The goal of the following recruitment and hiring guidelines and preferred procedure is to ensure the organization upholds recruitment and hiring best practices and executes an objective, fair, and thorough evaluation process of all qualified potential candidates.
Hiring for a new position vs. employee promotion
Not all new or recently vacated positions require opening up the recruitment process to external candidates. If a current employee has shown strong potential to advance within the organization and has expanded their responsibilities to include a significant portion of the responsibilities found within the new position description, the Country Director and/or supervisor may choose to promote the employee to the newly available position.
For positions that would require a lateral move for an employee, meaning that the majority of the position requirements and responsibilities fall outside of the employee’s current scope of work, it is encouraged that the position be opened to external candidates. However, where possible, the organization should try to allow internal candidates to apply prior to opening up the process to the general public. Employees wishing to transition into the available position should participate in the standard application process, which is outlined in further detail below.
Forming the hiring committee
Hiring for International Leadership Positions
Upon the need to hire for a new or recently vacated leadership position in any of non-headquarters offices, we encourage that a hiring committee be formed that includes, at minimum, the Office Director, a HQ leadership staff member or equivalent, and an HQ and/or in-country HR or operations staff member. Additional staff may be included in the committee at the discretion of the Country Director, such as an employee that would work closely with the new hire.
Hiring for international non-leadership positions
The hiring committee for a non-leadership position in a non-headquarters office does not need to include an HQ staff member. The country office is encouraged to form an internal hiring committee of at least two members, preferably three. The employees chosen to form the hiring committee should include at least one leadership and one human resource staff member, where possible.
Hiring for a new country office
When hiring for the Launch Director for a new non-headquarters country office, the hiring committee will ideally include an HQ HR and/or Operations staff members as well as an HQ leadership staff member or equivalent. Additional staff may be included as needed.
To hire for the remaining positions in the new country office, it is recommended that the hiring committee include an HQ HR or Operations staff member, an HQ leadership staff member, the in-country Launch Director and/or new Country Director, and any additional staff members as needed. However, it is encouraged not to exceed more than five people on the hiring committee.
Hiring for HQ leadership positions
When hiring for HQ leadership positions the hiring committee will ideally include the Executive Director, a HR or Operations staff person, and any other staff as needed.
Hiring for HQ Non-Leadership Positions
For HQ non-leadership positions the hiring committee will ideally include a HR and Operations staff member and the new position’s supervisor. At the discretion of the new position’s supervisor, an additional leadership or non-leadership staff member may be invited to join the hiring committee.
If applicable, a member of the hiring committee will research and confirm the visa requirements and labor laws specific to the respective country. Information collected may include the legal requirements for hiring a non-national including the type and length of visa, compensation requirements, and visa application and qualifying process.
Approved employment contracts
It may provide helpful to have pre-vetted contracts for each of the respective offices. It can save time and potential legal hassles when going through the hiring process if the hiring committee can easily refer to and use an already put-together, lawyer approved hiring contract. The hiring committee may always exercise the right to make changes to the contract, so long as any revisions fit within both the organization’s mission and applicable labor laws.
Preparation for recruitment
Creating the recruitment and hiring timeline
The first step of the recruitment process involves the creation of the recruitment and hiring timeline by the designated hiring committee. The timeline includes but is not limited to activities and deadlines such as, the completion of the job description, when the position will be advertised, deadline for resume collection, interview schedule, and steps for making an offer. For a more robust timeline, the committee may choose to work back from a preferred start date and also include a potential training schedule for the future hire.
It is encouraged that members of the hiring committee leave the initial meeting with a clear understanding of their responsibilities as related to the newly created recruitment and hiring timeline. The hiring committee may find it helpful to designate each committee member’s specific leadership and/or supportive role(s) for each task.
Writing the job description
To facilitate a strong hiring process it is important to have a clear, detailed, and agreed upon job description. While one person may lead the project, it is helpful that all members of the hiring committee work together to detail out the responsibilities of the new position. In addition to a position description, the hiring committee should take this time to think carefully about technical and/or soft skill requirements and/or any preferred but not required, skills or experience for the position.
