Guidelines for applicants

Am I eligible to apply?

Applicants for our fixed-term positions must be nationals of one of the States that are party to the EEA Agreement (i.e. EU, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein).  Applicants for the Trainee Programme must be nationals of Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein.  Applicants must meet the essential criteria set out in the vacancy announcement. 

Former ESA staff are eligible to apply, provided the closing date is at least three years after the end of their contract.  ESA may decide to waive this requirement when publishing a vacancy and this will be indicated in the vacancy announcement.  If no such waiver has been published, individual applicants should make a request for a waiver in their motivation letter when applying for the position.  ESA will make a decision on the request after the closing date.

In accordance with ESA's Code of Conduct Policy & Procedure, in case of a relationship between a current ESA staff member and a recruitment applicant, the applicant will be required to declare this at the point of applying or being approached for a position. ESA reserves the right to decline an application where it is assessed that there is no practical or reasonable means to prevent the conflict of interest from interfering in the proper functioning of ESA.

In the event of an existing relationship being declared, a conflict of interest assessment will be made prior to the candidate progressing through the recruitment process. The College will make the final decision as to whether the candidate may progress further in this process. The candidate will be informed in writing of any decision taken and the rationale.

How to apply

All vacancies are announced on ESA's website and social media platforms.  Vacancies often also appear in the national press and/or relevant websites in the EEA EFTA States and Brussels. 

ESA does not accept unsolicited applications.  All applications should be made for a specific vacancy via our online recruitment system at:

In case of a technical problem with this system, please send an email to immediately with a screenshot of the problem in order that we can assist you.  

Previous applications are not considered for newly advertised vacancies.  Unsuccessful candidates should therefore re-apply in the event that vacancies of interest are published at a later date.

Documentary evidence should not be attached to initial applications but will be requested at the interview stage. Original copies of qualifications, references or testimonials should not be submitted unless they have been requested specifically by ESA. 

What can I expect in my interview?

For our fixed-term positions, ESA uses a combination of rigorous assessment methods to ensure that we are able to make informed decisions on the suitability of candidates.  Typically, the assessment process will include:

  • A semi-structured panel interview designed to assess past experience, motivational fit, technical competence and the required behaviours for the position in question.  The panel is typically made up of the relevant Director, HR and another management representative or specialist in the field. 
  • A written assessment designed to assess technical competence and skills.
  • An occupational personality questionnaire used as a tool to explore the typical behaviours and tendencies of the individual in the workplace and how these fit with the requirements of the position and ESA.

Interviews are conducted in person at ESA, unless there are exceptional circumstances that prevent you from attending in person.  Interviews for the trainee programme are conducted remotely via telephone or Skype. 


How can I prepare for the interview and assessments?

You should ensure that you review your application and the essential and desirable criteria set out in the vacancy announcement.  The questions posed will be dependent on the role for which you have applied, but typically you will be asked questions on:

  • Your motivation for applying and your understanding of the role
  • Your previous relevant experience
  • Your technical competence 
  • Examples from your past experience and positions which illustrate the soft skills set out in the vacancy announcement (e.g. organisational and communication skills). 

Will I receive feedback?

Every application is given the fullest consideration. Acknowledgement of receipt is sent to each applicant by email. Only those applicants who succeed at the shortlisting stage of the recruitment process will be called for interview. Those applicants who are unsuccessful at the interview stage will receive individual feedback.  

Further detailed information is available in our Policy & Procedure

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