Recruitment without any secrets
was one of the two first-ever maritime officers to apply for Frontex.
The recruitment, which started innocently with the invitation to take
the English test: “It was funny because it reached me on the day when I
was defending my PhD thesis, so it was quite a crazy day. From today’s
perspective, this day determined my future. Regarding the language test,
I advise everyone to do some B2-level tests online. There’s only a
limited time for each answer so it’s better to practice a bit in order
to finish everything on time”.
Then the physical
aptitude test followed. Vanessa’s advice is to read very carefully all
the guidelines. All details matter because if you don’t execute them the
way they’re described, you might fail something that you are normally
able to do. “Also, train a bit. I trained all my life, but even if
you’re an athlete, you should take some time and prepare in advance”.
Next was the medical assessment but there were no surprises – it was
like a regular check-up. One thing that you cannot prepare yourself for
is the psychological assessment, but that’s nothing to worry about. It’s
all about being yourself. In the milieu of EU border guards, you might
be handling weapons or be exposed to violent situations, the panel is
there to make sure that you are fit for the challenge.
the candidates take an interview. “I was nervous, recalls Vanessa, but
in a way it was good. It’s all about showing how you get over your
emotion and nerves.” Vanessa cannot reveal the content questions, but
her smile suggests that there is nothing to fear.
order to become what she is now – a shift leader and Frontex Tactical
Supporting Officer in the team coordinating land operations, Vanessa had
to go through a six-month training in Koszalin, the training centre in
the north of Poland. She belongs to the first batch of EU border guards
and her experiences from that phase together with her long-standing
experience in teaching and training contributed greatly to what the
training centres offer today. “People come from different backgrounds.
It is actually very important and very enriching for the agency because
this is how we learn more. The first weeks offer a quick overview of all
the modules, so that the candidates can instantly get the hint of the
entire content and decide if they go with it or not. The training also
included the experiential learning phase. I strongly believe that it
offers an added value because it gives everyone the taste of the real
job. Plus, the learners are being assessed, they receive feedback. After
that everyone is ready for the field”.
“I got my
first deployment to the International Coordination Centre in Pireus,
Greece. I was happy to share my experiences as a maritime expert and I
was also immediately invited to deliver training to the newly recruited
“In the meantime, I successfully passed
the recruitment procedure for the advanced border guard category, which
requires prior professional experience. This meant promotion to my
present grade and post in Frontex’s headquarters in Warsaw. Coming from a
maritime background and having to manage a land domain in the huge
joint operation Terra with over 800 deployed officers across Europe is a
challenge but I keep learning and that makes me happy”.
Check your resilience levels
require curiosity, resilience, and flexibility. “It’s actually all
about trying to find the solution for every problem,” underlines
Vanessa. “The EU border guard project is huge and amazing, and we are
not yet that many”. In fact, Frontex deploys today nearly 2,800 border
guards and is about to recruit 400 more. The objective is to have 10,000
officers available by 2027. Another fact is that Frontex is learning a
lot from these first deployments to make them more family friendly, to
allow the officers to have a more regular life. The agency has on offer a
wide range of benefits and allowances, and a first-rate medical
insurance scheme, but the life shows that there is a need for longer
deployments to guarantee more stability.
explains that “the agency is also learning. It’s now working to make
deployments longer. Frontex wants to have the best officers, that’s why
there is this multi-level selection, but the best officers usually have a
life baggage with them, not only the professional one but also the
private one.” That’s why Vanessa wants the candidates to know that the
deployments and locations may change, and they must make sure that all
their family members are ready to get on board of this European
More information about the ongoing recruitment process here.
Vacancies available here.