Getting a job at the United Nations (UN) involves a series of steps and a commitment to aligning yourself with the values and goals of the organization. The UN employs a wide range of professionals from different backgrounds, so there are many paths to consider depending on your skills and interests. Here is a general guide to help you pursue a career with the UN:
Find the important UN interview skills tips that will ensure you pass your interview and assessments easily.
1. Understand the UN System:
- Learn about the various agencies, funds, and programs that are part of the UN system, such as UNICEF, UNESCO, WHO, UNDP, and others, as well as their mandates.
- Identify which parts of the UN align most closely with your experience and career aspirations.
2. Assess Your Qualifications:
- Check the basic requirements for working at the UN, which often include a relevant bachelor’s or master’s degree, proficiency in English and/or French (with additional languages being an asset), and for many positions, a few years of professional experience.
- Consider roles that match your qualifications and experience. Entry-level positions typically require at least two years of experience, while more senior roles will require more.
3. Gain Relevant Experience:
- Work or volunteer in areas related to the UN’s work, such as international development, human rights, peacekeeping, humanitarian aid, or environmental protection.
- Consider internships or volunteer opportunities with the UN or other international organizations to build experience and networks.
4. Monitor UN Careers Website:
- Regularly visit the UN Careers website (careers.un.org) to find job openings and information about the application process.
- Sign up for job alerts to be notified when new positions that fit your profile are posted.
5. Prepare Your Application:
- Tailor your UN application, called a Personal History Profile (PHP), for each job. Highlight your skills, experience, and achievements that are most relevant to the position.
- Write a compelling cover letter that explains your motivation for wanting to work at the UN and how you align with the organization’s mission.
- Connect with current and former UN employees to learn about their experiences and get advice.
- Attend UN-related events, conferences, or seminars to meet professionals in the field.
7. Apply for Jobs:
- Submit applications through the official UN Careers portal.
- Be patient, as the selection process can take several months.
8. Prepare for the Interview:
- If you are selected for an interview, prepare thoroughly by reviewing common interview questions and formulating your responses.
- Demonstrate knowledge about the UN and its operations and show how your background makes you a suitable candidate.
9. Consider Alternative Pathways:
- Look into the Young Professionals Programme (YPP), internships, or volunteer opportunities through the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme if you are at an early stage in your career.
- Consider working with NGOs, governments, or other international organizations that partner with the UN.
10. Be Persistent and Patient:
- The process can be highly competitive and time-consuming, so you may need to apply several times before securing a position.
- Keep improving your skills and knowledge, and stay updated on global issues.
The Hiring Process
The hiring process for the United Nations is rigorous and competitive. It is designed to ensure that the recruitment of new staff is done in the most transparent and impartial manner, focusing on the merit and qualifications of the candidates. Here is an outline of the typical hiring process for staff positions:
1. Job Announcement
- The vacancy announcement is posted on the official UN Careers website and sometimes advertised externally.
- The announcement provides details about the duties, responsibilities, required qualifications, and competencies.
2. Application Submission
- Candidates create a profile and prepare their application through the UN’s online recruitment platform, Inspira.
- A well-prepared Personal History Profile (PHP) and a cover letter tailored to the vacancy are submitted.
3. Application Screening
- Applications are screened to ensure that they meet the required qualifications and experience.
- This process is usually automated initially, followed by a more detailed human review to select a shortlist.
- Shortlisted candidates may need to go through various forms of assessment.
- This could include technical exams, written assessments, or competency-based evaluations to test relevant skills and knowledge.
5. Competency-Based Interview
- Candidates who pass the assessment stage are invited to a competency-based interview.
- Interviews can be conducted in person, by phone, or via video conference and are typically panel interviews.
6. Reference Checks
- For those who perform well in the interview, the next step is reference checking.
- The UN contacts the professional references provided by the candidate to verify work experience and qualifications.
Employment Assessment Test Practice
The United Nations (UN) assessment test is part of the application process for many jobs within the UN system. The nature of the assessment can vary greatly depending on the specific position and the level of responsibility. Here is some general information about the types of assessments you might encounter:
Types of UN Assessment Tests:
1. Written Examinations:
These are often used for more technical or specialized roles. The exams typically assess candidates’ substantive knowledge in a particular field, as well as competencies like analytical thinking, planning and organizing, and written communication.
2. Competency-Based Interviews:
These interviews are designed to assess the behaviors and characteristics of candidates in relation to the competencies required for the role. Candidates are asked to provide specific examples of past experiences that demonstrate their abilities in areas such as leadership, teamwork, conflict resolution, and problem-solving.
For some positions, candidates may be asked to complete an online assessment. These can include aptitude tests, personality questionnaires, language proficiency tests, and job-specific technical tests.
4. Case Studies or Analytical Exercises:
In certain cases, candidates might be given a case study or an exercise that simulates a job challenge they would likely face in the position they are applying for. Candidates are assessed on how they analyze information, develop strategies, and propose solutions.
5. Language Proficiency Tests:
For roles that require fluency in more than one of the UN’s official languages, candidates may have to demonstrate their language skills through standardized tests.
6. Assessment Centers:
For some higher-level positions, candidates may be invited to participate in a full day or multiple days of assessments at a UN facility. These assessment centers can include a variety of exercises such as group discussions, simulations, role-playing, and in-tray exercises.
|Job Title||Job Network||Duty station|
|Chief of Section, Global Risk Analysis and Reporting||Economic, Social, and Development||GENEVA|
|REPRESENTATIVE, HUMAN RIGHTS (Regional Representative for East Africa & to the African Union)||Political, Peace, and Humanitarian||ADDIS ABABA|
|Security Information Analyst||Internal Security and Safety||NEW YORK|
|Graphic Design Officer||Public Information and Conference Management||NEW YORK|
|Senior Programme Management Officer||Economic, Social, and Development||NAIROBI|
|SENIOR PROGRAMME MANAGEMENT OFFICER||Economic, Social, and Development||NAIROBI|
|Risk Officer (Operational Risk)||Economic, Social, and Development||NEW YORK|
|HUMAN RESOURCES OFFICER||Management and Administration||NEW YORK|
|CHIEF OF BRANCH, PROGRAMME||Economic, Social, and Development||NEW YORK|
|CHIEF OF BRANCH, POLITICAL AFFAIRS||Political, Peace, and Humanitarian||NEW YORK|
Top Job Interview Questions
Interview Questions You Should Be Prepared to Answer
- How Would Your Boss and Coworkers Describe You?
- How long do you expect to work for this company?
- What Are Your Salary Requirements?
- What Do You Think We Could Do Better or Differently?
- Why Do You Want to Work at This Company?
- What motivates you?
- How much do you expect to get paid?
- Can You Explain Why You Changed your Career Paths?
- Why do you want this job?
- What’s a Time You Disagreed With a Decision That Was Made at Work?
UN Job opportunities
Search for potential jobs in the UN organization