Behind the Mission: Meet the Recruiters of the World Bank Group – Tips on Navigating Careers

BEHIND THE MISSION] [Working at the World Bank Group:
Meet the Recruiters] Good morning and good afternoon and good evening. And welcome to Behind the Mission, our monthly series, where we discuss what it takes and what it's like to work in international development. I'm your host, Srimathi Sridhar. And I'm looking forward to guiding you through today's conversation on how to find a career at the World Bank Group. This institution is complex and competition for jobs is high. So just how do you go about getting your foot in the door, whether you're just starting out or are a mid-career professional? Well, who better to talk to you about all of this than our four panelists today who are recruiters at the World Bank Group.

They'll be sharing with us their insights and best practices for navigating 
careers within the organization. Now, before we get started, I do want to encourage those of you that are tuning in to share your questions with us in the comments section of our LinkedIn chat. And you can also join us online using the #BehindTheMissionWBG. We look forward to hearing from you. And with that, let's get started. And a warm welcome to our four recruiters who are here with us today from the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) Now, from the IFC, we have Rudy Moreno and Mable Udoh. And from the World Bank, we have Nagat Dawaji and Anna Frick. Now, I've got a question here for each one of you to kick things off. and please feel free to introduce yourselves at that time. I'd like to first start with you, 
Nagat, on the topic of recruitment. Now, we know that the World Bank Group is one institution, but recruitment at the IFC and at the World Bank is different. So can you tell us about those differences.

And how they affect getting a job here? Certainly, thank you, Sri. Again, my name is Nagat Dawaji 
and I come from Libya and Belgium. I've been working at the World  Bank for almost, now, 10 years. So let me start talking  about the World Bank Group. The World Bank Group consists of five organizations, which is IDA, IBRD, IFC, MIGA and ICSID, now that's a lot of acronyms. So you can go and visit our to learn more about these organizations.

The largest is IBRD, also known as the World Bank, followed by the IFC. Now the main business of the World Bank Group is to eliminate poverty. The difference between IFC and IBRD is that IBRD offers policy advice, loans, grants and technical assistance to governments with middle income and low income countries. While the IFC, which is the biggest global development institution, it focuses exclusively on private 
sector in developing countries and it… it promotes private sector investments by local and foreign investors. Now let's talk about… just the post pandemic and what
the World Bank has been doing. It has approved
US$12 billion for vaccines to vaccinate one billion people around the world
in developing countries. And this is a package
of about US$160 billion devoted towards development, which will be spent before…
by June 2021. Some of the positions
that IBRD recruits for is economists, as well as specialists with infrastructure, which includes
energy extractors transport, as well as health and education,
besides other sectors. While the IFC recruits
are for investment positions, and that's investment specialists
with backgrounds [Nagat Dawaji; RECRUITER; WORLD 
BANK]in agribusiness, finance, health care and so forth.

Now both organizations recruit for the HR, Human Resources,
Communications, IT, which is International…
Information Technology, Legal as well as Accounting. Over to you, Sri. Great, thank you so much, Nagat,
and welcome. And, Anna,
let me now turn it over to you. Headquarters, as we know, it is
located here in Washington, D.C., but we have staff
that are located in over 130 offices around the world. So, you know, seeing as we're looking
to expand our global footprint, where are you primarily
looking to hire in the future? And, Anna, I think we just need
you to unmute, please.

That's a rookie mistake. Thank you so much. So my name is Anna Frick,
I'm from Sweden [Anna Frick; SENIOR RECRUITER; WORLD BANK]
and I've been at the World Bank Group since 2013. And I started my career at the IFC,
the International Finance Corporation. So, in terms of your questions, we want to hire staff
to be close to our clients. That means in developing countries. So this is where we'll be hiring most
in the future and some of our biggest
offices are located in India, with almost a thousand staff. Kenya, more than three hundred staff, Indonesia and South Africa,
more than two hundred staff, and then Egypt, close to two hundred,
just to mention a few. And we particularly want to increase the number of staff
in fragile countries, and those are countries with
institutional and social fragility, and also countries
affected by violent conflict. Some examples of those countries are
Afghanistan, Mali, Iraq and Haiti. So as a staff member, you can
expect multiple field assignments in developing countries and most likely one
in a fragile state.

