Recruitment process

OTM-R Policy (Open, Transparent and Merit-based Recruitment of Researchers)

The European Science Foundation (ESF) and its expert service division Science Connect operate within the best practice guidelines of the European Charter of Researchers and Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers. These are designed to promote equal rights for individual researchers and to provide ‘Human Resources Excellence in Research’. The ESF/Science Connect Recruitment Process has thus been developed to ensure open, transparent, merit-based practices, based on fairness and equity and reflecting the working conditions offered by the ESF.

ESF/Science Connect provides excellent working conditions:

  • Attractive offices in an attractive city
  • Flexible working hours
  • Senior staff work according to a fixed number of working days
  • Annual paid leave of 30 days + offered Christmas break (free leave days on Christmas)
  • Maternity and paternity leave
  • Complementary medical and life insurance
  • Professional development and training plan (reviewed annually according to individual annual appraisal system)
  • Luncheon vouchers
  • Foreign scientific staff hired on a fixed-term contract are welcomed through an induction and settling-in programme which includes reasonable removal and relocation package enabling them to facilitate their installation. Additional support is provided in finding local accommodation, schools, doctors, etc., as well as general administrative assistance. Foreign staff are also awarded a repatriation, or mobility, allowance.

Advertising of posts and application

All vacant positions are advertised on the ESF website and are open to both internal and external candidates. Depending on the nature of the position (scientific; administrative; support functions) advertising is made by all or some of the following methods: the EURAXESS website (which ensures international cover, in both French and English), scientific journals, appropriate employment agencies and consultancies.

The Job Profile is the basis for recruitment and is provided in all cases. It provides details of the education and experience profile sought, with ‘required’ and ‘desirable’ competencies that will be used as selection criteria.

The Job Announcement sets out the working conditions, place of work, benefits, with links to the ESF website and its Equal Opportunities policy, (encouraging gender equality and employment of underrepresented groups) and recruitment policy. The application procedure, deadline, date of interview are also clearly set out. The Job Announcement is removed from the website on the date of the deadline for applications.

There is no application form or facility for on-line application. Candidates are invited to send their full CV and letter of motivation (in English) to a dedicated email address and using a unique reference number for the position. Receipt of applications is acknowledged by an automatic email message which explains that candidates who have not been contacted by the interview date should consider that they have not been shortlisted.

Reasonable travel and accommodation costs incurred by an interview are reimbursed by the ESF on receipt of a completed Travel Claim Form and related invoices.

Evaluation and selection phase

All applications are read and shortlisted candidates are invited for an interview as soon as possible after the application deadline. The interview panel is made up of 2 to 3 people, according to the position advertised. A pre-selection interview may be carried out by the HR Manager for administrative and support positions, followed by a formal interview to include the line manager concerned. The interview takes at least one hour.

For scientific positions, there may be between 1 and 3 interviews, depending on the position involved, with a panel of two or three people: the science manager to whom the position will report and the HR Manager in the case of junior scientists. In the case of senior scientific staff the Chief Executive will also be present. Both genders are represented on interview panels. Primary interviews may be carried out by conference call or Skype.

In compliance with its commitment to fairness, the ESF judges applicants according to criteria dictated by the Job Profile concerned and a formal pre-set questionnaire listing these criteria with an accompanying grading matrix is used by the panel during the interview.

Appointment phase

Candidates will be informed of a decision date at the interview, and an offer made to the selected candidate as soon as possible.

All candidates shortlisted and/or interviewed will be informed individually once a decision has been reached. Additional feedback is provided to those who request it.

Complaints Procedure

Should any candidate wish to make a formal complaint about his/her treatment by the ESF, the first step will be to discuss this with the HR department. Should the problem not be settled satisfactorily, the matter may be taken to appeal to the Chief Executive.

Quality Control

This will be ensured through indicators (on gender, age, nationality and disabled status) to ensure gender equality and employment of under-represented groups. 

Information for candidates

The ESF works within the best practice guidelines of the European Charter of Researchers and Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers. These are designed to promote equal rights for individual researchers and to provide ‘Human Resources Excellence in Research’. The ESF Recruitment Process has thus been developed to ensure fairness and equity, and reflect the working conditions offered by the ESF.

Vacant positions are advertised on the ESF website and are open to both internal and external candidates. Application is made by sending an up-to-date CV plus cover letter in English to a dedicated e-mail address specified in the announcement. There is no application form or facility for on-line application. An automatic e-mail of acknowledgement is sent on receipt of each application.

Deadline for applications and the date of interview are shown on the Job Announcement (which is removed from the website on the date of deadline for applications) in order to facilitate availability of applicants. The date is set by the panel and cannot be changed.

All applications are read, and shortlisted candidates are invited for interview as soon as possible after the application deadline. As specified in the e-mail of acknowledgement, those applicants not contacted by the given interview date should consider that they have not been shortlisted.

The interview panel is chosen as appropriate to the position advertised. The interview will take at least one hour. There may be between one and three interviews, depending on the position involved. In compliance with its commitment to fairness, the ESF judges applicants according to criteria dictated by the Job Profile concerned; a formal pre-set questionnaire listing these criteria along with a grading matrix is used by the panel during the interview. Candidates will be advised of a decision date at the interview and an offer made to the selected candidate as soon as possible. Candidates interviewed but not selected will be advised individually shortly after.

Reasonable travel expenses to the interview will be reimbursed by the ESF on receipt of a completed Travel Claim Form (supplied at interview) and original receipts.

New staff members are welcomed through a comprehensive Induction and Mentoring Process, to introduce the organisation and its location, fellow colleagues and the ESF way of working.

Anyone wishing to send an unsolicited application should send CV and letter of motivation in English to the dedicated e-mail address jobs(at)esf.org. Please do not contact members of staff directly.