5 Steps to get a job in the United Nations

UN Missions - practical tips on how to pass UN interview (part 2).

Practical Tips on How to Pass a UN Interview: Part 2 (UPD.2024)

The procedure of interviewing in UN agencies and International organizations can many times differ from the procedures in private companies. Here we collect the most important general tips.

Part - 1 UN Missions - general tips on how to get a job in the UN?

Securing an interview with a United Nations (UN) mission is a commendable achievement, reflecting your potential to contribute to global peacekeeping, humanitarian, and development efforts. Building on foundational strategies, part 2 of our guide delves deeper into practical tips for excelling in a UN interview, highlighting nuanced approaches to stand out as a candidate.

6. Demonstrate Knowledge of UN Operations and Language

  • Study Key Documents: Familiarize yourself with critical UN documents such as the UN Charter, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the mandate of the specific UN mission you're applying to. Demonstrating knowledge of these documents shows your commitment and readiness to contribute to the organization's goals.
  • Learn UN-specific Language: UN agencies often use specific jargon and acronyms. Understanding and appropriately using this language can convey your familiarity with the UN ecosystem, making you a more compelling candidate.

7. Showcase Cross-Cultural Competency

  • Highlight International Experience: If you have worked or volunteered abroad, highlight these experiences to demonstrate your ability to navigate diverse cultural settings, an invaluable skill in UN missions.
  • Emphasize Adaptability: Share examples that showcase your adaptability and resilience in unfamiliar or challenging environments. This ability is crucial for success in the dynamic and sometimes volatile contexts in which UN missions operate.

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8. Prepare for Competency-Based Questions

  • Use the STAR Method: Structure your responses to competency-based questions by describing the Situation, Task, Action, and Result. This method helps you deliver concise and structured answers that effectively demonstrate your competencies.
  • Review the Competency Framework: The UN competency framework includes values such as integrity, professionalism, and respect for diversity. Prepare examples from your past experiences that align with these competencies.

9. Understand the Missionโ€™s Current Challenges

  • Stay Informed: Keep up-to-date with current events and challenges facing the mission you're applying to. This knowledge allows you to discuss relevant issues intelligently and suggest potential contributions or solutions.
  • Discuss Relevant Solutions: Use your understanding of the missionโ€™s challenges to discuss how your skills and experiences can help address these issues, demonstrating your immediate value to the team.

10. Exhibit Strong Analytical and Problem-Solving Skills

  • Prepare Examples: Have specific examples ready that showcase your analytical abilities and how you've solved complex problems in the past. Be prepared to explain your thought process and the outcomes of your actions.
  • Link to UN Objectives: Whenever possible, link your problem-solving examples to the broader objectives of the UN, showing how your skills can be applied to further the organization's mission.

11. Ask Insightful Questions

  • Prepare Thoughtful Questions: Asking insightful questions about the missionโ€™s operations, challenges, and expectations demonstrates your interest and engagement. Avoid questions that could be easily answered through a basic website search.
  • Seek Feedback on Contributions: Inquiring about how you can contribute to the missionโ€™s success not only shows your eagerness to make an impact but also opens a dialogue about expectations and how you can prepare for your role.

12. Follow Up Thoughtfully

  • Send a Thank You Note: A concise and thoughtful thank you note after the interview can reinforce your interest in the position and leave a lasting positive impression.
  • Reflect on Interview Performance: Reflect on your interview performance, noting areas for improvement and strengths. This reflection is invaluable for future interviews, whether with the UN or other organizations.

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"CARL" Principle for the UN interview.

Context. Provide an overview of the situation; what it was about, when it occurred, and how you first got involved; identify key events and timeframe.

Actions. Cover significant events, specific instances, that were clearly attributable to you rather than the team.

Results. What was the outcome, impact or results of your actions? You may be asked questions such as: How did it turn out? What was the final result?

Learning. What learning did you take away from this experience?

You may prepare all these situations in advance and learn them. For example, answer the interview question "Tell us about a time when you dealt with a "difficult" partner. Yor should always say about lessons learned and how to avoid such situations in the future (if it possible).

