4. Personnel mobilisation


  • Decide on the most appropriate source of recruitment and define critical factors in personnel selection appropriate to the emergency.
  • Mobilise existing CO personnel/CO Emergency Response Team as the first response.
  • Mobilise international emergency response personnel by following Protocol D3 Emergency personnel mobilisation .
  • Apply adapted rapid recruitment procedures to national recruitment to fill national staffing needs.

Personnel must be mobilised as quickly as possible to meet the emergency operations needs. Once the CO has identified the staffing requirements, the CO should consider the most appropriate option to mobilise personnel depending on the needs. Options include:

  • mobilising existing Country Office personnel for the emergency, preferably a pre-identified and trained Emergency Response Team (ERT)
  • requesting the deployment of emergency staff from other parts of CARE International, including national staff in other COs and international emergency response staff
  • rapid external recruitment of national staff locally
  • rapid recruitment of international emergency staff.

When deciding on selection of specific staff, managers should consider the following factors to ensure the right team.

  • What are the most important staffing factors for the emergency team?
    • Level of experience in an emergency context
    • Overall number of personnel required or possible within budget constraints
    • Balance of knowledge and skills required within the team
    • Level of sector experience deemed necessary for specific roles
    • Balance of gender and diversity within the team
    • Local or regional knowledge
    • Language ability
    • Health considerations and specific security threats to individuals or the team on the advice of the CI Security Unit
    • Location of the emergency
    • Proximity to the disaster and availability for rapid deployment
  • Are there additional challenges of assessment and start-up operations?
    • The assessment stage typically demands a high level of expertise, staff that must be able to operate in such a high-risk environment with minimum support or supervision.
    • Typically, the assessment team will be made up of staff with experience in a similar emergency response operation.
  • What are the gender and diversity considerations to ensure a balanced team?
    • Gender and diversity factors must be considered in an emergency context to ensure that all staff is able to work effectively.
    • The CO may need to modify the work and living conditions, environment or location constraints to prevent or minimise the exclusion of some staff from the emergency operation (refer to Chapter 1 Gender, and Chapter 4 Administration).


The first step in selecting emergency personnel is to consider the staff capacity and resources available in the CO (where one exists) where an emergency response is activated.

Mobilising existing CO personnel requires the CO to have undertaken a range of preparedness measures (refer to Chapter 9 Emergency preparedness planning), including:

  • conducting a HR capacity and gap analysis
  • identifying and training existing staff to form the Emergency Response Team
  • formulating a mobilisation plan for the ERT
  • obtaining agreement in advance for potential redeployment from the line manager and staff member concerned
  • considering contingency planning and backfilling strategies to cover ongoing work when staff is transferred to the emergency.

Annex 16.10      Human resources capacity systems checklist *substitute EPP gap analysis???


  • Confirm which staff are required for the emergency operation.
  • Request their release from the line manager and staff member concerned (preferably this will have been agreed in advance or ultimately be mandated by the Country Director).
  • Obtain authorisation from the donor if this transfer is to be paid by project. The line manager may request the authorisation of the donor where necessary.
  • Identify a strategy to backfill – ie. replace the normal work of the staff member who may be assigned to the emergency environment.
  • Organise a contract variation for the staff member as necessary.
  • Notify Country Office payroll department of any changes to salary/benefits.
  • Notify the Country Office finance department of changes made to ensure expenses and salary are correctly coded for the duration of the emergency assignment.
  • Request staff to complete an updated Record of emergency data (RED) form.
  • Issue a CARE identification card.
  • Monitor internal travel movements of emergency staff by using the Duty travel form.
  • Provide the staff member with a safety and security briefing appropriate to their assignment.
  • Provide available and relevant written materials on the emergency environment and programme activities-for example, sitreps, programme summary sheets, etc.
  • Inform the staff member of any personal supplies or team equipment that they should travel with-for example, laptop computer, radios, etc.-and make sure they are informed of any restrictions that may be applied to specific items.
  • If the staff member is travelling from one country location to another and will be crossing international borders, please refer to Annex 16.11 Pre-departure/deployment checklist, (*this is from 2007, do we have an update?) to ensure all actions in the deployment process are met.

Annex 16.12        Record of emergency data form  *is this the most current?
Annex 16.13        ID card-template
Annex 16.14        Duty travel form

If additional staff is required from outside the existing CO, skilled CARE staff may be found from various sources including the CARE International Roster for Emergency Deployment (CI-RED).  This is a centralized database resource coordinated by the CI Surge Capacity Coordinator.

To request mobilisation of these staff contact redrecruitment@careinternational.org (or obrien@careinternational.org).

Note: costs associated with the deployment of existing CARE International emergency staff will generally  need to be covered by emergency programs, so country offices should be reminded to budget accordingly.

Country Offices undertaking rapid recruitment of national staff for emergencies must adapt normal recruitment procedures so that they allow the most rapid process possible. The recommended process for rapid recruitment of national staff is outlined below.

Ensure good coordination and decision-making between HR and the emergency team

  • The Country Director (or delegate) is responsible for staff planning, identifying staff requirements and authorising recruitment activities.
  • The CO Human Resources Manager, in consultation with the line manager, is generally responsible for coordinating recruitment activities for national staff.

Annex 16.15      Recruitment checklist-national staff

Formulate job description descriptions for every position

  • Adapt job descriptions from existing samples to speed up the recruitment process.

Annex 16.16      Sample job descriptions-national staff

Secure authorisation for recruitment

  • Complete a recruitment authorisation form for the national staff member.
  • Ensure the position is approved by the Country Director or authorised delegate, line manager and CO Finance Manager.

