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Recruitment for Reconstruction: Engaging Engineers for Household Disaster Assessment

HERD International is collaborating with National Planning Commission (NPC), Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development (MoFALD), Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD), Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), The World Bank, United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) and Kathmandu Living Labs (KLL) to implement a National Housing Reconstruction Programme (NHRP) from December, 2015. NHRP has been envisaged to conduct a comprehensive assessment of all households in the districts highly affected by the earthquake in order to identify the extent of damage to the households using uniform engineering criteria. The outcome of this assessment would be a robust database to inform reconstruction programme of the Government of Nepal ultimately enhancing the capacity of the government to quickly respond to future disasters through risk reduction efforts and support long-term social protection efforts. In simple terms, this programme is a follow-up validation survey to the Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) study conducted by NPC.

HERD is responsible in recruiting human resource, training and logistics and transport management under this project. Currently, we are recruiting engineers on a daily basis as we need to recruit about 2500 investigators and about 150 senior engineers in a short period of three to four weeks. Vacancy Announcement about the recruitment was published in HERD’s social media accounts as well as posted in HERD’s website since October. An online application was created and interested candidates filled the form online which automatically is stored in HERD’s central server. Once received, the information are extracted in the EXCEL file and the HR and Communications team at HERD conduct the screening as per the requirement. HERD has a dedicated team consisting five people who are responsible in selecting the candidates. 

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Dr Sushil Baral, HERD Executive Chairperson orienting interviewees about the project and HERD's Scope of Work under the project

Sushila Moktan, Office Executive at HERD informed that the team has been communicating with around 200 engineers on a daily basis. The eligible candidates are shortlisted by the preferred districts, permanent address and submission date and called for an interview. Considering the huge number, group interview is conducted in several batches where 40 to 45 interviewees participate in a single batch. The session is facilitated by a team of four experienced people - 3 HERD members and one senior engineer. Per day, two to three interview sessions are organized. During the session, an overview of the project is given to the applicants and their detailed scope of work is mentioned. The interviewees are informed about the potential hardships as well as benefits of their involvement in such a programme of national significance.

Innovativeness using Information Technology

The interviewees then appear an online objective test. A set of objective questions has been developed by HERD recruitment panel. They appear the test using tablet PCs. HERD IT team orient about using tablet before they appear the test. The result of the test is received immediately. This is a new system introduced at HERD for recruitment. HERD IT team is well resourced in terms of adequate number of tablet PCs and developing various survey tools using Kobo Collect application. HERD introduced tablet based survey data collection since 2014.

Intervieews appearing online test using tablets

Post the online objective test, the recruitment panel also asks the interviews various subjective questions related to survey data collection, coordination, field management and other technical aspects in a group discussion. During this process, the panel closely observes attitude, etiquette and confidence of the interviewees. The recruitment panel takes joint decision about the selection of the interviewees based on the results of the objective test and rating of the subjective questions.

A recruitment panel member asking subjective questions to the interviewees

The interview is followed by administrative procedures. Once the interview is over, the applicants’ information is verified and uploaded with the pictures and a temporary ID is generated with a reference number for further communication if they are selected and contacted for contractual purposes.

An Applicant's information being recorded by HERD HR team member

Rajeev Dhungel, IT Manager at HERD shares, “This is the first time HERD has practiced the online recruitment system. It has been very effective as we do not have to spend more time updating each information from paper based documents into an EXCEL file. The information is already recorded in our system and can be accessed from anywhere. If we would have taken the whole recruitment system manually, more time and effort would have been required. Now the online system has reduced almost 50 percent of our time.”

Interviewee and Interviewer Insights

Ajit Khanal, Civil Engineer and an applicant shares his experience - “I found the whole recruitment process as rigorous and systematic. Considering the large number of applicants, even during the group recruitment, I thought our individual assessment was done very smartly by the recruitment panel.  Appearing online test using tablets and recording our personal information online also make things very clear and simple as all our information are verified and recorded”.

Sudeepa Khanal, Manager – Health Systems Research at HERD and one of the recruitment panel members opines, “We have been dealing with a large number of human resource this time. The interview dates are planned with first come first serve basis according to their time availability. This whole e-recruitment system is new for us. If it turns out to be effective, we will institutionalize this practice at HERD”.

In a week's period, more than 500 engineers have been selected in 16 batches of recruitment session. The interview process is scheduled to continue at least for 2 more weeks.

 

Contributors: Dr Sushil Baral, Sudeep Uprety and Kritagya Regmi


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