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Civil Service (UK & EU Institutions): Recruitment

Working for the government in the United Kingdom and the European Union

Civil Service


How recruitment works and how to get work experience

Civil Service Graduate Jobs

Most people who work in the Civil Service find work outside of the large and well-publicised graduate schemes

Here are some sites you can use to look for work in this sector

Other graduate training schemes

Internships and Work Placements

Consultancy firms

The following consultancies specialise in working with the public sector

Most consultancies work most often with local government, health, and emergency services


The Civil Service run a limited number of internships for students who want to get experience

Online Tests

EU Careers Info Updates

Updates from EPSO on EU competitions

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Civil Service Fast Streams

Step One: Register

Via the Fast Stream website. Deadline for applications is noon 26 October 2017.

University of Sussex Civil Service Fast Stream Reps can help you with all aspects of the recruitment process. Contact them on Facebook or Twitter or by email for information and advice.

See also their extremely useful Tips for getting through the Fast Stream application and assessment centre [pdf]

Following registration you will be set a number of tests

Step Two: Online Exercises

There is a situational judgement questionnaire and a behavioural questionnaire. You have 7 days to complete the questionnaires, which are not timed.

There are some practice situational judgement questions you should try before applying. The behavioural questionnaire cannot be prepared for in advance.

Step Three: Online E-Tray Exercise

A timed exercise lasting 80 minutes, which you will have 7 days to take. There is no practice exercise, but you will be able to try an example scenario before you start the timer.

If successful, you will unlock the video interview section.

Step Four: Video Interview

You will need a computer with a webcam (or smartphone/tablet). Make sure you are in a quiet environment, free from distractions, and that there is adequate lighting. Dress appropriately and treat this like a real interview.

There is a practice question for you to test your equipment. Then you will have 8 questions. You will have 2 minutes to record your answer to the first 7 and 1 minute for the last question. You have 7 days to take the video interview.

Step Five: One-day Assessment Centre

Interviews and assessment exercises in London or Newcastle. You will be allocated to a location. The assessment centre will consist of a leadership exercise, a group exercise and an analysis exercise.

For full details see the official Fast Stream Assessment Centre Guide [pdf]

Step Six: Final Assessment

You must go through a final selection process for all Fast Stream schemes except Generalist and Human Resources. You will be asked to attend this final assessment if you reach the required standard at the assessment centre.

EU Civil Service

The EU application process is known as the Concours

The EU recruits people in the following streams

  • Recent graduates
  • Graduates with six to seven years of work experience
  • Specialists in law, auditing, communications, and international relations


To apply, you need A-level standard skills in either German or French

Step One: Register

Applications for the Concours are annual. 

Opportunities to take part are listed on the European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO) website.

Entry level (graduate) positions are classed as AD5. The main graduate recruitment is open between mid-March and mid-April and advertised as Administrators: Generalists. There are also specialist competitions throughout the year (e.g. Economics, IT).

Step Two: Online tests

You will have three months to fill in computerised tests in verbal, numerical, and abstract reasoning, as well as situational judgement tests in your second language

Step Three: Regional Assessment Day

Five to eight months into the application there are two assesment centre visits

In the first you will be asked to read a case study and present on it in your second language

Step Four: Brussels Assessment Day

The second test is in Brussels and consists of a group exercise, an oral presentation, and a structured interview

Sucessful candidates will be approached for job interviews when civil service jobs come up


The EU Civil Service expects CVs to be produced in the Europass format


Keeping up with news about the sector can improve your chances of making a good impression at interviews

Other EU opportunities