Temporary Deputy Director of Field HR

Date: Feb 12, 2021

Location: New York City, NY, US, 10006

Company: Doctors Without Borders | Médecins Sans Frontières

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international humanitarian organization that delivers impartial medical care to people affected by conflict, epidemics, disasters, or exclusion from health care in over 70 countries.

We welcome candidates who bring a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences to join us in working toward MSF’s common mission.





The Field Human Resources Department (Field HR) is responsible for recruitment, selection, placement, and retainment of qualified and well-suited field staff to meet the growing needs of MSF field operations. 






The Field HR Deputy Director manages the main operations linked activities of the Field HR Department which aims to recruit, select, place, and retain qualified and well-suited field staff to meet the growing needs of MSF field operations.

The position is responsible for ensuring quality and consistency in departmental practices and decisions, overseeing the implementation of relevant initiatives and providing the first line of response in the case of escalated issues coming from Field Workers.

The FHR Deputy Director will work closely with the FHR Director on strategy and will be required to work with other departments in MSF USA to ensure projects are properly implemented.






  1. Essential Functions and Responsibilities




Department Management (70%)


Oversees primary FHR department functions of recruitment and placement of MSF USA Field Workers, ensuring consistency of practices while sustaining quality and quantity of placements in order to ensure strong support for MSF operations of all OCs.


Through the Recruitment Team Manager, oversees the FHR recruitment process and ensures necessary communication between the recruitment team and other parts of the department. Works with Recruitment Team Manager to develop strategies and planning for the FHR recruitment efforts and ensures alignment with overall HR needs globally.


Oversees process of the referral of candidates for placement in appropriate field positions according to their skills, experience and availability. Supervises the collaborative efforts of Field HROs with OCs, to appropriately place candidates on the field.  Ensures collaboration between HROs and recruitment team is aligned, in order to meet OC needs.


Oversees the administrative activities that occur after placement to field assignments, including work permits, travel, lodging, vaccinations, etc. ensuring efficient and supportive administrative practices.


In collaboration with the Director of Field HR, oversees the planning and execution of DEI initiatives in the department.


Ensures quality of field worker support processes, including briefing and preparation for assignments, in field support and debriefing/ post-mission support, as well as career management guidance by the team that the FHR Deputy Director directly supervises. Liaises with the MSF-USA Psycho Social Care Unit when necessary.


Appoints, leads, evaluates, and manages Field HR staff. Sets clear attainable objectives for staff, evaluates employee job performance accordingly, in accordance with established MSF procedures, and collaborates with staff to establish appropriate development paths.


Organizes and leads agenda for regular departmental meetings to coordinate activities and exchange information


Resolves team problems requiring senior management intervention.


In collaboration with FHR Director, develops the creation of relevant aspects of departmental Annual Plan and facilitates input of department under their supervision. Oversees implementation of relevant aspects of Annual Plan.


Monitors and reports on the quantity and quality of field placements with each OC and the effectiveness of the partnerships in meeting field needs.


Prepares and administers relevant parts of department budget.


Directs the development and implementation of Information Days, for preparation of first time MSF field workers, with aim to maximize volunteer safety and effectiveness on the field.


As a member of the Field HR Department, this position has obligations as a Mandatory Reporter under the MSF USA Mandatory Reporting Policy (MSF USA International Employee Handbook & MSF USA Employee Handbook). Works with FHR Director and OC partners to ensure all appropriate reporting and investigations are completed. This includes ensuring that all steps taken are documented thoroughly, and that field worker(s) are aware of steps taken.


Collaborates with MSF USA Domestic HR and Finance and Administration Departments to ensure selection and implementation of US-based benefits and payroll, ensuring adequate domestic cross-administration at all stages, including hires, promotions, transfers, and terminations.


Relations with Operational Centers and other MSF USA Departments (15%)


Works closely with other MSF USA Departments to ensure FHR support for relevant projects and initiatives, and vice versa.


Ensures that HROs are working closely with HR partners in OCs to identify personnel needs, job specifications, job duties, qualifications, and skills; to effectively and efficiently place US volunteers to adapted field positions; to learn about job performance of returning volunteers; to assess effectiveness of placement decisions and to plan for future missions.


Analyzes trends at each Operational Center in placement, turnover, retention, and grievances to determine support or action needed to adjust unfavorable trends.


Assists HROs and OC’s with the resolution of employee relations problems for US field staff, as needed.  Consults with Finance & Administration staff and/or legal counsel, as appropriate.


May take on occasional field assignments (up to 3 months duration) to respond to urgent field needs.


Represents the Field HR department as a member on the Extended Management Team (EMT) of MSF-USA.


