected they could send me via mail to an invalid address. Thanks!

    • adminchiara:

      Hi Nico,

      If you changed your home address, you must inform the TO about it because the new address will be taken into account when calculating your travel expenses entitlements (unless the reimbursement rules have changed again!).

      Contracts are no longer sent by ground mail. Everything is done now electronically (it’s been like that for a couple of years at least as far as I remember).

  • Swe:

    Hi Chiara,

    I was pre-selected but I am now facing the question on whether or not to lobby. In this other blog it is recommended to do it

    Do you know many people who were selected without lobbying and just by e-mail?

    If I go forward with lobbying should I mail the Head of Units or their secretary?

    Thanks for the useful info :)

    • adminchiara:


      As I just replied above, you can only lobby when you receive the official confirmation you passed the eligibility (beginning of December). You’ll have to wait a bit till then.

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