Careers at United Nations
If you are motivated by making a difference, want to be part of a cause bigger than yourself and love to travel, you might want to consider a career at the UN.
Staff who work at the UN have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize more than ten times; it is widely considered to be an inspiring place to work. Read on to find out how to land a job at the UN.
United Nations Application Process
It’s helpful to visit the UN careers page and do your research before you consider applying for a job at the United Nations.
The UN has three core values: integrity, professionalism and respect for diversity. It looks for a combination of skills, attributes and behaviour that are directly related to performance success.
Whatever role you decide to apply for, you should ensure you can demonstrate a range of these core values, as well as skills including:
- Client orientation
- Commitment to continuous learning
- Planning and organising
- Technological awareness
United Nations online application
The application process itself is straightforward. You create a profile and fill out an online application, highlighting your experience and relevant skills. You must also write a motivation statement, which is a chance to explain why you want to work at the UN.
At this stage, attention to detail is crucial (as with any online application). Ensure you spell-check and proofread everything before your final submission.
United Nations Assessment Exercise
The next stage of the UN’s recruitment process is a series of tests. These vary depending on what role you applied for. You might be given a range of tests including a written exam, simulation, aptitude tests and assessment.
Recruiters will use the results from these assessments to decide whom to shortlist. Typically top performers (scores above 50%) will be moved forward into the next stages of the hiring process. It is therefore essential to practice tests beforehand and prepare yourself for the format.
United Nations written exam and case study
The written test is a timed assessment and will be based on a subject relevant to your role. Its purpose is to assess knowledge and mastery of the subject matter, technical skills, and your ability to work under pressure. You might, for example, be asked to summarise a long report or write about a subject.
The case study requires analytical ability: typically you will be asked to analyse some information and draw a conclusion from it.
United Nations simulation exercise
The UN simulation exercise is a way to assess how candidates might perform in a real work situation. The exercises are role dependent but will test your skills and abilities to cope with complex situations: competencies that the UN looks for when hiring candidates.
Expect to respond to a simulated emergency, disaster or crisis situation where problem-solving and teamwork are required. Practicing situational judgement tests (see below) can help improve your performance with these types of tests.
United Nations personality assessment
A personality assessment is important for the UN as it helps assess your workplace character. It takes a certain type of person to perform well in roles with the organization, and so getting an idea of your personal qualities is important.
There are no right or wrong answers – but it is important to think strategically, as some responses could lose you the opportunity.
How well you work as a team, adapting to change and how easily you learn information are three core areas the personality assessment looks at.
United Nations verbal reasoning test
A verbal reasoning test assesses how a candidate comprehends important information. This type of test is in a multiple-choice format and timed. You’re provided with a passage of text you must read (no prior knowledge required) and you must decide whether what you have read is either ‘true’, ‘false’ or ‘cannot say’.
United Nations numerical reasoning test
For roles that involve mathematics, you might be asked to participate in a numerical reasoning assessment. It can be useful to sharpen your math skills and practice numerical reasoning tests beforehand to increase your score.
A numerical reasoning test comprises multiple-choice questions that test how adept you are at dealing with a variety of different mathematical problems. There is an additional pressure to answer these questions quickly, since you are under timed pressure.
United Nations situational judgement test
A situational judgement test is a useful test to practice, as you will be asked a variety of questions that involve using your initiative and logic to make good decisions.
Once again, the test is multiple choice and requires you to rank your preferred and least preferred choice in a variety of realistic work situations.
The UN will be looking for good decision-makers and people who can make smart choices under difficult circumstances.