Most organizations in the world are tending to a projectized approach of management which means that the market for Monitoring and Evaluation (M & E) jobs for those projects is on the increase, and makes it a great career prospect for many individuals. The benefit of a career in M&E is precisely its applicability across a range of areas of work and study and thus you can thrive in sectors such as health, education, law and governance, human rights, tech, agriculture, amongst others. However, this diverse range of applications means that the field is quite competitive and you would have to show that you know your onions in order to guarantee yourself a good job position in the field. If you have the requisite experience and certifications for the job, then you are likely to be invited for an interview and you should prepare so that you can ace the interview! Note that an interview represents an opportunity for you to distinguish from other applicants beyond your qualifications. Interviewers would be watching to understand how you express yourself, interact among a community and other aspects of your personality and here are a few tips for you to pass that next interview!
- Your Introduction: Most job interviews begin with an invitation to the candidate to speak about themselves. When an interviewer asks you to tell them about yourself, it is your chance to paint an image of yourself that is relevant to the position you are applying for. This is where you build the story of your career and share about the different management positions you’ve held up till then and infuse skills that are critical to Monitoring and Evaluation. Align your technical know-how with the job preferred experience required. You could share scenarios where you conducted extensive research, made a robust design of an M&E plan and displayed evidence-based decision making using computer software for statistical analysis. It is also key to project yourself as a continuously learning person with excellent leadership, analytical and good interpersonal skills.
- How you Motivate your team: Many M & E practitioners approach their jobs almost as external to the project, that is, they simply assess whatever is being done and churn out reports for the management. This doesn’t fulfill the leadership aspect of the job since the purpose of M&E is to improve the projects and programs. This type of question also draws upon your design of the Monitoring and Evaluation plan so to show that you give targets that are ambitious, motivating, and yet realistic. Additionally, you should show your interpersonal skills as a leader who commends the members of the team as they achieve their targets and grades them accordingly, motivating them to fulfill their tasks through creativity and negotiation. This is a valuable interpersonal skill that any employer would be happy to bring into the mix.
- Managing Pressure: A key part of M&E is managing pressure, especially of meeting targets and ensuring that your projects or program are still on course to fulfill their objectives, and employers are always on the lookout for goal-oriented applicants. You should acknowledge that stress and pressure is a part of the job and share how you deal with them in a way that doesn’t have an adverse effect on your team or the projects. This question draws upon your Time management, prioritization, and organizational skills. You should share how you make contingencies for time and the successful outcome based on your use of those skills.
- Communicating Data: A major chunk of the work of M&E is about Data. From collection to analysis to presentation and visualization. Everything is about the data and so your interview panel would be interested to hear HOW you communicate data. Data communication requires precision and clarity in the description. If you can, come to the interview presenting graphs, charts and numbers of your achievements in previous projects without divulging private information and ways you’ve kept yourself abreast of industry trends and innovations.
- Show your Ethical Integrity: The job of an M&E specialist requires a high level of integrity and it is important that your interviewers can see that in you. Monitoring and Evaluation require collecting data as it is, even when it is not the desired or expected information. M&E helps identify the impact of the program, gaps in implementation, and things that worked successfully so you really cannot afford to tweak the data. Also, indicate that you understand the importance of gaining informed consent from research respondents/participants, ensuring their anonymity in the communication of research findings, and respecting data protection laws.
- Research the Hiring Organization: As an M&E specialist, your interview is your best chance to show your research capabilities and what better way to display this than your knowledge about the organization you are interviewing with. You should have a good perspective on the Company’s core business, and their M&E practices, if possible, as well as the methods and tools used to measure results in the industry or programming sector for the hiring organization. Your interview panel will likely be convinced by your practical examples that speak to their own organization’s programming and measurement biases.
For more tips on building your M&E skills,reach us at Ritetrac Consulting Ltd today and we’ll be happy to help!