Getting engaged with LundaEkonomerna is not only fun, but also a great opportunity to meet new people. In case you’re up for a challenge and want to apply as one of the Project Leaders, you’ll quickly find out that you will have to hold a speech in front of the General Council. In this article, Lovisa Garberg, the current Project Leader of the Nominations Committee, and Erik Lihagen, Speaker of the General Council, shine some light on the recruitment process for the Project Leader’s position within LundaEkonomerna. They will let you know what to expect, what they are looking for when recruiting and even share the criteria the General Council vote on.
So let’s start at the beginning – What is the ‘General Council’?
The General Council consists of 31 members in total and it is the highest decision-making body in the student union. Besides taking strategic and financial decisions, the General Council appoints Board members and elects Project Leaders as well as the members of the Nominations Committee.
Which leads us to the next question: What does the Nominations Committee do?
The Nominations Committee’s task is to manage the recruitment process of Positions of Trust, which includes Collegial (aka Project Leaders), Board and Nominations Committee position. The committee consists of a Project Leader and five members, which are responsible for interviewing candidates and nominating one for each Project Leader position to the General Council.
Now we will get to the nitty gritty and start with the steps necessary to become a Project Leader at LundaEkonomerna. There is a visual overview of the process after this explanation!
First and foremost, you can see all open positions on the website of LundaEkonomerna, where you can apply by submitting your CV and a motivational letter. One very important thing to point out is that leadership experience is not required for the position as a Project Leader. LundaEkonomerna is a learning organization, and you don’t even have to be an active member before applying.
In case you decide to apply, you will have an interview in a calm atmosphere with the Nominations Committee. The interviews are always held in English as it is the official language of the union and last about 45 minutes. Lovisa’s best recommendation for the interview is to be authentic and answer truthfully, as they want to get to know you. Nevertheless, there are some things you can do to stand out. You should show that you are serious about the position and open-minded towards other people. Additionally you should be aware about your visions and goals for the committee and get yourself familiar with the purpose of the committee you are applying for. You can also talk to the current members or Project Leaders – their contact details are on LundaEkonomerna’s website.
After your interview you will get a call from the Nominations Committee informing you about their decision. Now there are two options: You either are the one person they nominate for the position as Project Leader, or they chose someone else. In case you are nominated, you will get a call from the Speaker of the General Council. This is when you can ask questions and will get the date and time of the next General Council meeting, where you will have to hold a speech.
If you’re not nominated, you still have the opportunity to speak in front of the General Council and convince them that you are the perfect fit for the position. All you have to do is to contact the Speaker of the General Council and inform them that you will be opposing the nominated candidate. There is no deadline to “register” as an opposing candidate. Theoretically, one can decide to do so up to the acceptance of the agenda of the General Council meeting, which happens about five minutes after the start of said meeting.
Let’s talk about the possibly scariest part of the whole process for most candidates: the speech. You will hold it in Crafoordsalen (EC1) in front of roughly 40 people. Remember that they have also been in your shoes and are happy for everyone who is brave enough to hold their speech. You’ll spend most of the General Council meeting in the so-called waiting room with the other candidates and will only enter Crafoordsalen for your speech. In case you’re nominated, the Nominations Committee reads out their Letter of Support, stating their reasons for nominating you to the General Council before you hold your speech. The most important thing might be to figure out what to talk about. Unfortunately neither the Nominations Committee nor the Speaker can answer this question. The floor is truly yours and there are only two rules for your speech: It must be held in English and be three minutes long. Most candidates present themselves and talk about their motivation and what they want to achieve within the committee.
After your speech you will answer questions for seven to ten minutes. Most questions are like the ones you get in the interview with the Nominations Committee, probably some case questions about situations or tasks within your committee, your strengths, and weaknesses as well as past experiences. After the time is up, the Speaker walks you back to the waiting room and the members of the General Council vote. The criteria for this vote have never been shared officially, so a little imaginary drumroll please:
For every candidate there is an open and objective discussion about the fulfilment of the following criteria:
– Fit for the role
– Problem solving
– Stress and social sustainability
You should try to talk about all these categories and can start to tackle some in your motivational letter. After the decision is made, the Speaker picks you up and informs you about the outcome of the vote. If you got the majority of votes, you’re elected on the spot, will go back to Crafoordsalen and get your well-deserved applause. In case it didn’t work out, you can apply as often as you like, and I’ve been reassured by Erik that it’s greatly appreciated to show perseverance. However, applying for another, different position, might also be a great possibility, because you are very likely to find a role that fits your personality and leadership style due to the many different committees!
Here is the promised visual overview of the recruitment process:
One last thing to mention within this quite extensive article: Recommendations
In case you’re not sure if you’re the right fit for a Project Leader (yet), you can recommend someone at any time, even without them knowing. You can do this anonymously if you want to do so. Ideally, you’re sending a recommendation by including the name, contacts (mobile number and/or email) and a short reason for your recommendation to the Nominations Committee (within the applications deadline) or to the Speaker (after the applications deadline). Then they will contact the person you recommended and if they agree, they will go through the just described process.
To sum up, you’re strongly encouraged to take your chance and get engaged within a Position of Trust. It’s fun and adds to your university experience. If you have any questions, you can reach out to basically anyone in the union at any time – in case they don’t know something, they will at least know who to ask. So be brave and try what it’s like to be a leader!