Self-assessment of eligibility
The United Nations uses the Language Competitive Examinations (LCEs) to recruit language specialists.
The Examinations are open to qualified applicants who:
- Have the language in which the examination is held as their main language. Please note that "main language" refers to the language in which the applicant is best able to work as a specialist. This may be their mother tongue, or another language in which they have become fluent.
- Meet all the requirements (including the language combinations and educational requirements) set out in the announcement of the LCE for which they are applying. Check the announcement very carefully because these requirements vary from one examination to the next.
- Are 56 years old or younger at the end of the examination year. . This requirement is based on the Organization’s need to recruit staff who can serve for a reasonable period of time before reaching the mandatory retirement age of 65 years.
Once you are sure that you meet all the above criteria, start your application by creating your profile in the Careers Portal (see below).
Creation of profile and preparation of application
In order to prepare an application for an examination, you must first register on this website (click here to register). After you have registered, you will be welcomed to the Careers Home page, where you will fill out and manage your profile, application form(s) and all information relating to your application(s). This is also where you can search for job and examination openings. Please note that all Language Competitive Examinations (LCEs) are listed as job openings using the formula "LCE-year-language-function" and each one has its own number and description of requirements.
Start by creating a user profile ("My Profile"). The information in "My Profile" includes your name, nationality, contact information and family status. You can make changes to "My Profile" at any time, and the information will be automatically updated on all your job applications.
After you have registered and completed "My Profile", you can create your application for the examination. The application form asks you to provide information about your education, past and present jobs, experiences, skills, etc. You can start preparing an application form without immediately applying by clicking "Create Draft Application". After you have entered data, click "Save" to save it without submitting your application. You can prepare, access, edit and save your partially completed application form as often as you like before you are ready to apply.
It is important to provide accurate and up-to-date information in your application as it serves as a basis for evaluating your eligibility for the examination. Once an application has been submitted, it can no longer be modified.
Submission of the application
When you have finished filling out your application and you are ready to apply for the examination, click "Add job to application". Depending on the examination you are applying for (remember examinations are advertised as job openings, each with its own number), you may get a set of additional questions about yourself, which are yes/no, true/false or multiple choice questions. You may be prompted with a list of skills and be asked to perform a self-assessment of these, giving an indication of your level of proficiency for each. Your responses will be used in the evaluation and assessment of your candidature. Finally, submit the application by clicking "Submit".
The United Nations does not accept a resume or CV as an attached document, and it is neither considered a substitute nor a complementary document to a completed online application. Therefore, make sure your application contains all the relevant information you would like to include for consideration by the people reviewing your application.
If you have submitted your job application successfully, you will promptly receive an automated acknowledgment by e-mail. You will not be able to submit an application after the deadline. All applications you have submitted are listed on the "My Applications" page with the appropriate status i.e. "Applied", "Under consideration", "Rostered" etc. You can track the status of your applications in the "My Career Tools" page, which can be found in your Careers Home page.
Processing of the application
Your application is first screened to determine if you are eligible for the examination to which you have applied. If it is determined that you are eligible and meet all of the requirements, you will be informed that your application has been successful and you will be assigned an application number. If it is determined that you are not eligible or only meet some or none of the requirements, you will be informed that your application has been unsuccessful. In this case, you should not be discouraged, but continue building your education/experience to apply for future examinations. Make sure that you check our Careers Portal for future announcements of Language Competitive Examinations.
Assignment of test centre
If your application is successful and the LCE for which you have applied includes a test held at a test centre (not all do - some LCEs are conducted remotely), you will be assigned a test centre on the basis of the address information provided in the “My Profile” section of your application. The test centre is where you will do part 1 of the examination (career-specific skills tests). You may opt to take part 1 at another of the designated test centres (i.e. a test centre other than that originally assigned to you).
Part 1: career-specific skills tests
The content of the career-specific skills tests in part 1 depends on the LCE. For example, for the editing examination, you will be asked to edit texts, for the interpretation examination, you will be asked to perform simultaneous interpretation. For more information visit the corresponding pages on the UN Language Careers portal, where tips for preparing for the examination and sometimes sample examinations are posted. Please note that travel expenses to and from the test centre for part 1 of the examination, as applicable, will not be covered by the United Nations.
Part 2: competency-based interview and additional skills tests
The interview in part 2 of the examination is competency-based. The purpose is to learn more about the match between your combination of skills, attributes and behaviours and what is required for successful performance on the job. The interview will be conducted in either English or French, the two working languages of the Secretariat. In addition to the competency-based interview, additional skills tests are usually given. The interview and additional tests in part 2 may be held remotely. If you are invited to a duty station for part 2 of the examination, travel expenses will be reimbursed by the United Nations subject to the United Nations travel policy.
Notification of results
Based on the combined results of part 1 and part 2, the Board of Examiners will recommend the most qualified candidates for placement on the roster. Once recommendations are approved, all candidates will be informed of their results by e-mail. These can also be consulted using your application number on the Information for candidates page.
Placement on the roster
Successful candidates will be placed on the roster of the LCE they were successful in. A roster is a pool of candidates who have already been vetted through an examination process. Please note that each roster is specific for and limited to the language and function of that specific examination. Candidates are recruited from the relevant roster, as and when vacancies arise, subject to the requirements of the Organization in terms of subject-matter expertise and language combination. Please note that placement on a roster does not entail an automatic offer of employment and that openings may not arise for several months or even a few years in some cases. Successful candidates may also be offered temporary or contractual work depending on the needs of the Organization. Rostered candidates may choose to be temporarily or permanently withdrawn from the roster at any time.
Welcome to the UN
Successful candidates selected from the rosters to fill vacancies are normally offered an initial two-year fixed-term appointment at UN Headquarters in New York or at other duty stations in Africa, Asia, Europe or Latin America.at the P-2 level. Upon satisfactory completion of this trial period, their appointment will be extended and they may be promoted to the P-3 level. Rostered candidates who receive an offer of appointment are strongly encouraged to accept it, as declining may affect their prospects of receiving a subsequent offer.