FAQ about UN recruitment

FAQ (frequently asked questions) about UN recruitment.


I have a lot of questions concerning how to be hired by the UN, or about salaries, about positions, experience, and qualifications for UN jobs. Also, I try to give answers on quora.com concerning recruitment in UN, UNDP, UNICEF.

So I present a page with frequently asked questions about the UN recruitment process. In case you have additional questions please email me steve white(at)uncareer.net.


1. How can I start a career in International Development?


From my personal experience - the best way to start a career in international development is an internship.
A lot of NGOs, UN organizations provide really a lot of internships opportunity, especially in the summertime.
Internships may be paid and unpaid (with some social benefits). The value of an internship in an international organization is relevant experience and a really good chance to get a job in such an organization. Even if you didnโ€™t get a job after the internship, itโ€™s a huge advantage in your CV to have such experience and may help you to get a job in another organization.
Also, it is a good opportunity to discover new countries and people.

I have found some internships look at them.

There is a guidance to UNDP Internship program that will give you a whole picture on intern status in UN, including salary, leaves and working conditions:

UNDP Internship guidance

1a. What degree/diploma/certification should I get to work at the UN?


I may share my personal experience, as a person who worked in different NGOs, like OSCE, TI, European Council - officer positions are devoted to different categories like P-2, P-3, and so on.

โ€œPโ€ - means - Professional. And the first level is P-2, in common this position may be received after two years of relevant experience in the position of assistant in UN or after finishing the UN Young officer program.

For national officers positions, there is a special category National Officer (NO). There are 4 different NO grades from NO-A (the lowest one) to NO-D (the highest one).

More about Categories and grades you may check here UN Salary Scale, Grades and Contracts

For example, your should work as a Legal Assistant in UN, and after you may apply for the position of P-2 Legal Officer. Of course, you may try to get a job with only experience in a private/commercial company, but as always NGO experience is a huge advantage for the candidate.

Here is a good explanation of the HR process in the UN, UNDP, and other NGOs. Selection Process in UN and some samples of written tests and interview questions.

Some NGOs are different from the UN system, have some specific required competencies and Profesional Experience - so I should always check these details.

You may try to find the best job for you here More than 15000 jobs, career opportunities in the UN.


2. How can one get a UN, NGO, or volunteering job in India or Africa (or another country or region)?

This very popular question to me on my Facebook. First of all, you should understand where you would like to work, and second - do you have relevant experience? There a lot of UN, NGO opportunities, if you are interested work for NGO or UN in India (or may be in another country) please go here https://uncareer.net/country and select country that you prefer. For example in India now more than 300 jobs in UN and NGOs, in Kenya 500 jobs.

Next step try to find relevant job for your professional experience - if you have engineer experience try technical specializations, military experience try - security officer, security assistance and so on.

You can check vacancies daily because they have updated twice per day.

In case you've found a relevant job for your professional experience - please read this article Recruitment process in UN and after apply before the deadline.


3. How much time does a UNDP job applicant have to wait for feedback on whether she/he was shortlisted for the job?

It really depends on many things. For example, how much candidates were shortlisted and what position you want to hold. UN selection process is quite long and shortlisted candidate may wait from 1 week to 1 month. Selection Process in UN.

4. What kind of master prepares for international careers in NGO/UN?

A lot of NGOs didn't ask Master's Degree for the positions of assistance and service staff. As usual, you need Bachelor's degree with some professional experience. Of course if you would like to become a Legal officer or Human Rights officer you need a Master degree in Law.

But for general service jobs (Grade G) or service staff (GS) as I mentioned before Master's degree is not required.

For example https://uncareer.net/vacancy/it-assistant-29672 (Education: Bachelor degree or equivalent required.)

Or another one https://uncareer.net/vacancy/assistant-video-game-... (BSc in Computer Science, Electrical engineering, Statistics, Computational Finance, Economics or related field.)

So find a suitable job for you and check the Required Skills and Experience.


5. What career options in the UN are possible for an engineer?

There are a lot of options to work for the UN and other Non-government organizations as an engineer. Look here a lot of opportunities Search

All depend on your engineer profile and your wishes to work abroad, especially in dangerous regions like Afghanistan.

But also you can find good positions in the US, for example, some good offers you may find here Engineer positions.

6. I don't understand UN contracts and about salary in UN agencies. What is UN salary scale?

We've drafted an article concerning this question, please read UN Salary Scale, Grades, and Contracts


7. What is the Young Professionals Programme (YPP)? How to Apply?

Full answer you may find

Young Professionals Programme Guide 2021

Young Professionals Programme Written Test Samples


8. How I should prepare for the interview? What questions may be asked?

Here is an interview guide. Here is we share real samples of interview questions for the manager adviser and administrative assistant.

Manager interview questions

Administrative assistant interview questions


9. What is ToR?

Look here for the sample.


10. How to write a successful CV for the UN or NGO?

We have released a successful CV with our notes.

Successful CV for UN.