CELP Application Process

    • Are you eligible? Check carefully that you meet all the requirements detailed in the CELP announcement, as these vary from one exam to another. In general, CELPs are open to language professionals 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.
      • Will be no more than 56 years old at the end of the year the examination was announced.
    • Prepare your application

      To prepare your application:

      • Register on our human resources gateway, Inspira.
      • Build your profile with basic information such as your name, nationality, contact information and family status.
      • Complete your application form for the CELP. The UN does not accept a resumé or CV as an attached document. You will need to provide information about your education, past and present jobs, experiences and skills in the application form itself. Pay attention to any special instructions in the examination announcement.
      • You can access, edit and save your application form as often as you like before you submit it. However, no modifications can be made once it has been submitted.
    • Submit your application

      When you are ready to submit your application:

      • Select "Add job to application" (remember, CELP announcements are listed as job openings, each with a unique number).
      • You may receive a list of skills and be asked to perform a self-assessment of these, giving an indication of your level of proficiency for each one.
      • Finally, submit the application. You will receive an automated acknowledgment by e-mail, and your application will appear under the "My Applications" tab in Inspira, with its status indicated.
    • Once you have applied
      • Your application will be screened to determine if you are eligible for the examination to which you have applied.
      • Usually all applicants who meet the minimum education, work experience and language requirements are invited to sit the exam. Sometimes when a particularly large number of applications are received, only the most qualified applicants (those who exceed the minimum requirements) will be invited.
      • If your application has been successful, you will be informed by email and assigned an application number for future reference. You will also receive more details about the skills tests that come next.
      • If you are ineligible or do not meet the requirements for the CELP, you will be informed that your application has been unsuccessful. Do not give up! This does not prevent you from applying again in the future. Continue building your qualifications and experience so that you meet or exceed the requirements next time. Make sure to check this page frequently for future examination announcements.

    The skills test and interviews in most competitive examinations for language positions are conducted remotely.

    Test centres

    When the career-specific skills tests have to be taken at a test centre:

    • Your test centre will be assigned based on the address provided in your application.
    • You may opt to take the skills tests at a test centre other than the one originally assigned to you.

    Career-specific skills tests

    The content of the career-specific skills tests depends on the examination, for example:

    • In an examination for translators, you will be asked to translate different types of texts.
    • In an examination for interpreters, you will be asked to perform simultaneous interpretation.
    • You may also be asked to perform other function-related tasks so that we can assess your suitability for the job.

    The skills tests are often organized in two parts held on separate days and several months apart.

    • Candidates must succeed in the first part to be invited to the second.
    • CELPs for interpreters may include a pre-selection test as well.

    Skills-tests are almost always conducted remotely.

    • You will need is a computer and a reliable Internet connection.
    • You may also need a camera or a microphone connected to your computer.

    For more information on the content of the skills tests, as well as tips on preparing for them, visit the corresponding pages on language careers of the website of the Department for General Assembly and Conference Management.

    Make sure you visit the pages in your target language as the information varies accordingly.


    Candidates who pass the career-specific skills tests are invited to an interview. Like all UN interviews, CELP interviews are competency-based, which means that we are looking for a match between your combination of skills, attributes and behaviors, and what is required for successful performance on the job.

    • The interview will be mostly, if not exclusively, conducted in either English or French (the working languages of the Secretariat). Part of the interview may be in the language of the examination, if that language is not English or French.
    • Additional skills tests may be given on the same day as the interview.
    • Interviews are usually held remotely.
    • If you are invited to a duty station for the interview, travel expenses will be reimbursed by the United Nations, subject to the United Nations travel policy.
    • Passing the interview is a requirement for placement on the recruitment roster for language positions.
    • All candidates are informed of their results by e-mail. Candidates can also find their results under
      Information for candidates.
    • Candidates who succeed in all the skills tests and the competency-based interview are placed on the roster (list) of candidates who may be recruited to fill vacant positions in the language services of the United Nations Secretariat.
    • Candidates whose performance in the CELP does not fully meet the requirements for staff positions in the UN language services may be rostered for contractual work and/or temporary appointments with the United Nations instead.
    • Candidates who pass a competitive examination are placed on the corresponding recruitment roster and offered positions as and when vacancies in their language and career specialization arise in the locations mentioned in the examination announcement.
    • You will need to be patient because this may be several months or even several years after the examination has ended!

    As a successful candidate, you will be selected from the roster to fill vacancies for an initial two-year fixed-term appointment at one of our duty stations, at the P-2 or P-3 level. Once you’ve successfully completed the trial period, your appointment will be extended, with the chance of promotion to the P-3 level if you were recruited at the P-2 level. More information about P-2 and P-3 levels.

    You can learn more about career progression in the UN language services on the website of the Department for General Assembly and Conference Management.

Last updated on 4 October 2021
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