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 Analysis of Lobbying - effective or not, that is the question

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hipersons



Posts : 35
Join date : 2011-11-30

PostSubject: Analysis of Lobbying - effective or not, that is the question   Thu Dec 08, 2011 2:28 pm

My conclusions on lobbying after reading what people have reported, my own limited experiences, and the independent study (annex) conducted on traineeships at the Commission:

1. On the whole, a lot of conflicting information will come out of the EC during this process and you'll need to use your own judgement and reasoning to decide what will make sense for your situation. I received an automatic email from the SG unit's generic traineeship inbox asking to refrain from contacting individual units at this time, but was encouraged by the assistant of a unit director to message more unit directors to register my interest. Various dates I have received or heard from others as to when we will get a communication regarding if we were chosen or not include late december, around January 5th, mid-January, and January 15th. Common sense, judgement, and precedent prevail in these situations.
2. It is futile on (almost) all accounts to try to summarize how a specific DG feels about or responds to lobbying. This is because a DG is made up of units, and it seems for the most part that the units do the hiring or make the decisions. (please correct me if I am wrong on this)
3. It is also futile to assume that all units select their trainees in the same fashion as the others. Some make phone calls, some respond to emails, others do not, some look at the VBB, others prefer not to, all within the same DG.
4. Opinions within the EC differ wildly on the usefulness and effectiveness of lobbying. Some think it taints the process and fills their inbox, saying that they ONLY consider the information in the VBB. Others have a hard time going to the VBB and only truly consider the short stack of self-selecting candidates who mailed their motivations and CV directly to the unit. Some respond with copy paste emails saying lobbying is against the rules, others respond encouraging you to lobby additional directors of units for the best chance to get noticed. This will usually depend almost entirely on the preferences of the director of an individual unit, not on the mindset of the DG (I think Justice is an example of an exception of this).
5. With the generic traineeship emails for each DG - someone probably reads them, but there is no guarantee it will be someone who is actually doing the recruiting. It is possible that the person monitoring that email inbox will elect to forward worthy messages along to someone who would be interested in choosing you, but maybe not. The best you can hope for in terms of an answer directly from this email is an automatic response thanking you for your interest and giving you a bit of information.
6. For many reasons, lobbying is quite possibly more effective when lobbying unites in DGs that have fewer applicant selecting the DG as a preferred placement than lobbying units in popular DGs. It is also quite possibly more effective to lobby less popular units. Being less competitive, the selection process is probably more flexible and your email won't get lost amongst the dozens or even hundreds of other candidates vying for that unit.
7. Lobbying is probably most effective at getting the attention of someone who otherwise might not have found you in the VBB if you lobby a unit in a DG that you did not specify as a preference if that unit fits your experience and motivations. This could raise your chances of getting a traineeship if no units in your preferred DG select you before the 'preferred selection period' is over (see page 34 of the report).
8. It is probably not counter-productive to lobby two units in the same directorate, as it is quite improbable that unit directors share notes about potential trainees on a regular basis (unless they are fighting over you, which would be a good thing!).
9. The difference between getting an email reply and not getting one is only your level of anxiety.
⁃ Many people receive copy/paste emails from the assistants of directors which thank them for their interest and do not in the end get selected. I personally label these emails as "the brush off" and assume they either are not interested or already selected someone and don't want me to bother them anymore, though in some cases this probably is the same email everyone else gets who emails that director. Either way, there's no guarantee that they will or have actually read your email.
⁃ Others receive automatically generated emails, which mean virtually nothing about your candidacy or if anyone will read your email.
⁃ Many people never hear back from anyone they lobbied and do get selected.
⁃ Again, it seems futile to put any weight into getting a response or not in terms of if your email was read and your subsequent chances of getting selected. People are busy and they have full inboxes. It's not about you it's about them.
⁃ What does matter most, however, is if you get a genuinely personal response; believe it or not, a one sentence email from the unit director without any punctuation probably means way more than the formal "thank you for your interest" email.
10. The difference between getting a phone call interview or not, again, is only your level of anxiety. It seems like less than half of advisors do any interviewing of candidates (see the report annex, search for "lobby"). Again, it is futile to put any weight into getting a phone call or not in terms of your chances of getting selected. Think of it as a nice to have, but not necessary in order to get selected.
11. Conclusion: depending on the unit, lobbying may be the reason you get selected, or it may have nothing at all to do with it. Getting feedback before the official offer has little indication on if you will get selected or not. Sharing information based on experiences with the responses from individual units instead of the DGs could be a benefit to this community. I have yet to see any evidence that lobbying in and of itself has harmed someones chances of getting selected. However, I imagine that the quality of your email and CV, if poorer than expected or not sufficiently addressing the needs of the unit, will work against you. Only you can decide if lobbying is right for you and worth your time.



