HIRING IN 120 COUNTRIES
1 AWARD AND COUNTING
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is the UN’s global development network. Headquartered in New York City with offices in 170 countries and territories, UNDP works to eradicate poverty, and to reduce inequalities and exclusion. It helps countries develop policies, leadership skills, partnering abilities, institutional capabilities and build resilience in order to sustain development results.
UNDP needed to hire 120 new leaders within four months. It was no small feat, given the time constraints, the high-ranking positions for which they were hiring, as well as geographical and time zone challenges.
Georg Peitchev, human resources specialist at UNDP, was tasked with the ambitious recruitment project of hiring international senior executives. “These are fully-fledged representational roles that oversee programmatic work, operations, stakeholder relations, and programme delivery between $5 million and $500 million dollars,” explains Peitchev.
It was high-stakes recruiting that needed to be done quickly—without compromising quality or subjecting candidates to unfair hiring practices.
“Our hiring process must follow policies and procedures that are defined by the United Nations and within UNDP’s recruitment framework,” says Peitchev. “This is a hierarchical, bureaucratic organization, so there are very clear things that you can and cannot do. We have to provide an experience that is equal to everyone no matter the circumstances.”
UNDP needed a reliable online tool that facilitated collaboration among hiring stakeholders and worked well anywhere in the world.
The SolutionMultiple vendors responded to UNDP’s Request for Quotation, and ultimately VidCruiter won the competitive process. “It met (or exceeded) all the requirements, and it provides good value for what we pay to use it,” says Peitchev. Optimistic but facing skeptics, Peitchev explains: “This was a great opportunity to bring in asynchronous video interviewing, but video interviewing was being piloted at the highest level. The level of risk was quite high.” Thankfully, VidCruiter’s technology always delivers. Despite the large cohort of candidates to assess, UNDP successfully hired all the necessary leaders for the country offices—on time and on budget. They used pre-recorded video interviews, live video interviews, and digital pre-employment tests to make it happen. The video interviewing ensures UNDP gets insights into candidates’ motivations, helping identify high-potential top talent so they can move forward quickly. The skills testing (which includes multiple choice questions and written exercises) tests applicants’ knowledge of UNDP’s programs, operational policies, and procedures, as well as technical knowledge and international development understanding. VidCruiter’s recruitment software also tests candidates’ language capabilities. The UN has six official languages: English, French, Spanish, Russian, Arabic, and Chinese (though Portuguese is quite important, too). If job openings require certain language proficiency, UNDP can gain a quick, accurate assessment of applicants’ real-world ability to communicate by asking one or more video interview questions in a different language. UNDP also wanted to anonymize the skills tests so raters could not see applicant names; they would just see numbers. This blind assessment ensured a more fair process for candidates, reducing hiring bias and supporting UNDP’s goal of creating an equal playing field for all applicants. VidCruiter built this functionality specifically for the UNDP, and now many other organizations benefit from it. “We’re constantly discovering tweaks that help us improve our process,” says Peitchev. “Yet at the same time, VidCruiter is very intuitive for the level of detail and customization it offers.”
“It was a big change for us in terms of process, but the VidCruiter team made it incredibly easy,” says Peitchev. “Sometimes people get stumped by a question, but I never got the feeling any question I asked stumped anyone at VidCruiter.”
VidCruiter’s online hiring tools now allow UNDP to hire worldwide, even for high-level leadership positions and remote/overseas positions. They’ve used it to hire employees in 120 countries. “We’ve used it all across the globe, including hardship locations with sometimes unstable connectivity. Nonetheless, anywhere in the world that it’s been used, it’s worked,” says Peitchev.
By adopting a fair, standardized process with built-in rating metrics, UNDP is staying true to its goal of promoting equality and protecting human rights. The shareable profiles with candidate video responses have been “a huge help” because they are easy to share, facilitating feedback and fast tracking hiring consensus. They’ve now established a gender-balanced pool of leadership talent, encouraging more diversity and inclusion from the top down.
Since adopting VidCruiter technology, UNDP has also experienced noticeable time savings. They used to send manual follow-up emails, but now they can focus on more important, strategic recruitment tasks. “The level of automation in the system changed the day-to-day work that our recruiters do,” says Peitchev.
“If we were to do in-person assessments for 50 candidates, it would take us at least a week and a half,” Peitchev recalls. “This way we’re able to do it in four days—and that’s fully-endorsed candidates we’ve found while adhering to our policies and procedures.”
Even when COVID-19 prevented UNDP from having in-person pre-employment centers, they were still able to move forward with their recruitment without missing a beat.
The recruitment experience was such a success that VidCruiter is being rolled out to several other departments. “The senior leaders who were hired using VidCruiter got a taste of it, and they loved it. They thought: ‘this worked really well for me as a candidate, so it can work for me as a hiring manager,” says Peitchev.
VidCruiter has now been adopted by UN offices in Bangkok, Istanbul, Panama, Mauritania, and Afghanistan, along with its central recruitment unit in New York that does the majority of hiring for headquarters. The technology helps power recruitment for the leadership candidate pools, accelerator labs, and other global roster programs with hundreds of candidates.
UNDP’s revamped hiring processes reflect the values from its People for 2030 strategy and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. This includes decent work, reduced inequalities, and environmental protection. The digitized process reduces paper waste and greenhouse gases from needless travel for interviews.
In 2018, UNDP even won the Innovation in Recruitment Award at the Career Development Roundtable of International Organizations, crediting VidCruiter’s technology in part for the win.
“At the UN and UNDP, we always need and want to make sure that our work stands for quality, integrity and professionalism. When we work with someone, we need that because we run the risk of our reputation. The collaboration with VidCruiter strengthens our recruitment process and the candidates’ experience, and it shows us how important partnerships are.”
“The level of customer service is second to none. From the
get-go, it was extraordinary.
Not only the attention that I got, but more importantly, the attention our candidates get.”
“We’ve experienced major efficiency gains. It’s cut our recruiting time in half.”
Grab the Free eBook.