Competency-based Interviews (CBI) Training

Competency-based interviewing (CBI) is a style of interviewing in which a job candidate’s competence is assessed through eliciting information about past experiences and the behaviour and skills used. It is the standard style of interviewing at the United Nations Secretariat.

There are online learning programmes available for interviewees and for staff who will serve on interview panels as part of a selection process. It is mandatory for all panel members to complete CBI training before they participate on a panel.


cbi training


UN Competency-Based Interviews (CBI) Training for Panel Members

This online programme is now available!   SIGN UP

It gives staff members a comprehensive introduction to competency-based interviewing requirements for panel members.

This self-paced online course came about through a partnership between the United Nations System Staff College (UNSSC) and the Office of Human Resources in the Department of Management Strategy, Policy and Compliance (DMSPC).

Staff can sign up online and complete it at their own pace. Participants will:

  • Gain an in-depth understanding of competency-based interviews
  • Learn about their roles as panel members
  • Access interview questions and useful templates

​The course can be completed in 4-5 hours, or staff can complete it more slowly, over a maximum of two months. It includes a certificate of completion, which is a requirement for staff to serve on interview panels. Please note that CBI is also a mandatory module in the new e-Management Certificate.

Why move to an online version?

  • The new format will enable staff to take CBI training at any time and from anywhere.
  • It will end wait-times staff have experienced because many duty stations cannot provide in-person training at short notice.
  • Moving to online training also helps address COVID-19 disruptions.

Eligibility requirements

  • UN Secretariat staff with fixed-term, continuing or permanent contracts
  • Scheduled or expected to participate as an interview panel member


Certificate of Completion

  • The online course will generate a certificate upon completion. Staff should use this certificate to prove that they are CBI-trained.
  • Completion status will also be reflected in Inspira but there will be a lag time of 1-3 months. Once reflected, staff can go to Inspira-My Learning to "print" the CBI certificate.

Questions and Help

  • For technical and content-related questions, contact
  • For eligibility and HR-related questions, contact your Executive Office or HR section.
  • For more information, email


Frequently Asked Questions (CBI for panel members)
Some duty stations may offer an in-person version; check with your Executive/Administrative office for more information.


There is high demand for the CBI for panel members programme across global duty stations. This is due to the requirement that all interview panel members be trained in the technique. It was difficult and expensive for HR/learning teams to fulfill the demand. With an online programme, staff can take the course from anywhere and at any time.

There is no fee for eligible Secretariat staff.


If you have comments or questions about the content of the programme write to

In terms of questions or concerns about interview practices, staff should seek guidance from their Executive/Administrative office.


Although it is not a requirement, staff should repeat the programme every 3-5 years as a refresher. 


  • Secretariat staff with fixed-term, continuing or permanent contracts who will serve on an interview panel are required to take this programme.
  • Other staff with fixed-term, continuing or permanent appointments who are interested in this subject and may serve on a panel at some point in the future may also do the programme.
  • Staff members with temporary contracts, along with interns, consultants and contractors are not eligible for this programme.


No. Interview note-takers, ex-officio members and administrative support staff who may be present during an interview do not need to complete CBI for panel members.   


Yes, the online programme will generate a certificate upon completion. Staff should use this certificate to prove that they are CBI-trained.


Your completion status will be reflected in Inspira but there will be a lag time of 1-3 months. This is due to the need to transfer records from the Staff College’s system to Inspira. Go to Inspira-My Learning to check the status.


Either certificate can be used but we recommend using the one from the online programme itself. You will have this in hand right away upon completing the course on the Staff College site. The record of completion and corresponding certificate will take a few months to be reflected in Inspira. This is due to the need to transfer records from the Staff College’s system to Inspira.


If a Secretariat panel includes a non-Secretariat staff member that needs training, the person can arrange to take the programme through a separate web page that is available to staff from UN agencies, funds and programmes, available here.


Staff from UN agencies, funds and programmes can access the online CBI for panel members on a for-pay basis ($750) through this web page. Separately, the Secretariat has an arrangement with the Staff College through which all Secretariat staff can access online CBI for panel members though a separate, distinct web page. The programme is available at no cost to Secretariat staff or their departments/entities.



CBI Training for Applicants

Do you have an interview coming up? Or are you applying to jobs and hope you’ll have an interview soon? Explore the resources below to prepare yourself for the competency-based interviewing style used in the UN system.

Learning Programme

Competency-Based Interviewing for Applicants (LMS-1118):

All staff are eligible to take this self-paced online learning programme in Inspira. You can hear testimonials from UN staff members, learn about the UN competencies and their indicators, read sample interview questions, master the C-A-R technique and action verbs in answering interview questions and watch short videos of a simulated interview. Additional resources and a reading list are presented at the end of the programme.