Note: In emergencies, speed is a key factor of success. To achieve this, it can be necessary to decentralise recruitment and allow sub-offices to hire directly. This has to be done with clear guidelines sent to all sub-offices as quickly as possible. A ceiling grade, above which only HR at head office is allowed to interview and hire, has to be set. A memo describing the guidelines for decentralised recruitment needs to be endorsed by the Country Director (or delegate) and sent out immediately. Refer to Annex 16.17 Decentralised recruitment memo CARE Sri Lanka sample.

Issue and circulate a vacancies notice

  • Advertise vacancies as widely as possible to all local internal and external networks.
  • To speed up the processing of applications, contact only selected candidates for interview-this needs to be mentioned on the vacancy notice.
  • Due to the urgency of an emergency environment, a closing date might not be specified, and suitable curricula vitae (CVs) are forwarded to the CO until the position is filled.

Screen applications

  • Review CVs to confirm key requirements are met.
  • Due to the urgency of emergency positions, candidates can be contacted by phone to confirm their availability or otherwise to start work immediately should they be confirmed successful at interview.
  • See Annex 16.18 CARE Sri Lanka personal history and experience record, which was used by a CO in an emergency response to keep a record of applicants’ data.

Interview schedule

  • Coordinate interviews to assess the appropriateness of candidates-interviews can be face-to-face or via telephone.
  • In urgent cases, a candidate can be employed without an interview where the candidate is an ex/former CARE staff member, with the condition that the contract duration is for no more than one month in the first instance to determine their suitability.
  • Complete a record of the interview assessment and keep it on file.

Annex 16.19      Interview framework template

Complete reference checks/other employment checks

  • A minimum of one satisfactory reference must be obtained
  • Check any other requirements such as a drivers licence or driving test.
  • In urgent cases, a conditional offer can be made to a prospective candidate pending receipt of satisfactory references or medical checks.
  • A verbal reference is acceptable (that is, face-to-face, over the telephone).
  • Notes of the reference given verbally, or a written reference if provided, must be placed on the personnel file.
  • For some positions, a medical check may be necessary, and the staff member should obtain medical clearance before any offer of employment.
  • As an example, see the guidelines on reference checks issued by the CARE Sri Lanka CO.

Annex 16.20      CARE Sri Lanka-References of candidates
Annex 16.21      Reference checks guidelines
Annex 16.22      Reference request form

Issue a job offer and employment agreement to selected candidates

  • Notify the preferred candidate once the selection is made.
  • Staff has to be informed that they are hired only for the duration of the response-false hopes must be avoided at all costs. In this respect, special attention has to be given to what hiring managers say when recruitment is decentralised.
  • Ensure a probation period is included in the contract. If this is not possible, it is best to hire staff for a one-month contract first when they are recruited in an accelerated process. The contract can then be later renewed for the required if performance is satisfactory.
  • Provide feedback to any other candidates who were interviewed. Make sure the successful candidate has accepted before declining any other suitable candidates.
  • Ensure details of new staff and employment contracts are provided to finance and payroll departments for budget and salary administration.
  • Refer to section 8 to ensure all new staff receives appropriate induction and orientation.

Annex 16.23      Employment agreements/national staff-samples

For immediate international surge staff, the Country Director (or designate) or the CO Human Resources Manager must contact the CI Surge Capacity  Coordinator to discuss and initiate these (short-term) international staff requirements in accordance with Protocol D3 Emergency personnel mobilisation.

When new/external international staff are required for the longer term, the Lead Member Human Resources Unit is responsible for helping the CO manage recruitment.

The responsibilities of the CO to manage the rapid recruitment process for international staff are outlined in section 4.5.1.

4.5.1 Responsibilities of the Country Office in the rapid recruitment process for international staff

Identify staffing requirements

  • The Country Office senior management team must identify staff needs and formulate staffing structures appropriate to the scale of the emergency response operation.
  • To communicate needs to CI, follow Protocol D3 Emergency personnel mobilisation.

Annex 16.5a   &   Annex 16.5b        Sample staffing structures
Annex 16.6          CARE Emergency Response Team job summaries

Advise the Lead Member Human Resources Unit and CI Surge Capacity Coordinator of staffing needs as soon as possible

  • In type 2 emergencies, the Country Director (or delegate) or CO Human Resources Manager informs the CI Surge Capacity Coordinator and Lead Member Human Resources Unit of the number and types of positions anticipated.
  • The CO must advise of any special requirements or limitations that may apply-for example, language requirements, etc.
  • The CI Surge Capacity Coordinator will advise if there are any known internal candidates from the centralised pool of HR resources-for example, CEG team, CI-RED database-before the Lead Member activates a recruitment process.

Secure authorisation for recruitment

  • The CO Human Resources Manager (or delegate) must ensure an emergency personnel requisition form is completed for every vacant position and return a copy to the contracting member’s Human Resources team.
  • A copy must also be forwarded to the CO Finance Manager for budgeting purposes.

Annex 16.24        Emergency personnel requisition form/international staff

Provide terms of reference for each position

  • The CO Human Resources Manager, in consultation with the field line manager, must formulate terms of reference for every approved vacant position and supply these to the CI Surge Capacity Coordinator.
  • Please refer to Annex 16.25 CI_RED terms of reference/samples, which can be modified to suit the operating context.
  • Note that the preparation and circulation of a vacancies notice will be led by the Lead Member Human Resources Unit, and falls directly under the CO’s responsibility.

Annex 16.25        CI_RED terms of reference/samples

Screening and approval of applications

  • The Lead Member Human Resources Unit and CI Surge Capacity Coordinator will provide initial screening of applications/CVs to reduce the number of CVs that need to be reviewed by the CO.
  • The CO must confirm the final selection of candidates and any particular terms of the assignment before a contract is offered by the contracting member.

Provide all required information for pre-deployment preparations for incoming staff

Refer to section 5 Pre-deployment planning.