Retention (10%)


Act as primary coordinator and supervisor in the Field HR Department for all retention outreach activities, including research, survey analysis, networking, event planning, external/internal communication, Association collaboration, HRIS and financial support.


Work directly with the Field HR Officers to create and implement outreach plans and strategies to promote MSF retention. Research ways to better support retention and devise and implement related activities. 


Special Projects (5%)


In collaboration with the Director of Field HR, supports the Field HR Department’s shared preparedness for critical incident management as a Partner Section Crisis Team (PSCT). Perform the function of PSCT HR as required.


As needed and assigned.


  1. Supervisory Responsibilities:


Manages senior-level supervisory and non-supervisory employees (HRO’s and Recruitment Team Manager) with hiring authority, who manage crucial network partnerships, training and outreach. Is responsible for the overall direction, coordination, and evaluation of these employees. Also directly supervises one supervisory employee (HR Associate) who supervises one assistant and an active pool of volunteers. Carries out supervisory responsibilities in accordance with the organization's policies and applicable laws. Responsibilities include interviewing, hiring, and training employees; planning, assigning, and directing work; appraising performance; rewarding and disciplining employees; addressing complaints and resolving problems.



  1. Extent of Public Contact


Represents the MSF movement and the experience of working in the field to volunteer candidates via presentations in large and small fora, training seminars and job interviews. 


  1. Physical Demands


While performing the duties of this job, the employee is required to sit for long periods and to concentrate on work, including typing, and turn out heavy volumes of work accurately, within the context of a moderately noisy office with many interruptions.  Must be able to proofread own work accurately so that only minor corrections are needed on an infrequent basis.


To travel to the field (usually in the developing world), the employee must attest to physical fitness to endure physically difficult, high stress situations which may include the necessity to walk long distances, carry a backpack or other equipment of up to 50 pounds, to ride long distances over very poor road conditions, to eat a limited diet and/or to reside in potentially uncomfortable housing or tents.


The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.



  1. Working Conditions, Travel and Environment


The duties of the job require regular attendance 5 days/week for a minimum of 35 hours.  Must be available to work before 9:00 am, after 5:00 pm or on weekends, as required.


Must be able to travel as required for standard domestic and international business travel as well as to MSF field projects.  While performing the duties of this job in the field, the employee may be exposed to precarious settings under high security and/or very basic living conditions and outside weather conditions.










  • Demonstrated experience with and commitment to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Minimum 2 years MSF field experience or equivalent experience at another organization, including experience in a coordination position.
  • Genuine interest in and commitment to the humanitarian principles of MSF.
  • Demonstrated leadership skills and ability to contribute to the development and implementation of strategic orientations.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and prior experience resolving employee relations issues.
  • Demonstrated ability to effectively manage staff.
  • Excellent communication skills in English (written and oral); French strongly preferred.
  • Ability to write reports, business correspondence, and procedure manuals.
  • Ability to effectively present information and respond to questions from groups of managers, staff, and the general public.
  • Ability to handle a large volume of work and to work under a great deal of pressure.
  • Excellent judgment and diplomacy.
  • Strong computer literacy, including ability to use word processing and spread-sheet and database software and to search the internet for research purposes.
  • Outstanding proven time management and organizational skills; Ability to prioritize ongoing vs. immediate needs appropriately
  • Ability to travel within the United States and to Europe, and to serve on the field for several weeks at a time, as needed.




  • Minimum 3-5 years senior management experience, plus Bachelors Degree, or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Medical or Paramedical background
  • Good knowledge of US context, including legal issues pertaining to HR a plus.



Note that the majority of the MSF USA office is continuing to work remotely until the end of 2021, and as such, US remote work arrangements for the successful candidates will be possible until at least the end of the year. Further arrangements may be considered on a case-by-case basis in discussion with shortlisted candidates.


Remote work from outside of the US (hosted by an international MSF office) may be possible for a limited duration and considered on a case by case basis. Note that the successful candidate will be required to maintain 9:00am – 5:00pm working hours in the EST/NYC time zone in such cases.


Submissions without cover letter will not be reviewed. No phone calls  or emails please.

Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.


Application Deadline: Open until filled (applications assessed on a rolling basis)


MSF-USA/Doctors Without Borders is an Equal Opportunity Employer. No employee, or applicant for employment, shall be discriminated against in any term or condition of employment because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, or sexual orientation or any other characteristic protected by law. We are constantly striving to make our organization anti-racist. Diversity, equity and inclusion are core values. As an employee, you become part of that mission. We expect this same commitment from our staff.








Pay Class & Contract Type

Temporary FT Salaried Exempt 



Starting salary low 100 to mid 100's (commensurate with experience)


Working Time (Hours Per Week)


Nearest Major Market: Manhattan
Nearest Secondary Market: New York City