Thank you. Great, thank you so much, Anna. And, I mean, I think it's important
for folks that are looking for jobs to know that the opportunities
aren't just limited to D.C. but really are all around the world. Rudy, I'd like to turn it over
to you now. In order to achieve our twin goals of ending extreme poverty
and boosting shared prosperity, we have to be near our clients. And some of those clients
are fragile states. Now, Anna was talking
about this just now. But keeping this in mind, can you elaborate
on what applicants could expect if they do get a job here
at the World Bank Group? Take Sri and <i>bom dia a todo mundo</i>. [Rudy Perecin Mareño; RECRUITER; IFC]
My name is Rudy Perecin Mareño. And I'm a Talent Attraction
Officer at the IFC, the International Finance Corporation,
part of the World Bank Group. Thank you, Sri, for that question. I think that's a very good and related
to what Anna was just talking about. A lot of our hiring will be in fragile
and conflict affected situations.

FCS, as we call the acronym
here at the World Bank Group. If you're interested in knowing
what those countries are, you can just Google very quickly a World Bank Group list
of FCS countries and you'll see what those are. Now, obviously, you know, people
who live in these countries face issues such as, you know, failing
infrastructure, high unemployment, you know, difficult in… in finding a secure place to live. And according to our estimates, maybe… by the year 2030, which is about a little less
than 10 years from now, half the world's extreme poor
will live in those countries. So this is where we need
to focus our hiring… as well… and focus all our efforts for the future. In the last three years, IFC,
from 2016 to 2019, has already invested US$7.6 billion
in those countries. And we expect, by the year 2030, that we'll have about 40%
for allocated… annual commitments focusing
on those countries as well. Now what can someone expect? Right? Is what you were asking.

Obviously, a lot of onboard. Right? We'll have special
onboarding for people who are going to be mobilizing
to those countries. We'll have special training, right? Including training that deals
with security situations. Right? And we also have support
for their families. Right? So we have
a very strong association called the World Bank Family Network that provides support. And, you know,
they do activities, events. It's really… a collaborative community where the spouses of World Bank
Group staff can… can offer each other advice and tips, you know, where are
the best places to work and live and, you know, what to do
with your children and childcare. Obviously, we'll support
in all those steps, too. So that's what you can expect,
sometimes at IFC as well. We'll directly hire someone
to one of those fragile countries.

But we may position, and we may place
them in countries that are nearby and then they'll get to travel
frequently to those fragile states. So that's what you can expect,
more or less. Great, thank you so much, Rudy. And last but not least, Mabel, we get
thousands of applications a year and, you know, you guys know better
than anyone what that process is like. So tell me, what makes
for a competitive candidate? Thanks so much, Sri.
Very quickly, I'll introduce myself. [Mabel Udoh; SENIOR RECRUITER; 
IFC] My name is Mabel Udoh and I'm British Nigerian, and I've been with the Bank
for two years. And yes, we do definitely receive
thousands of applications and candidates really do need
that competitive advantage to make it to the top. So your resume and your cover letter,
a lot of times people ask, you know, what do I need to put on my resume or what do I need to put on my cover
letter so that it stands out? So just make sure you tailor
your cover letter to settle to the job requirement.

Make sure you meet the basic criteria
listed in the job description. So you would always see,
when we post a job, we have the rules
and responsibilities. And then also below you would see
where is the selection criteria. So just take very…
you know, take note of the selection criteria, make sure
you meet the selection criteria, because that's what will keep
you on the top, and a lot of candidates, the reason a lot of people do not
make the shortlist is only because they do not
meet the requirements of the role. But, ultimately,
a competitive candidate prepares for the interview by not just reading and understanding
the details of the job description, but also you need
to understand who we are, what we do, our project,
our values, mission. A lot of time we ask candidates
to come into an interview and you ask: "what do you
know about IFC?" "What do you know about
the World Bank Group?" And shockingly, they haven't
done their homework, meaning they haven't really prepared.
So they haven't read up what we do and when you ask them:
"What do you think about our mission? What do we do?
What do you think about our values?" And they have no clue.
Right there, you have lost it.

