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Members edition | Curteza Ctlin

For starters
Because you might encounter these for the first time, below you will find a list containing the most used acronyms in the network: BEE = Board Management, External Relations and Expansion (Presidents attributes) IM = Internal Management (Secretary General) FM = Financial Management (Treasurer) AA = Academic Activities L@W = Lawyers at Work MCC = Moot Court Competition NMCC = National MCC EMC = ELSA MCC (themed) LRG = Legal Research Group S&C = Seminars & Conferences IFP = International Focus Programme SS = Summer School SV = Study Visit ISV = International SV NCM = National Council Meeting ICM = International Council Meeting STEP = Student Trainee Exchange Programme MKT = Marketing HRM = Human Resources Management ETD = ELSA Training Days ITP = International Trainers Pool NTP = National Trainers Pool TNAF = Training Needs Assessment Form NSS = Network Support System ELS = ELSA Lawyers Society EDF = ELSA Development Foundation SotN = State of the Network OYOP = One-Year Operational Plan SSO = Statutes and Standing Orders OC = Organizing Committee HOC = Head of OC (Coordinator) LCM = Local Council Meeting DB = Decision Book LB = Local Board NB = National Board IB = International Board

Any work environment can only excel after its team has been granted the minimum of care. The presence of the Human Resources department in ELSA is a testament to the spirit of an association by the students for the students. Through our efforts we try to ensure the best people for the task, to encourage and support personal and professional development while having a better student life.

(Excerpt from the introductive paragraph from the HR department presentation in ELSA Romania, November 2013)

Purpose of the department

The Human Resources department exists for the sole purpose of improving the quality of the activity in the association. In order to do this, we ensure the best and most carefully trained members who are motivated to work as a team. Our main means of accomplishing this are the recruitment and selection process, training, motivational activities and related activities.

Corporatist thinking
If we were to view our association as a corporation, we should be oriented towards offering our members and our colleagues from our law faculties a better student life. Through what we are doing, we strive to contribute to personal and professional development (training and workshop sessions, conferences etc.) without disregarding the social aspect of our youthful years (parties, trips and others).

Therefore, when we set ourselves to make something happen in ELSA, and especially in the Human Resources (henceforth HR) field, we should answer the following questions: 1. Does our project or activity fulfill a need? 2. Is our project/activity being efficiently organized? (maximum results, minimum resources) 3. Are we having a good time and/or learning something new by doing this? If any of the answers to the above-mentioned questions is something else than a definitive YES!, our project or activity must be revized.

Recruitment and selection

It is often simply called Recruitment. That is not entirely correct.

Recruitment refers to the set of activities that the association uses to attract the students who have the necessary aptitudes and skills to become an ELSA member and to contribute to fulfilling our organizational objectives. Selection is the process by means of which our trained evaluators chose, after a few stages, the person or persons who best fit the criteria established prior to the recruitment stage and also taking into account the needs of the association and the applicants personal preferences. As we have seen, these selection stages are the application form, the interview and the trial period. Therefore, the recruitment stage ends at the ELSA presentation hosted at your venue (usually the faculty premises) and the selection stage begins when people turn in the application forms and sign up for the interviews, ending when the final results are given.

Recruitment stages

1. Identifying the member needs

Answering the Do we need more people? question with a firm YES! at least once a year is easy. The most common mistake is to select as many of the likeable or charming candidates at the interview, while ignoring the real needs of the association or its capacity to keep them busy, involved and motivated. In order to tell how many we really need, we should take a look at what projects we have planned for the current year. If our calendar contains enough projects and activities to establish ourselves firmly on the law student market of activities for the Local Group in question, the number of ELSA members in this group will be set according to this calendar. The minimum number of students needed to ensure this market presence is about 15-20% of the number of first year students attending the largest law faculty in the city. Taking into account that a large project (National Conferences, Summer Schools etc.) you need about 10 people, for average sized projects (MCCs, Study Visits, Local Conferences etc.) you need about 5 and for small projects (Panel Discussions, Legal Research Groupsetc.) you need about 2-3 people on the organizing team, your maximum number of people (active members + recruits) should not exceed the sum of all these numbers applied to your calendar. The retention rate: we should also take into account that we get to keep between 30 and 80% of the people we select each year and that this percentage differs in each Local Group.

2. Writing a comprehensive candidates profile

We need to discuss with each Vice President and with members from each department to know the specific characteristics that we search for in each new member. It is paramout that the applicants profile

does NOT contain vague descriptions (motivated, open-minded, intelligent), but specific characteristics that would improve the atmosphere of the team. Taking into account that our selection is multiple, for orientation, guidance and professional improvement (textbook definition), we will not be focusing o the persons past experiences that much, but rather on his or her potential for improvement.

