When you are considering a career in the UN make sure you bring some patience for the process because applying will take you effort and time. But before we start, let’s clarify, that this post is neither trying to criticise nor defend the UN’s recruitment policies but merely outlining some of the elements of the process.Â Also, understand that Iâ€™m not representing the UN in any way and the information provided below is merely information from my experience running the UN Job List.
To begin with, let’s be clear that there is not just one organization being the UN but rather a family of different organizations forming the UN. Consequently, there is also not only one recruitment experience, so things can vary from organization to organization and even within organizations based on duty station or department.
What are the key factors that influence the time it takes for recruitment for an applicant?
- Advertisement period: To be fair to applicants and to achieve a wide circulation of vacancies most job adverts come with a closing date. This closing date depends on the nature of the recruitment, the different agencies etc. An overview over the differences in advertisement periods can be found on here. Time frame: 2 weeks to many months as announced in the vacancy
- Long listing: A typical next step in the process is to take all applicants and sort out the candidates that are not fulfilling the requirements. This is the step where the formal requirements for a job are checked. This may include the years of experience, the educational requirements, checking for relevant work experience etc. Depending on the post advertised, this can be a very long and tedious job since there are cases with hundreds and even thousands of applicants and some of the checks will take some time. In some instances long listing is done by a panel of staff to ensure fairness. This may add additional time to the process as it takes time to coordinate the panel members’ schedules. Time frame: form a few days to several weeks depending on number of applicants and job requirements
- Short listing: After the long listing the list of applicants is still very long. In the short listing the challenge is to ensure that the most suitable candidates are invited for a written test. This means that the long list is gone through in more detail and applicants are compared against each other in terms of their qualification and experience. In most cases short listing is done by a panel of staff to ensure fairness. This may add additional time to the process as it takes time to coordinate the panel members’ schedules. Time frame: typically anywhere between one week to many weeks
- Written Test: To not rely on interviews only in some cases applicants are required to pass a written test. Designing, administering, correcting and scoring the test can be a task taking several weeks if the job is complex and applicants are scattered around the world. Time frame: a few days to several weeks
- Interview: This point is relatively straight forward in terms of what needs to happen. One key challenge is to get all the right people, i.e. all applicants, all panel members into the same time zone and make sure they are reachable i.e. not traveling, being in a location with connectivity etc. Depending on the complexity of the job, several rounds of interviews can be conducted. Time frame: from a day to several weeks
- Post interview processing:In this period, some UN internal process steps have to be completed. Firstly, a decision for a recommended candidate based on test results and interviews has to be made, secondly the documentation has to be completed, thirdly there is typically in independent review of the application process in the UN to make sure that the process was transparent and fair and lastly the offer has to be produced and signed. Time frame: from one week to several months depending on the post
- Contacting the preferred candidate: What happens next is that the preferred candidate is offered the job. Sometimes by that time the preferred candidate is not available any longer and the second (or even third) in line is contacted if these candidates are found to be fit for the job. It can happen that none of the candidates is fit for the job at which point in time the process starts all over from the beginning. You can identify these cases if you see a vacancy saying â€œre-advertisedâ€. There is no need to re-apply for re-advertised posts if you already applied for that job in the first round. Time frame: a few hours to several weeks
The above outlines what happens in cases when we are talking about a standard recruitment. The process may be quite different for programmes like the Young Professional Programme (YPP) in the UN or the Junior Professional Programme (JPO) and may be very different for very high level posts. If you want to make sure you understand the process that would apply to your application, check with the organization which advertises your job.
A few considerations to keep in mind during this process:
- Unless you are short listed and invited for an interview you are not likely to hear anything from the UN. I don’t know the details of why this is the case but it is wide-spread practice so it’s best to anticipate not getting a regret letter if you consider applying.
- Even if you had an interview, you may not be hearing anything for quite a while after your interview: The reason is simply that aside from internal process review time and the contract administration time regret letters are only sent when the recommended candidate signed the contract. This is to avoid sending a regret letter to the second candidate and then offering a contract in the case of the first candidate not being available for the job.
- Processes can take a while if things need to be coordinated internationally. Trying to get experts for an interview panel from New York, Geneva and Nairobi to have time to interview an applicant from New Zealand can be quite complicated, especially since most people involved have a regular job and are not dedicated recruiters.
- The above outlines the regular case. If there are any challenges in the process (e.g. a short listed candidate canâ€™t be reached to get the interview date confirmed etc.) additional delays may be incurred.
The bottom line is: If you apply for a job in the UN do some research on the recruitment time of your organization. When applying, be patient it can take a little while. Also, once you are done with your application, keep applying to relevant other vacancies and don’t be discouraged if it does not work out on the first try. Good luck!
Update: I closed the comments. To discuss this topic – please join the FORUM and ask your question over there.
I am 24 years of age,i am a media practisionist,i love your work and am rily inspired,kindly looking forward for a chance to work in your organization,i dont mind starting with an internship.Thankyou….
Thanks for your nice comment. Unfortunately, I don’t have any jobs to offer myself.
I really love what u offer to the people in the whole world
i hope to work with you given chance.thanks
Do all the UN agencies use the same recruitment process or different? I.e. Do all of them use the new recruitment sysem,Inspira?
The big picture is usually the same. In details, the process is quite different. And Inspira is only used by the Secretariat. Other agencies have their own system
i thank u for the good services offered
I am interested in getting hired at ITU in geneva, do you have any information about the recruitement process(P grade)? do they follow the standard UN recruitment process? any tips?
Sorry, no idea how they do it. However I would assume it’s the standard process.
Many thanks for your time and erfofts to have had these things together on this blog. Jack and i also very much appreciated your suggestions through the articles in certain things. I understand that you have quite a few demands on your program and so the fact that a person like you took the maximum amount of time just like you did to steer people like us by this article is also highly prized.
Thank you very much. Good education.
Thank you for your article, it has been very informative.
However, I still have a question; could you specify which is the maximum of time that the entire procedure can last e.g for a P-3 position, i.e. from the deadline of application to the appointment of the successful candidate? I am asking because I have applied through the Galaxy e-staffing System for a P-3 position in which the deadline for application was the 19 June 2010 and the status still states â€œCandidates are under considerationâ€. I have not had any notification whatsoever, since the initial confirmation email, right after my application. Is there any possibility that I am still being considered for the job?
I’m really sorry, I don’t work for the UN so I have no insights. I heard of some processes that took an incredibly long time. However, if you have not been called for an interview after one year I would assume that you are not one of the shortlisted candidates. Sorry and good luck for your further job hunt!
Thank you Sebastian for this kind of work. I am 43 years now and currently applying for jobs in the UN. Given my age, is there a possibility of getting a job in the UN? Thank you.
I’m not aware of any age limit (other than pension age). But you will not be able to apply for the entry level programmes such as the YPP / JPO programme. All other posts / consultancies should be wide open. (Disclaimer: I’m not speaking for the UN so treat this info with care)
Dear Sebastian thank you for sharing the information.
I need your comment for the following inquiry. I was applying to one of the UN agency and finalized the interview. After long time they requested me to to send them soft copies of my last two performance evaluations.
I already sent them the soft copies but no response for almost six weeks. Shall I wait them more ? I don’t understand also why they ask me the evaluation ? Any tips ?
That’s good news! It shows that you are very far in the process (top 2 or 3). And yes, it is normal to have a little bit of time between the submission of the performance reports and the final communication that you get/didn’t get it. Good luck!
Many thanks for all the useful information. I had my interview this week, and later found out they had contacted one of my referees before the interview had taken place. Is this common and does it possibly send a good signal? I did the written test end December.
I think it is a good sign. If you get an interview, you typically get your references checked, too. Good luck!
completed tes and interview last week of january 2012 for P5. do you think i can expect to hear i got it or its already too late.
I would say yes, this may still be in the making. But it is long ago enough for a friendly follow up from your end to see where things are. Good luck!
Thanks for your advise.Would friendly follow up mean checking with HR by email? is it alright to contact UN HR??
Hi Sebastian Rottmair,
Thank you very much for the useful information!
I applied a P3 position in UN at the end of October 2011.
I finished the video interview in the middle of December 2011, and I was noticed for the reference-checking in the middle of January, 2012.
But after that, I did not get any information till now.
Any suggestion and comment? Should I need to wait for a while?
Thanks in advance!
I would do a friendly and gentle follow-up. Once you were on an interview, you should be able to get a reply on how you did.
would it be advantageous to indicate in further applications that i was shortlisted for certain positions.
I don’t really think so. But I don’t really see where it would harm either.
thanks for your responses Sebastian. Its been really useful..but still the time frame after interview is mysterious.
It is a great insight however, i still have 3 questions to ask, if you may please have time to answer:
1. Does, applying for different professional levels against different offered positions,generate bad impression? I have applied for P3 intially and then swithced down to P2.
2. Do they match different applications and profiles while weighing eligibility for a position
3. at UNFCCC if status says “short list Completed” and you do no get any notification. Does that mean you are not considered? or we may still keep our hopes.
1) I don’t think that’s a problem unless it’s in the same team (e.g. you apply to be the team lead AND the team member).
2) Not to my knowledge. If you you qualify you should be good. Note however, that it is rare that you match the requirements for several (different) jobs. So I would focus on where your expertise matches the job description the best.
3) I fear that once the Short List is complete and if you don’t get a notification that means you are not on it, indeed.
Thank you Sebastian for your guidance and help for the people who are interested in joining UN.I feel lucky as well as other people who come across your web site, please keep doing the good work.
I have just been invited to take a test in a week from now, but the only time slot that they offer me is not very convenient. Is it ok to ask to take the test on a different day?
That’s tricky. But you can always ask…
Are you automatically ineligible if you are confident in English while the job posting requires fluent English?
I’m not able to speak authoritatively, however I would say: If you can’t speak the language, don’t pretend you can speak it. However, keep in mind that most people in the UN system are not native language English speakers. Also, it depends what you apply to: If you are a mine-detection expert, you certainly need to be able to communicate but you won’t be judged on your language. If you are an editor, every comma will be evaluated. I would say be confident, but don’t be foolish.
Thank you for your helpful guideline.
Health checking process is on me. Do I have to be on diet?
I don’t really want lost this opportunity because of this process.
I was a little bit over cholesterol and blood pressure limit from standard.
Thank you very much,
Congrats! That’s good news 🙂 If you make sure you follow the instructions of your doctor this should typically not be a major issue if you are healthy. The medical is typically to evaluate if you can perform your job, not a judgement on your overall fitness.
Upon a succesful UN interview, how do they typically contact you? By email, by telephone or courier mail? Could they also send your offer contract through the local UN office in your country? Thanx
Typically by email from an official UN email address. The UN never(!) uses Gmail, Yahoo or other non-official addresses.
– Applied December 2010 for a generic post/roster placement
– Took written test in September 2011
– Panel interview in February 2012
– Informed of roster placement in May 2012 (valid for up to 2 years)
– Got contacted by a field mission in June 2012 to express interest
– Was recommended by mission in mid July 2012 to be recruited
– Since then am still waiting…
Is this normal? Should I wait longer??
I’m not sure that I’m the reference for what is “normal”. However, it seems that this is still a time that seems to be realistic. Of course you need to make sure that your career is not solely dependent on this one job but if I were you I would do a friendly follow-up where things are. Good luck!
thanks for your excellent work.
Do you have any idea how many persons are selected at each step of the recruitment process (written test, interview etc.)?
I have applied for a P3 position back in June 2012 and no news since then the process status is “under consideration”, which could be normal from what I have read in the topics above.
I rechecked the open positions for the same level and was surprised to see that they have just re-posted the position I have applied for back in June 2012. Does this mean that I was not considered for the position? Is it useful to apply again?
Thanks in advance.
Sorry, it looks like you did not make it. Typically re-advertised vacancies include a sentence along the lines of “applicants who applied earlier don’t need to apply again”. For all practical purposes this means you didn’t make it to the shortlist. Good luck for the continued job hunt!
