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Emergency Response Planning: A Q&A with CTG’s Head of Recruitment

By Marcel van Dapperen

Demobilisation rapid recruitment capacity

“Humanitarian emergencies are, by definition, difficult to predict and plan for. How an organisation is set up on the ground and having a robust human resource management strategy ensures preparedness to manage a crisis; it’s about having the right staff at the right time. That means also having the right human resource management staff, skills, policies and support.

I joined CTG in 2020 to support the Rapid Recruitment and Deployment (RRAD) team, the team responsible for sourcing, recruitment, rapid mobilisation, onboarding and contracts, HR reporting and analysis, and ensuring equality and diversity for CTG and its partners. It’s a pivotal area of emergency response not only finding the right people, at the right time, for the right job but managing the flow of staff in an emergency and ensuring it’s a diverse pool.”

Adding value through rapid recruitment capacity, and why it’s essential in humanitarian recruitment

“Our clients operate in challenging and demanding environments such as Africa, the Middle East and South Asia; hence, having a proven and robust recruitment solution is a vital component of an emergency response strategy.

Recruitment and HR can be cumbersome when needing to react quickly; outsourcing these services can be the difference between saving 1000 lives or saving 10 000. It saves time, and in the long run saves money as well. CTG is able to scale up in a short space of time (from as quick as 48 hours). When operating in hostile locations, this is an essential and necessary capability.

Ensuring speed of recruitment and mobilisation: Proven strategies and planning

Rapid recruitment

CTG staff members in Nigeria

One way to plan for a humanitarian emergency is to build a readily available database of pre-vetted candidates. CTG keeps this list up to date through regular talent pool searches, which includes engaging with our clients to understand their upcoming requirements for the year. Ongoing dialogue with our clients allows us to ramp up quickly. It’s also important to build strong relationships with candidates to allow for a good employer / employee relationship – making the deployment process much faster.

We recruit for a wide variety of roles in sectors such as medical, governance, mine action, construction, and food related projects. Mine action roles are the most challenging of all roles across CTG, since these are extremely niche and high risk jobs, where staff sometimes have to deal with life and death situations.

Guaranteeing the quality of staff whist managing a rapid recruitment capacity

Because of the nature of our business, solid due diligence is vital. We run reference and accredited background checks to verify all newly contracted consultants. In most cases, even after conducting due diligence, we deploy staff in as quick a time frame as three days. Moreover, by building our roster, we always have a strong database of good quality candidates for a wide variety of roles.

In terms of the recruitment process, CTG’s Talent Management Specialists only shortlist candiates who strongly match the Terms of Reference (TOR), which reduces the requirement of resubmission and ensures a higher quality of candidate submitted.

To ensure high quality candidates, recruiters conduct preliminary interviews and, where required by clients, conduct technical interviews or provide tests to candidates.

A rigorous induction programme by Account Managers and/or Country Managers and regular interaction with newly selected consultants by the RRAD team ensures consultants experience the quality standards we are associated with. We make sure our consultants are well looked after. 

Rapid recruitment capacity

CTG convoy drivers cross a river in South Sudan

Making sure candidates are suited to the job beyond credentials

Let’s be honest, a job in humanitarian assistance is not suited to everyone. Making sure candidates are ready for a job in aid is a crucial part of the recruitment process. Since we only recruit for hostile locations, the talent pool we attract is only for candidates who have experience in conflict-affected regions. 90% of our roles are filled by local nationals, meaning the people we recruit are from the country where there is a requirement to hire.

As and when required, we run psychometric tests on candidates to understand their background and to gauge their genuine interest to work in the humanitarian sector. Furthermore, at the time of application, we encourage all candidates to complete a hostile readiness survey which enables them to understand how prepared they are to work in a conflict setting. We conduct competency assessments throughout the assignment which may lead to further training and development activities.

Advancing diversity and inclusion in the recruitment process

We have very specific recruitment targets such as our Female First drive which aims to increase female representation in humanitarian jobs – our goal is by 2030, 30% of our project-related related roles will be represented by women. We have just kicked-off a project that aims to increase the local talent base, and increase CTG’s exposure in the local labour market.

Our talent pool represents the local workforce, and 90% of staff placed on partner projects are local nationals. By promoting dignified jobs and economic opportunities in the communities we work, we’re ensuring money goes back into the local economy.

 

Marcel van DapperenMarcel is the Regional Director and Head of Recruitment. A Dutch national, he has been working in the field of Recruitment and Workforce Management Services since 2000. For the last 15 years he has been involved in developing business and managing high performance teams in several challenging and emerging markets in the Middle East & Africa.

 

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