UN Interview Guide Interview guide

NOTE: This article is adopted for 2022 requirements.

The full description of hr process in the UN and other NGOs.

I was present on a lot of interviews in UNDP, UNHCR, EU Council, Transparency International, OSCE. Sometimes my role was as an interviewer and panel member of the HR committee and sometimes as a candidate. Almost all interviews are the same, and most questions are typical. There 3-6 panel members who asked you questions. Panel members are – 1 HR Officer, 1 One Coordinator of Project, 1 Head of the Department that announced vacancy, 1) Head of Country office. The atmosphere of an interview is from neutral to friendly.

As noted above, most UN organizations – including UNDP or UNICEF – use competency-based interviews (CBIs) to assess potential candidates.

In these interviews, employers use questions to probe for information about your past experience that is relevant to several competencies. A CBI requires candidates to demonstrate that they have a particular skill or “key competency” the organization/company seeks. Candidates will be asked to respond by using situational examples from their life, ideally from previous work experiences, to illustrate their personality, skillset and individual competencies to the interviewer. For example, the interviewer might probe your experience in teamwork by asking about past successes or challenges in this area. It is common for the panel to ask follow-up, probing questions to explore your answer in greater detail. This is called “drilling down.” Candidate responses typically are scored for each competency on a rating scale that assesses how specifically the candidate addressed the question, the relevancy of the example, etc.

“Competency”, as discussed in Chapter 1, refers to a combination of knowledge, skills, attributes and behaviors that are directly related to successful performance on the job. Depending upon the responsibilities of the job and the working environment, you might be asked to describe a time that required problem-solving skills, adaptability, leadership, conflict resolution, multi-tasking, initiative or working in a stressful environment.

Competency-based interviews yield excellent information for a potential employer, but they can be difficult for candidates who have not prepared.

In an interview, you should be prepared to talk about yourself. For this purpose, you would be advised to develop a 90-second introduction, outlining your education, background, experience, current situation, and career aspirations. Your 90-second introduction should be flexible, customized, and responsive. It is important to be able to expand your story or to hold back, as appropriate. In either case, once you are comfortable with your basic story, you will find a calling, networking, and interviewing easier and, ideally, more successful. Keep the 90-second timeframe as a guide. Some books recommend 60 seconds, others two minutes. The point is to be prepared, brief and not to ramble on, and, as always, to practice.

How to give the right answers in the interview.

Do my recommendations use the CAR approach? CAR approach highlighted your proficient experience and your ability to manage different situations. CAR is Context, Action, and Result. For example – popular questions – describe the situation when you worked with a difficult colleague and it impacts negatively on the results of Mission. A bad answer is to say that you never have a difficult colleague. Good answer – is to give a CONTEXT of such situation, what happened a and what negative influence was from this colleague. ACTION – what you did, to manage the problem. RESULT – what result did you achieve?


Communication positive indicators:

Speaks and writes clearly Listens to others and correctly interprets messages  Asks questions to clarify and exhibits interest in two-way communication  Tailors language tone style and format to match audience  Demonstrates openness in sharing information and keeping people informed

Creativity positive indicators:

 Actively seeks to improve programmes or services  Offers new and different options to solve problems or meet client needs  Promotes and persuades others to consider new ideas  Takes calculated risks on new and unusual ideas; thinks “Outside the Box”  Takes an interest in new ideas and new ways of doing things  are not bound by current thinking or traditional approaches

Client Orientation positive indicators:

 Consider all to be ‘clients’  Establishes and maintains productive partnerships with clients  Identifies client’s needs and matches with appropriate solutions  Monitors ongoing developments inside and outside the client’s environment to anticipate problem\  Keeps clients informed of progress and setbacks  Meets timeline for delivery of product or services to the client

Typical UN interview questions for an assistant.

1) What is your interest in applying for this position? Please provide us with 1 specific example from your professional career that illustrate your skills in administrative assistance, travel management, and/or Human Resources administration.

2) The position you applied for implies working in a team that deals both with travel and human resources management. What would be your course of action in case you face several urgent requests, some of them of HR nature, others related to travel at one time?

3) What professional qualities, in your opinion, characterize an efficient administrative assistant?

4) When you are liaising with colleagues or others from different cultures, what sorts of issues do you need to take into account?

5) Describe a time when you had to work in an effective team? How you identify yourself in a team?

6) Give us an example of when you had to explain something difficult to someone who did not have your background/knowledge?

7)Briefly, enumerate the three strongest skills you would bring to this position that may convince us to hire you. What are the professional areas you feel you would need some improvement?

8) Tell us about a time you have observed others working in an unprofessional or unethical manner? What did you do specifically about their behavior? What were the implications?

9) Tell us about the last time a client made an excessive or unreasonable demand on you? What did you do to assist them? What pressure did this put you under?

10) Do you have a working knowledge of ________(something proficient that mentioned in vacancy details) to your or other computer reservations system?

Real Interview Questions in GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit ) for the position Information Management .

Instruction to Candidate: “This is a structured competency and knowledge-based interview based on the Terms of Reference. We have allocated 45 minutes for the interview.

1) What opportunities have you had to develop and apply Information Management strategies within a disaster management/humanitarian response context?

Potential follow-up: Tell us about a specific occasion when you had to develop and apply an Information Management strategy to a disaster or development/humanitarian response situation.

2) What opportunities have you had to communicate Information Management concepts to teams, clients or senior management?

3) What opportunities have you had to use creative solutions implementing Information Management programmes and activities?

4) What opportunities have you had to serve clients in Information Management programmes or activities?

More questions.

Why did you choose this career?

What aspects of your education/experience qualify you for this position?

How would you describe yourself?

What has been the biggest challenge you have dealt with and how did you approach it?

How do you improve your professional skills?

Why did you leave xyz/why are you considering leaving your present job?

What do you like best about your present job?

What did you learn in that(last/ present) job?

How did that(last/ present) job influence your What are the most important rewards you expect to gain from your career?

What are the most important rewards you expect to gain from your career?


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May 2024