Consultant's work at NATO and the EU – 5 things that every candidate should know

Updated: Nov 16



Vector Synergy has been providing specialists for international projects for clients in Europe and around the world, for institutions such as NATO and the European Union and many others since 2010.


Our biggest advantage are the consultants themselves. This is your chance to one of them!


From this article, you will find out what conditions you need to meet in order to become a consultant, what is our recruitment process, and how the work in such institutions looks like. We will also tell you what challenges and benefits await you and how we can support you.

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1. What qualities make you think of yourself as a NATO/EU consultant candidate?


In order to become a consultant in NATO or the EU, you should meet a few basic requirements. The first is fluent English, both spoken and written. It is the working language at such institutions, which is why it is so important that you can communicate without hindrance. Secondly, around 90-95% of our contracts are linked to relocation, so if you are mobile and relocating would not be an issue, you can think about this kind of profession.

If you do not have a criminal record, your financials are clean, and you do not have any health-related problems, there is a good chance that you will go through the verification process by the Internal Security Agency.


A candidate for a consultant should also be a specialist in his or her field – be it IT, technical maintenance, finance, management, and so on. Previous experience in a large-scale public institution – ministry, government, or international structures (also as a Trainee) is an additional asset. The last factor that plays an important role is the willingness to start working within a month of winning a contract.


If you meet these criteria, there is a high chance that you will be a great candidate for a consultant!



2. What qualities make you think of yourself as a NATO/EU consultant candidate?


You have realised that the work of a consultant in NATO/EU is within your reach.

But what next, what is the recruitment process like? Well, it is twofold, depending on whether you already have a security clearance or not. Security Clearance is a certificate which allows you to have access to classified information, that is to say, information with a specific security classification. It is essential for work in many projects at NATO and the EU. Do not worry if you do not have it yet – we have a lot of experience in this area and we will help you get it. So let us start from the beginning. Our recruitment process can be broadly divided into a few stages:

First Contact

The first contact, typically via phone call, is the opportunity to get to know you and to establish some ground rules. At this stage we want to make sure that you understand and fulfil the important requirements mentioned already above and that we can proceed onto the next step.


Verification

If you are interested in the work of a consultant, we carry out a verification for soft skills. For this purpose, we use two tools – a questionnaire and a behavioural interview – which we developed with an experienced team of psychologists from our local university.


We want to make sure that if we proceed further, you will feel comfortable later on in the process and when working for our clients. We also check hard competences by means of compliance matrixes, i.e. the degree of matching to a specific position. These include your professional experience as well as completed courses, obtained certificates, etc.


Preliminary Agreement

After the behavioural interview, if everything proceeds smoothly and the recruiter can make a positive judgement, we sign a preliminary agreement. On the basis of this agreement, we can start the procedure for obtaining a security clearance.


Security Clearance

Waiting for the security clearance usually takes from six months to one year. In around 90% of cases, we can only apply for a specific position once we have received this document. It is a great time to hone your skills, attend courses, and obtain new certificates – each one of those things will surely pay off when we get to the next step.


Offers to NATO and UE

As Vector Synergy, we receive enquiries from our clients. If they match your profile and you already have clearance, we prepare your CV as well all required documents and send them to a given institution. If an interview is scheduled, we organize training sessions to best prepare you for the interview. The more we practice, the more comfortable you are during the interview, and the bigger your chances of succeeding. We also support our consultants throughout the contract and are ready to help if needed.


What if you already have clearance? Then the road is shortened accordingly and starts at the stage of a joint application for a position at NATO or the EU.



3.Work at NATO/EU and support from Vector Synergy

We know how important it is to support the work of our contractors at such institutions. Therefore, having a team of experienced recruiters, each consultant is assigned his own PoC. They accompany the consultants at every stage of the contract and, if necessary, help to solve any problems that arise – from the beginning of the first contract to leaving the organisation. 

The current pandemic situation may raise the question – what if the borders are closed? Well, during the first wave of COVID-19, we sent as many as 20 consultants from all over Europe (from different locations) to their respective contract locations. These experiences have tested the procedures and schemes we developed – they work great, even in such situations. 

The first days of work are devoted to formalities, which are, of course, an individual matter for each organisation. Then the consultant meets the manager and the whole team. During the contract, we maintain a close relationship with our contractors. We call to ask if everything is OK, if they get along, how is the team, what is the job, etc. From time to time (usually every six months/year) we conduct a performance review with the managers to see if they are satisfied with the consultant. However, we carry out a cooperation review with the contractors themselves to find out whether they are satisfied and whether there is something we can help them with. When the contract ends, we do an exit interview, i.e. we collect overall information about whether the consultant was pleased and how he or she worked. Our company's standards are also integration events and occasional gifts.


If a consultant wants to continue working with us, we try to send him/her to the next contract depending on the demand/questions from the client. Our contractors then have priority and are taken into account first.

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4. What challenges await you

In your work as a contractor, you may encounter various challenges. Of course, this is an individual matter and not all of them may occur. Among the most common ones are the challenges arising from the complexity of working in a military-civil environment, which is something that people from the commercial market have to adjust to. In addition, the principles of diplomacy must be respected – NATO and the EU are both political pacts, with certain rules on how to behave, how and what to say, and so on. It is also worth being aware that sometimes certain procedures take longer, and it is slower to move on to the next stages of the project. This is an institutional working environment, different from the commercial, earnings-oriented market. However, the work of a contractor is not only a challenge - it also has some advantages.


5. Benefits of being a contractor

Being a contractor also has many benefits. Among the most important are:

  • Enrichment of professional achievements – working in NATO/EU is undoubtedly a very valuable point to have in your CV;

  • Working on huge infrastructures with thousands of users;

  • Learning about military technology – an opportunity often inaccessible to people on the commercial market;

  • International environment – working with several nations usually at the same time is a great opportunity to extend your horizons;

  • Competitive wages. ---

Thanks to Vector Synergy, you may find your dream job and work on international projects for companies and organisations across Europe. You may work in a multicultural team, execute very responsible tasks, experience many challenges, develop your competence almost without limits.

If you are skilled, trustworthy, and want to make your dreams come true, you will be the perfect contractor. We guarantee that you will fulfill this role. 


We provide support for adaptation in the new environment, both when you start work and throughout the whole period of work – wherever you start working for us. Our consultants appreciate the fact that we are close to them and always ready to help.


You too can find out by joining us!

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