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A career in international development can be very rewarding. By applying your skills and expertise to the development of burgeoning economies, you can make a real difference. Want to get started? Learn about the application process for international development jobs, including assessment tests and interviews, and get started today. 

What Is the Hiring Process for International Development Jobs?

 The hiring process for positions at international development organizations such as government agencies and NGOs often resembles the following:

 

  1. Application: Submit your application through the organization's website, a recruiter, or by being referred by a current employee. You should emphasize in your resume how your experience makes you particularly suited for the position you are applying to. Go over your resume and cover letter to make sure that there are no spelling and grammar errors, and tailor your cover letter to the job description. 
  2. Phone Interview: This is part of the initial screening process. The phone interview usually takes no longer than 30 minutes, and you can expect questions relating to your resume as well as the job posting. If you currently have a job, you may be asked why you want to leave your current employer.
  3. Second interview: Next, you will have a video interview or an in-person interview with a hiring manager and human resources staff. Duriring this interview, you will be asked technical questions designed to evaluate your skills and abilities. You can find out more about these interview questions below.  
  4. Assignment: Many organizations, such as Oxfam and the United Nations, ask candidates to complete a writing task at this stage. The purpose of this assignment is to evaluate your ability to process information and formulate arguments. (At the United Nations, this is referred to as a drafting skills test.)
  5. Test: You may also have to complete a verbal or textual reasoning test. This test assesses your ability to understand a passage, craft conclusions, identify summaries, and make recommendations, answer questions, or draw inferences based on the information provided to you in the text.


What Questions Will I Encounter at My Interview?

Below is a list of interview questions that are commonly-asked at international development job interviews. 

  • Why do you want to work for our organization?
    • Think about what you can offer the organization, not what a job there would give you.
  • What role do you tend to play in a group?
    • If you are not a natural leader, don't fake it—but you should say that you play an active role in a group situation.
  • How do you juggle multiple projects with tight deadlines?
    • Give an example of a time that you successfully completed several projects at once. Give evidence of your organizational and problem-solving skills.
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?
    • Employers are looking for someone who can see themselves growing their career within the company.
  • What are your salary expectations?
    • Do your research beforehand to provide an accurate estimate within the salary ranges for your job.
  • What would you do if you disagreed with a decision that your manager made?
    • Think of a time that you had a productive conversation that resulted from a disagreement. Managing conflict is an important part of maintaining a positive work environment.
  • Would you say that you are a people person?
    • Be honest.

What Tips Do You Have For My International Development Interview?

  • Emphasize your values and beliefs that make you want to work in international development and for the organization in particular.
  • Draw a clear link between your previous work experience and the job you are currently applying for.
  • If you have volunteer experience or internship experience in the field, be sure to highlight it in your resume and cover letter.
  • Show that you have a strong work ethic.
  • Mention relevant studies such as economics, regional studies, languages, and international development studies.
  • Demonstrate good communication skills throughout the application process.
  • Determine if you are willing to work for little pay, and if so, mention it.
  • You may need to relocate overseas, so show that you are ready and able to do so.

 

 

Multilateral, International and Development Aid Agencies
ActionAid Adventist Development and Relief Agency Afghan German Management College
African Development Bank (AfDB) AID Kenya Foundation AIDS No More
AKDN Asian Development Bank (ADB) Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)
BRAC Business Council for Peace Camfed
CARE (relief agency) Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) Catholic Relief Services
Center for Victims of Torture Centre for Safety and Development Centre for Values in Leadership
Christian Aid Colombo Plan (CP) Compassion International
Development Bank of Latin America (CAF) European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) European Investment Bank
Five Talents Giving Children Hope Habitat for Humanity International
Heifer International Helpage International HOPE International Development Agency
ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD)
International Development Enterprises International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) International Labour Organization (ILO)
International Monetary Fund (IMF) International Organization for Migration (IOM) International Red Cross (ICRC AND IFRC)
International Youth Foundation Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Jugend Eine Welt
Lamia Afghan Foundation Light for the World Medecins sans Frontieres
Medical Teams International Mennonite Central Committee Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA)
Non-governmental organisations Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Oxfam
Peace Direct Plan International Rapid Response
Samaritan's Purse Save the Children Seva Foundation
Street Kids International Student Initiative Rahel, with the OVC project Sustainable Sanitation Alliance
Teach For All Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA) Terra Tech
Trickle Up United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) United Nations (UN)
WaterAid Women in Europe for a Common Future (WECF) World Accord - International Development Agency
World Bank Group World Food Programme (WFP) World Health Organization (WHO)
World Renew World Trade Organization (WTO) World Vision International