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FAQs & Resources > Application & Selection Process

Application & Selection Process

According to the UN Charter, the primary considerations in the selection of staff is:

  • Efficiency
  • Competence
  • Integrity 

Most organizations make special efforts to recruit:

  • Qualified women
  • Applicants from under-represented countries and regions

Application Tips

How do I find international organization vacancies?

  • Look for organizations where your skills are needed
  • Check organization websites daily or weekly as some vacancies have a short turn-around
  • Subscribe to vacancy announcements for the organization

How do I create a competitive application?

  • Match the job: Your skills, interests and experience should match that of the organization, position, and level
  • Meet or exceed all requirements
  • Review the strategic plan or framework for the organization
  • Understand required competencies and tailor your application to them
  • Use S-A-R method in writing (Situation, Action, Result)
  • Tailor the application to the position and organization (use key words from the announcement)
  • Apply for hard-to-fill positions, and consider positions in field locations
  • Write a statement of interest/cover letter tailored to the organization and position

More ways to write competitive applications:

  • Highlight applicable skills such as managerial experience, multilateral experience, or related international experience
  • Include English fluency in your application (and all other languages known)
  • Fill out forms completely and correctly
  • Be succinct in showing your relevant skills and accomplishments
  • Apply to many positions for which you are qualified
  • Prepare your application using the organization's application profile (often more extensive than your typical resume or CV) 
  • Double-check your application for grammar or typographical errors
  • Choose relevant, appropriate references

Selection Process

Evaluation of the Application

Your application is evaluated in terms of experience, education and skills. Only if it is determined that you meet most or all of the requirements will you be contacted to undergo an assessment (i.e. a knowledge-based test or another type of simulation exercise) or interview.

If it is determined that you are not eligible or only meet some or none of the requirements for a particular position, you will be informed at the appropriate time that your application was unsuccessful.  In this case, you should not be discouraged but apply for other jobs for which you feel qualified.

Assessment Exercise

The assessment exercise could be either a written exam or any other type of simulation exercise or case study. If language is a core requirement of the job you may be asked to complete the assessment in the language in which you are claiming fluency in addition to your native tongue.  These assessment exercises are conducted in strict confidence and you will be informed in advance of the time, type and length of the assessment. If, based on the result of the assessment, you are short-listed for a competency-based interview, you are informed accordingly.

If you are not short-listed for the competency-based interview, you will be informed at the appropriate time. Please note, however, that the type and frequency of correspondence with individual candidates may vary throughout the application process.

Competency-based Interview

The competency-based interview can take place either via telephone, video conference or in person. You will be notified in advance of the time, duration and/or place of the interview as well as of the names of the interview panel members. During the interview, the IO learns more about your combination of skills, attributes and behavior that are directly related to your successful performance on the job.

Selection Notification

Based on all the findings of the various evaluation and assessment stages, a pool of qualified candidates is recommended for selection.  Such a recommendation is reviewed by an independent body, composed of staff and management representatives, which makes sure that the applicable procedures were followed correctly and that all applicants were considered in a fair, transparent and objective manner.  After the review body has endorsed the recommended candidates, the head of the department makes a selection.

If you are the selected candidate, you are informed that you have been selected.  If you were in the group of candidates recommended for selection, but you were not selected for a particular job opening, you may be informed that you are included in a roster for possible future selection. This means that within a defined period of time set by the organization, you may be contacted to confirm your interest in an upcoming similar job opening in the same job family and at the same level without having to undergo the entire application process again. Even if you have been included in the roster, you should actively continue to apply for job openings for which you feel qualified.  Please note that each organization may have their own set of procedures in establishing and managing rosters; if you are included in a roster, please check with the individual organization on their specific procedures.

If you are not included in the pool of candidates recommended for selection, you will be informed at the appropriate time.

Understanding Roster Management

A roster is a pool of candidates who have already been vetted as viable candidates through the application process and who are ready for immediate selection.  If you have been informed of your inclusion in the roster, either based on the recommendation for a specific or for a generic job opening, you can potentially be selected for an upcoming job opening without having to repeat the entire application process.  Once you are included in a roster, you will be regularly contacted by e-mail to either confirm your continued interest in upcoming job openings, or you may choose to temporarily put on hold or permanently withdraw your roster candidature.  Please note that each organization may have their own set of procedures in establishing and managing rosters and it is recommended that you confirm procedures with the individual organization of interest.

Appointments based on Geographic and Gender Balance

  1. To enable as many member states as possible to have their nationals represented on the professional staffs, the UN and some other international organizations consider geographic balance when filling vacancies.
  2. Some UN agencies have developed formulas for determining the “desirable range” for equitable representation of member states on their staffs.  These formulas are generally based on member states’ financial contributions, their population, and general membership.
  3. Some UN agencies are seeking to hire more qualified women applicants in hopes of increasing the representation of women in professional and senior positions.