During the Interview

What to do during the interview:

  • Make a good first and last impression
  • โ€ข Maintain eye contact with the person who asked the question, if culturally appropriate

  • Even on the telephone, smile
  • โ€ข Listen carefully to the complete question

    โ€ข Keep to the point & be as specific as possible

    โ€ข Provide concrete examples demonstrating how you were able to handle a situation and/or learned from it

    โ€ข Ask for clarification if a question is not clear

    What do NOT do during the interview:

    • Answer in hypothetical
    • Talk about "we" rather talk in the "I". If you tell about teamwork, specified what was your read of responcibities.
    • Talk endlessly about theories or statements about future
    • Interrupt the panel
    • Ask questions about benefits and entitlements

    UN Personal History Profile (PHP) -General Tips

    • Ensure your cover letter and the information provided in your PHP are always up to date.
    • Your cover letter is the personal introduction that accompanies your PHP. It should not be longer than 1/2 to 1 page with greetings and ending part "thank you for the consideration".
    • Look at the 'work experience requirements in the job opening and make sure these are clearly reflected in your PHP
    • Do not use acronyms - spell out everything. It means do not right down "EUBAM Rafah" - write the full name of the mission - "European Union Border Assistance Mission for the Rafah"
    • Tailor your PHP and cover letter to the actual you are applying to - it means check job description and adjust your PHP and Cover letter to the requirements of the job describtion.
    • Always proofread your application and edit for consistency and accuracy. It is good to use plugins for Chrome such as Grammarly.
  • The majority of current mission vacancies are in french speaking countries. Being bilingual in French and English is an enormous asset.
  • Currently our most desired candidates are Arabic speakers, French speakers, and/or senior women. New missions are currently being staffed for MALI (MINUSMA), Somalia (UNSOM), and our newest integrated. peacekeeping operation in CAR - MINUSCA. UNMEER (the mission combatting ebola) is also...
  • The United Nations has made a serious commitment in achieving gender parity in its workforce. Currently women comprise about 28% of internationally-recruited civilian staff, so qualified women are strongly encouraged to apply.
  • Conclusion

    Advanced preparation, strategic presentation of your experiences, and a thorough understanding of the UN's operational context are critical for passing a UN interview. By demonstrating your knowledge, skills, adaptability, and commitment to the UN's mission, you position yourself as a strong candidate capable of making meaningful contributions to global efforts. Remember, success in a UN interview is as much about showcasing your potential to contribute as it is about proving your alignment with the organization's values and objectives.

    Read our other articles:

    Recruitment Process in UN, UNICEF, OSCE, and other NGOs.\

    ๐Ÿ“š ๐——๐—ถ๐˜€๐—ฐ๐—ผ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐—›๐—ผ๐˜„ ๐˜๐—ผ ๐—š๐—ฒ๐˜ ๐—ฎ ๐—๐—ผ๐—ฏ ๐—ถ๐—ป ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—จ๐—ก ๐—ถ๐—ป ๐Ÿฎ๐Ÿฌ๐Ÿฎ๐Ÿฏ! ๐ŸŒ๐Ÿค ๐—ฅ๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐—ฑ ๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ฟ ๐—ก๐—˜๐—ช ๐—ฅ๐—ฒ๐—ฐ๐—ฟ๐˜‚๐—ถ๐˜๐—บ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐˜ ๐—š๐˜‚๐—ถ๐—ฑ๐—ฒ ๐˜๐—ผ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—จ๐—ก ๐Ÿฎ๐Ÿฌ๐Ÿฎ๐Ÿฏ ๐˜„๐—ถ๐˜๐—ต ๐˜๐—ฒ๐˜€๐˜ ๐˜€๐—ฎ๐—บ๐—ฝ๐—น๐—ฒ๐˜€ ๐—ณ๐—ผ๐—ฟ ๐—จ๐—ก๐—›๐—–๐—ฅ, ๐—ช๐—™๐—ฃ, ๐—จ๐—ก๐—œ๐—–๐—˜๐—™, ๐—จ๐—ก๐——๐—ฆ๐—ฆ, ๐—จ๐—ก๐—™๐—ฃ๐—”, ๐—œ๐—ข๐—  ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฑ ๐—ผ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐˜€! ๐ŸŒ

    โš ๏ธ ๐‚๐ก๐š๐ง๐ ๐ž ๐˜๐จ๐ฎ๐ซ ๐‹๐ข๐Ÿ๐ž ๐๐จ๐ฐ: ๐๐จ๐ฐ๐ž๐ซ๐Ÿ๐ฎ๐ฅ ๐“๐ž๐œ๐ก๐ง๐ข๐ช๐ฎ๐ž๐ฌ ๐ก๐จ๐ฐ ๐ญ๐จ ๐ ๐ž๐ญ ๐š ๐ฃ๐จ๐› ๐ข๐ง ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐”๐ง๐ข๐ญ๐ž๐ ๐๐š๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง๐ฌ ๐๐Ž๐–!

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