5 tips for recruiting local staff
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5 tips for recruiting local staff

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Hiring managers and program managers face a variety of challenges that affect the success of their field operations. The management of human resources, and in particular of local staff, ranks among......

Hiring managers and program managers face a variety of challenges that affect the success of their field operations. The management of human resources, and in particular of local staff, ranks among the most important — and complicated — of such challenges. Here are five tips for the successful recruitment and management of local staff.

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  • 1. 5 Tips for Recruiting Local Staff for international development recruiters
  • 2. Hiring managers and program managers face a variety of challenges that affect the success of their field operations. The management of human resources, and in particular of local staff, ranks among the most important — and complicated — of such challenges. Here are five tips for the successful recruitment and management of local staff.
  • 3. Strategies differ markedly within the aid community on the size of local staff and how to recruit for it. 1. One size doesn’t fit all Candidates are being sourced in a variety of ways — through newspaper ads, radio, in-country networks and local recruitment agencies as well as the Devex Jobs board, for instance. But how best to recruit depends on the location, internet connectivity and how locals view the presence of a particular organization or foreign groups overall.
  • 4. 2. Recognize the pitfalls of decentralized hiring When hiring is decentralized, inconsistencies emerge in contracting, remuneration, the classification of posts, rigidity of the screening process and interview practices. Many aid groups depend on their field offices to spearhead the hiring of national staff, but this can lead to inconsistent local hiring practices. This calls for officers at headquarters and in the field to collaborate on staffing. The trick is to have headquarters coordinate, not make the decisions.
  • 5. Diversity means more than having local professionals work with internationals — it’s in how you mix people of different genders, ethnicities and backgrounds. 3. Build a diverse team Ensuring that an office’s staff reflects the region’s diversity can be tough. There have been field offices that didn’t employ any member of the indigenous group they served, for instance. For home office staff, traveling to the field is often crucial to understanding in-country cultural differences. 
  • 6. To keep employees engaged and creative, it’s important to provide meaningful skills and career development opportunities. 4. Engage employees For local hires, engagement can be tough when promotions are infrequent. But with an increasing emphasis on “going local,” aid groups are increasingly putting national staff in positions of authority and offering career counseling, international exchanges, training and participation in conferences and other events.
  • 7. A lack of cohesion between local and international staff can jeopardize project success. 5. Create cohesion between local and international staff Local staffers often represent an element of continuity in field offices, while international representatives come and go. One way to show inclusion and promote sharing among staff of all levels is to arrange regular meetings, including staff retreats to discuss the past year and upcoming priorities.
  • 8. Recruiting and retaining skilled local staff is particularly complicated. Read the full story with more opinions from HR representatives here: The Challenges and Opportunities of Hiring Locals