Discuss.
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Lauraalden



Posts : 16
Join date : 2011-06-11

PostSubject: Re: Analysis of Lobbying - effective or not, that is the question   Thu Dec 08, 2011 3:30 pm

Generally I am against lobbying, but I decided to send a letter to one of the Units in order to check it is effectively or not. It will let me to make a conclusion in some ways.
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myrskypilvi



Posts : 77
Join date : 2010-07-28
Location : Netherlands

PostSubject: Re: Analysis of Lobbying - effective or not, that is the question   Thu Dec 08, 2011 3:31 pm

Hipersons,

as a past trainee I would say an excellent analysis (you definitely would be a very well qualified trainee)! It reflects perfectly the different experiences e.g. in the DG I did my traineeship in (DG Home).

I believe that the situation as it is, is very much wanted by the Commission. Otherwise they could change it any way they want, e.g. to expecting candidates to lobby or to forbid lobbying altogether. Exactly because the working cultures are very varied between DG and even within DGs, everybody is allowed (or at least doing) what they want and think suits them best.

This leads one unit to cherish the opportunity to search in the VBB with 2500 possible candidates for the right one, while in others they expect the candidates to take an active attitude and to show their interest in the work of the unit.

Whatever way the units work, you as a candidate do not have too much effect on their decision at the end. The decision depends a lot on the match you & the unit make. That is why IF you decide to take initiative, really do give consideration to which units to lobby. In which unit your skills, competencies & knowledge would be of most use?
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hipersons



Posts : 35
Join date : 2011-11-30

PostSubject: Re: Analysis of Lobbying - effective or not, that is the question   Thu Dec 08, 2011 6:15 pm

Hi myrskypilvi, thanks so much for your positive feedback. It's great to get the perspective from an insider. Smile
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Klaus_B



Posts : 22
Join date : 2011-12-07

PostSubject: Re: Analysis of Lobbying - effective or not, that is the question   Thu Dec 08, 2011 6:35 pm

Thank you hipersons for your analysis! Looks like the success of lobbying is like a tossing a coin...
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Klaus_B



Posts : 22
Join date : 2011-12-07

PostSubject: Re: Analysis of Lobbying - effective or not, that is the question   Mon Dec 12, 2011 4:12 pm

Hi all,

some days ago I got a reply of my lobby mail, GD Sanco:

Quote :
Dear...,

Thank you for your interest in a traineeship with our unit. Unfortunately our unit did not receive a bluebook traineeship vacancy for the coming period. We may therefore not make a selection. Nevertheless I have drawn the attention of our Directorate to your CV in case they have other vacancies that could match your profile. If you do not receive a traineeship during the coming exercise, please do not feel discouraged to apply for later exercises, as your profile may coincide with our service needs in the future.

Should I lobby other units in the same Directorate?
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elina



Posts : 79
Join date : 2011-06-07

PostSubject: Re: Analysis of Lobbying - effective or not, that is the question   Mon Dec 12, 2011 4:37 pm

i also received an email today from one of the units i had lobbied (legal unit, dg insfo) saying that they won't take any trainee for march..but only that...
i don't know what to do...i lobbied from the very first days because everyone advised me to do so but so far i haven't seen any positive outcome...
regarding your question, Klaus_B, if i were you i would lobby other units too..but still i don't know what's best to do in the end..
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hipersons



Posts : 35
Join date : 2011-11-30

PostSubject: Re: Analysis of Lobbying - effective or not, that is the question   Mon Dec 12, 2011 4:53 pm

Are there other units doing interesting things that you could be of service to in that directorate? If yes, you probably should consider lobbying them to make sure the person making the selection gets the message that you are available and interested. It is really nice that the unit has brought your CV to the attention of someone else, but in the end only you can be responsible for your own self-promotion (something I've learned the hard way). Refer to point 8 if you need some more inspiration. Smile
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Klaus_B



Posts : 22
Join date : 2011-12-07

PostSubject: Re: Analysis of Lobbying - effective or not, that is the question   Mon Dec 12, 2011 4:59 pm

hipersons wrote:
Are there other units doing interesting things that you could be of service to in that directorate? If yes, you probably should consider lobbying them to make sure the person making the selection gets the message that you are available and interested. It is really nice that the unit has brought your CV to the attention of someone else, but in the end only you can be responsible for your own self-promotion (something I've learned the hard way). Refer to point 8 if you need some more inspiration. Smile
Yes, there is another unit which is interesting for me in the Directorate (D). I also lobbied to another unit in the same GD (Sanco), but not the same Directorate (C). I think I will write another lobby mail to the unit of the same Directorate (D).