Thanks Sebastian for your response. The Application status moved to “filled by roster”. Does this mean they did not review the external candidates profiles, and if so would this allow me to apply again for the position since it’s not a re-advertized one but a new opening? Thanks
I have applied for a consultancy and I was interviewed by phone. This part of the process was very fast: about 2 between the deadline for application and the interview. At the end of the interview I asked if it would take a long time to know the results of the interviews. They told me it would be fast, about 2 weeks. But almost 1 month has passed and I have no news. Is it usual to be interviewed and have no news?
I had an interview and was told the result would be out in two weeks but nothing has been head since
I have applied for a consultancy and I was interviewed by phone. This part of the process was very fast: about 2 weeks between the deadline for application and the interview. At the end of the interview I asked if it would take a long time to know the results of the interviews. They told me it would be fast, about 2 weeks. But almost 1 month has passed and I have no news. Is it usual to be interviewed and have no news?
Honestly, I think a 2 weeks delay does not mean too much. Typically the hiring unit wants to have you as quickly as possible but then sometimes there are other internal things that need to be taken care of before you can be hired. However, if they told you that you will hear in two weeks, there is no problem with a friendly follow-up.
Thanks Sebastian for your response. The Application status moved to â€œfilled by rosterâ€. Does this mean they did not review the external candidates profiles, and if so would this allow me to apply again for the position since itâ€™s not a re-advertized one but a new opening? Thanks
Great article! Followoing my interview I’ve been told that my application is in final evaluation with HMRS and has been for a few weeks. Will they be checking my references because I know two of them now have different contact details than those I gave when I applied a year ago?
Thanks for all your help!
Honestly, I don’t know if they will check references now. But if they do and they can’t reach references I’m sure they will follow-up with you. People move all the time and especially if you applied one year ago changes in reference contact details can happen.
I was interviewed for a job with the WHO regional office in Washington almost two weeks ago and learned last week that I was their number one choice and was recommended to human resources. I am to begin in December. They told me that it would take a couple of weeks to process everything before a contract was ready. This will include a medical exam, proof of academic credentials and a visa. What else will take place between now and then? What else does human resources need to do/verify prior to issuance of a contract?
This depends a bit on the organization. I think you outlined most of it.
Hi Estlin,good question! Did you end up getting the job? And how long was the wait from the first offer till the final contract was sent to you? Asking because i’m in the process of medical exams and reference checks as well
Applied for a D1 job may 2012 & for the first time I am with a status UNDER CONSIDERATION. Had applied previously for P level & wasnt on the list for a long time. The reason this time that I have more experience & language proficieny in French & English. With a strong military background (14 years in Pakistan & 14 years in France with an executive post & my 14 years in the Army have exactly the thing they are looking for.
My question is should I wait or should I try for another job opening?
Thx for your reply
as a very simple rule in the UN I would not ever stop looking for jobs until I have signed a contract. Too many things are uncertain and can go wrong along the way for relying on any given opportunity. Especially if you didn’t have any interview yet, be careful not to expect too much.
Good luck, Sebastian
First of all, thanks for starting such an informative blog about UN recruitment. I will appreciate your thoughts on the following:
After successfully passing a written test and undergoing a competency-based interview for a specific job opening, my name was placed on a roster of “pre-approved candidates” for a Human Rights Officer (P-3) position at the OHCHR. Since then, I have applied for three similar positions that were advertised for which I was identified as a “rostered applicant”. My question is — do you know other applicants who have been similarly rostered? Is this somehow a good sign? What factors can support or hinder my applications as a rostered applicant? Thanks in advance for your reply, Sebastian..
Being on a roster is a good sign! Keep pushing & good luck!
I hope you finally got the job. I would like to ask you about the written assessment. could you talk a bit about the structure?
Engee, I know it’s been a long time. Were you ever hired for the position you were Rostered? if so, how long after your roster date?
I applied for a GS6 position with UNICEF, waited 7 months before I was called for an interview, since the application I have gained more skill and better education. After the second interview I was asked to also apply for an NOA position, which I did. About three weeks later I was notified that my referees had been contacted. Since then, about 3 weeks now, I have heard nothing. I am considering sending an email to HR to inquire on the status of my application. Do you think I should wait a bit longer before I ask, what do you think is happening?
I think a friendly email is in order.
I am a subscriber to your UN Job List. I am still unlucky to secure a job with the UN but would like to sincerely thank you for your time and patience in supporting so many of us particularly in this age of uncertainty and unemployment.
God bless you Sir!
I registered for the Monster website job alerts and recently received an interesting position opening for the UN.
I went to the UN careers website but the position was not to be found anywhere on the site. I therefore submited my CV from the Monster site.
Is it something that can happen or do you think it is a mistake made by Monster site ?
Make sure to never(!) trust any external job website (not even the UN Job List). The real and only websites that should host the job are the original UN websites. This is also the reason the UN Job List links to the original vacancy rather than hosting the vacancy on my website.
I love your website. Thanks for making our life easier!
I’m considering applying for the next YPP.
Would you classify a paid internship that may lead to an associate position (8h a day, great responsibility) as professional experience for UN purposes?
Also, do you recommend any specialized organizations that my help you with your profile/ CV?
Yes, I would always consider a paid internship as work experience. No, I don’t recommend to use any company/organization to help you with your profile/CV. That’s not needed and usually too expensive.
Any idea about the applicants rating system within UNDP? for example how many scores for the written exam, interview, refrences feedback and RCAs (evaluations from previous jobs)?
Best regards and thanks in advance
I think this varies a little. Typically, it is 1) written test (if any) and then whoever passes the threshold gets an interview. The combined score of interview and test determines the order for recommendation. RCA and references are things that need to be right in order to move forward but typically don’t determine ranking order.
this is great source to learn more about UN, thanks for all hardwork you’ve done..
my question is, I applied to apostion apr 13 and had a written test on jul13 and an interview on aug 13 and finally on jan 14 they sent me that I am selected in roster for the further positions
so from now on do I have big chance to get into UN, so do you recommend anything for me about my next move. you’re great and I definitely need your advice.
Congrats on getting on the roster. Unfortunately, it can take quite a while to be chosen from the roster but a big first step is done. Good luck!
Why UN does not give status of application for the applied post ?
Is it good to send them an email asking status of application for the applied post.
I actually can’t answer this. Sorry, I’m not the UN.
Am currently in the UN system on GS Level 5 with a masters degree. How can i move upward to P level. I still believe am too qualified for this level.
In theory this should be no problem. In practice, there can be the perception that a jump from GS5 to P2 (or higher) is a very big jump so it can be a challenge in practice. I would try in any case. Good luck!
Great job out here on the recruitment process.
This week I received an email with an invitation to participate on the first phase of the recruitment process for UN Field Missions (rostering- close protection and Field security officer).
It will be a technical test and a competency/value test.
Any idea what I can expect on monday?
I will appreciate it if you could provide some information.
It is typically a short written test that mimics typical tasks required for the job.
Hey Omer, I received the same email but I didn’t receive the actual test. Did you get the test today? Did it come from The Test Factory? Any help would be great.
What is the meaning of getting included in to roster ? 2 days back, I got an email, stating, my name will be included in the roster of sharepoint developers. Does it mean, they will award the contract or its the back up plan for them ?
How long does it take normally to award the contract from roster ?
i have been wondering about the un recruitment process,i applied for an openning in finance and budget in june 2013,got aresponse Nov 2013 to sit for a knowledge based test,since then nothing forthcoming, how long will the next reply take if any and is that the direction it takes or i assume i didnt make it,am 43yrs will i still be eligible to apply for other opennings?
I would gently follow up. Pension age is at 65 so I wouldn’t worry about eligibility at this point.
Thank you very much for offering this opportunity for world professionals, recently I am looking for information and I found You,
I got written test and then telephone interview from UNDP grade (SC9) at 28November 2013, and they told me that I will receive from them with a two weeks to one month, but I do not see any news from them and it almost passed for four months, how should I deal with this,
I applied the same interviewed position after awhile with a different location, and other related position with same UN agency is that Okey.
Of course it is ok – keep applying until you succeed! Good luck!
I had applied for G5 Team Assistant did an assessment test interview on 20th March, 2014 still no response. should i still have hopes
If you did an interview or a test, you should get a reply. I would gently follow-up.
Thank you for the good job, i recently applied for a job and against it is written FILLED FROM ROSTER, what does this mean
It means that the job was filled by someone who was on the roster. Sorry to hear.
I have applied for the UN young professionals program and I have advanced to the oral examination stage. I will be notified in over a month whether or not I have been successful. While waiting to hear back from them I have received a job offer from elsewhere. Should I tell the UN about this other offer to speed up their decision process or is this a bad idea?
No need to tell anybody about your job offer. Normally this would only harm your chances (as there are so many other candidates). However, I would always follow-up and see if there is any news without indicating that you may take yourself out of the race.
This is very informative, thank you.
Its 6 weeks now since i did a written test for a P3 position, can i still hope to get an invite for an oral interview or has the recruitment process gone on to the next level and its unlikely that i can hear from them?
I know you don’t work for the UN but if you’d have an idea of what happens I’ll really appreciate your help.
If you had an interview/test, you should get a reply. I would friendly follow-up.
Dear Sebastian ,
Can you please let me know if i can place as reference in my online job application for UN posts , person that is active UN member that in one part of my career with another company we work together on some projects . Relation was contractor ( me ) and UN office
That shouldn’t be a problem. Good luck!
Hi and excellent work, you give us hope….,
I can’t seem to find any information in relation to the case study written assessment for the OIOS. I was looking for examples of style and type of response or, what were peoples thoughts after having completed the 2hr assessment.
Sorry, I have no examples.
Great job out here on the recruitment process.
Two weeks ago I received a call from the UN -habitat asking whether i was still interested on the internship i had applied for.
i said i was very much interested and was invited for a talk in regard to the same on 14th of May 2014 .i was told that the internship is supposed to commence on the first Monday of the month of June 2014 if i will be accepted for the internship.I have not received any communication from the department since then,Kindly I will appreciate it if you could provide some information.
Sorry, that’s firmly with UN-HABITAT only now. Good luck!
Hi Sebastian – based on your experience, would I have a chance to at least get interviewed if the status “Longlisted, Evaluation” ? Thanks!
That’s too early in the process to say anything. If there is a shortlist and you haven’t heard from them, I think then it doesn’t look good. Good luck!
thank you for this great resource. I have a question on the recruitment process. I just did a written test with a UN agency. It was supposed to be completed within 90 minutes, but I returned it with few minutes late. Do you know if this automatically eliminates my application or can I expect some level of flexibility?
I think a minute or two should not be an issue. However, the point of the test is to give everyone the same chance. So if you take 180 minutes while everyone else take 90, I would disqualify you. Then again: the internet and email is sometimes not reliable. So I’m typically either very explicit about time requirements or generous when people submit a few minutes late.
Hello. could you share information about test? i also invited to take test but have no idea about the test content and do not know how to prepare
thanks in advance
Wow, it sounds like a lot of people are looking to work for the UN. I personally applied to an IAEA slot and made it to the interview. Then they sent me an email asking me to verify my refences so they could contact them. That was about a month ago. They contacted my project officer right away for what he says was a 3-page, open-ended questionnaire. But that is the only one they have contacted. I guess each position is different how they do it. I have no idea what is going on. I asked if they needed anything else and got a response that I needed to do nothing further. In the meantime, I’m actively looking but hope to get a call sooner rather than later. Though given the 9-12 month timeline, I’m not sure what will happen. Reading this though gives me perspective and I thank you.
Just thought I’d share a slightly different process that seems to be happening, for any out there who are eager to hear about experiences.
My wife applied for a job in one of the treaty-orgs, science related (it’s generally not mentioned as one of the major orgs, i.e. WHO, etc). That’s obviously not to say that it is not *major*, just that it seems to come up less frequently as it’s highly specialized. She applied in November of 2013. In early May (2014) she was asked to have a Skype interview, and did. It’s a P-3 level job, specialized in the sciences. The interview went well — but there was no written test at all (which I found odd, as we expected it, but who knows?)
They said it would be 4-5 weeks for a result. We’re just concluding the 5th week and no word at all yet.