Establishing evaluation criteria
After the completion of the job description and required and preferred skills, the hiring committee is encouraged to discuss and agree upon the top five qualities for which they will look for in candidates. This step helps set clear evaluation criteria, enabling the committee to later implement a standardized and objective resume review process.
Finalizing interview questions and take-home task
Based on the job description and evaluation criteria, the hiring committee should make every effort to confirm a list of “must ask” interview questions and a list of additional questions to ask if relevant and time permitting. Interview questions may be pulled from an organization’s standard interview questions (if available) or be freshly created to screen for position-specific technical or soft skills. It is encouraged to include questions that evaluate a candidate’s soft skills, as they relate to the ability to succeed in the position and/or advance the organization’s overall mission, vision, and values.
The hiring committee may choose to include a technical task that candidates, in their final rounds of evaluation, take home, complete, and send back within a designated amount of time. This is the time where the hiring committee may begin to think about creating such a task, asking questions about how the task might be structured and what questions would be most helpful in evaluating the needed high level skills.
Completing each of the above steps helps the recruitment and hiring process to remain standardized, objective, efficient, and thorough. Careful planning aids in the timely completion of recruitment tasks and the meeting of the hiring deadline.
Advertising the position
The hiring committee will need to draft and finalize the position advertisement, which should include the job description, position requirements, basic benefits (if deemed appropriate to include), and application instructions. The position advertisement may also include visa requirements if applicable such as requiring that applicants be able to qualify for a visa and/or work permit. It is important applications instructions include to whom candidates send applications.
Depending on the organization the application process may be opened to both internal and external candidates. If opening it up to both types of candidates, it may be looked upon positively to allow internal candidates the opportunity to review and submit their application prior to opening the position to external candidates. Internal candidates may be given the opportunity to start applying anywhere between one to four weeks before the position is publicly posted.
The job advertisement may be posted on local, national, and international recruiting websites and services depending on the need of the position. It has proved helpful for a hiring committee to agree upon a way to track where, when, and how the job advertisement is posted. One record-keeping option is to record in a separate google doc or a sheet within a larger relevant google doc items such as posting location and/or contact person, relevant contact, website, and date posted.
Resume screening and selecting candidates to interview
The committee member responsible for receiving and screening applicants should make sure to evaluate applications based on the pre-determined evaluation criteria and skill requirements. Similar to how a committee may track job postings, the committee may choose to set up a single spreadsheet to list all of the strong candidates who may be invited to interview. Information can include applicant’s contact information and relevant notes to provide easy access to the rest of the hiring committee for review.
It is helpful and encouraged that all application materials for the candidates recorded in the “strong applicant” google spreadsheet be sent to all members of the hiring committee for review no later than the application deadline. The hiring committee may choose to have applications from strong applicants sent to them on an ongoing basis. The hiring committee is encouraged to review both the google document and accompanying application materials to choose the top 4-10 candidates to interview. If possible, the committee may choose to pick 1-3 alternate candidates.
In the event that an organization is unable to find more than four to five suitable candidates, the application process may remain open and/or start anew, though the committee does not have an obligation to keep it open if they feel the candidates are strong. If needed, the hiring committee may find it worthwhile to edit the job advertisement and/or the benefit package if resources permit and/or the job advertisement and/or post in new locations.
When evaluating internal candidates, the hiring committee may include an employee’s performance evaluation(s) and/or work sample(s) when they review the employee’s application.
Storing application materials
Ideally, a hiring committee will be able to keep records of all applications received but, if that is not possible, the committee should make every effort necessary to at least maintain records of the applications of interviewed candidates. Options for storing application materials include creating a designated folder within the inbox to store all applications received and/or creating a specific file folder in the organization’s document database with the position title. The storage of application materials for candidates selected to interview is important for maintaining thorough records supporting the committee’s later decision to hire or not hire candidates.
Unless circumstances do not permit, all recruitment and candidate records should be kept in the local country’s filing system as well as sent to HQ.
The person chosen to lead the interview process will be expected, though not required, to schedule interviews with candidates.