3. Establishing the selection criteria

This is an organized activity which takes place at a training or workshop session held specifically for the recruitment/selection process or at least in a formal meeting with the interviewers. The purpose is to have a common list of demands and expectations from the applicant and, most importantly, to try to ensure the fact that no team is harsher than the other in regard to any of the selection stages. These criteria can be: organizational: we only recruit law students from certain years of study, from the bachelors degree, masters, doctorate, young lawyers etc.; professional: their experience regarding certain activities. We generally evaluate potential; personal: the set of personal qualities and defects, hobbies and other such aspects that are relevant to us.

4. Promoting the recruitment process

Here is where the actual recruitment process takes place. The entire law school community from the city, whether its public or private sector, is made aware of the opportunity of signing up for the association, its activities and the selection stages about to be undergone. It is recommended to have a conversation with the faculty management in order to ensure the proper advertising instruments, such as: info-desks, posters, permission to distribute flyers, post messages on the college activity wall and to host a presentation for the possible applicants. At this presentation the Local Board will say a few words about the projects done on each department, the local, national and international opportunities for members and participants. Afterwards, while the application forms are given, all stages of the selection process will be explained and clarified.

5. Selecting the application forms

This application form is the first means of selection. As you may have learned from the evaluators training session, this instrument provides the opportunity to eliminate those who dont fit any of our criteria and also serves as a basis for the conversation in the interview stage.

Because members may change from year to year and selection methods may vary, it is highly recommended to review the content of this application form at least at each autumn recruitment session.

6. The Interview
The interview is a conversation lasting somewhere between 15 and 30 minutes in which we clarify certain aspects from the application form. After training the evaluators, we split them into teams of 2-3 people which will host interviews with certain applicants in pre-established periods of time. Ideally, no team is harsher than the other and the members from each team understand each others meta-language and means of evaluation (relevant games, questions, spontaneous tasks and their meaning). It is the duty of the evaluators to: present themselves at the start of each interview and explain their roles; state the purpose (clarifying certain aspects from the application form) and the duration of the interview; state that the applicant can ask his questions to the interviewers at the end of the conversation; answer the applicants questions at the end of the interview; state when the results will come in and the applicants right to a feedback regardless of the result.

7. The Trial Period

One or more practical applications by which the person or persons who have passed the interview is/are evaluated for a longer period of time. If the applicant can deceive the evaluators in the application form or interview stage by hiding certain aspects of his persona or misleading others in regards to his previous activities, it will be far more difficult to hide his or her true nature while being immersed in a simulated work environment for a period of at least a week. The information we get in this stage help us make an educated decision regarding the individual we analyze and to adapt our training efforts and motivational activities to best suit the needs. Thee approaches worthy of mentioning: individual tasks: you give the person an individual activity that he or she must complete within a certain period of time after which the Local Board will evaluate the work within a presentation. After this presentation, if the applicant is accepted, he or she will be oriented towards a department. The task could be regarding a fictitious activity or a real project and usually consists of one of the steps in the project (getting a speaker for a conference, getting a venue for a presentation etc.). The advantage is that we can devote extra care to the individual, but the

disadvantages are that it will take a while to evaluate each candidate and we dont get to see him or her as part of a team dynamic; collective tasks: those who pass the interview are divided into teams consisting of between 3 and 7 people and are supervised by a mentor. Whether its a fictitious or real project, it is planned and discussed in its entirety. The mentors are trained in the same training with the other evaluators and it is highly recommended to take at least an experienced person from each department. The applicants evaluation and orientation are done by the mentors at the meeting where they discuss the results. The disadvantage of needing extra training and preparation is greatly outweighed by the advantages that a full picture of the applicants is available to the evaluators and to the Vice Presidents; assessment center: similar to the collective tasks, it consists of dividing people into teams which are tasked to interact for a period of 3-4 hours while planning a project in front of the evaluators. These evaluators will be assessing their group dynamics, their performance and their individual demeanor and decide upon selecting them and their subsequent orientation.

A trial period should be implemented by each Local Group in one form or another because, in addition to the helpful information, by involving the applicants into our activity and organizational culture from the very start, there is a high chance that they will become attached to the working group and it will be harder to lose them.


This process establishes a balance between the members characteristics and the associations needs. Through training we strive to improve: attitudes: how the member perceives the activities, projects and work environment; skills: the abilities that are necessary to the work environment; knowledge: what should be known about the association, the activities and projects about to be undergone.

It is the duty of the HR department to know these specific needs of every member or team and have comprehensive information about the three aspects mentioned above. To ensure these, we will be using the feedback questionnaire, the survey and the interview which we will refer to in the last segment of this document.

The main training instruments are: the informative nature of the department meeting, the workshop and the training session.

