IFAD's competency framework

The UN Competencies were launched in 2002, when the Secretary-General commissioned a project to build human resources capacity through the introduction of organizational core values and competencies which are essential for all staff. Further, additional managerial competencies were introduced for those who manage the performance of others. These competencies are used as a foundation for our human resources framework, including recruitment, workforce and succession planning, staff development and performance management.

Competencies describe the behaviour that IFAD expects from everyone. While operational objectives describe what the staff member is expected to achieve, competencies describe how objectives should be achieved.

The framework consists of 10 generic competencies:


  •  Strategic thinking and organizational development
  •  Demonstrating leadership
  •  Learning, sharing knowledge and innovating
  •  Focusing on clients
  •  Problem-solving and decision-making
  •  Managing time, resources and information
  •  Team working
  •  Communicating and negotiating
  •  Building relationships and partnerships
  •  Managing performance and developing staff

All staff members are expected to demonstrate all organizational competencies in their work. As part of performance planning, supervisors will guide their staff by focusing on the competencies that merit more attention based on the previous performance review, on their performance plan, and on the individual development plan and requirements.

Download the brochure to learn more about the each of the competencies.

Competency-based interviewing

If you have been selected for an interview for a vacancy at IFAD, we reccomend you get aquainted with competency-based interviewing.

It's a method used commonly in the UN system, and is meant to probe how past experience tells a story about the candidate. Competency-based interviewers will ask probing-type questions in an attempt to determine past performance, achievements and contributions. In other words, a hiring manager – or interview panel – will analyse answers to questions about past performance.

Competency-based questions probe both successes and challenges faced, and the story can either leave a positive or negative impression. It tells a story about talents, skills, abilities, knowledge and actual experience in handling a variety of situations. The best way to handle competency questions is to recall a specific experience related to the question, talk about the role or steps taken, and what the results were.

That is, the Situation, Task, Action, Result (STAR):

  • Provide a description of the Situation
  • Clearly describe the Tasks or specifics involved in the situation
  • Talk about the Actions required to address the situation
  • Present a clear statement of the Results of the actions