It is highly encouraged that no less than 2/3 of the hiring committee be present at each interview, with 100% attendance preferred. It is important that the hiring committee members attend each interview to help ensure the fair evaluation of candidates and to prepare the committee to make accurate, objective comparisons of candidates.
Interviews may be conducted in-person, via Skype, or a combination of both. Alternative mediums such as cellular phones may be used to conduct interviews when needed and/or preferred.
It can be helpful to designate a lead interviewer for each or all the interviews. The lead interviewer’s main responsibility is to make every effort to ask as many of the pre-determined “must ask” questions as possible, with the goal of going through the full list. An encouraged, though not required, practice is to have the lead interviewer ask the “must ask” questions and allow the other interviewers to ask follow-up and/or clarifying questions as needed and desired.
All interviewers are strongly encouraged to take notes during or immediately after each interview. The interviewers may choose to record their notes in a word or google document, a document with a list of interview questions, on a candidate’s application materials, or some other preferred method. Unless circumstances do not permit, all notes should be scanned and saved in the candidate’s electronic application folder or, if an interviewer chooses to scan all of their notes from all interviews into one document, into the general electronic DropBox folder specific to that position. At minimum, notes should also be physically stored in the in-office file designated for the hiring of the specific position.
When possible and time-permitting, interviewers are encouraged to discuss a candidate’s qualifications immediately after the interview and to give the candidate an overall ranking based on objective criteria that relate strictly to the applicant’s ability to fulfill to job requirements. Job requirements may include both technical and soft skills, as relevant to the position.
If interviewers are unable to discuss a candidate immediately post-interview, interviewers may choose to create a shared google doc where they can include their notes about the candidates for easy viewing by all committee members.
The hiring committee may choose to interview candidates multiple times and should follow the same record-keeping process for each interview round. Upon the completion of all scheduled interviews, the hiring committee should collaborate to decide upon the top two to three (or more) candidates to whom they will assign the take-home task or, if that step is not needed, to extend the position offer.
A member from the hiring committee should record the reasons why a candidate was not chosen to advance in the google document, a pre-designed form for easy record-keeping of reasons to hire or not to hire, and/or in the applicants’ DropBox folders. When possible, hard copies of notes should be stored in the position’s physical file folder in each office.
Candidate selection and offer letter
Selection of candidates should be determined by comparing each candidates ranking, technical skills, soft skills, and, if given, the take-home task. All decisions regarding the hiring or not-hiring of candidates must be recorded. It is helpful to keep these records in the position’s recruitment and hiring file and/or in the google doc used for tracking applicants. A form can be made available that provides space to list each candidate’s name and reasons for hiring or not hiring.
In all hiring decisions it is important to strive for consensus or, at minimum, a majority agreement within the hiring committee. However, organizations may choose to delegate ultimate decision making power to one or more members of the hiring committee based on any number of internally agreed upon reasons.
Once the candidate has been selected, a member of the hiring committee will need to notify the candidate of their selection either in-person or by phone, email, and/or mail. The selected candidate should then receive the formal contract, which they will then need to review and sign and return to the organization. It is helpful to give candidates options regarding how they may return documents such as scanning, in-person, fax, or, if absolutely necessary, regular mail.
In the event that the selected candidate requests additional or modified benefits, a higher salary, or a title change, the hiring committee may discuss what concessions the organization is willing and/or is able to make based on available financial resources and/or organizational policies. If the hiring committee agrees to any changes, a hiring committee member should adjust the contract and resend to the selected candidate.
Notifying other candidates
When the selected candidate formerly accepts the position by signing and returning the employment contract, a person from the hiring committee should notify all other interviewed candidates that they were not selected for the position. It is especially encouraged to not tell any candidate of their not being selected for the position until the signed employment is returned. This is to guard against the possibility of the first choice candidate turning down the offer, which would force the hiring committee to contact their second or third choice candidates.
After the candidate accepts the offer, a hiring committee member will collect all remaining paperwork from the new employee. The paperwork collected will be based on previous research regarding the country’s labor laws and required documentation for hiring of employees.
If the new employee requires a specific visa, the organization may need to provide the necessary documents to support the application.