So you need to do your homework,
you know, read about projects in the country
you're interested in working in. So let's say you're applying
for a role in… in Cairo. What is IFC or what is
the WBG currently doing in Cairo? Their projects there.
Read up about that, that gives you a competitive
advantage, because when you are asked, you're giving examples
and these are real examples and it shows the interviewer that, "oh, wow, this candidate has
actually really done their job." Also, familiarize yourself
with the STAR approach.

I don't know how many of us know
about the STAR Approach in terms of is a type of interview
approach situation. What was the situation? You know, a lot of times interviews
are behavioral and competency based. So we want to know that you really,
really know the job. Or you have the competencies required
to be successful in that job. So read up what the requirements are.

You know, pick up examples,
you know, real examples, what you've done before in the past,
and just use that approach. And the STAR, basically what it
means, S-T-A-R is situation, you know? What was the situation, the task, what tasks or goals
did you put in place? Action. What actions did you take to meet
the set goals or the result? And then the last one is just result, which is R, what were the measurable
results based on your actions? So a lot of times, you ask:
"tell us about a time you did this." "Tell us about a time you did that."
Make sure you really prepare, pick out live examples
of what you've done and make sure you followed
this approach. You know, remember:
situation, task, action, result. Everyone wants to know
what you've achieved, what your achievements are. So result is key and very,
very important. And those are the kind of things that gives you the competitive
advantage over the next applicant. So prepare. Yeah, so do your homework
and the STAR Approach. Some really useful tips, Mabel. Thank you so much.
Folks, if you're just joining us, you're watching "Behind the Mission, where today I'm speaking with four
recruiters from the World Bank Group, Rudy Mareño, Mable Udoh,
Anna Frick and Nagat Dawaji.

They're here to share
with us their tips and insights for navigating careers
within the World Bank Group. Now, if you joined us late or you have
to leave early, don't worry, we will have a replay up
of today's chat that you can watch back
at your leisure. It'll be available right here
on our page. Now, I want to take a moment now
to actually ask our panelists some of the questions that have been
coming from you, our online audience.

I see here we have a question
from Fadijah in Tanzania, who says: "It's been more than six months
since I applied for a position, but there's been no feedback since, the status still shows as 'in review'. How long does the Bank Group take to provide feedback on the status of an application?" Can I turn this question over to you, Nagat? Sure, Sri. Well, thank you for that question and it is an important question, because here in the World Bank Group we strive to fill a position in less than 90 days from the day that we post the vacancy. So if you have been waiting quite a few months, that's probably… we have a good reason that a decision has not yet been made. As you know, and previously was said,
that it's very competitive and we do receive multiple, sometimes in the thousands, of applications for one position. Thank you so much, Nagat. Our second online question is from Kwak Tid Kwai who asks: "How diverse is the Bank's workforce?" Rudy? Can I turn this question over to you? Sure.

So, very diverse. I think there's very few institutions out in the world today that are as diverse as we are. And to me, it's fascinating. I'm Brazilian, originally from Brazil. But, you know,
just walking down the hallways, you get to see people from all over going in to eating our cafeteria. You hear all these languages. We have like about 120 languages spoken daily within our building. It's fascinating. Sometimes I feel like I'm talking with some of the brightest minds from Australia to Singapore, and they all have a different way of doing things, a different experience from what they used to do in their country. It's rich. You have four separate generations working all under the same roof. So, to me, it's a very multicultural, very diverse, fun place to work
where you constantly have, you know, new ideas and new ways to see things.

Rudy, Nagat, thank you so much for answering those online questions and let's keep the conversation going by continuing to take a closer look at what applicants can do to get started here. Anna, I'd like to actually pivot to you now for my next question. Let's look at a scenario where someone says, "I've tried applying for several jobs, but I haven't been successful." And it's something you hear often right of someone who thinks
they're doing all the right things, but they're just not making headway.

