Application process

The application process can vary by organzation, position type, and grade level. Generally, the process includes the following steps.

International Organization Hiring Process

You may be informed at any stage of the process that your candidacy was not successful. In this case, don’t be discouraged and apply for other jobs for which you feel qualified.

  1. Application evaluation

    Your application is evaluated in terms of experience, education and skills. If the selection committee determines you meet most or all of the requirements, you may be asked to complete an assessment exercise.

  2. Assessment exercise

    The assessment exercise may be a written exam, a simulation exercise, case study, or another type of job-relevant test. If language fluency is a core requirement of the job, you may be asked to complete the assessment in that language 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.

  3. 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 means and/or place of the interview as well as of the names of the interview panel members. During the interview, you should highlight your skills, attributes, and experience that are directly related to successful performance in the position.

  4. Selection

    Based on the findings of the evaluation and assessment stages, a pool of qualified candidates is put forward for selection. The pool list is reviewed by an independent body composed of staff and management representatives, who make sure that hiring procedures were followed correctly and that all applicants were considered in a fair, transparent, and objective manner. After the review body has endorsed the list, the head of the department makes a selection.

    If you are the selected candidate, you will be offered the job.

    If you were in the qualified candidate pool but you were not selected for this particular job opening, you may be informed that you will be added to the roster. See understanding the roster for more about what this means.

Understanding the roster

A roster is a pool of candidates who were previously determined to be qualified for a position but were not selected. Future positions in the same job family and at the same grade may be offered to roster candidates without going through the whole application process again.

Your spot on the roster is limited to two years for men and three years for women. Once you are included in a roster, you will be regularly contacted by e-mail to confirm your continued interest in upcoming job openings. You may also choose to temporarily put on hold or permanently withdraw your roster candidature.

While on the roster, you should continue to apply for job openings for which you feel qualified.

Short-list support

If you are “short-listed” for a position, please contact us so we can assess the status of your application. The definition of what being short-listed means varies between international organizations, but it typically indicates that you will be invited to interview and are considered to be a finalist for the position.

Appointments based on gender and geographic balance

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. This may be based on an agency-specific formula for determining the “desirable range” of equitable representation of member state nationals on their staff. Factors may include member states’ financial contributions, their population, and membership category.

Gender balance may also be considered as a factor in hiring to achieve more equitable representation in professional and senior posts.

Additional resources

There are many interview preparation videos and tips from UN offices, HR professionals, and individual UN employees available on the internet that you might find useful. The links below were recommended by previous candidates but are not official U.S. government resources.

UN Competency-based Interview Tips

UN Competency-based Interview Videos