According to WordPress, my blog post about tips on landing a World Bank job as a JPA has been one of my most popular for 2011. So here is another attempt to share more information by means of answering some questions I got by email. With the email sender’s permission and request for anonymity (thus the “###” to replace some personal details), I am posting our email exchange below:
Hi, Andrew, I am “H”, one of the visitors of your blog.
Your blog indeed has alot of interesting information regarding the JPA programme as well as other development issues.
I have recently submitted my application for a JPA position and I would like to ask you how the selection process works.
I am assuming it would be very much competitive (I am not even sure how many candidates are competing for one position).
Would there be any written or technical tests if you are shortlisted? or would there be the first round interview right after you are shortlisted?
Is the selection committee responsible for the recruitment or the department that is recruiting is?
I am under 28, have a master’s degree in a relevant subject (MSc. in ### and B.A ###) and have done a number of internships at the ### and other international organizations as well as banking and finance sector (I guess there are 9999 more candidates with similar qualifications out there though).
I also have a ### contact (he is based in ### though) who is the ### representative to ### and ### in ###. Would it be okay to use him as my wb reference?
I am wondering how I could appeal my background and qualifications in order to get selected.
Thanks for the great info and will look forward to hearing back from you!
And here was my reply:
Thanks for visiting my blog and your interest in the JPA program.
It is indeed competitive (this is not to scare you) based on my experience, and like any job application. Out of curiosity, I remember asking my now-manager after the phone interview: How many applied for the job? He said he read 100 CVs. If I get my statistics right, that is 1% chance of getting accepted. I remind myself of this number every time I slip out of focus, which instantly nudges me back on track.
I would assume there is no standardized test employed in the selection process because the duties of JPAs vary widely depending on the background and expertise required by the unit in search of a JPA. The World Bank Group is a diverse organization which is in need of diverse professional backgrounds and expertise. My work at the GEF EO, for instance, require knowledge and background in the environment. Moreover, my position entails writing and online engagement skills, among others. So my ‘test’ was to write within 5 minutes a short paragraph to solicit inputs for a document from stakeholders (of course, the job entails MUCH more than that!). This test came with the first round of (phone) interview. Then there was the second/final round of interview.
The HR of the World Bank handles the recruitment/hiring process once you’ve been selected.
Based on your age and academic background (at least Bachelor’s degree), you are qualified to be a JPA. I don’t want to, and honestly, can’t ‘chance’ your acceptance for it’s a futile exercise. As you mentioned, there are 9999 other candidates and fellow applicants with the same qualifications (ok, maybe less, I think 9999 is for the YP Program) and you will be evaluated against them.
As to the reference, I would say include someone who can vouch for you and personally affirm your possession of skills to fulfill the job at hand. If your World Bank contact can do that, then by all means include him as a reference.
I wish you all the best. Let me know if you have any more questions!