United Nations Assessments

Prepare for the United Nations recruitment process with tailor-made practice materials.

Careers in the United Nations

The United Nations (UN) is a global organisation that strives to achieve peace and amicable relations across nations by encouraging countries to work together harmoniously.

Established in 1945 and with 193 member countries, the organisation offers many job opportunities worldwide at all levels of seniority and experience.

Types of roles At The United Nations

Roles at the UN are split into five different staff categories. These categories determine the level that an individual joins.

Professional and Higher categories: individuals at this level generally have a higher or post-graduate degree with previous work experience. These roles are internationally recruited.

General Service and related categories: roles within this category are recruited from the local area and cover customer service or administration or service-related positions. These roles are typically support-based roles that are operational or technical. Examples of roles include conference management or technology administration-based roles.

National Professional Officers: These are professional-level roles requiring a first-level degree. Positions within this category can include medical, human rights, political affairs, and legal or child protection officers. Individuals are recruited from their local country and need to be nationals of that country to take up a position.

Field service: field service roles are recruited internationally. The role focuses on undertaking field missions in different countries with locations varying throughout an individual's career. Administration positions supporting field-related roles, such as logistics or technical-related ones, also fall under this category.

Senior appointments: roles within this category encompass the highest positions available within the organisation, such as deputy secretary general or secretary general of the UN.

The UN also offers roles at the internship level, a young professionals programme for those looking to start their career with the UN, voluntary and temporary roles.

How to get a job in the United Nations

The UN runs a robust recruitment process that assesses many skills and competencies. The process includes:

  • Self-assessment
  • Online Application
  • Aptitude tests
  • Substantive test (applicable for selected roles)
  • Competency-based/substantive interview

Understanding the recruitment process, the skills you have, and how these relate to the role you are applying for are essential to securing a position with the UN.

United Nations Application Process

The recruitment process for positions within the UN is dependent on the role applied for.

In all cases, the first part of the UN application process is to search for your preferred role. Roles are advertised by location, duty station, and experience level.

Once a suitable role has been identified, you must register on the dedicated UN recruitment portal and create a candidate profile with your basic contact details.

All applications for positions are made via your candidate profile account. All candidates must complete the application form attached to the role they wish to apply for.

It is worth noting that the UN does not accept CVs as applications for any of its positions.

United Nations Voluntary Self-assessment

Before applying for a role with the UN, individuals must review their skills and education level to ensure they meet the requirements stipulated for the position.

It is advisable to conduct a full self-assessment of your skills, competencies, and attributes to determine whether you have the necessary experience and competencies needed for the role, while considering how you have gained these essential skills.

United Nations Eligibility Screening

Once a candidate has submitted their application, the application is reviewed to ensure that all of the essential criteria such as level of education, nationality, and basic requirements of the position are met. This stage of the process is carried out by either the UN HR team or relevant hiring departments.

If all criteria are met, candidates proceed to the next stage of the process: general testing and assessment.

United Nations General Assessment

Candidates successful at the eligibility screening stage are invited to complete a general test/assessment. This test is administered online with the test level being aligned to the job category a candidate has applied to. This means that the test may vary in terms of duration of the test and type.

Tests take around 2 hours to complete and must be taken within a 48-hour period, with the test being split into different parts. Each part of the test can be taken at different times within the 48-hour period i.e. the whole test does not need to be taken in one sitting.

The UN uses different types of assessments as part of its recruitment process for roles. These can include case studies and written exams.

In all cases, candidates must complete general ability testing that covers numerical reasoning, verbal reasoning, logical reasoning and a situational judgement test.

United Nations Situational Judgement Test

This test assesses candidates' behavioural preferences in work-based situations they are likely to face when in the role.

Questions are presented in the form of scenarios they are likely to encounter in the workplace. Individuals then need to select which of the multiple choice statements best represents the way they would choose to behave or act in the given situation.

United Nations Numerical Reasoning Test

The numerical reasoning test is a test of an individual's ability to use and interpret numerical information, in addition to their ability to work under pressure.

Questions in this part of the assessment are given as tables, graphs, or charts.

Candidates need to use their understanding of basic maths principles such as fractions, ratios, or percentages to calculate which of the given multiple choice answers is correct.

United Nations Verbal Reasoning Test

The verbal reasoning test evaluates individuals' ability to read, understand and interpret written information. Questions are given in the form of short paragraphs of text.

Candidates need to read the text and then determine whether the statement that follows is 'true,' 'false,' or they 'can not say' based on their understanding and interpretation of what they have read.

United Nations Logical Reasoning Test

The logical reasoning assessment evaluates the candidate's ability to think logically. Questions are presented in the form of shapes, patterns, or sequences.

Candidates need to determine the link, rule, or relationship between the shape, pattern or sequence then select which of the multiple choice answers follows next.

All general assessments/testing are timed assessments. Test takers are informed of the length of the test and the types of test they are required to complete in the test invite, along with any deadlines for completion.

The hiring unit reviews results from the test along with relevant HR professionals. The review determines whether individuals have met the required criteria to progress to the latter stages of the recruitment process.

United Nations Suitability Screening

Individuals successful at the general assessment/testing stage will have their applications reviewed by UN staff within the department they have applied for.

This is to determine whether they demonstrate the required skills and experience needed for the role they have applied for. Successful candidates may be invited to complete a substantive test.

United Nations Substantive Test

Depending on the role applied for, some candidates may need to complete a substantive test. This is at the discretion of the hiring unit. This assessment is designed to objectively evaluate applicants on their technical skills and knowledge related to the role they have applied for.