The moral of this story: expect the unexpected and be *patient*!
Thanks for sharing!
Hi Sebastian .. Thanks for all the info. I interviewed with un in April beginning and they changed the status of the job to “recruitment completed” in apr end . I mailed them after this to check about my job status and I got a reply “still processing “. I mailed them again in jun mid but dint get a reply. Since the job status is already “rec completed ” , does that mean they have already hired somebody ? If so , should I not get a rejection email ?
It sounds indeed a bit strange. I would gently follow-up until you have closure. Good luck!
Many thanks Sebastian ,
I have a bit complex issue- I was interviewed for a P3 position in April. Before hearing results on that- last week I received an invitation for another interview. Then in a few days they sent me a follow mail that says “This is to inform you that since you recently interviewed for a similar post, you need not be re-interviewed again for this post. In accordance with our current practice, your recent interview performance results will be included in the assessment”. What does this most likely mean in practical terms?
It just means that you saved yourself (and the organization) the effort of one interview. I don’t think that’s good/bad in itself. Good luck!
First, thank you for your efforts and guidance. I am currently on a roster for P2 positions and had interviewed for one in early June (have already done a long general competency-based interview and this was just a short call to discuss the particular position). The interviewer (head of the section where the position is) told me they would get back to me the following week after reviewing their notes on all interviewed candidates.
I haven’t heard from them since. I emailed them an updated personal profile a few weeks ago and sent a further follow up email last week (a full month after the interview) asking about the status of the position. Still no reply.
Should I assume they have selected another candidate? If so, shouldn’t they at least let me know one way or the other?
It is a bit too early to say. Sorry to hear that they didn’t get back to you yet. Good luck going forward!
Thanks for the details – they’re indeed very useful in managing one’s expectations.
I’ve just sat for my written assessment, and realized when I was reviewing my submitted application that the last reference contact I put in was not successfully transmitted through.
Hence I am actually short of one reference contact.
As the submitted application cannot be changed, would you know if process-wise, if this is an automatic disqualification, or that there will be an opportunity subsequently, if found suitable through the written test and interview, for rectification / additional information on the reference checks details?
Here is my take: note that this is how I would do it, not how everyone does it: if you are at the assessment stage, your application was good enough to pass the screening stage. Now if there is a problem further on, rather than tossing your application out they would go back and ask. So I wouldn’t worry too much right now.
I had applied for a position within the UN (P5) and submitted the application late April (within the specified time frame). However, I have not been informed of any result, although I note the position is still under consideration.
Is there a normal time frame in which a position is under consideration?
Who can I contact to establish if my application is still under consideration?
I have contacted INSPIRA who informed me the “Inspira Support Centre is not involved in the assessment of candidates and therefore cannot provide any information regarding the current status of my applications”.
Any advice on who I can communicate with to establish if my application is still being considered and what time frame I can expected to be notified of a result.
Thanks for the support and appreciate any feedback.
That seems normal procedure (sorry to say – not saying this should be normal procedure). I fear the only advice I can give right now is to wait.
Thank you a million times for your article!
The truth is that even sufficient information is insufficient when you have to wait and wait.
I hope one day I will join UN; until then I`ll enjoy the job hunting. 🙂
Dear Elena, yes – I understand that. Good luck!
I applied for over 45 positions and got rejected 45 times. I hold 3 degree from reputable universities in the U.S and have over 15 years of civil servant employment histroy. I think that I need to quit wasting my time and move on, but wanted to hear your opinion.
I see your frustration. And I don’t know what to advise. I’m not the UN and I didn’t see your applications. So there is no way for me to see what might have gone wrong. I do know however, that even if you have very good experience and great educational background there are no guarantees: I know that for many posts there are hundreds of very well qualified applicants. Then for other posts this may not be the case: it depends on what you apply for, which grade, which duty station etc.
I undertstand a highly competitive job market but I am buffled given my background academically, language skills, willingness to forgo the equivalent of a P-4 position with my current employer- a government entity- and relocate to hardship areas and getting no-where. Oh well, I guess I will have to wait few more years until retirement and I may go into teaching or do some volunteering work.
Thanks for hosting this forum.
I had applied for a position within the UN (P3) and submitted the application in November 2013 (within the specified time frame). However, I have not been informed of any result.
Almost nearly 9 months now i checked the status of the position is still under consideration.
I am tempted to gently inquire the HR on the progress. Any advice on what should i do / I can communicate with to establish if my application is still being considered and what time frame I can expected to be notified of a result. ? or it’s better just to keep waiting…
Thanks for the support and appreciate any feedback.
Doing a follow-up is definitely ok. However, after such long time, chances are getting slimmer…
I’ve been placed on the roster of a P-3 position last year after a written assessment and a panel interview. Earlier this year, I was asked to write another test (for the same position but different posting) because the hiring manager wants to do his/her own test. This month, I’m being asked again to write another test for the same position (different posting). Why do you think they keep on re-testing me? I thought because I’m on the roster for that position that I’ve been adequately assessed already. What’s your opinion on this?
Sorry, this sounds like a special case. I would go with it, as long as you feel comfortable to do the tests.
I have an interview for a position at the NO-A level. Is this job class considered as the GS-level? Will one be eligible to compete for the P-level job class once hired are in the UN system? Thanks
NOA is a national, professional level post. This means other international (professional) posts should be definitely considered as options for the next step. Good luck!
Taken from a 2010 report into UN recruitment here
Average recruitment time is between 100 and 180 days.
Thanks a lot! Great info!
I applied for a position with UNOPS in June 2014 via their GPRS system. They indicated the selection process takes three months max. Its been three months and the staus on website is still “under review”. Should I still wait for feedback?
Hm, that seems strange but yes, I would wait for feedback. GPRS will always(!) send a status update eventually.
I was selected on the roster for finance positions P3 in feb 14. after that time frame I applied more than 10 positions and received regret letters. my advice for everyone is be patient..
and two weeks ago I received again an invitation for assessment test. so the same process restarted..
it means even in roster membership you still start from the beginning..
10 days already past and still no invitation for the interview.. maybe I didn’t make it this time..
shortly getting into the UN family is really taking too much time and effort.. good luck to everyone..
Thanks for sharing & good luck to everyone indeed!
Thank you for an excellent service and the dedication you show to each query.
I am a applying for a P3 level job , for which I fit all the criteria except for knowledge of 2 particular areas, that can only be known as employee of the agency ( knowledge of Digital Asset Management System and the photo and video archives of that agency).
This is confusing as the the advert is open to external people as well, is this perhaps a coded way of saying that internal applicants are being given first priority?
I am applying regardless , as these functions are not rocket science and can be taught easily quickly and archive exposure to get get up to speed , which are anyway indexed would incumbent on the agency to allow for induction and immersion in early months.
Your thoughts would be appreciated
Yes, I would apply regardless. However, also be realistic about the chances if you believe that there are others who match the criteria even better. Good luck!
How throrough are the written refference papers? Reason I ask is that one of my referees is a senior government official and I dough they will have the time or inclination to fill out a multiple page response?
That depends from organisation to organisation. If there is no usable reply, people usually try to get different references or inquire via phone etc. Good luck!
I’ve been asked to complete an online written test for the UNFCC, but I haven’t been given any guidance on what exactly I will be tested on. Language skills? Writing skills? Computer skills? All of the above?
Typically skills relating to the advert.
Dear Sebastian Rottmair,
thank you for all the information about joining the UN. I have started applying for job roles at the UN about 1 year ago and still do not have any feedback. I am mostly applying for G5 level. I have the educational background but not the experience needed. It is so hard to get the experience when no organisation will hire someone without it. If you are lucky to afford an internship that is good, but for the others it is tough luck. I really do not want to give up on this dream and I will follow it until I get there. Is there any advice you can give in regards to joining on the lower level, such as G5 or any other lower than this? Is it still hard to get in the UN on those lower levels?
Keep going! Maybe try getting the experience in a different organization?
Since I see you have answered a question similar to mine and I am desperate, I would like to ask you the following question.
I have just submitted my application through the Inspira website (I have worked in it for weeks) and, because of a last-second mistake, I have written the name of the job post wrongly in my cover letter. Instead of saying “When I read your information about an XXX in New York”, I wrote “When I read your information about an YYY in Geneva”.
I cannot withdraw my application or change this bit of text and I am really desperate. This gives a very bad impression. In your experience, what should I do?
Thank you VERY MUCH for your answer,
Everyone can make a mistake. I don’t think this will kill your chances if the rest of the application matches.
May I ask you what is the difference between the following two selection process statuses:
1. Selection in Process
2. Selection in Progress
Which is first and which is second, and what is after?
Honestly I don’t know.
Hello Sebastian, great piece of informative writing on the UN recruitment process. I have gone through most of the comments as well and kinda got my answers. However, I still want to ask you this. I applied for three P2 level jobs on 04 June, 24 June, and 10 August, 2014 respectively. All three of them had about a month remained for deadline. The status of the all three applications say “under consideration” and I haven’t heard anything from them yet. I also haven’t seen any of the openings being reposted. Is it already too late to give up hope on them? It’s not like my life is hanging on it but I just want to get an idea to make myself comfortable. Thanks again for a great write up that will keep helping prospective applicants all the time. Regards.
Sorry, not easy to say. But I would keep some hope left for these processes. The time is not yet extremely long.
Thank you for hosting this discussion forum. My query is – I was invited to do a written test for a UN P4 job. It has now been four weeks since the test date and I had no indication that I have been short listed for the next stage of the selection process (i.e the interview). Can I assume, I am not short listed for the next stage by now ?
By the way I wrote to UN HR to ask this, but my query was not answered.
I think 4 weeks is a long time, but there is still hope. Let us know when you heard from them. Thanks!
Sebastian, thanks for all the good job youre doing.
After having some experience with applying to UN posts two points come to my mind:
1) how effective can organisation be, for which it takes roughly a year (whole process from beginning to anend) to recruit a junior employee with 1-3 years experience?
2) Communication from UN HR side is just horrible. There is simpy no explanation to the fact that a single e-mail with refusal is not sent to each candidate (can be sent automatically, cannot?).
People invest time to those applications. I dont buy explanation that the process is competitive and that is why it takes months. Even if 5,000 application comes for a post, who of you believe all of them are reviewed and discussed in panells etc? 4,900 of them are trashed immediately.
Thats my personal opinion
We all dream about working in the UN, but in the end this small fraction that will succeed in the end, might find it dissapointing. If UN works in the way it recruits its empoyees (considering all burocracy thats higly likeable) I think ambitious people might find this pleace unacceptable even if it took them years to get in.
One question for internship. I was told in a panel interview that I would be informed the results in 2 weeks, but after 2 weeks I didn’t get any emails from the HR.
Then I sent an email to her politely asking if they have made the decision, but now 3 days have been passed there is no reply from her. I don’t know what to do now.
Does it mean I have lost the chance? Or should I wait for more time?
Give it a bit more time. Sometimes things get delayed. Good luck!
Hello Sebastian, and thank you for your very useful website!
I was rostered in two family jobs for P3 positions (after 20 applications), administrative and HR officer. I’m very happy of that even if a little bit sad being twice top 2 or top 3 in a job… 🙁
Do you know, or other people seing this comment, if I have better (a little) chance in real to have job in UN in those two family jobs?
I really want to be part of UN and I really need to be revived… lol
Thank you again!
Its been about a year since you got put on the roster. Have you had a job with the UN yet? If yes how long did it take for you to get picked from the roster and did you have to undergo an interview?. Thanks for your response.
Thank you for this article, very helpful! I was also interviewed by the field office for a UNV position last week (by the head of office and the head of section who I would be working for), after conducting a written test. It has been a week now, so I’m not losing hope yet. They did say at the interview (after I asked them about the future process) that they are going to send my profile back to headquarters, some background checking, she said it was also important to be pro-active and upload my diploma’s and other things + other administrative things. In any case it sounded like that might take some time. However I assume if I don’t hear anything this week, they probably picked someone else and like you said they are waiting for that person to sign the contract before they contact me;
thanks again for this very informative piece.
Thank you so much for your excellent blog, Sebastian.
