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Recruitment Insight

What to ask when recruiting a foreign aid project lead

By Eliza Villarino13 November 2012

The U.S. Agency for International Development calls them chiefs of party; other donors may use different titles, like team lead. Regardless of the name, though, these seasoned professionals tend to have one thing in common: They oversee the implementation of aid initiatives around the globe and are therefore entrusted to ensure its success.

Finding the right person to lead what often is a multimillion-dollar project or program can be a challenge. Nowadays, donors, more often than not, prefer candidates who have not only held the same position in the past but are also natives of the country where the project or program will be implemented.

As such, when a seemingly good fit for chief of party, country director or team leader emerges, a recruiter’s immediate mission involves confirming the competence of as well as determining what appeals to that person. How to do this? Patricia Ferrett, manager of recruiting at Pact, says it all boils down to having a candid conversation with the candidate.

Ferrett is a recruiting veteran, having performed the function since 1994. She shares with Devex some of the questions she asks all candidates for chief of party or country director to determine their capacity and motivations.

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About the author

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Eliza Villarino

Eliza Villarino currently manages one of today’s leading publications on humanitarian aid, global health and international development, the weekly GDB. At Devex, she has helped grow a global newsroom, with talented journalists from major development hubs such as Washington, D.C, London and Brussels. She regularly writes about innovations in global development.


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