The Training Session

It is a non-formal education method in which a qualified person or team of people facilitate the learning process for a group of up to 14 participants per trainer in a controlled environment over a pre-established period of time (4 hours to 21 days or more). Communication is usually one-sided, the trainers being the transmitters and the public being the receiver due to the fact that there is a knowledge advantage to the former.

The Workshop

It is a group discussion or practice session which emphasizes on exchangin ideas, demonstrating and applying techniques. Unlike the training session, the workshop can be supervized by a person or team of people who do not have the formal preparation to be trainers. Regarding the environment, the conditions are similar, but the period of time is often reduced to within a day or a week. Although moderated, the conversation takes place with the participants being on equal footing knowledge-wise. To tell the difference more easily between training sessions and workshops, you can view the former as the sports practice and the latter as the friendly match in which we demonstrate some skills. It is paramount that these two, especially the training sessions, have relevance and efficiency. They are relevant when they fulfill a need and efficient if the knowledge, skills or change in attitude help the participants in the immediate future.

hard skills: easily quantifiable (knowing a language, using a software etc.); soft skills: cannot be easily quantified (leadership, management abilities, communication skills etc.).


1. identifying the training needs: each department shall be surveyed and their exact needs regarding knowledge, skills and attitudes. They will all be noted according to the following simple enounciation: The group containing needs for

Ex: The group containing members X, Y and Z from the STEP department needs to revise some knowledge and practice interviewing for student hunting for their STEP project. After these needs are all established, they will be grouped up into training topics and transmitted to the trainer with all the relevant details. 2. implementing the training program: we plan the necessary training sessions required to fulfill the identified needs. In order to ensure the presence of the relevant public, we stress the fact that participation is mandatory in order to maintain the OC position. The training session will take place over a sufficient period of time as to ensure its efficiency. An alert public can comprehend 2 concepts per hour, an application takes at least 30 minutes and changing an attitude can often take at least a day; 3. evaluating the results: we have to check if the training session or the workshop had any effects. You can verify this directly by asking for a feedback from the participants, or indirectly by comparing the results of their work to previous editions of the same projects or other teams who havent undergone the training sessions, but are engaged in similar activities.

Accessing the Trainer Pools

The trainers ar organized in groups: at the national level (National Trainers Pool) and at the international level (International Trainers Pool). Once every two years there is a separate event called Train The Trainers Week (TTTW) organized for each of these groups in order to refresh the trainers list with new members. Accessing the ITP for national and international projects is done via the National Vice President for HR (or other officer in charge of this area of work) who will contact the IB member responsible for maintaining the trainers database. Accessing the NTP for national or local projects is done via the Local Vice President for HR (or other officer in charge of this area of work) who will contact the National Vice President for HR (or other officer in charge of this area of work) who is responsible for maintaining the trainers database. This database contains the name of all the trainers, contact details, years in which they were active within the association, Board positions, year in which they participated at the TTTW, favorite training topics and all the topics they have held training sessions on. Due to the fact that these people have a busy schedule, it is highly recommended that the invitations be handed to them at least 2 months in advance for the ITP and 4 weeks in advance for the NTP. Sometimes, accessing the Trainers Pool is difficult due to the high costs for transportation and accommodation that the host Local Group has to cover. Other times, the trainers are unavailable for

certain reasons or the request was not made on time. In these cases, the backup plans are in the following order: trainers from other NGOs or from the corporate environment; professionals from the area of work relevant to the training topic (event organizers for AA and S&C trainings, actors or lawyers for trainings on communication techniques etc.); alumni or experienced members.


Briefly, we have to ensure that the member is attatched to the work environment. This task is done not only through succeeding in the professional life, but also as an effect of social interaction with your colleagues. The list may already be known to you: interaction between departments (dodgeball, paintball, movie nights and others) teambuilding sessions, trips (National/International Council Meetings, Freshers Camps, Officers Meetings etc.) and, of course, parties. What they all have in common is the opportunity to encourage members to interract with one another and to gain trust in the people they work with. Our colleagues rely on us to be creative and good event organizers. What is not always understood is that we have to provide a good counteroffer to what people plan for themselves in their free time. They could easily party and have a good time with their personal friends, go on their own trips. The question is what are we offering? Why would they party by our own rules? Because of the ELSA spirit. If we dont have it (anymore), well (re)make it. Our social atmosphere has (or should have) its own charm. Whether we challenge them in sports activities, know them better in group activities or try out our skills in dancing and karaoke, there are a few ingredients to a good ELSA social event.

1. Control the location

We could strike a deal with the ownership of the venue, talk with the DJ, do some room arrangements (ornaments, other decorations to fit the theme), anything that a good event manager could do to keep the public immersed in the social event. Its those easy few preparation steps that brands the event in the blue ELSA name.