I have lots of question for hiring system of UN, therefore your blog is really useful for me.
I have a question about rostering. I hold two roster certificates (same level but different tytle) until next two years from now and keep applying for the posts at UN. However, I don’t feel any advantages from being rostered.
I am much appreciate if you explain us how and what extent rostering works when applying at UN for specific post.
Thank you again and hope you have great winter vacation.
I had a written assessment for a position at IAEA and was really surprised to see that alongside the shortlisted candidates there were some staff members taking a job related written assessment. Any idea if it is a common practice at international organizations? It really felt like they invited external candidates only for statistics
I have seen processes in which internals didn’t succeed and externals did. So I don’t think you can say it is just for statistics.
I HAVE A QUESTION ABOUT CREDIT CHECK. Is it still happen in UN SYSTEM??
thank you in advance for your answer !
No, normally not.
What is the advantage of being from non/underrepresented country? What is the point of applying to p1/2 positions if the go for JPO recruits? Thanks for your help in advance.
JPOs are typically for specific countries only. If there are countries that are encouraged to apply / can’t apply this information is typically part of the VA. Good luck
Dear Mr. Rottmair,
I recently received an Email for an “Invitation for Assessment for Generic Job Opening – Administrative Officer P-3” with the UN Field Missions Dept. of Field Support.
If you can, what is the difference between GJO and other openings? Also, have you any insight into the assessment process? It’s in a few days and I’m assuming it will be online though I haven’t received any additional information. And do you have any knowledge on the various roles Admin Officers play in the field?
Thank you very much for any insight.
Generic job openings are roster profiles. Other profiles are for a specific job.
I was contacted to take a written test but there was not a singal indication what such a test is about.
Is it appropriate to contact that person who called me for the test to ask more details about the exam?
Thanks a lot
For sure – be as prepared as you can!
I came across this site while browsing in a random manner. Excellent help to all those who are striving to join UN. I have two questions:
1) I have applied against a Roster job but didn’t receive any confirmation regarding my name being included or otherwise. The Profile status shows POSTED. What does this mean about my inclusion in the Roster?
2) A few days back I have received email seeking my availability and interest in a job, to which I replied positively. What does this indicate?
With kind regards
This is usually not a bad sign at all. Hope you got a job in the meantime 🙂 Good luck!
Hi Sebastian! Can you please thank all the commentors for me?
Their questions were as helpful as your article!
Q for you: I recently interviewed with a UN org., for a G6 position, 2-year contract in Geneva. At the close of the i/view, the hr panel member said it would take them THREE (??!) months to let me know their decision. Is this Normal, given that 3 months had already passed since the application deadline?
It seems strange that the time taken for shortlisting is ~25% of the actual contract period!
Also, would it be a good idea to write to them a month after the i/view? i ask as ive since been offered a UNV assignment, & it will be a shame if i miss both opportunities!
Thanks much & godbless.
Sorry, some parts of the system are quite slow, so 3 months is not unheard of.
Hi SÃ©bastien !! Thank you for the tips…One of the UN agency just asked for my references Check..while they never did before in my previous post interviews. Does it means I am the only candidate or there can be few Others..This is one month after the competency based interview. Thanks
There could still be others, but this looks great!
Hi, I interviewed for P3 and didn’t do a great job answering questions, essentially didn’t answer a couple of questions completely. I am planning to do a follow up email emphasizing my interest and suitability and adding some addition information that could support my candidacy. Might this make a difference or should I let it go? Appreciate your feedback. Thanks.
I would focus on new opportunities and let this one go. To be fair to all applicants, the evaluation is strictly based on the interview and later emails wouldn’t change the evaluation. You got far – use this to learn for future interviews!
I have applied for a post in UNICEF but I am not aware about the selection criteria. I have read in inspira manual that UN counts the years of work experience only after you get your degree but I do not know if this applies for UNICEF.
Can someone help me?
Sorry, I don’t have these criteria here. If anybody knows, feel free to respond!
Hi Sabestian, I am wondering if UN organizations contact your current employer before the interview (written test is done) and are you ever given a hint of that happening?
I am suspicious of some people in my head office who might not like see me rising 🙂 no surprise. Otherwise all is great.
Typically only the references you provide are contacted. And typically they are only contacted once you get really close.
Just a quick question. I have applied for Professional Position at the UN, I was informed that I was shortlisted and I was asked to send 3 reference people, I send and they replied to the UN as well, then I filled the Personal form and conflict of interest form and after 1 week, I received an email reconfirming that I have been shortlisted and I should participate in skype interview in May.
What does it mean, do I need to have good expectation on getting this job
That’s indeed usually a good sign: you should be in the final round of a few people competing for the job. Good luck!
Good day Sebastian
Thank you for your explanation and clarification
Hopefully I should get the position, I will keep prepared for the interview.
Wonderful work Sebastian,
This is what a candidate is looking for while applying for UN. I have applied for a P3 for which application deadline was 12th April 2015, not heard anything so far and status is Under Consideration. Shall, I keep on waiting?
Also would like to know your point of view on, from practical angle does it matter for UN to recruit an eligible Indian for Geneva station?
Keep waiting, keep applying and don’t worry about nationality if you apply for an international post.
You say an applicant interviewed would be contacted via email about the outcome of the interview.
I’ve had an interview today and specifically asked them if I will be notified of the decision if it is negative.
In reply I was told that, since the ultimate decision will be given by Geneva, they won’t notify a negative decision, but positive decisions will be notified. (Of course I could not argue how stupid this reasoning is against my potential employer!) They also indicated that it is stated in the vacancy notice that only short-listed will be invited to the written test, as if this is relevant to the interview.
So my question is, are you 100% sure applicants will be notified of their negative decisions upon interview? Is there a written/unwritten rule in this regard?
Thank you in advance!
(As a side note, here is my take on the process regarding notification: I understand why they notify only the short-listed candidates for the written exam. I normally don’t understand (but MAY be convinced if I am provided with justifiable reasoning) on why negative outcome of the written exam is not notified. However, in any case, I cannot comprehend why a negative decision taken upon interview would not be notified to the applicant because at this point there would be just a very few people waiting an outcome. If UN lacks such a courtesy, then who the hell in this world can I expect courtesy!?)
There is no rule about notifying in case you are not successful. Some organisations do it, some don’t. You could always ask for it, but ultimately it is about the organisation that is doing the recruitment.
Best post I could find about the topic. I’m joining to all those kind words towards you posted above.
I applied for a National Officer position (there were 5 posts advertised), was shortlisted, and interviewed in the middle of the March this year. And no further notifications at all. I’ve read your tips about follow up but the friendly follow up e-mail didn’t lead to any reply. Also I’ve seen that 2 of 5 vacancies were re-advertised.
Do you have any idea why they do not respond and if this is the time to give up hoping?
Keep waiting, 2 months is nothing 🙂
The UNHCR (and perhaps other agencies) has a policy of filling vacancies with internal placements rather than external candidates.
I was wondering internal candidates in this context also include UN volunteers currently working in a UNHCR duty station?
Sorry, I don’t know that. But if anybody knows, please chime in!
Hi Sebastian. Good stuff you got here, i interviewed for a position with the UN. Sat for a written test and subsequently told that i would be called for a competency based, and followed by an email asking me to confirm my references and send my degree certificate. After that everything went quite. I followed up with a polite email inquiring on the status and no response. Can be quite disheartening
Sorry to hear. Keep hoping but honestly, many things can change at any stage in the process (e.g. funding could be lost etc.) so don’t ever take anything guaranteed.
Nice to know you well.
I had written and personal interviews in UNOPS at last 3 weeks ago. The interview was completed well.They said the result will come out from the timeframe of 4-6 weeks. I’ve checked my application status online in their website. At the first time, “the application status is shortlisted and I had interview by them and the vacancy status is shortlisting”. After the interview has been held by 2 weeks, I had again checked in profile again. It has mentioned that” the application status is shortlisted and the vacancy status is evaluation”…Could you please tell me your opinion about it? Regards,
That’s perfectly normal. Sometimes the post interview processing takes some time.
i really would like to ask you a question if you don’t mind since i have applied for an IICA position with UNOPS and still have not received a call from them can you please tell me how long it took unops to contact you after the vacancy closing date and what type of contract you have too if you don’t mind
Thank you much for your kind help,
Do you know how UNOPS works in terms of contacting referees? I know UNDP typically only contacts the chosen candidate’s referees prior to giving an offer, but what about UNOPS? Is a reference check a good indication that I will be selected, or could it be that I am one of the final 2-3 but potentially another is ahead of me in the ranking?
Thanks for your response, and thanks for your work on the great website,
A reference check is always a good sign, that’s for sure. Of course the reference check is not just “pro-forma” but an important step in the process, thus there is no guarantee that you will get the job if the contact your references.
I did a Competency Based interview with UNDP after an initial assessment test.They have had my references checked like 2 weeks ago in addition to filling a fresh P11 & confict of interest form. What’s your opinion on this?
Hey Larry and Sebastian
I went through The same process with Undp: filling P11, conflict of interest form, submission of certificates, interview, reference check . I’ve been waiting for about a month now.
I would like to know the outcome of your case which seems similar to mine.
Finally I had Skype interview last week and I am waiting for response on the final result. Since the Terms of Reference were stronger and too much detailed as P4 I was expecting to given more than 10 questions, but the three panelist each one asked only 2 question making six at all, i do know if this is due the already sent information by the 3 reference checkers the UN have asked before the interview.
Can you give any advise whether only 6 questions for this type of position is normal procedure?
I had a skype interview 3 weeks ago for the P4 position at the United Nations and I am still waiting for response. Could you let me know if 3 weeks waiting is normal and what could be the final feedback, along with only 5 questions I was given during the interview.
Is there a way to disagree with a decision made on a written test?and is this okey that questions were developed by one persona and checked by one person?
I don’t think there is a universal answer to this. I know that in many cases answers / tests are reviewed by two or more people. But I don’t think that a formal rebuttal process is exists (or would even be appropriate)
How do i get on a rooster, i always want to apply for jobs but it tells me it’s only for rooster candidates, i am confused.
It is normal. I am myself also dispairing after an interview. My interview, also P-4, went very well but now will have to endure the long wait. It can take up to 8 months to get an offer after the interview. Good luck!
I have a question. I applied in December 2014 to P4. In March we supported the test. When are the results of the test?
This depends on the agency / the process. There is no generally valid answer to this.
Following the above emails, I had skype interview a month ago and I am still waiting for any feedback, but up to now nothing came out. Should I still expect the feedback or should I send email to the UN Human resources personnel asking for any feedback?
I applied for a G5 level job in the UN Department of General Conference and Management in December 2014
and was invited to take a written test which I did on 11 May 2015. I have not heard anything since then, however the status still shows as under consideration. Should I still have hope? Thanks
There is still hope. But I would start to follow-up after about 6 weeks. Good luck!
I have applied for the three (same position P4) advertised by WHO in different countries. One of these was as early as March 2014 and the latest November 2014. However up to now no response. The status for all three adverts is ‘selection progress’. What does that mean? Should I give up the wait?
Hm, that is long. But still possible. Good luck!
Hi Sebastian many thanks for the work you do. You have answered many similar inquiries but this touches on sightly different one. I was shortlisted for UNDP country home SB4 which is a contract job for 7 months till December. I had written the technique assessment and this is 2weeks i am yet to hear from them. The Job should have started if truly its meant for 7 months till December 2015. Again they said it is an initial contract and its also renewable, if I get the job, what factors will contribute to a renewal of contract
Be patient 🙂 Usually budget availability + performance are the biggest drivers for contract renewal.
I appeared at two stages of my assessment for NO-C category (for UNICEF country office). I had the interview a week back. While waiting the call for next step, I realized that I had actually forgotten to mention the names of three reference persons in the P-11 form. Now I am really worried and wondering whether this would be an obstacle for my entry to the organization.
Typically, if you get to the next stage, they will ask for references. A lot of people provide them only upon request. I would not worry too much at this stage. Good luck!
Do you know if the candidates who passed the written test and did not succeeded to that test are sent a regret e-mail or a letter?
