5 Steps to get a job in the United Nations

Recruitment Process in UN

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

NOTE: This guide is updated for the 2024-year requirements.

The recruitment process in organizations such as the United Nations (UN), UNICEF, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), and other non-governmental organizations (NGOs) is designed to be transparent, fair, and merit-based, ensuring that the best candidates are selected for the roles. While each organization has its specific procedures, there are common elements in their recruitment processes. Below is an overview of the typical steps involved in getting a job with these international entities:

This guide describes the recruitment and selection process for filling local FTAs and international FTA posts, which are either non-rotational or are rotational posts but not covered by candidate pools. (What is FTA you may see here https://uncareer.net/un-salary-scale-and-contracts )

The recruitment process will be described in the example of UN, or UNHCR.

The recruitment process in organizations such as the United Nations (UN), UNICEF, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), and other non-governmental organizations (NGOs) is designed to be transparent, fair, and merit-based, ensuring that the best candidates are selected for the roles. While each organization has its specific procedures, there are common elements in their recruitment processes. Below is an overview of the typical steps involved in getting a job with these international entities:

1. Vacancy Announcement

  • Job Posting: Each organization posts vacancies on their official websites and job boards. These postings detail the job description, duties, qualifications required, and application deadline.
  • Search for Opportunities: Candidates should regularly check the career sections of the organizations' websites or subscribe to job alerts to stay informed about new openings.

โš ๏ธ Discover how to get a Job in the UN in 2024 even with no experience. Read our NEW Recruitment Guide to the UN with REAL test samples! UN Recruitment Guide ๐Ÿ“˜๐Ÿ’ผ

2. Application Process

  • Online Application: Interested candidates must apply through the organization's online recruitment system before the deadline. This usually involves creating a profile, completing an application form, and submitting a resume/CV along with a cover letter.
  • Tailor Your Application: It's crucial to tailor your application to the specific job by highlighting relevant experience, skills, and achievements that meet the job requirements.

3. Screening and Shortlisting

  • Review of Applications: HR departments review applications to shortlist candidates based on qualifications, experience, and skills relevant to the job.
  • Assessment: Some organizations might conduct initial assessments, such as tests or pre-recorded video interviews, to further evaluate candidates' competencies.

4. Interview Process

  • Interview Invitation: Shortlisted candidates are invited to interviews, which can be conducted in-person, by phone, or via video conference, depending on the location of the candidate and the nature of the job.
  • Panel Interviews: Often, a panel comprising representatives from the HR department, the hiring department, and sometimes external experts conducts the interviews to ensure objectivity.

5. Reference Checks and Assessments

  • Reference Checking: Organizations typically conduct reference checks to verify the information provided by the candidates and to gain insights into their performance and work ethic.
  • Further Assessments: For some positions, additional assessments such as technical tests, presentations, or case studies may be required.

6. Job Offer

  • Selection: The selected candidate is extended a job offer, which includes details on salary, benefits, and other terms of employment.
  • Acceptance: Once the offer is accepted, the organization will initiate the onboarding process, including any necessary relocation arrangements.

7. Onboarding

  • Orientation: New employees usually go through an orientation program to familiarize themselves with the organization's policies, culture, and operations.

Formal criteria.

The first step is to find a vacancy that is suitable for your background and your knowledge. The UN job system is quite complex and the official UN website doesn't provide all available jobs and vacancies. This is a real surprise, but it's true. The UN website provided some international vacancies, but really not all of them. There a lot of national vacancies are missed. So we advise you to use our service to find a suitable job for you.

You may use search criteria like Organisation, Location (Countries, Cities), Contract level, and so on.

๐Ÿ“ Unlock the secrets to a successful UN career and stand out from the crowd with our expert guidance. Launch Your UN Career with Our Comprehensive Guide: "UN Guide to Career Success".

Minimum academic and work experience requirements

The minimum standard for all international Professional and higher posts is usually a completed, advanced university degree (Masters or equivalent), combined with a number of years of relevant work experience. In certain cases, and prior to advertising the post, the Hiring Manager may decide to consider candidates holding a completed Bachelorsโ€™ degree with two additional years of relevant work experience in cases where specialized job requirements do not necessarily call for a Mastersโ€™ degree or the local labour market makes the requirement impracticable. The minimum standard for General Service posts is completion of high school (secondary school), combined with a number of years of relevant work experience For further information on minimum academic qualifications and relevant work experience requirements for recruiting staff in UNDP.

The first common mistake is to apply for a job that is not relevant to your past professional or education qualifications and experience. Always read carefully Duties and Responsibilities, Competencies and Required Skills and Experience. If it is mentioned that candidate needs "Education: A Master's degree or higher", you really need a Master degree of higher. If in vacancies mentioned At least 5 years of experience developing and managing user management systems - you really should have 5 years of such experience and this experience should be described in your P-11 form (special Personal History form - analog of the CV of UN purposes. More detail information about P-11 you may find here ). So carefully read the Qualifications and Experience criteria in the vacancy description. It saves your time and the time of the HR Officer.

Also, some vacancies require two and more languages (for example English and French) so pay attention to Language Requirements.

Also if you would like to know the position salary, please read this article - UN Salary Scale in UN, Types of UN contracts.


Step two - Now you are sure that your qualification, education, and experience is relevant for the published vacancy. You may press apply now button and our service will open the page with the vacancy details on the official website of the UN or other NGOs.

Warning. At the bottom of the vacancy description, there may be mentioned special requirements for the application process. Some UN agencies, NGOs have different applications rules. There are most common - 1) In the bottom is mentioned email of HR, and it is asked to send to this email your CV, and cover letter. 2) Sometimes, it is also required to send a Personal History form, P-11) 3) Not special requirements is mentioned and there is only Apply Now button.