Can you share some advice on what an applicant should do to be successful? With pleasure, thank you, Sri. First of all, I want to say that we'd love to get back
to everyone that emails us, directly or through LinkedIn, and ask very relevant questions and so on. And we just simply don't have the capacity to do that. But we really hope that through this… session that we'll answer all of your questions, or at least most of them. So, number one, I'll reiterate what Mabel said because it is so important. Please look so closely at the selection criteria. This is very important. I know our TORs can be very long, but that's maybe the most important part for you to decide whether you're gonna apply or not.

So if… the role requires a master's degree and five years of experience, don't apply if you have three years of relevant experience and a bachelor's degree. It is wasting your time. So I would be… Encourage you to look closely at the selection criteria, and then, tailor your CV and cover letter to the selection criteria, to the specific job. Research has shown that recruiters or whoever is doing shortlisting for a job will spend six seconds on a CV, to decide if it goes to the yes or no pile. So, it is very important that you highlight the relevant experience for this specific job you're applying for, in the CV. And then, in the cover letter you can, for example, summarize the relevant experience and then add a personal touch or story or share your passion for this job, and also explain why you want this particular job, and why you would
be a good candidate.

So, that is in terms of the CV. And then, also bear in
mind that many people start their career at the World Bank Group as a consultant. We call it STC, short term consultant
or STT, short term temporary, And some of these jobs we also post on LinkedIn. So, keep your eyes on that. And you may even want to set up a job alert for LinkedIn. But all other jobs, they are shared on our careers website,
where you can find them.

And then, also to… increase your understanding
of the World Bank Group and maybe other areas as well. Take advantage of our open learning campus. We will share all the relevant links we are talking about now after this session. So don't worry, we will send you all of that. We will share it on our social media. And, by the way, follow us on social media and look at our website and start,
if you haven't already, to learn about all our different projects and initiative and so on. And then finally, if you do not fulfill the selection criteria. Work towards this by, for example, work in a fragile country,
if that is the requirement.

To work towards additional training, education. Maybe you need specific language skills, etcetera. So that would be my final advice. Thank you. And some really good advice there. Thank you so much, Anna. And Mabel, I want to now, turn it over to you. Tell me, what are different ways to get your foot in the door here? I think knowing what the different avenues are for employment could be really helpful. Yes.
Thanks so much, Sri. There are… You're right, yes. There are different ways to join the World Bank Group I will take us through four ways very quickly, which are the standard ways to join the World Bank Group.

And when we say the World Bank Group, obviously, we know what we're talking about is World Bank, which is also that as IBRD,
IFC, MIGA, ICSID and all that. So, number one is the summer, and I'm going to start
probably from the, you know… Asc… Descending? Summer and winter internships. So we do have internships, but we do have the summer and we have the winter. So, depending on your school calendar, if you need to do an internship program over the winter period, which is from October, November, December, January, February, you can apply, you know, to that set of internship program if your summer internship program, you know, based on your school calendar falls over the summer period, I think Europe and Africa most of the time, then you target the summer internship program.

So this is very standard. Check our website for application timelines. But please note that these programs are for graduates, meaning you must be studying towards your master's degree. So do check the timeline requirements on our career side for both IBRD and IFC. So we do have different timelines. So check our website for those timelines. The second way to join would be the Young Professional Program. I know a lot of people know our Young Professional Program, and obviously this is our flagship program, but this is now known as the World Bank Group YPP. That's World Bank Group Young Professional Program. Sometime in June, effective June this year… Last year, sorry.
Effective June 2020. The World Bank and IFC merged their respective Young Professional Programs. So now we have one, but in summary, what that means is: the YPP is a two-year leadership development program at the start of a five-year employment contract.

