FC 109/21

Finance Committee

Hundred and Ninth Session

Rome, 9 – 13 May 2005

Requirements to compete effectively for a Post in FAO

Table of Contents

I. Background

1. At its 108th session held in Rome from 27 September 2004 to 1 October 2004, the Finance Committee requested that a note be prepared to advise member countries on the appropriate means for their nationals to compete effectively for positions with FAO.

II. FAO requirements for selection to Professional Posts

2. All professional positions within FAO are advertised with a statement of duties and responsibilities, a set of minimum selection requirements and criteria used to evaluate candidates for these positions.

Minimum requirements

3. This is a statement of the minimum requirements needing to be possessed for application for a given vacancy.

The minimum requirements comprise the following elements:

4. Of particular importance is the requirement for relevant experience. It is absolutely essential for professional positions that applicants meet the relevant experience requirement. Unfortunately, FAO receives many applications from candidates who do not have any relevant work experience.

5. As far as language requirements are concerned, where the Organization receives an application from a candidate with excellent relevant work experience and academic qualifications but who fails to fully meet the language requirement for the limited knowledge of a second language, a waiver of the language requirement can be requested by the recruiting division at the time of final review of the case. The Organization also applies the language requirements with a degree of flexibility for candidates from non-represented countries or severely under-represented countries, where the requirement for the knowledge of a second language is normally waived, if the candidate fully meets the other minimum requirements.

Selection Criteria

6. Also included in the Vacancy Announcement is a statement of Selection Criteria. These are the relative criteria used to assess and rank candidates who meet the minimum requirements. These criteria often go into more detail in terms of specific skills and abilities sought and provide the basis for an objective assessment of candidates.

The selection process

7. FAO receives on average about 200 to 500 applications for a given vacancy announcement (reaching up to 1000 for some administrative positions). However, the vast majority of applications do not meet the minimum requirements. Primary consideration is given to the technical and academic qualifications of candidates, who are therefore expected to closely meet the requirements and selection criteria. If a candidate falls short on one of the requirements, the requirement can be waived on condition that it is compensated by either particularly relevant experience or academic qualifications, etc. in relation to the position under review.

8. An inter-departmental committee reviews the recommendations made by Divisions on the selection to advertised positions and makes final recommendation to the Director-General. This Committee ensures that the recruitment process followed has been fair, that the candidates proposed are the ones who more closely meet the requirements and best fulfil the selection criteria announced in the vacancy announcement. Due respect is paid to gender and geographical distribution issues during the overall process.

III. Conclusion

Information to candidates on the importance of minimum requirements and selection criteria

9. Candidates who apply through their governments, should be informed that only those who closely meet the minimum requirements and fulfil the criteria advertised in vacancy announcements can be considered further in the recruitment process.

Alignment of applications against the selection criteria

10. The first screening being done on the basis of the written application, candidates who submit their applications through their government, should be invited to present their applications for a given position against the announced selection criteria, to provide enough information for a thorough evaluation of their experience. Only those candidates who are positively assessed after the first round of evaluation will be invited or contacted for an interview.

Application for the relevant level

11. Government institutions are invited to encourage candidates with limited international experience as yet to apply to more junior positions (P2 or P3), where the emphasis on international experience is less than for higher-level positions.

Wider circulation of vacancy announcements

12. Finally, member countries can assist in disseminating FAO vacancy announcements to a larger number of institutes and associations in their own countries, as one of the main issue FAO is faced with is the little number of qualified applications received from non- and severely under-represented countries.