Perhaps one of the most unique aspects of careers in international development is the practice of recruiting for positions when a project is at the proposal stage. Development implementers, nongovernmental organizations and consulting firms typically get their funding from large donors like U.K. Department for International Development, EuropeAid, U.S. Agency for International Development or the World Bank through a competitive bidding process where they may be one of many organizations vying for the money.
A significant factor donors use to evaluate who will win the funding is the people the bidders plan to hire for the project. Most donors require a staffing plan as part of the proposal including the CVs and letters of commitment from proposed personnel. Since the positions and qualifications required are specific to the project, most organizations don’t already have these people on staff and must recruit them.
If you ever see a job posting that describes the position as “anticipated” or “forthcoming,” that’s a clue that the position is at the proposal stage and not yet funded. You may see many organizations recruiting for what looks like the same position. That’s often because they are. For any given proposal there could be multiple organizations seeking that team leader or chief of party that will give their proposal the competitive edge. However, in the end there will only be one winner and one position.
Experienced experts with a strong track record may find themselves being courted by more than one organization, each competing for the expert to join their team.