Please note you will start in Washington, D.C., and then this would have subsequent rotations, you know, across all the regions, all the countries. But please note, you will have to start in D.C. For this winter, application is now closed for the season. Obviously, applications started in June 2020, and right now I think we're just rounding up interviews and selection is ongoing. So if you missed this selection or if this wasn't your selection because you're actually
currently studying or you've already graduated, please note the next season will be open this year, June 2021. So watch out for that application timeline. The other way… Also, remember, candidates should be, you know, you have to be willing to relocate because it's not just…

You wouldn't just have to work in D.C. or in Europe. You wouldn't really have your own choice. "Oh, I want to join the YPP, but I can only work in London." No, that's not what the YPP program is. It is a leadership program, so rotations are mandatory. You will have to move around regionally. The other one is the consulting opportunities. I think Anna also mentioned
about STCs and ETC. So, please note this is a route to actually come in. A lot of people attempt employment today because they came in as a consultant. But do know the difference between an STC and an ETC, a short term consultant and an extended term.

So the difference has to do with the duration. Short term as it implies, means a short term and that could have, I think it does have a limit of 150 days a year, while the extended year program has a maximum of two years. So, as the name implies, short term is shorter, obviously, in terms of duration. So, when you apply note that, you know, for a short time is only a maximum of 150 days. The last one I would like to go through is staff positions, obviously, which is term employment. So, not we do post hundreds of full-time positions on our career page, usually between 2 to 3 years in terms of contract. And also, I would advise, if you are interested in any of these opportunities, please set up job alerts, you would be surprised that a lot of people that are staff today or got opportunities today came in because they got that job alert email.

And we do run reports to see where our source of area is from. And job alerts does have a high number. So, set up job alerts if you're interested in an economist position, set up a job alert for all economics positions. that will be opening in the World Bank Group. If there are several locations you're interested in, click those locations so that, when positions in those locations are posted, you would have it, you would,
you know, get the email alert and then you can apply accordingly. And I think, Anna also mentioned
for the ETs and STs, the ETs are posted
on our career website. So, you would find those
opportunities there. However, the short term consultant
are not posted on our website, so followers on LinkedIn,
follow the World Bank, follow IFC… Follow us on LinkedIn and
other social media platforms, because we do post
those positions there, so that when they're available,
you would have them. And please know you can also
set up job alerts on LinkedIn.

So go ahead and set
up those job alerts too if you're interested
in any of these roles. Thanks, Sri.
So those are the four ways very quickly. That's great, Mabel,
and thank you so much. And I actually want to mention right now, we have about fifteen hundred people
that are watching us live right now. So, it's great to have you all here with us, and, you know,
we're so glad that you're here, you know, hopefully getting your questions answered, but, you know, feel free to post any questions you have in our comments section of our chat and we will get back to you.

Now, before we get to the end of the program. I do want to take a few moments here to get all of your reactions to some common myths around working at the World Bank Group. Now, you can react to any of these, but let's get started with the first myth, which is that you have to have a PhD to work here. Is that true or is that false? Nagat, let me turn it over to you. Yes, well… as Anna said, the selection criteria is very important, …what that means? It means what are the requirements needed for that position? Some positions do require PhDs, but some don't. But the minimum requirement that is needed is a master's degree for many of our positions. So, without a master's degree, you will not be able to be selected for the position or even long listed. Great, thanks, Nagat. Myth 2 is that you need to know someone to get a job here, true or false? Thank you, Sri. Yes, I would say "absolutely no",
and I am evidence of that.

I knew no one at the World Bank Group
and I knew no one in Washington, D.C., where I'm based when I joined the World Bank Group. And actually most people that I speak to, they have the same story to tell. So, and of course, our hiring processes are very thorough. And that should not matter at all if you know someone or not. So don't even think about that if that is something that has worried you in the past. Good!
And our final myth is that you need to have an Ivy League education to work at the World Bank Group. -Rudy, what do you think?
-I could take that question. No, actually, absolutely not a requirement. It's a false. We hire people from all over, right? And we have so many country offices around the world that we're constantly hiring from everywhere. People may have studied in an Ivy League, and we do hire people from Ivy League.

We hire people from other universities. So it's not necessarily where you studied, but, you know, what you've done with that study that probably will prepare you better for selection to our roles. -Yes.
-Awesome. A huge thank you to our panelists for busting some of these myths around working here at the World Bank Group, it's always very good information to keep in mind. And now, for the final part of the program, I'd like to turn it over to all four of you with this last question. Briefly, tell me, what is the one takeaway or piece of advice that you'd like to offer to our viewers that are watching with us right now? And, Mabel, let me start first with you.