The test is an open writing test where candidates directly type their response to the question. The whole test takes between 90 - 180 minutes to complete depending on the role. Each question has a specified time limit for completion.

United Nations Competency-based And Substantive Interview

All candidates successful at the general testing and substantive testing stage are invited to attend a competency-based or substantive interview.

The basis of this assessment is to determine whether candidates demonstrate the skills, experience, and attributes required for the role they have applied for. Interviews may be conducted over the phone, in person, or virtually via video conference. The length of the interview can vary according to the position applied for.

As the interview is competency-based, candidates must provide examples of situations demonstrating the skill or competency being assessed. This enables the interviewer to determine whether individuals have what it takes to deal effectively with the workplace situations that come with the role they have applied for.

Those who have applied for roles within the professional and higher category will be invited to attend a substantive interview. This interview comprises questions that assess their technical knowledge and skills relative to the role applied for.

United Nations Review And Selection

All candidates who are interviewed for a position will then be ranked according to whether they demonstrate the necessary skills and experience for the position applied for.

Once this has been completed, the rankings are then reviewed by relevant boards and candidates approved - if necessary, by those at the senior level if the role is in the senior appointment category.

Candidates who have been recommended, approved, and selected for the position(s) are then notified that they have been chosen for the position.

Candidates who are in a group where they have been reviewed and approved for a position but not selected for the post (for example, if all vacancies have been filled) will then be placed on a roster and notified when suitable vacancies arise.

Tips To Get Hired At United Nations

The recruitment process at the UN is designed to be rigorous in assessing candidates on whether they demonstrate the necessary skills, experience, and attributes required for roles. Here are some tips to help you perform at your best throughout the recruitment process.

Find a suitable vacancy

The UN offers various categories of roles at different levels. Determining your skills in relation to what is required for roles is an essential part of the initial self-selection process in helping you find a suitable vacancy.

Pay attention to special requirements

Roles at the UN detail special requirements such as basic education level, skill, or language requirements. When applying, pay attention to all the requirements listed and ensure that you meet these before completing the application form. Ensuring you do so will save you time, meaning you don't apply for a role where you don't meet the essential criteria.


It is vital that you practice the tests you will be asked to complete as part of your recruitment process. Practicing means that you become familiar with the format and the style of questions, ensuring that when you complete the test to the best of your ability rather than spending precious time figuring out what the questions are asking.

Sample United Nations Assessments question Test your knowledge!

Score: /5

Five diplomats in a room all shake hands with each other only once. How many handshakes occur in the room?

  • 10
  • 15
  • 20
  • 25

In an international conference, a report shows that the yearly fund allocation for educational projects increased from $4.2 million to $5.6 million over the course of one year. By what percentage did the fund allocation increase?

  • 25%
  • 33.33%
  • 50%
  • 75%

A peacekeeping mission had a budget that was overspent by 12% last quarter. If the original budget was $10 million, how much was actually spent?

  • $11.2 million
  • $10.8 million
  • $10.2 million
  • $12 million

The recent General Assembly speech emphasized the need to harness global solidarity. What was the main message of the speech?

Despite our differences, we have managed to create a platform for dialogue and cooperation that has lasted for decades. Our journey tells a story of global solidarity, a tale of a shared quest for a better world. However, our work is far from over. We must redouble our efforts, pull together as a community of nations, and harness the powerful force of global solidarity.

  • The importance of individual national interests in shaping the future.
  • The story of the organization's historical achievements.
  • To encourage stronger cooperation and global unity.
  • The need for increasing the organization's budget.

If the principles A, B, and C always lead to conclusion X, and the principles D, E, and F always lead to conclusion Y, which conclusion follows when principles A, D, and F are combined?

  • The conclusion cannot be determined from the given principles.
  • The conclusion will be a combination of X and Y.
  • The conclusion will necessarily be X.
  • The conclusion will necessarily be Y.

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United Nations Assessments Tips

Get Familiar with Test Formats

Understanding the structure of the types of tests you'll face is key. Review common question types and timing constraints to avoid surprises on the test day.

Practice Makes Perfect

Regular practice can significantly improve your performance. Utilize the free practice tests on Psychometric Tests to hone your skills.

Focus on Your Weak Points

Identify areas where you struggle and concentrate your study efforts there. This targeted approach can lead to overall score improvement.

Stay Calm and Positive

Test anxiety can affect your performance. Practice relaxation techniques and maintain a positive attitude to keep your cool.

Time Management

Keep an eye on the clock. Practice pacing yourself to ensure you can complete the test within the allotted time.

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  • 30 Numerical reasoning tests
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  • 30 Situational judgement tests
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  • Basic performance tracking
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United Nations Assessments FAQs

What are the United Nations tests?

The United Nations hiring process includes various assessments tailored to the specific role applied for. These can range from personality tests to cognitive ability assessments, and they aim to evaluate suitability for work within the UN framework.

Are the United Nations tests hard?

Like many competitive organizations, the United Nations' tests are challenging. They are designed to identify candidates with the right skills and temperament for demanding international roles. However, they are very much manageable with proper preparation.

How do I prepare for United Nations tests?

Preparing for United Nations tests is best achieved through diligent practice. On Psychometric Tests, you can take multiple practice tests that mirror the actual UN assessments, providing you with a solid preparation platform.

How long does the recruitment process take at United Nations?

The recruitment process duration at the United Nations varies based on the role and level of competition. It generally includes multiple stages, such as the review of qualifications, testing, and interviews, which can take several weeks to months.

What are United Nations's core values?

United Nations's core values include integrity, professionalism, and respect for diversity. These principles guide their work and employees as they address complex global challenges.