So do not hesitate and press applies now button and fill in all boxes with a red star *. Fill in your actual email address, because all answers You will receive on this email. In the Resume and Motivation letter - you may copy-paste your CV and Cover letter. Attention - there may be special requirements like a Maximum of 1000 Characters for the Motivation / Cover Letter.


After you fill in all boxes - you should press Submit application. But this is not the end.

After this, you will be offered to attach your resume or CV. Attention. Here you should attach your completed Personal History form ( P-11). This is very important because the P-11 form is most important in your application process. Different UN agencies (UNICEF, UNDP, UNHCR) have different versions of the P-11 form, so You should download the P-11 from the official website of the UN agency that published the vacancy. After you attach your P-11 form you press the button to send/submit an application.

What's next?

The full selection process in UN agencies takes from 2 weeks to 4 months. There is a joke, if you would like to find a good job at the UN, you need half a year or even more.

The first step or reviewing of candidates is long-listing.

Long-listing process: The long-listing of candidates involves an initial screening of applications by the Hiring Unit against minimum corporate requirements, including eligibility, academic qualifications, years of relevant work experience, language fluencies and the order of retention (PA, CA, long serving FTA and qualified women, in that order).

Short-listing process: Following the long-listing process, the remaining candidates are reviewed for short-listing. To arrive at a short-list of candidates, the Hiring Unit engages in a closer review of a candidateโ€™s professional and managerial background against the requirements of the post, giving additional weight to those candidates who possess one or more of the desirable variables for the post.

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–!

The short-listing process also involves additional fact-finding. Hiring Units are encouraged to use a telephone screening to test language fluencies and to clarify issues raised in the job application, including the P.11. Hiring Units may wish at this stage to employ a simple technical screening to assess a short-listed candidates actual relevant skills. The additional information or assessment results obtained from a telephone screening must be fully documented.

This review should also look into potential issues involving residency requirements applicable for the duty station.

Reference check.

Former UNDP or UN Common System staff: Prior to completing the short-listing process, the Hiring Unit, to the extent possible, must conduct a preliminary reference check on candidates who indicate on their P-11 form that they were formerly employed by UNDP or elsewhere in the UN Common System. The Hiring Unit is expected to verify the competencies and integrity of these candidates directly with their previous UN employers, as well as their employment history, and to determine the circumstances under which they were separated from service.

Reference checks for all candidates, whether current UN Common System staff or not, should be conducted only after the Hiring Unit has consulted with the candidate and obtained permission prior to contacting the current employer for the purpose of conducting a reference check. It may be appropriate to conduct the mandatory reference check only after a shortlisting process and an interview is conducted.

If your application is successful, you will get an email to the next step of a selection process - usually, it is a writing test. How to prepare for the writing test you may read here. The next step is an interview. If you've been invited for the interview - your chances to get a job are quite well. Usually, not more than 10 candidates are invited for the interview. A common interview is arranged by Skype but can be personal. Examples of interview questions you may see here.

If your Interview is succeeded you will receive a job offer on the email after 1 - 2 weeks (sometimes it may even after 1 month).

โš ๏ธ Discover how to get a Job in the UN in 2024 even with no experience. Read our NEW Recruitment Guide to the UN with REAL test samples! UN Recruitment Guide ๐Ÿ“˜๐Ÿ’ผ

Tips for Candidates

  • Understand the Mission: Familiarize yourself with the organizationโ€™s mission, values, and the specific role's impact.
  • Network: Engage with current or former employees and attend relevant events or forums to gain insights and increase your visibility.
  • Prepare: For interviews, thoroughly research the organization, understand the role's requirements, and be ready to discuss your experiences and how they align with the job.


The recruitment process in UN, UNICEF, OSCE, and other NGOs is comprehensive and competitive. Success requires not only relevant qualifications and experience but also a thorough understanding of the organization's mission and the ability to clearly articulate how your background and skills make you the ideal candidate for the position. Persistence, preparation, and networking can significantly enhance your chances of landing a job in these prestigious organizations.

New IPSA and NPSA contracts in the UNDP and UN agencies.

This change marks a significant update in contract types, aiming to streamline processes and enhance the working conditions of contractors.

New Candidate Application Process in the UN Inspira from 2021

Explore the updated UN Inspira application process effective from September 27, 2021. This new approach introduces a succinct resume-style profile, replaces cover letters

Understanding Danger Pay in the United Nations: Its Purpose and Value

Explore the concept of Danger Pay in the United Nations, how it's determined, and its importance for staff working in hazardous conditions.

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

UN Roster is a significant achievement that positions candidates well for future employment opportunities within the UN system. It reflects a candidate's proven competencies and suitability for contributing to the UN's mission.

Recruitment Process in UN

Staff Categories P1 - P7.

The UN employs a broad range of professionals categorized into different levels based on their responsibilities, qualifications, and experience. These categories ensure a global standard across the organization.

General Service Staff (G1 - G7)

Discover the roles, responsibilities, and recruitment process for the United Nations General Service and related categories, supporting diverse functions across various job networks.

The United Nations System - All UN agencies 2024

The United Nations System is a complex network of entities and specialized agencies, each with its unique mandate and focus area. Below is a list of key UN agencies, along with brief descriptions of their primary functions and goals.

Do you have any questions do not hesitate to write me at uncareer.net@gmail.com or to FB or check FAQ about UN recruitment?

Steven White, CEO Uncareer.net