Sorry, I was on mute. Yes, very quickly, first advice, that maybe a big takeaway here is applying for a job, because obviously you want to, you know, you have a passion for international development and it's your dream to work in the World Bank Group. So first takeaway would be:
when you're applying for that job, please, please, please go through that selection criteria. It's really, really important. Make sure you meet almost all the selection criteria before you apply so that you don't fall into the hole of applying for 70 jobs within 1 month to 2 months. So, make sure you go through your selection criteria. Make sure you write up a very good cover letter as well. I think Anna gave us the tips. Your first paragraph should just be briefly introducing yourself. The next will talk about the motivation. Why do you want to join World Bank Group? Why do you want this job? And then talk about your achievement too.

List all those in your cover letter. That would be the best advice to give right now, because I know audience out there,
everyone is keen to work here. Just make sure you put in your best CV and your best cover letter all the time. Thank you so much, Mabel. And let me go next to you, Nagat,
what is your piece of advice? Absolutely. I would say that… Do not apply to every position that you see, apply to the positions once you read through it and you see the selection criteria. If you feel that this is written for you, and you have the right profile,
if you will fit right into it.

So, that is extremely important. The other thing is… I just want to say that working
at the World Bank is a privilege. I have traveled and lived around the world and coming to the World Bank,
I felt like coming home. So, it is a really wonderful place to be working at. Thank you. That's a very lovely sentiment.
Thank you, Nagat. And, Rudy, let me now turn it over to you for your one takeaway. So, my tip would be to do strategic networking, right? Obviously, everyone talks about networking and you feel like you need to click on LinkedIn and invite everyone to be your connection. and see who connects with you. And I think that's just not the right approach. You can be more strategic than that. So, for example,
let's say your focus is on education. You can go toward our disclosures page and take a look at our education projects, right? To see the countries that perhaps you may have some experience in Maybe read up about those projects and see who the team leaders are, right? So then, you know,
your approach would be more strategic to kind of approach those team leaders, right? And you would have already done some of the research.

So, you'd have something interesting to talk to them about instead of just saying, "hey, you know, I'm looking for a job." Right? So… And maybe, based on the work you're doing and the research you've done, you find actually ways that… whatever… you know, maybe research you're doing could connect to that project. So, you know, that would be a more strategic way to connect, a better way to perhaps to network as well. Thank you so much, Rudy.
And last but not least, Anna, I would love to hear your advice. Thank you, thank you so much. My advice would be do not give up. And if you don't meet the selection criteria get some more, get the relevant experience that you need. So, for example, in my own case, I actually changed jobs to become more competitive to the World Bank. And I called it a stepping stone. And it worked because I got the job on my third trial.

I actually checked and saw myself that I've applied for three jobs and I got my third job at the World Bank that I applied for. And as Mabel said,
sign up to job alert. I actually…. was made aware of the job I applied for through a job alert that was sent to my e-mail address. Thank you. And thank you all, you know,
I think this is a very inspiring note to end on, don't give up. And, you know, folks,
that was Anna Frick, Rudy Moreno, Nagat Dawaji and Mabel Udoh, our four World Bank
Group recruiters who joined me today for this episode of Behind the Mission.

I want to thank the four of you for what was a very informative and also helpful conversation on finding a career at the World Bank group. And a big thanks to you,
our online audience, for taking the time to be with us too. We hope our conversation has helped
answer some of your questions around recruitment at our institution and has also inspired you to join us
in our work to end poverty. Now, remember, if you joined us late or you just want to watch back today's conversation, you can do so right here after the show ends.

A replay will be available and we'll also be sharing all relevant links from the chat. Now, you can continue to follow the conversation online using the #BehindTheMissionWBG, and be sure to follow us on
LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. And don't forget, you can always check the latest job openings on our job site. It was great being with you here today, I'm Srimathi Sridhar, and I'll see you next time.

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