Thank you very much!
I think that varies from organization to organization. I would follow-up and ask if I had a test and not hear afterwards.
Thanks for this useful blog and for your patience in responding to everyone.
I wanted to follow up on a question one of the readers had, but mine is related to a very early stage of application. I hope either you or some of the readers might know the answer.
Is it common for a job application to get the status “filled from roster” within a couple of days of the vacancy announcement’s expiration? Given the prompt status change in Inspira, I think I can safely conclude that no external candidates were even considered and that a rostered person was on their mind from the start. The vacancy announcement did not initially specify that only rostered candidates could apply, though.
Have others had similar experience with UNODC
Filled from roster means that there was a roster candidate suitable for the job. You could try to get on the roster, however that’s obviously not a guarantee.
Dear Sebastian, Thanks, as you are doing a great job, I just want to know that how to check the status of application process, as some of the participants above have written “short listing ongoing” or “post is re-advertised”, I want to check the status of a position advertised in june for which I also applied. No.2 I have not received any confirmation email about receipt of my application, is this normal? Maximum, how much time they take to shortlist the candidates.
Thanks and best regards
It depends on a lot of different factors. I would gently follow-up.
Dear sebastian, can i posted my questions in french? If not where can i do it?
My French is not perfect, but please go ahead and ask – I will try to answer.
I have applied for P4 position in April,2015. My application status is still under consideration. Shall I forget the selection? or hope just advice me as a friend.
I would follow-up – April 2015 is still feasible but starts to look very long. Good luck!
I had an interview with the FAO three months ago, and was contacted about a month later asking permission to check my references with my current and previous supervisors. I agreed and gave them their contact details. One was contacted by email about a week later, but no others – including my current supervisor. How significant is it that references have been checked?
That was two months ago, and I’ve had no contact from them since. What would you make of that?
I think this all sounds not too bad. I would respectfully follow-up with FAO. Good luck!
Thanks for your contribution to hundreds of aspirants towards the UNO. I have doubt in respect to my application to a FS-5 level Position ie. Security Investigator, with DPKO, DFS, UNO. During the year 2012 I did my assessment & got roster membership. Then invited to apply 4 positions with missions. Three were filled from rosters & last one is still under consideration. Is there any chance?
Thanks & Regards,
I applied for an opeinng with UN on 19-Jul-15 and the status still shows “Under Consideration”. Can you tell me what it means? Does it mean my application is put through in the process or this is a standard response for all rejected applications. Pls help as i am totally confused. Thanks
It means that the process is still ongoing. Sometimes, the process can take a long time. It is not (yet) a regret notification
I passed a written test for Content Manager assistant to the UNOCH. The test was supposed to be 2 hours but when I opened the test page and got ready, the rules indicated 90. I didn’t have time to finish the test…
Do you think it will directly disqualify me? I really wanted this job.
Should I write the contact person who is in charged of the test process management?
Thank you for your reply !
Have a good evening.
There are two kinds of tests: one relies on speed (do as much as you can in a given time) and another type relies on knowledge & ability (no matter how much time you have, you will either solve it, or not). I can’t speak for UNOCH but I typically design tests that can’t be completed in the given time – just to see how far people get. So don’t worry just yet. Good luck!
I was asked to sit for interview 2 months ago with FAO with a writing test. Up to now the application status is still ‘Selection Ongoing’. I wish to know a maximum process of this recruitment. Thanks. Thanmi
Sorry, I wouldn’t know that. But please report back once the process is done.
Thanks for your information. As checked in the iRecruitment web-page, I found they updated again on 31 August with the same status of Selection Ongoing. Did they already selected someone or still they continue reviewing?
Have nice days! Thami
I have being interview for the Position of Human resources Associate with UNOPs, in the GPRS system , all i see to my application status is Shortlisted and the vacancy status is Evaluation, i have not received any mail whether i m successful or not, even though i did an interview on Skype.
After some time, I would follow up. Don’t expect to hear straight after the interview as there are many things that need to be in place before candidates will be notified.
I have recently been informed that I am required to undertake a written assessment for an investigative role in two weeks time. Has shortlisting already likely to have occurred or is it done after this phase of the process. Can you indicate loosely how many people are likely to still be ‘under consideration’ along with me at this point based on your experience?
The written test is usually sent to all who are shortlisted. If you pass the written test, you will usually get an interview. Typically, there are not too many people on the written test (maybe 5 to 10) which will lead to a shortlist of 2 to 4. Good luck!
I have been lucky with the written assessment and now have an interview coming up. I am curious and seek your guidance. I’ve read your tips and those of others but wonder about a few things in preparation. What is the likely balance of panel questions.? What percentage is about me the person, what of the organisation and what % will be me demonstrating professional competencies? Thank you for your invaluable work in this space.
Have you had any feedback or a result from your interview yet? I think we had an interview for the same job although I have had no response or feedback as yet from the UN
Mate I didn’t have the best day at interview. Maybe next time. All the best.
I took a written assessment in March 2015 for one of the UN jobs I applied back in February 2015. It has been 7 months now and I have not received any feedback. Shall I take it that I have not been considered for the position?
Thank you in advance for your reply.
I would definitely follow up. That’s a very long time.
Did you get any feedback?
Thank you for this blog, it is incredibly helpful. I applied through the GPRS system and have already gone through the written test and the interview. My question is, do you know all the different “Application status” and “vacancy status” categories that exist in GPRS? For example, long listed, short listed, etc.
I’m not sure I have all of the statuses in my head, but congrats – if you went through the written test & interview, you got very far! Good luck!
Thank you for your response. I sent a follow up e-mail back for the recruitment team at the end of June 2015 – response is that application process is still on going.
Does the on going process refer to approval process for my selection or process until other candidate is selected and I am then notified the rejection or regret?
If you could kindly give me your comments,
I applied for the Post of Medical officer for the UN Detention facility at Arusha Tanzania since July 2015.On verification on the position of my application,All inquiries tell me the process is under consideration, should I still waiting?
Thanks and Best regards
Yes, this is definitely a case of still waiting.
Please I want to confirm the difference between “application status” and “vacancy status”.
I made some applications and the application status is ” longlisted” and the vacancy status is “cancelled.”
Another positions, the application status is ” applied” and the vacancy status is “shortlisting.”
Another positions, the application status is ” applied” and the vacancy status is “evaluation.”
Another positions, the application status is ” applied” and the vacancy status is “under review.”
I need clarification.
Thank you very much for this blog and for sharing your wealth of knowledge with us. I have a question regarding how candidates’ years of experience are calculated for professional level positions. I earned my MSc in England and did a PhD in the US which took another 5 years. I have now been employed for 3 years after finishing the PhD. Should I be looking for P-2 positions since I only have 3 years of work experience? Or would the years I put towards my postgraduate education count as professional experience making me eligible for P-3/P-4 positions?
Thank you for your insights,
I think strictly speaking you could go for P3/P4 jobs – I’m however now sure how easy that would be: a P4 is pretty senior already and you would come in “new” to the system. Then again, I know that externals come in at that level. On the other hand, especially in the YPP there are many people with a PhD and quite long years of experience going for a P2.
Thanks Sebastian. Unfortunately, I don’t qualify for the YPP, I think focus on P-3 positions.
Hi, I found you blog really insightful. I applied for a position with UNOPS, in july 2015, my status indicated longlisted at the beginning then I saw longlisting and adter I see it changes to Evaluation. Does this mean I didn’t make it to the shortlisted
Yes – unfortunately – if the status changes to evaluation and you didn’t hear from them, then you are not part of the process at that time.
Please I want to confirm the difference between â€œapplication statusâ€ and â€œvacancy statusâ€.
I made some applications and the application status is â€ longlistedâ€ and the vacancy status is â€œcancelled.â€
Another positions, the application status is â€ appliedâ€ and the vacancy status is â€œshortlisting.â€
Another positions, the application status is â€ appliedâ€ and the vacancy status is â€œevaluation.â€
Another positions, the application status is â€ appliedâ€ and the vacancy status is â€œunder review.â€
I need clarification.
My understanding is that application status relates to the status of your application whereas vacancy status refers to the status of the vacancy.
HiSebastian,Thank you for the great work you are doing, i applied for a position at UNOPS,and the status shows shortlisted-evaluation completed but i have not received any communication,What does this mean?Thanks
You should probably hear back from them soon. Did you have an interview? If so, I would gently follow up.
Hello Mercy. Did you finally get a response? I have shortlisted-evaluation and I have been waiting for coming to 4 months. J
Did you receive any communication from UNOPS?My staus reads the same I would want to know what to expect 🙂
Thank you for post.
I don’t know whether you are familiar with the UNV assignment. I applied for UNICEF UNV assignment and just had a short phone call interview. I spent a lot of time preparing the competency based interview. But the interview panel was 2 members instead of 3, and they only asked me 3 questions. Total length was about 30 min. And I didn’t have any written test either. I know there were 3 short listed candidates including myself, and I’m just wondering if they already had someone else in mind, and had interview me with no intention of hiring me.
Thanks a lot in advance!
I’m not deeply familiar with UNV but to my knowledge there are different styles of interviews and different interview panel compositions out there. I wouldn’t assume that anything is wrong with the process.
Hi dear Sebastian,
trust this finds you well.
i took a written assessment test for a P3 position at UN Sectariate 2 days before. My questions are out of 100 marks what is qualifying scores? and how much time they take to notify the written assessment results?
I must mention that this a generic job opening for Rosters.
Sorry, I wouldn’t know the details of passing score etc. for all agencies. With regards to time, there is often a time limit given. Keep in mind that a test is not really a “pass”/”fail” test only but also a way to rank candidates to be invited to the interview.
I am taking a written test (Portfolio Officer) this week but no idea what to expect. Could you tell me what it wasabout? thanks a lot!
Sorry, I wouldn’t know. But feel free to post what your encountered once you took the test. Thanks!
I am wondering if you could tell me what are the most common UN competency questions asked and typically how many people are short listed for a competency interview. Also how long should each answer be in duration? If the interview is an hour long – is it expected to take that amount of time?
In the picture perfect recruitment case, the competencies are listed in the VA. I published a link to some UNICEF materials on questions on my blog (forgot the link but if you google it, you will find it). Typically there are 3 to 5 people shortlisted for any one post to be filled. I don’t think you need to take all the time (interviewers have long days…) but make sure you answer follow-up questions.
i have completed competency based interview and it took 1 hour. They informed me in advance by mail about the time frame. there were 5 people to ask questions.
Dear Sir or Madame,
I have applied to a vacancy in FAO Office Ankara, Ä± have shortlisted then they applied me an online written test then they called me to invite an interview at office and Ä± had joined, there were 5 people and we talked about the position and activities have to be done at FAO (all of these completed in 1 week)but it was 4 weeks ago and they have not informed me about the result. Is the process working in its way? Should I wait for an inform letter about the result or not?
I would gently follow-up. It is not unusual to have a few weeks after the interview but after a month, I would follow-up.
Thanks Sebastian for this helpful blog. It’s incredible how you have consistently responded to posts over the years. I found this blog while in search of answers to the many questions I had about the UN recruitment process. Your responses have answered most of them. Thank you for taking your time to do this.
I wish to update the status of the selection process:
Feb: Application received
May:Selection Ongoing (shortlisted period)
Jun:Selection Ongoing (Interviewed period)
Aug:Selection Ongoing- Is it already selected someone?-I wish to know this status.
Thanks so much for the informative post. I’m learning a lot about the UN employment process!
I have a question I was hoping you may be able to answer. I passed the written exam for a position at the UN, and was invited for an interview next week. I was asked to submit three references.
My question is: what does a “reference check” consist of? Is it a phone call or an email? What kind of questions do they normally ask? (i.e. is it just about employment period and salary, or does it go into job description, etc.?) How long does it take?
Since many of my references reside in different parts of the world and are quite hard to reach, I wanted to decide which contacts to give given the nature of the reference check.
