Invited to a UN Written Test? Here’s how to prep.

We know that less than 1.3% of applicants land jobs at top organizations like the World Bank. So it’s competitive out there.

This makes the application process especially grueling.

Depending on the type of role and organization, the usual components of the hiring process look something like this:

blog impact trends

Decolonizing development and other ideas

The I.M.P.A.C.T. Email

(Interesting, Motivating, Picture, Action, Context, Thought)

This is a fun email for Tuesday February 22nd, 2022. Hope you like it!


Powerful questions continue to rise up in how the global development job market works—or SHOULD work.


I.M.P.A.C.T. Email (02-11-2022)

The I.M.P.A.C.T. Email

(Interesting, Motivating, Picture, Action, Context, Thought)

This is a fun email for Friday February 11th, 2022. Hope you like it🙂


New debates are taking place about fair compensation in


The I.M.P.A.C.T. Email (02-4-2022)

The I.M.P.A.C.T. Email

(Interesting, Motivating, Picture, Action, Context, Thought)

This is a fun email for Friday February 4th, 2022. Hope you like it🙂


Short-term consultancies have been the major contract modality I have used to continue working in development the last 6 years or so.

I used my impact job system to apply to 10 jobs in the month of January.

Using this system, I got called to 3 interviews so far in the last few days.

Interested in learning more about this system? Hit reply and let me know what questions you have.


I’m constantly inspired by friends and classmates of mine making their own impact path.

An old classmate from Columbia University returned back home to Ghana a few years ago, got a big job at the World Bank, and launched a number of initiatives to support youth, other returning diaspora, and to discuss big ideas in Ghana.

On March 3 & 4 in Accra, Christabel is hosting the Ghana Action Forum – which aims to engage Ghanaians living abroad and at home in an action-oriented, people-centered conference to advance development in Ghana.

Highly motivational work to create a platform to share many lessons learned with the world.


More photos of the snow in Atlanta. Mostly, it went away with 24 hours or so.

This time, there were no significant reports of aggravated traffic, children stuck away from the parents, or other tragedies that could have resulted from poor public policy responses to weather.

It was great while it lasted.


This was the week of interviews for me.

As I mentioned in last week’s Friday IMPACT email, I had my first interview of the year lined up for Monday.

Then Tuesday, I received another invitation to interview – for a second potential consultancy role with WHO:

And Thursday, I held an “informal chat” on a potential role that a colleague recommended me to.

So in all, 3 interviews:

  • 2 won through my job application system
  • 1 through a referral, part of my broader ‘authentic relationship building’ approach.


As I prepared for the interviews, I think I reviewed around 500 pages of materials.

My interview preparation strategy always focuses on 3 parts:

  • Reading and re-reading the ToR. You have to know this inside and out.
  • Reviewing all of the relevant documentation I can find: strategies, reports, academic papers, and so forth. (Hint: A lot of these are already mentioned in the ToR.)
  • Researching the team, understanding its needs, new potential colleagues, and getting a sense of their background, interests and ideas.

In all, I try to prepare for interviews as if I were showing up for Day 1 on the job.

I use questions to change the terms of power, think through what I would do differently to add value, and aim overall to see where I can make a difference starting with the interview. In short, I behave on the interview as if I already got the job.

All of the material is free and online. But so few people know what to look for, that it really makes you stand out if you approach your preparation in this way: with a systematic process to make an impact from the interview itself.


When I started my career, I use to get small panic attacks thinking about being interviewed.

I didn’t know what to read (or worse: wasted all my time reading advice that had NOTHING to do with how competency-based interviews work in the development sector).

Had no clue what the people interviewing me would be looking for.

And never had any idea of what the right answer would be. (Pro tip: In development interviews, there is almost certainly no “right” answer. And if you feel as if they are trying to make you answer in a particular way, run away from that job. Ask me about the time I learned this.)

This much is true: few of us like being in the hot seat. You feel under pressure. And you believe every misspoken word or poorly formulated idea will lead to your doom.

But mastering the art of the interview is a skill that can be learned.

Being prepared, thoughtful of what the hiring team needs are, and continuously willing to learn and improve your interview skills — can make all the difference between waking up in the middle of the night afterwards FINALLY with the answer you should have given, and feeling pretty good you gave it your best shot the first time around.

That’s all this week. I hope you have a great weekend!

Chris –


Do you know your (development) audience?

A development job application – from the font on your CV, to the closing line in your cover letter — is essentially an act of persuasion: convincing the short-listing staff to place your application in the interview pile.

Persuasion, however, is not a skill we typically learn…


The I.M.P.A.C.T. Email (01-28-2022)

The I.M.P.A.C.T. Email

(Interesting, Motivating, Picture, Action, Context, Thought)

This is a fun email for Friday January 28th, 2022. Hope you like it 🙂



This past month, I have now applied to 9 consulting opportunities in development. Many deadlines have yet to pass, and usually it takes 2-4 weeks to hear back if you’re shortlisted.

So I was a bit surprised to hear back so quickly from 1 recent application…