2. Control the program

Most people will not truly interract just because they have the opportunity. Because they have not yet warmed up to eachother, they will tend to stick with the people they have already met, such as the members of their own department. We have to create occasions for everyone: group dances, treasure hunts, beer pong, outfit competitions, roleplay, anything that encourages communication. All these ideas must be discussed in a prior meeting with the organizers and brainstormed upon. The HR team should be the ones who present the public with a good answer to the question Why would I rather party with the ELSA people?.

3. Involve all the participants

As young students, we dont go to a social event to be left alone. If we show that we trust someones abilities whe we give him/her a task to do, we show them that we accept them as a team member when we choose to interract with them. Everything else follows smoothly. What we must do is to ensure the fact that each has equal opportunities to participate and get involved in the social program.

These three easy steps are applicable at any event, from the formal ones such as a Ball or Alumni Night to the less formal ones, like a teambuilding session held at a colleagues house. Dont be afraid to browse the archives for event ideas or discuss ideas with members from other departments, Local or National Groups. If it is about imagination, every person is a resource.

Freshers Camp
The problem: life as an ELSA member is short, and as such, integration should be done faster. The recruit must get used to the new work atmosphere and interract with as many people as possible. The approach: a weekend-long trip shortly after each recruitment/selection process to motivate and train the new recruits. The event is organized by a qualified team (HOC, person in charge of the academic program, person in charge of the social program, person in charge of logistics, person in charge of transportation and the helper crew). It contains at least a training session on the internal regulations and one on soft skills. The social program consists of team activities during the day and two themed parties in the evening. It is advised to keep Sunday clear for the departure of the participants. The main purpose of this event is to integrate the recruits and to motivate the entire Local Group. I recommend that you also do a SWOT analysis of the event as seen below. S: a great social event that could become a local or national tradition. The accommodation costs can be negotiated lower than the actual costs advertised by the owner and the difference can be devoted to covering the logistics side of the event. This trip can pay for itself. W: it requires careful planning, separate meetings and a fully devoted team. O: through its magnitude it can target problems in training and motivation at a greater scale. T: the event is efficient only if most, if not all, recruits participate. You also need careful planning and a certain period of time to advertize the event. The quality of the event could also depend on other factors, such as weather, costs of transportation, venue luxury and others.

Teambuilding sessions
The problem: in a group, the tendency is that about 20% of the people do 80% of the debating and the work and that the group fragments into smaller groups according to the fewest common traits between members. The approach: the coordinator gathers the team within a comfortable environment (non-formal, quiet, enough space, snacks and drinks). He or another objective person must take on the role of moderator for the entire conversation. The purpose is to find out all the expectations, attitudes, wishes and needs of each and every single one of the participants. The result should be the equalization of all the participation levels, solving or preventing other conflicts. You can gather the information stated above directly through questions or through a Feedback 360 round in which everyone says their honest opinion about everyone, or indirectly through analyzing the participants performance in the group games and activities. Here is a SWOT model:

S: powerful instrument to improve group dynamics. W: the resources needed are often bought by the participants. O: you could find out new things about your colleagues, elliminate awkward atmospheres and provide the premises for identifying future leaders. T: the efficiency of the session depends greatly on the moderator.

Related activities

In order to make informed decisions regarding the human resource of the organization, members of the HR department have to periodically obtain information regarding the engagement level of members, their motivational and training levels and their development opportunities. We will briefly discuss some instruments in this chapter.

The Feedback Questionnaire

It is an anonymous set of questions regarding projects, events, leaders, team members and any other relevant topic. The questions in this form can be made to obtain answers directly or indirectly about aspects of motivation, knowledge, skills, attitudes, group dynamics and many others. The standard procedure is to hand out these forms at department meetings or other such gatherings and to provide the necessary time for their unaided completion.

The Survey
Similar to the Feedback Questionnaire, it is a great means to obtain a large quantity of relevant information. Although the content does not differ by much, the procedure is different. The surveyors go from person to person (who all remain anonymous) and ask the pre-established questions one by one. The advantage here is that we can strive to get complete answers and ask aditional questions if it is needed. All answers are written down for later analysis.

The Interview
Not unlike the one discussed in the Selection stages, this form of controlled communication offers a high degree of flexibility and clarity of information. The interviewer establishes certain topics of discussion and drives the discussion to clarify all points of interest. It is recommended to have a semi-structured interview (a set of fixed questions and room for other, spontaneous ones). This approach takes longer to do and a trained team of interviewers, but the clarity and quantity of information should compensate. All three approaches call for a meeting to discuss the answers and form conclusions. It is highly recommended to divide the public into smaller groups according to experience or year of study in order to adapt the questions to each category. A basic law of statistics tells us that 11% of the opinions in a group grant us information with a 90% degree of accuracy.