Thanks so much for your help,
A reference check is typically a form that is asked to be filled by email. It can be a phone call in addition / sometimes only a phone call. The questions can vary but typically include how you performed, if you live up to the UN values, what your duties were etc. Having references all over the world is no problem at all. Having higher level references – if they are able and willing to speak to you as person and know you well – is great!
In one application I mentioned language efficiency under oral head as “Confidence”. Is it shows negative impact on my selection process? Please clarify.
I am in Indefinite Roster for FS-5 level positions with DFS, DPKO, UN. Would you please say ‘How far it is “indefinite”?
Thanks & Regards,
I applied for a p-3 in Rome. I took a written test and completed the interview. My references were checked. It’s been about a year since the initial application.
The position status is “selection ongoing”. I contacted HR and they told me the position is currently ” on hold” and offered no timeline or details.
Anybody else have this issue? Is it funding or?
Thanks for any insight.
Hi Robert, sorry to hear. Yep, sounds funding could be an issue in your case.
Hello, I got an invitation for a competency-based interview FAO, I need your on how can nail this drean job
I have an interview (skype) FAO which will be conducted in English, but, based on the vacancy requirements, I will need to be assessed also in one of the other FAO official languages which should be French (level B) unfortutnately, I don’t think my fench is up to level B. Could you kindly advise on what you think I should do?
Hi..I had submitted application for a Human Resource Officer on 19-Jul-15 and my application still shows “under Consideration”. Is it normal for the process to take so long or shall i consider the application as rejected. Kindly suggest. Thanks.
Hard to say. It has been a while, so it could be rejected.
I just took a test for the position of Associate Administrative Officer for the United UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), in Juba. The Job Opening number is: 15-ADM-OCHA-42062-R-JUBA , i did take a written test on Friday October 23, 2015, but is still awaiting any response.
Joel, have you got any response yet? I did the same interview but with a diff. position.
Could you please till me about how the written test gies and is it completely technical or it contains personal or anything else?
Please reply as I’m going to take this test on next monday
Thank you for all the information you have been offering. I applied for a position with UNOPS and was short listed, attended a competency based interview, was sent a regret letter and later on in JUNE this year (2015) I was contacted via email saying the position was open again and I was offered the position. However it is now November and not a word back. I have sent emails ad made phone calls at first I would get replies but now I don’t even get replies to my inquires. Am worried because I resigned from my job at a large International Organization to make myself available and am afraid they could have found someone else to take up the position. On the recruitment website my status says “HIRED”. Any advise would be extremely helpful.
Dear Shaleen, that sounds a bit odd. I would follow-up. As a word of advice I would never(!) resign from a current position until I have the new contract signed in my hands. Hope it all works out well.
Hi Sebastian and thanks for the great work here.
I was interviewed via skype for a post. If all goes OK, should I expect another face-to-face interview as well?
That depends on the job. Often a skype interview is all it takes. Good luck! Can you let us know of the outcome in your case? Thanks!
It has been around ten months already that I have been interviewed. Three moths ago I sent a follow-up and they tolled me that the process is still ongoing?! I do not have any idea on what to expect, but still keeping hopes high. Cheers
Hi, I recieved an invitation to an assessment and when I checked on Inspira, the status shows “recruitment completed” what does this mean? Thank you in advance for your response.
Just to clarify, the status showed “recruitment complete” and then I recieved the link to the assmessment…
I applied for a job in August and did the written assessment end November.
Two questions: I had 120 min for the test and could not submit on time. 10 minutes late. When I submitted I got an automated email confirming receipt of my response.
What confuses me is that on the previous email they wrote: â€œIf you are not in a position to complete and return the assessment within the above specified time frame, you will NOT be further considered during this current process.â€ I would like to know if I got considered or not?
As for outcome it said: â€œYou will be notified in due course as to the outcome of this recruitment exerciseâ€. It has been almost a month and still nothing. Is this normal procedure? Would it be unprofessional to ask or is it too soon?
I would assume you managed to take the test and that grading / evaluation of the test took some time.
Thank you, for the time and useful information.
By any chance, do you know how the UN score the assessments given?
I had applied for a position and was invited to take the assessment. I knew it wouldn’t be an easy test, however, I was rather surprised at the amount of work for the allotted time frame.
Basically, it was 4 written assignments, including a marketing plan and summery of 298 page handbook, all within an hour.
Any tips on how they score these types of assessments?
Thank you, kindly!
Sorry, I don’t know how this particular test was scored. Thanks for sharing the contents of the test.
Well, I don’t think I made it past the assessment. However,the vacancy in Inspria states the job is still open. Right now I am curious as to when the vacancy will be listed as ‘closed’. It has been 11 months since the vacancy was posted.
I am still surprised they even contacted me. I have no background in UN or any type of NGO, etc. I did, however, have the skills that were listed, as I had years in a similar position just in a different industry. So, yes it is possible even an “outsider” can be considered or pretend to, at least.
This was for GS marketing position if anyone is curious. Also, people might want to check greendoor website for UN related experiences. It seems to be a common complaint for applicants and former employees that “outsiders” and particularly, Americans have the hardest time.
I hope my experience can be helpful. I thank everyone and Sebastian for sharing. Good luck to you all.
Thank you in advance for your usual support.
This is regarding our previous communication on my application made in February 2015, and took an assessment in March 2015. I sent a follow up e-mail in June 2015 to check my application status and was advised that process is still on going. Until now there is no update. I sent a follow up e-mail again yesterday (09 December 2015), but no response. Shall I assume that my application has not been successful, or shall I wait for the outcome?
If you could kindly give me your comments,
Y, have you got any response yet? I did the same interview but with a diff. position.
I also took an assessment in march 2015, but my application was in december 2014. I still looking at my e-mail and inspira every time but nothing from them, the status of my application still ‘in progress’. That can drive someone crazy. But I still be confident and continue applying for other jobs openings. One day, my turn will come…
I took the interview on 10th Sept 2015 for a Close Protection Coordination officer GJO…Up to now no response men! I am Kenyan and not sure whether they hire people from developing countries into these positions..
Thanks for letting us know. I know for a fact the UN hires a lot of people from developing countries. So I don’t thank that’s deciding in this context.
I was just wondering if the recruitment steps you outlined also apply to other international organisations, such as the WEF, etc.
Many thanks in advance,
Sorry, I don’t know. If anybody knows, please chime in… Thanks!
Hi Sebastien, Thanks for your great work, you are very knowledgeable and altruist, I ma very impressed.
I note, would you know how the UN system is utilising robot programmes to scan job applications? If so there would be need to refer candidates to the need to use on-line resources to check how well the CV fits the job profile (e.g. jobscan) .
Also do you know what influence do national offices dedicated to the promotion of nationals presence in international organisations play in the process ? this is reality that varies from country to country but that certainly plays a role and has a visible impact.
I’m not sure any UN organisation is using robot to scan CVs. But I know they use automatic longlisting based on user inputs.
I know that sometimes there is political influence and support for candidates but more than often not. I would say it depends on level and seniority. The SG’s post is obviously very political, ASG, USG, D2 and sometimes even D1 are still political. But overall in my experience there is far less political influence than people assume.
This site gives hope during the long application process. I was shortlisted and wrote 4 tests with UNFPA for 4 different NOB postions in Zambia and felt extremely confident i passed at least 1! The last test was November 22 and have had no word since! Sent a friendly email to enquire and got no response. Do they always communicate to those that have written the tests? Really really want this job but am so glad I have a permanent job in the meantime coz this stress-wow!
Great job and thanks!
Hope you heard from them in the meantime. I would assume that eventually everyone who took a written test will hear about the outcome of the process.
Thank you for all Sebastian
My sister is in UN serving as Temporary staff. Now she passed for fixed term exam and the HQ asked her to send all her documents by email for recruitment process. As she already moved from her home country 10 years ago, she has only her BA degree with her but the post advertised was secondary school certificate. Can she send only the BA Degree and all relevant documents of her work experience to the head quarter? As the post is for General Service position do they need her high school certificate as well or her BA degree is enough?
I assume it would be sufficient. But ask HR if in doubt.
Your article is really very informative. Thanks for it. I applied to UNESCO, does it follow the same timelines as that of the other organization in UN system. It is 6 weeks I have applied to the organization and it still shows “evaluation under progress”. Can I still hope for getting shortlisted? Please give your opinion.
Interested to know how you got on with your application to UNESCO and how long each step took?
Thanks for any insight you can give!!!
I think one of the best site for written test ,interview or assessment is standbyroster.org ,i downloaded test free for unhcr and unicef or the position of protection and information management officer and its matched 90%
i dont know if still this site is active or not
glassdoor is one of the option you can get current reviews
Thanks a lot for your constructive information regarding UN recruitment.
I got a question for you:
I applied for a post with a UN agency last year end Aug 2015.
In Dec 2015 i did their written test and this month Feb 2016, I did interview.
According to your experience, normally how long do u think It should take them to inform the best candidate?
Also when you pass both written and interview, normally what is the next step?
Thanks again and best regards,
This can take anything between a few days to a few months. Good luck!
I applied for a consultancy position and was short-listed and interviewed (one month after the posted start date). I sent my thank-you note to the point of contact to forward to the panelists and was told during the interview that I would be informed of the result a few days later. It has now been three weeks, and I have followed up by phone and e-mail to no response. Do you have any advice or suggestions? I would appreciate your input on this question. Thank you!
I would keep following up.
Just to inform someone that l applied for P3/P4 positions on 5 and 7 May 2015 but was only invited to undertake a written interview for the two positions at the end of February 2016.
Good info! Thank you
Thanks again for your informative blog.
How long do u think they UN takes to reply candidates who have completed oral interviews? After how long do you think one can send them a follow up email? Pls advise.
Thx a lot.
This can take a moment since candidates will only be notified once the process is complete.
Great job in this site!
I was shortlisted online asssesment for GJO supply officer P3 role in UN-FDP. I did the online test on 14th Nov 2015 and till today no feedback has been given to me. The inspira status changed to “recruitment completed. I email the HR unit who responded back saying that recruitment process is still ongoing. i am totally confused. Any advise please.
Honestly, I’m not sure at all what is going on.
Hi my name is David. I have always wondered how I can be come a rostered applicant. I have the experience and qualifications for Air operations officer vacancies but somehow they start with “This “Recruit from Roster” job opening is only open to roster applicants who are already placed on pre-approved rosters, following a review by a United Nations Central Review Body”
How do I get myself to be on the pre-approved roster.
From time to time roster vacancies are advertised. Good luck job hunting!
You are doing a great job!
A couple of months ago I applied to IRENA and was subsequently invited to a written assessment and interview. These steps were fairly quick. Got the test invite 5 weeks after deadline and interview was 2 weeks after the test.
3 days after the interview I was informed that they were going to contact my references so I provided them updated contact details but after that it’s all very quiet, no one has been contacted yet and almost 6 weeks have passed. I followed up and contacted the HR but got no reply.
As you mention sometimes post interview processing can take time but am really not sure what to make of it. Do I still have a chance?
Thanks a lot.
I would still be patient. Things can take time – especially if the process has to go through a review body.
Hi Sebastian I applied through GPRS, was interviewed, referees contacted and have been waiting for 6 weeks with same vacancy status “shortlisted and evaluation”. I am wondering if the process was completed. Thanks, Jan
I don’t think it was completed yet. I would wait for a little long or start a gentle follow-up.
Thank you for you excellent information.
I applied for a P4 position and did the written test and interview. They told me it could take up to 3 months before I know the final decision.
Do you (or anyone else reading this) know how long after the interview they start to contact your referees? I assume if they referees are contacted then I have made it to the final three.
Thanks for any advice you can give!
Correct, if the references are contacted, you are typically in very good shape. Good luck!
I applied for two positions with the same organization, same type pf positions, different countries (WFP). I had an skype interview for the first position, and also the written test, then didn’t hear back. Recently was contact for the second position, they didn’t asked for the written test this time, so I guest they had me in the system already, because one of the panelist was also on the second one, and referred to by name, as if he was familiar with me. Do you know at what point they ask for reference with WFP? I can’t remember if they asked for references on the app or if they will ask afterwards. After the interview they said it could take up t a month to finish all things. They did ask if they could contact references? Though They didn’t ask for references. I’m a bot confused, any help with be nice. Thank you.
