EC traineeship – Pre-selection


Pre-selection is the first tough round after eligibility.


At the time I am writing this post, the Traineeship Office published on their website the pre-selection results for the session starting in October 2011.


You will only see the application numbers published (the names of the people are not disclosed) and there should be around 2,500.


If you remember from my previous post about the Blue Book trainees, these 2,500 who pass pre-selection make it to the Blue Book data base, but that doesn’t mean that they will all become trainees. Only roughly 600 will make it to the end.


Coming back to pre-selection, I’ll try to explain how it works the way I made sense of it.


»During pre-selection all the application files are evaluated and graded by Commission officials.


» At first, the application files are divided by nationality. Then, juries made of officials of that respective nationality will examine the files. For example, an Italian jury will assess Italian application files, a Spanish jury the Spanish application files and so on. The members of these juries need to be of that specific nationality supposedly because they need to be familiar with the language of the country, the educational system there and other.


» Each file is assessed and graded by two officials. They will grade you for your academic background, your motivation, and other things like languages, exchanges abroad, etc. From what I have noticed and read, the marks (or weights) per each section tend to change from one session to the next. You can always check what the weights are for your session by going on the
Traineeship Office website.


» At the end of the assessment, each application file will have received 2 marks, which are further added into a final mark. Then for each nationality the files are ranked based on that final mark obtained. A quota is applied (the quota is based on a math formula published on the website) and the applicants with the highest marks are pre-selected until the quota is reached. If, for example, the number of application files with the lowest pre-selected mark is high, all of them will be pre-selected regardless.


» After the quota is applied per each nationality and the results are final, they are published on the website from the Traineeship Office. You will obviously receive an e-mail to inform you if you passed or not. In the case you did not pass, it won’t be a harm to contact the Traineeship Office and ask details about your results, etc. I recommend you do that in writing, better have things black on white. (Words uttered turn into thin air.)


In my opinion, pre-selection is particularly important because this when you need to demonstrate you stand out of the crowd, in the sense that you need to convince the jury your application is better than all others. How do you do that? By making a flawless application, an excellent motivation and first impression. In other words, let’s say that out of 300 other applicants from your own country, you must simply outshine. And this is only the first step. After pre-selection, you have to shine through selection too (if you want to be eventually recruited).


I don’t mean to scare anyone with this long talk. I am just trying to make a point that if you want to succeed, you must take this seriously.


Of course, if I forgot to mention something along the way about pre-selection (I tend to get carried away at times) and you have doubts about it or want to learn more, feel free to post a comment and I’ll try to reply the best I can.


3 Responses to “EC traineeship – Pre-selection”

  • Alina:

    I just found out how this process works and I find it extremely unfair because, as you said, the committee that scores your application is made up exclusively of people of the same nationality as the candidate when this is supposed to be a EUROPEAN process. In my case, I hold a passport of a country that I have never lived in because of my parents’ work, and my qualifications have all been obtained in different European countries. I speak three major European languages at the native level (English, Spanish, and French), but none of them correspond to the country I am a national of. How can my application be graded objectively by a jury composed of members of my passport country who are bound to be unfamiliar with the educational system of the countries that I have lived in or that may value more the knowledge of their own mother tongue despite the fact that it is useless internationally to other major languages? Once I found about the way they carry out preselection I gave up on EC Traineeships because, ironically, I seem to be too “European” for them.

    • adminchiara:

      You do have a point Alina. Yet, I believe that giving up is not the right approach.

      The way I see the process is rather as a “subjective” type of process. From this point of view, you could perhaps call it unfair. Nevertheless, even if each files is evaluated by two people, the thing is that each of them has his/her own method of assessing, regardless of the weights they have to take into account for each section. One could give you lots of points whereas the other could be overly stingy with giving points. In my opinion, it has nothing to do with your nationality or your studies. If anything, studies abroad are highly regarded and so is the international experience or profile and you do get points for this or at least you should. Nowadays there is such great mobility and many young people do studies abroad thanks to the Erasmus programme or other exchange programmes.

      I did meet trainees who applied and didn’t pass pre-selection at first, but when they reapplied for the following session, they actually passed and ended up being selected, which only reinforces the fact that evaluators are subjective in the assessment process. So, I truly think you should give it another chance and try to overcome your disappointment and frustration. You have nothing to lose.


    I think you should try this selection because the nationality of evaluators is not very important from my point of view. I think that the most important thing is your knowledge which will be evaluated by these evaluators who each have his own way of functioning.

    Good luck, if you really want to do it, you can do it.

    Repeat several times : “Yes I can” and you will do it if you are really motivated.

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