Today we’re going to try to show and prove to you that in order to get closer to the job you want, it’s important to take advantage of the influence of references. You must remember that references are your second chance to make everything you said in the interview sound convincing. One call to your references can cause your application to be considered more carefully and, in the end, approved after the interview.
Reference checking is a rather underutilized capability in a number of international organizations. Numerous organizations use interviewing based on competencies, and the most logical approach to vetting recommendations would be to take a reference based on competencies.
Nevertheless, at the moment, a much more common approach is for an international organization to send out a standard form with certain questions suitable for all levels and positions in order to verify recommendations. Moreover, a large number of organizations will not even call the applicant in person.
Calling a referral in person to ask the same questions that were previously asked of the candidate during the interview is the most appropriate recruitment practice. In this way, it becomes possible to analyze whether the candidate may have overestimated or underestimated his or her contributions at some points. It is very important to use this approach when dealing with a multicultural perspective, as people from diverse cultural groups may perceive and relate to narratives about themselves in completely different ways.
Reference check in United Nations Agencies as WFP, UNICEF, UNHCR, OCHA.
As international organizations, the United Nations (UN) and its various agencies, including the World Food Programme (WFP), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), strive to ensure that their operations are carried out in accordance with the highest ethical standards. One aspect of this commitment is conducting thorough reference checks before hiring new employees.
Reference checks involve verifying an applicant’s previous employment and educational history, as well as their professional conduct and character. UN agencies take this process seriously to ensure that they are hiring individuals who are qualified and possess the necessary skills, knowledge, and experience for their roles. Additionally, reference checks can help identify potential issues that could pose a risk to the organization’s reputation and mission.
The UN agencies, including the WFP, UNICEF, UNHCR, and OCHA, conduct reference checks through a range of methods. These can include reaching out to an applicant’s previous employers, contacting academic institutions for confirmation of degrees and qualifications, and speaking with individuals who have worked closely with the applicant in a professional capacity.
Reference checks are particularly important for UN agencies working in challenging and high-risk environments, such as conflict zones and areas affected by natural disasters. In these settings, the safety and security of staff and the people they serve are paramount, and hiring individuals with a history of misconduct or inappropriate behavior could put both at risk.
Beyond hiring, reference checks also play a crucial role in promoting accountability and transparency within UN agencies. By verifying an employee’s qualifications and conduct, organizations can ensure that staff are held to high ethical standards and that their actions align with the agency’s mission and values.
In conclusion, reference checks are an essential aspect of the UN agencies’ hiring process. By thoroughly vetting potential employees, organizations such as the WFP, UNICEF, UNHCR, and OCHA can ensure that they are hiring qualified individuals who are committed to upholding the highest ethical standards. These checks also help promote transparency and accountability within the organization, ultimately contributing to the UN’s efforts to create a more just and peaceful world.
Reference check procedure in UN
The United Nations (UN) and its various agencies follow a standard reference check procedure to ensure that they hire the most qualified and ethical candidates. Here are the typical steps involved in the reference check process:
Reference check authorization: Before conducting a reference check, the applicant must provide their consent in writing. The UN agency will typically ask the candidate to sign a form that authorizes the organization to conduct reference checks.
Contact information gathering: The hiring manager or Human Resources (HR) team will gather contact information for the applicant’s previous employers, educational institutions, and other professional references.
Contacting references: Once the contact information has been collected, the UN agency will reach out to the references via email, phone, or letter. The organization may use a standardized reference check form that includes questions about the applicant’s skills, experience, and conduct.
Conducting reference interviews: The UN agency will conduct reference interviews with the applicant’s previous employers and professional contacts. The interviewer will typically ask questions about the applicant’s job performance, work ethic, character, and any issues or concerns that may affect their ability to work for the UN agency.
Verification of credentials: In addition to contacting references, the UN agency will verify the applicant’s educational credentials and professional certifications. This may involve contacting educational institutions or professional associations to confirm the applicant’s degree, diploma, or certification.
Background checks: UN agencies may also conduct background checks to verify the applicant’s criminal record, credit history, and other relevant information.
Reporting and evaluation: Once the reference check process is complete, the hiring manager or HR team will evaluate the information gathered and decide whether to proceed with the hiring process. If any concerns or issues are identified during the reference check, the UN agency may choose to investigate further or disqualify the candidate from consideration.
In summary, the reference check procedure in the United Nations involves gathering contact information, conducting interviews, verifying credentials, and conducting background checks. These steps ensure that UN agencies hire the most qualified and ethical candidates who are committed to the organization’s mission and values.
Here’s an instance of how references might be used:
Let’s imagine a situation where a candidate tells us during an interview about a project that she led and by implementing, she achieved great results because she was able to raise more than xxx million dollars in its development.
If I were the recruiter, I would ask the referent about a project the candidate was involved in and her role in it. I would also ask if she did any fundraising and what the outcome was at the end of it, if it could be called successful. In the case where the discrepancy in the answers is obvious, I will get the signal that the candidate is not sincere and this will affect his or her evaluation negatively.
This is where mentoring with references can be a great strategy to help brighten up your interview.
Take the opportunity to call your references at the end of your interview. Tell them about the organization and the role for which you are trying out. Please be careful about who your references are, and in case you would not want the boss at your current job to know that you went to an interview, choose someone you can call for advice.
Going back to our example, it would be helpful to ask the recruiter to point out your leadership qualities, your role during the project, and how you influenced the fundraising process to fund it.
Let your references know as well if there were any competency questions that you feel you did not complete.
For example, you might tell your references that you failed to prove yourself as a good team player during the interview. In this case, ask the recommender to emphasize your true teamwork skills. You can also discuss which example would be most favorable.
This is a helpful approach for any type of reference.
Another example from personal experience is when a colleague asked me to make a recommendation about him. During the call, we discussed with him what would be desirable and most favorable in my story about him. Together we identified the key points where the competencies that were most important for him to present to a new employer were clearly shown.
In short, don’t underestimate the impact recommendations can have on the outcome of your interview. Make sure you address this issue in advance and choose someone who can help you do so.