I think this sounds good. It doesn’t mean you have a sure gig, but you certainly have gotten their interest. If they contact references, it is usually a very very good sign. Good luck!
For everyone being in an application process:
I applied on a roster at a UN organisation at the end of December 2015 and got shortlisted for a TA field position at the end of March 2016. I was not informed what exactly that means and how the process will be continued.
If they need to fill the position asap, what does that mean concerning the selection process. How long until I know whether I got the job?
Thank you for the great work Sebastian!
Shortlisted typically means you will get an interview. Sorry, no idea how long that will take. Good luck!
I had applied for a NO-B position (FTA-for UNICEF country office), the deadline was 9 February 2016. As of now, I have not heard anything from them. Shall I give up or wait?
Interestingly, I was invited for written assessment and interview for the same position level (but for another location, within the country), the selection criteria remaining the same, in June last year. Wondering why they would not short list me at least for written assessment, this time.
Seeking your advise if it would be good idea to “gently” follow up.
Thank you very much in advance.
I would probably wait. Note that there are typically so many applications that even if you fully qualify for the position there is still an element of luck if you are shortlisted.
Applied for GJO, HR Field missions, in March15. Appeared for Written Assessment in July 15. Sent follow up emails thrice. Got a reply in Feb 16 abt process yet not completed and will be informed when it is. Did not receive any interview call since, Should I still keep my hopes for very job?
Status still says under consideration.
Thanks & Regards
Sorry, my sense is, the process has progressed far but that – unfortunately – you are not part of the later stages any longer.
Hmmm kind looked forward to it a lot. Had same in mind. Thanks for your time and attention
Hmmm kind of looked forward to it a lot. Had same in mind. Thanks for your time and attention
Tomorrow I will have the wriitten exam (90 minutes)
I have no idea how to prepare
The position is expert in programme Green Bridge Partnership Program
Could you give me some tips?
Sorry, no idea what the test could be like. I would study the organisation, the programme/project if you have further information and the vacancy announcement. Good luck!
Your blog is very informative for UN job seekers. I wanna share my story. I applied for a 2 post same grade and same division in July, 2015. I was contacted for interview for one of the post in October, took the competency-based interview in November, 2015 the questions were not difficult because they relate to the job post. At the of the interview, I was asked when can I start. In January, 2016 I contacted the HR guy to asked about the status and I was informed the process is still ongoing but they will contact me as soon as information become available. My point is we apply do our best and move on with searching other opportunities.
Have you heard back yet? I had my final interview in January 2016 with a verbal offer and am still waiting on the written offer.
I have already started applying to other jobs just in case.
Hey! Not yet, infact it’s really confusing and discouraging, that someone has wait for over six month to know if he/she is selected or rejected for a position. What about you?
I applied for a P3 position June, Last year and took the oral skype interview in October last year. Did a follow up in January this year and was informed the process is still ongoing. Do you think it’s a good idea to follow up with the HR again?
Hi MJ. I don’t think there’s a time frame because my referees were contacted immediately but it’s now two months and still no feed back. I believe it varies by application. All the best, J
Sebastian–Thanks so much to you for writing this blog post almost FIVE years ago now and for patiently answering so many of our questions. You and all the commenters have given me some relief in knowing that my situation is not unique. Here is a breakdown of my application timeline with a UN agency:
October 2015 – Applied for UN contract position
November 2015 – Contacted for pre-screening
December 2015 – First interview and written test completed
January 2016 – Final interview and verbal offer made
April 2016 – Still waiting on written offer, though agency rep has kept me informed that there are currently internal delays.
Anyone have a similar experience? On one hand I am very grateful that I have more time to prepare for an overseas move, however, on the other hand, I wish they could at least give me a tentative start date.
Any suggestions Sebastian? Any commenters had similar experiences?
firstly, sorry to hear. Secondly, it is not unheard of. I tend to say, don’t believe anything until it is signed 🙂 Lastly, patience, remain in contact and good luck! Cheers, Sebastian
thank you so much for this really interesting and useful ‘blog’, and for your kindness in answering.
I’d like to submit my CV for a vacancy at an international organization, for a local position in my own country – General Staff G4. I think I have exactly all the skills (plus languages, and so on) and the sufficient experience required for the position, but my work-experience is not certified or attested by a real contract (voluntary work, by my husband’s office – a professional in the field of architecture). My questions are :
1. May I apply, mentioning that kind of work-experience, by a strict relative, anyway?
2. My husband doesn’t speak English : shall I indicate his name for reference, anyway?
…Could you give me your advice, please?
Thanks a lot for your possible reply, Daniela A.
I would give it a try. Don’t be disappointed if it doesn’t work though: competition is very tough… References in other languages should be fine – as long as there is a way to get confirmation about your work from them. I’m not sure if there is a rule about who could be a reference. Good luck!
Forgot to mention that the majority of advertised positions already have a candidate designated, and the whole selection process is no more than a charade to give the impression they are doing things properly. So unless you have a good contact inside who can get you in, applying is just a waste of everybody’s time
I know that’s a common misconception. And I’m not saying it never happens. But I know more and more places are trying to have alternative talent management arrangements. I blogged about the topic extensively earlier.
I have worked at a UN agency in the past, and I actually got in because the person for whom the post was taylor-made pulled out at the very last second. After that, every single post that was advertised had a name and surname already attached to it. And even now, every time I see a post that I might consider to apply for and I enquire about, the reply is always “do not bother, this is for this person”. So really, it is quite difficult for me not to be a bit cynical about the whole “selection process” pantomime.
I would love to have a look at your post about the issue. Could you give me the link, please? Thanks!
I love your blog, but for some reason my comments never get posted. I’ve sent several comments over the last 4 months and they are all still pending. I also sent you a message through Facebook yesterday. Can you investigate for me?
Sorry, don’t always have the time to moderate quickly. Let me know how I can help 🙂
I have found this site quite useful. I have recently gone through a selection process in UNDP for Programme Specialist (national staff) in Colombia. After 2.5 months doing the test, interview, and sending my academic certificates and being referenced in writing by my former bosses, I was told I was considered as second option. In between this whole process, I learned that someone from within was applying to this position and was most probable to get the job. I was also recommended by the Head of HR (in the middle of the process) to apply to another position that was part of the same cluster and coherent with my profile. So I did. Right now, according to Head of HR, they are selecting candidates for long list and if considered they would contact me.
My question: if I were to be part of the candidates, would I have to go over the whole process again, given I have already recently done so?
Do you consider there is a good chance of being selected given the Head of HR recommendation?
I appreciate your advise
Sorry, yes typically UNDP would go through the process once again. There are other agencies that allow for a shortened process when you pass the threshold in an interview. Anyways, good luck!
Thanks a lot for your prompt response. I appreciate your time and advice.
I came across this site in my quest to understand how UN recruitment works. A whole lot of useful information you have here.
I understand that ITU is under the UN.
I applied for ITU position. I notice the applications status is changing color codes. I do not know the meaning of the color codes. Any one has an idea.
ITU Application status Color code
Currently accepting applicationsâ€“ Green
Selection in Progress- Blue
?????? -Pink Color
There is no explanation in any of their FAQ.
Do you have an idea of the meaning of the color codes for ITU applications
Sorry, no idea about the ITU applications. Anybody else has any idea?
I love your blog! Thank you so much for putting all this out there! I have applied for 1 contract and 1 roster through UNOPS and 1 contract with IAEA. I just took the written test for the IAEA and am patiently waitingâ€¦ The first position with UNOPS I interviewed, but didnâ€™t get the position. My status changed from â€œShort Listedâ€ to â€œEvaluatingâ€ well after I was notified that I didnâ€™t get the position. How do you know if you are added to a roster for similar positions? The status for the roster is â€œDeactivatedâ€ and this happened around the same time what does that mean? Is it looked down on to apply to several contracts?
Dear Sebastian Rottmair
I have been interviewed for P2 position and have even been placed on roster about 02 months ago but no progress yet. Should I be sure that I shall get the job offer ?
Secondly, I received availability mail in April, 2014 for the position of Security Officer FS-4 in UNSMIL and I responded positively. I was sent offer of appointment in the month of April as they say few days after my response but I missed the mail and again in the month of November, 2014 they resent the offer of appointment which I accepted. I submitted administrative forms and photos and all that they required. On 1st of December, 2014 I think all the offers were withdrawn due to terrorism in Tripoli, Libya. I wrote to them, they replied that list of those whose offers were withdrawn was provided to the Field Division NY for assistance in our placement in other field missions. Long time is past, should we be hopeful that we still are on their priority list?
Thanks for sharing. I fear I don’t have specific advice for you. On the roster side, that’s great to hear – I assume you are on it now.
Thanks Sir for your enlightening and early response. Last sentence of yours I guess is about the last sentence of mine in my presentation above?
I am in the indefinite Roster for FS-5 level Position since 2012 on words. The VA is Multiple in nature for future Generic Vacancies. So far only three such vacancies were advertised & my first two applications were dropped. However, the third application is still “Under Consideration” with MINUSTAH from March-2015.
What is the reason for the prolong consideration of the application? How far it will show as under consideration? please clarify.
I’ve tried to contact a couple of the people I interviewed with for the position that I didn’t get. I was trying to get feedback, but no one responded to me. Is it typical that they don’t give you feedback, or respond to you if you interviewed with them? In the public sector it’s pretty typical that you can get feedback if you were one of the top candidates.
Hello Michelle. From my experience I have noted that each position has its own outcome. The deactivated status would not be linked to the other position. If you are successful for roster position, you are informed as well. All the best, J
Please clarify my doubt as I am eagerly waiting to hear from you.
Dear Sebastian, thank you for the blog. I was shortlisted for a job with UN, after the interview, my vacancy status was changed from shortlisted back to long listed. What does this mean? Have you or anyone ever experienced this? Thanks
The announcement that external applicants can apply and be selected is a one in a trillion chance. Why does not UN clearly state that external applicants are not welcome. It will save a lot of time and energy of applicants. If there is an external applicant who has joined the UN, I will be quite surprised!!!!
No need to disappoint. There are many cases that external candidates were selected. One of my friends is now with UNDPKO, Darfur, North Sudan and has no UNO’s background. I too kept in Roster and waiting for an opportunity. I am optimistic that at one day I will be with the UNO. I hope you too…
Thank you very much for your positive comments and optimistic perspective.
I wish you all the best.
We have the same problem, Take it easy, still being confident. I took assessment for P5 position in march 2015, no news, another for P3 position in december 2015, no news until now. See, we are in the same boat. Let us know if you have news one of these days, like I will do if I have news too.
I think applying for UN job openings should be carried our as a hobby, not as a serious career move plan. Seriously, I think we should update our resumes to include this in our extra curricular activities, like sight seeing, mountain hiking, sky diving, etc…..
Hope you have some good news now?
I have been waiting for 5 months after the interview with no feedback.
Happy new year to you!
Hope this year will be better for each of us in securing a job with UN. From my side, I do not loose hope.
No news about my previous assessments, I did another assessment for UNV last october and for field mission (roster campaign) FS4 and FS5 last december. I crush my hands on the results of all these assessments.
Wish you the best
Dear all UN Aspirants,
Happy New Year Mr.Sebastian,
I too join with you all on this occasion of New Year & hope this New Year will make you to remember it forever by means of “reaching your goal”. All the Best…
Happy new year all
The good news is i have been given an offer. Though not a contract yet. Still waiting for approvals. I do believe this year will be better for everyone.
Dreams becoming realities. At this state of disappointment, the news of getting a job with the UN is refreshed our dreams of achieving the goal, though we did not involve into the success. Our colleague got it & motivates all of us. It is the time to cheer and congratulate……
Please explain in brief the way of getting the Job…means previously if it kept in Roster, how much time taken to get it? Waiting for reply please.
