At your interview
The United Nations’ greatest asset is the quality of its staff. To ensure that the very best people join the UN team we use a competency based interview process. Competency based interviews are also called “behavioral interviews” or “criterion based interviews.” Such interviews are based on the concept that past behavior and experience is the best indicator of future performance. In other words, your history tells a story about you: your talents, skills, abilities, knowledge and actual experience in handling a variety of situations.
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Competency interviewing questions can look like this:
- Tell us about a situation when you went above and beyond your manager’s expectations.
- Give an example of a time when you used your problem solving abilities to resolve an issue?
- Tell us about a time where you had a number of demands being made on you at the same time? How did you handle it?
Useful tips for your interview:
- Prepare a wide range of brief real life stories about your accomplishments. Be aware of the specific skills each story illustrates and remember to include the positive outcome or lesson learned from each experience.
- Be ready to discuss your strengths and your ability to learn from past experiences. Also think about how you could contribute to the work of the United Nations and to the specific position you are applying for.
- Review the competencies mentioned in the job opening. These will be probed in your interview, so your stories should show your skill in these competency areas.
- You should be prepared to address positive results and achievements using these competencies and also challenges you have had in each of these areas.
- The structure of your answer should be: Situation, Action, Result.
- Share information you feel is appropriate and relevant.
- Listen to the question carefully. Keep to the point. Be as specific as possible.
- Do some research on competency, or behavior based interviews. There is a lot of material available about preparing for such an interview structure.
- Learn as much as you can about the Department and Office you are applying to and the work it does.
- Practice, practice, practice.