Key Actions by:

Standard 9: Proactive recruitment and onboarding for timely start-up.

Staff the project in time with the right people using recruitment and orientation best practices.

Proactively recruit for positions based on the project needs and on CRS and industry best practices.

  • Why

    Late hiring of the full complement of project staff is one of the most common contributors to delayed or ineffective project start-up. Strong communication and coordination between program and human resources staff about staffing needs and recruitment strategies, combined with the use of proven recruitment techniques, ensures the project has the right people, at the right time.

  • How

    CRS and partners may have recruited "key personnel"“Key personnel” is a specific term used by the U.S. government. Many requests for applications (RFAs) require that the applicant identify key personnel for the project; some require that the applicant propose specific individuals for key personnel positions and submit CVs for key personnel candidates. Key personnel candidates must be approved by the donor and any changes to key personnel during project implementation require prior approval from the donor. /project leaders during project design (see Standard 4, key action 3). For the remaining project staff, follow the CRS CRS Hiring Managers’ Recruitment Guide (if recruiting for international staff) and the draft Country Program National Staff Recruitment Checklist and Guidance (if recruiting national staff) for timely recruitment of qualified staff. Telescope steps as needed for different positions and project contexts (e.g., multi-country projects):

    1. The hiring manager and HR staff have a preliminary hiring strategy meeting to establish overall expectations and define roles and responsibilities for the recruitment process. Per the CRS CRS Hiring Managers’ Recruitment Guide and the draft Country Program National Staff Recruitment Checklist and Guidance, the hiring strategy meeting includes:
    • Identifying what is needed to launch the recruitment process for each open position.
    • Reviewing position requirements and budgeted salaries for each position, as well as the budget for recruitment costs (e.g., advertising, candidate travel costs, etc.).
    • Creating an approximate recruitment schedule for each position including advertising and sourcing strategies, screening criteria, and potential members of the interview panel. Do this early to get on SMT members’ schedules.
    1. For national staff positions, HR completes and submits for approval to the hiring manager and/or CR (or authorized approver) the Personnel Requisition Form (PRF) along with the job description. Once approved, HR advertises each position.
    2. For international staff positions to be hired through HQ, the hiring manager creates a requisition via the Applicant Tracking System for Hiring Managers (VE); subsequently, the talent acquisition specialist posts the job on the Tracking System.

    Sourcing capable candidates: Use multiple advertising and recruitment methods to identify high-calibre candidates, both men and women. Methods include social media searches, headhunting, advertising, résumé banks (including country program databases of strong CVs from past recruitment processes), and recruitment via CRS staff’s professional networks. In some countries, linking with local universities, professional associations, and/or NGO/INGO and government networks is especially important to attract qualified candidates.

    1. The HR manager/officer or HQ talent acquisition specialist:
    • Convenes a follow-up hiring strategy meeting with the hiring manager to refine position qualifications, recruitment strategy and process, and timeline.
    • Drafts and shares with the hiring manager 5-7 criteria for candidate assessment.
    • Creates and pre-screens (and tests, where applicable) a short-list of candidates.
    • Drafts interview questions, schedules interviews, and circulates the interview packet to the interview panel.
    • For international staff positions, the talent acquisition specialist must also post pre-screening notes in VE and request the candidate to complete an online application.

    TIP: Finding common time for interviews can be difficult, given SMT members’ busy schedules. For large projects with multiple simultaneous recruitment process, review the full list of strategic/higher-level positions with the SMT and divide responsibilities accordingly to ensure the recruitment process can proceed in a timely manner.

    1. The interview panel interviews each shortlisted candidate; completes the interview summary/candidate evaluation form; and discusses and prioritizes all candidates.
    2. Following candidate selection, the HR staff:
    • Conducts a reference and a Bridger check, and any other required background checks for the selected candidate(s).
    • Conducts a compensation analysis and secures approvals for the proposed salary range.
    • Extends an offer to the selected candidate.
    • Completes post-offer steps and closes the requisition for the position.
  • Partnership
    • Partner staff are often responsible for the start-up of field-level activities; therefore, it is essential for timely start-up that partners finalize recruitment of qualified staff by the time they receive project resources.
    • The staff member identified to support partners on HR issues (see Standard 9, key action 3) accompanies partners in the recruitment process as needed. Building from partners’ HR procedures, this CRS staff member should support partners to develop position descriptions (see Standard 9, key action 3 for guidance), identify appropriate advertisement channels, and implement strong processes for screening, interviewing, testing (as needed), and reference-checking.
    • Consider organizing joint interview panels that include partners in CRS interviews, and vice versa.
  • When CRS is a sub-recipient
    • Follow the same process as when CRS is prime, unless otherwise specified.
  • Emergency projects
    • Collaborate closely with the Humanitarian Response Department to identify and recruit strong start-up staff and temporary duty personnel.