I went through the normal recruitment process. Application, written and then oral interviews. All o would encourage is that you prepare well for both assessments. And try to be fast when undertaking the written assessment. Review the job description well as you prepare. Wishing you the best
Thank you very much for your valuable guidance & let us thanks to Mr.Rottmair Sabastian who created this forum to share our experience besides his suggestions. I obtained Roster Membership for FS-5 position & waiting for an opportunity. Let us see my destiny…..
Would you please tell “what level of position that you been selected”?
It’s a P-3 level.
Dear J, did you finally get a contract with UN?
I was interviewed last April and still no news… but I see that in your case it took almost a year to get an offer.
Hello everyone, how is it going? Thank you Sebastian for this forum
I am just looking for Ravisankar, Y, J, Michelle, Asjad Khan, Nachi, Julian, Helena, Daniela Araldi, Sam, Julie, Kha, Jobhunter, NJ, Habib, MJ, Haline, Corn, Hadu, Hadu, Jan, Shahad, chris, KP, Echesa, Jamie, Luna, Mercy, Christian Belo, Joel Gblee, Mark, Nico, Lisa, Maria, Dustin, etc…. How is it going? Anything to share with us about your experiences, how long it takes to get into UN? Who between us got a job with UN or it branches until now? How was the process? How long does it take to got roostered or to got that dream job? Those who got a job, how long does the process take between the interview and the contract? This year 2017, the forum seems to be so inactive… but let us just keep our hope high. Our turn is not so far.
From my side, just waiting to get ”that email” about my assessments but keep applying for applications.
Let us thanks him for making this forum to share our views. I too optimistic to reach my dream. This month I wrote FS-6, 5 & 4 GJOs for CPO assessment. Still my four applications are under consideration for FS-5 level position with different Missions. Hope this new year will bring cheer to each & every aspirant of the UNO….
In reply to Nelly’s e-mail:
I think you just have to keep on applying for UN jobs, even it takes over 3 years (in my case) to receive response. Do not expect to get a natural reply – but do not give up on applying for potential “opportunities” you may think are viable. But I hope we may be able to get our “dream job” before we reach our retirement age ïŠ
Thank you Y,
I hope so we could get ”that dream job” before it’s too late….
The UN E-Mail confirming receipt of application says “Please do not respond to this system-generated e-mail. You can reach us through the “Contact us” feature on the top right corner of the website.” When you do that however, you get an apparently automatically generated No reply E-Mail from “Unite Service Desk” saying that they can not give any information about application and just basically stating what is already known. It doesn’t say that your message was sent to the right place and you will get a reply, or anything, just a general standard E-Mail. Is that normal?
I recently took the CPO assessment test and wanted to know if anyone knew more about the process. On the assessment test email, it states that once the FCRB has made its decision the candidates will get the test results. I’m just wondering how long does that usually take?
Hello? Is anybody out there?
I thank to Rottmair for his contribution towards the aspirants of the UNO. In respect to GJOs & other tests, it takes minimum three to six months to complete the whole process of Assessment, Selection & Rostering of successful candidates endorsed by the FCRB & CRBs of UN. At the end both selected as well Roster candidates will be informed. I wish you all the best.
Thank you for getting back to me as well as Rottmair for this site. This has been my dream now for the past 4 years and while it’s been frustrating, it will definitely be worth it when I make it to the big time. Good luck to everyone chasing their dream.
Has anybody received any news in the past couple of months?
How are you doing? News???? Bad news yes but good news no. I mean I did not have a chance to get rostered (FS4 and FS5). And you? How is it going? Does any other person get at least good news?
Thanks for the reply and I’m sorry to hear you didn’t get rostered. What job were you applying for and how long did it take to receive the news from the initial testing? I haven’t heard anything yet so no news is good news I guess. Good luck and keep your head up.
I took the tests in december 2016, administrative assistant FS4 & FS5. The whole process took 6 months, I got my bad results in may. But it depends, I took two other tests in 2015, I do not get the results until know, the jobs profile still ”under consideration”.
I hope the best for you Joey, that adventure is not easy at all.
My recent application for Administrative Assistant, FS-5 & 4 is failed and the whole process of Screening, Test & Announcement of Results took six months. I can understand the constraints in doing so. However, there is no system of “how much you scored & what is the cut off marks for it”. If they deliver, one has to access their rating & may try for improvement please.
Sorry to hear you didn’t make it. How long did it take after you took the assessment test to find out? I took my test in March and it’s killing me to not know anything,
I took the test in the month of January-2017 & that ends in failure. So far, I appeared for Six types of tests and in all of them they maintained time frame of 6 months. After that only, they are taking too much time for selection. Out of six I qualified in a test & roster membership is given. Thanks.
I also took the tests last december, got the same frustration when I did not have a chance to get rostered. The process do not give anyone a chance to know the rate, what went wrong,… But as one of my friend told me, that should not keep me from still applying. No one knows when will be the best time to get selected
Yesterday, I wrote one more Assessment for the position of HRA, FS-5, @RSCE. Felt good at the exam as the time factor is concern at this test. Hope few of us might have attended the same.
Have you got any response yet. I did an assessment for Finance Assistant on June 14,2017 @ RSCE
If you receive e-mail notification (both personal and auto) stating that job you previously applied for is cancelled and that you are strongly invited to apply for specific and Generic job openings, what does it mean? Does this indicate that you are under serious consideration and that an assessment will be scheduled soon?
Thanks for your feedback
I read that as the job that you applied for is no longer available (cancelled, for example due to removal of funding). Therefore you cannot be in consideration for a job that does not exist! The suggestion is that you apply for other jobs.
I thanks to the founder of this site Mr.Rottmair which facilitates us to share knowledge & issues related to the Process & Induction into our desired field of work. “Months & Years are rolling into the Past like Minutes in the hunting for the esteemed job with the UNO”. In my case, it is the sixth year that ‘I am sincerely pursuing the Inspira with a big hope’. During this long journey with the site, I understood that ‘it is not an easy task to get a position with the UNO or its allied Departments’. But, I never loss my confidence. One has to contain Competencies, Skills & Experience besides a great volume of patience. My humble request to the persons who are secured positions with the UNO, may contribute their Experience, Suggestions & Advises for aspirants like us please.
Hello again, to anyone who has been rostered. Do they tell you what position on the roster list you are or it is a general statement?
Thanks to all and good luck.
Hello Joey, I’v took CPO assessment test in March as well. My status on Inspira website has changed about 10/6/2017 and eight weeks I have Recruitment Completed there. I have information, from my friend who works for UN, that some people have received email which says if they are rostered and some else not. But he told me, that UN does it gradually. I’m waiting for decision as well.
Or you have been already rostered?
My understanding was that the roster is a pool of eligible candidates; not that it was a ‘line’ of who gets the next job. I would think they continually select the best candidate(s) for each opening (based on the specific requirements of the post and the merit of the individual applications) out of the rostered candidates and ‘new’ applicants.
Any thoughts on how long to wait on hearing back on the first sift?
Applied for a p2 position in May (closing May 19th) and have still not heard anything except from the automatic confirmation email, but I am listed as “under consideration” in Inspira.
I have a bad feeling that the position was filled or cancelled and Inspira not updated. Is there any way to check? A sensible route to get in touch?
I would give it more time. Eventually inspira will be updated.
Thanks Sebastian. I appreciate your efforts in creating the article and supporting people through this (extensive) comments section.
Hello Sebastian ,trust you are well.
I applied for a G6 position on 26th January 2017..Upto now the status of my application reads “We are currently reviewing all applications ”
I have not heard from them yet.
A month ago I again applied for a position Which I think I didn’t qualify for because a day after the application I got an email saying I didn’t qualify for that position.
My question now is ,since I didn’t hear back about the first application (in January ) and no email of regret from them like the second one ,what could that mean ? Especially since it’s been 8 months now since I applied and the status still says “we are currently reviewing all applications ”
i applied for ICT Position in UN-Pakistan but did not recieve any call or email for interview.
have master degree in computer sciences and three years experience bu still waiting for call.
if someone tell me whats the issue ?please
Even if you fulfil all the requirements, there is no guarantee you will be shortlisted. There are typically many applicants that fill all requirements. Good luck job hunting!
Thanks Sebastian my question i applied for position of logistics assistant FS4 Darfur in April 2016 then in July 20th i received an email inviting me for an online assessment which was done on 20th July 2016 but up to now have not received any communication about the position of the job and its status still reads Under consideration. Should i assume that the position was taken? and Inspira was not updated up to this time?
I think inspire will always be updated
Thank you for your efforts in helping interested job seekers.
I would like to ask you please what does the following mean:
Application status: Shortlisted
Vacancy status: Evaluation Completed
for LICA Specialist-9 post with UNOPS and what would be the timeframe for them to contact me back?
I forgot to mention that I’ve passed the written assignment and did well in the interview
I applied for the Chief Support Service P5 roster in May 2017 and just called up for the Standard Online Pre-selection Test. Anyone who has experienced this or having any advice on what to expect and the possible prospects?
Steven just prepare to have quite environment on your computer while doing your online assignment and remember to set your time because this assignment are timed if you exceed the given time you might be disqualified. Good luck Steven.
Thanks, please are you aware of the required pass mark?
Can anyone clarify to me on requirement to have Suitability Check if a candidate has already passed Standard Online Pre-selection Test? I feel that it would be pointless to let a candidate take the Pre-selection Test, the candidate then effectively passes the Test, but is not Suitable for the job. This is seemingly an ineffective method of recruiting right people.
Hereâ€™s my timeline,
August 2016: Applied to a General Assembly P3 position in New York.
January 2017: Invited to write the online exam within a week, with exam scheduled for mid-January 2017.
March 2017: Invited for Skype panel interview within a week. During the interview, one of the panel members said that the position I had applied to was in fact â€œgenericâ€ and didnâ€™t really exist, and that the purpose of the interview was to create a roster of candidates for future openings.
August 2017: Received an email stating I was â€œRosteredâ€
Iâ€™ve read the roster management manual, but what can I expect from here on? Does this mean Iâ€™ll be automatically selected for any future openings?
Hi all! I am Chaima from Tunisia, I applied on March,2nd, for a position within the FAO of the UN in Skopje,Macedonia. My application status is : ‘Application received’ till now.But I tried my chance last May, I contacted them via email and they wrote me that my application is in the roster and the selection is on going. The position will starts in the end of November. Do I have chance still for interview ??
Dear ron and Chaima,
It is very good news that you are roaster. Hence, you do have a great chance of selection for future positions for which you are on roaster – and you would not be required to take further assessments or interviews.
In my opinion, congratulations!!
I think before someone get rostered, that person should sit the tests or get interviwed or both. But if you got rostered without passing through assessment or interview, this is good news. Once rostered, you have more chance to get a position beside those who are not rostered. Good luck then!!!
Dual National Applicant Question.
I was born in an “unrepresented/underrepresented” UN Member State; however, moved to Canada as a teenager; therefore, I’m a dual citizen of Canada and the “unrepresented/underrepresented” UN Member State.
My current place of residence and occupation is Canada.
I noticed a “P” position advertised with a stated preference for “unrepresented/underrepresented” UN Member State nationals of which includes the country I was born in and possess a citizenship for.
Question: Can I apply as the citizen of my place of birth for this position which is a preferred applicant profile as it is a “unrepresented/underrepresented” UN Member State? OR Do I have to apply as a Canadian which is my naturalized citizenship and place of residence?
Question part 2: If I am eligible to apply as the “unrepresented/underrepresented” UN Member State applicant, would this reflect poorly on, or negatively affect my previous applications currently being considered where I applied as a Canadian Citizen?
Please use the forum for these kinds of questions in future. I sent you the login details. I answered here: https://www.rottmair.de/forum/topic/question-from-jj-dual-nationality/#post-1844
Quick question, my application status is listed as Recruitment Completed.
However looking through my spam folder, I found a month old email asking me to take their written test which by now I missed their deadline.
I am assuming that I am out of contention for the job or can I still take the test?
Sorry, yes indeed I think that’s safe to assume.
Could you kindly advise me on how long would it take to know the outcome for Online Pr-selection assessment test, for Logistics Support jobs? I saw the timeline for POLNET and ITCENT jobs, but no information on feedback period for LOGNET.
Appreciating your usual support.
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