Today I also got the information from a HoU, that most of the units (GD Sanco) already chosen their candidates. I just do not know if it is for his unit only, for the Directorate (D), or the whole GD. That info really makes me nervous... Sad

Edit: I have problems to find the full name of HoU, because I cannot find him over google (no publications, documents or whatever. I just find the handbook entry of the EC). This could be a problem...

Edit II:
@elina:
My response posted here was the only one I received...


Last edited by Klaus_B on Mon Dec 12, 2011 5:05 pm; edited 1 time in total
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hipersons



Posts : 35
Join date : 2011-11-30

PostSubject: Re: Analysis of Lobbying - effective or not, that is the question   Mon Dec 12, 2011 5:02 pm

Quote :
Today I also got the information from a HoU, that most of the units (GD Sanco) already chosen their candidates. I just do not know if it is for his unit only, for the Directorate (D), or the whole GD. That info really makes me nervous...

Even if that is true they may also need to select backups, or find themselves needing to make a late selection because someone backed out. We won't know for a long time, unfortunately, but you can probably give yourself the best shot you can now anyway.
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hipersons



Posts : 35
Join date : 2011-11-30

PostSubject: Re: Analysis of Lobbying - effective or not, that is the question   Thu Jan 12, 2012 4:34 pm

hipersons wrote:
7. Lobbying is probably most effective at getting the attention of someone who otherwise might not have found you in the VBB if you lobby a unit in a DG that you did not specify as a preference if that unit fits your experience and motivations. This could raise your chances of getting a traineeship if no units in your preferred DG select you before the 'preferred selection period' is over (see page 34 of the report).

I would just like to add to this now that I have received my preliminary offer from the TO. This precise strategy above worked for me. I sent messages and materials to units in DGs that I did not select as a preference. My materials caught the attention of one unit director who offered me a placement. For me, as a non-EU citizen, I would not have gotten a placement if I had not lobbied this specific person. If I had been an EU citizen, I might still have gotten a late-selection offer, but we will probably never know that for sure.

Next session, it seems that the applicants will not have the opportunity to select their preferred DGs, so this particular strategic point may be moot. However, in my case, lobbying worked, and it only worked because my specific director was receptive to it. YMMV.

Good luck future applicants.


Bonus: since the question always turns to "what is lobbying," for what it is worth, an outline of my email. Your mileage may vary. This is just a sample of what worked for me. Do whatever works for you and your situation and make sure every single word and sentence has a purpose.

(each is one sentence unless noted)
Paragraph 1. Why I'm writing. Who I am. "In this email, I have taken the liberty to specify why I am interested in xxx unit and to summarize my other communications with the EC."
Paragraph 2. Three sentence very specific paragraph on my motivation: background, goal, why the EC and that unit.
Paragraph 3. Applicable job that I have done since applying. Targeted sentence on my role in that job. Applicable professional development since applying. Targeted sentence on what I learned. Why these experiences make me qualified/good fit for the unit.
Paragraph 4. What I am like to work with. Two sentences on how that benefitted me and a employer in the past. My work ethic. Example of my work ethic. My approach to working as a team and learning.
Paragraph 5. Closing sentence, thank you.

Signature

Name
Candidate Number
Phone Number
Personal website link
Twitter link
Scribd link

Attached a CV
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Teebs



Posts : 15
Join date : 2011-01-14

PostSubject: Re: Analysis of Lobbying - effective or not, that is the question   Sun Jan 15, 2012 4:58 pm

A decent analysis of the situation hipersons. One little nitpick though, units don't have directors they have heads. I only mention it because the next rank above Head of Unit is Director (who runs a Directorate), so it can be a bit confusing if you're using the wrong term.

Commission rank structure:
Commissioner
Director General
(Deputy Director General)
Director
Head of Unit
Head of Sector
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