Manager ‘musts’ in recruitment and hiring

You and everyone who will be on an interview panel must complete the Competency-based Interviewing course before you can take part. You can sign up online and complete it at your own pace. There is also a version for senior managers; search for LMS-1057.

  1. You must be transparent and observe due process. As set out in the Charter, the goal is to secure “the highest standards of efficiency, competence and integrity,” with due regard to geographical representation and the goal of gender parity. Administrative decisions relating to selection and promotion are those most often contested by staff through the informal and formal justice system. 
  2. You must take timely action at each step of the process, proceeding as quickly as possible with the review of eligible candidates—this step is often the biggest delay in the process. 
  3. You must be aware of the human resources management targets of your Senior Manager’s Compact and make judicious recommendations. The targets respond to General Assembly decisions requiring speedier staff selection, reduction in vacancy rates, equitable representation of nationals of Member States, and gender parity. Most USG/ASGs publish the compacts on their office intranets, and they are on the iSeek
    > Compacts Directory I iSeek ( 
  4. You must prevent and avoid all conflicts of interest, whether actual, perceived or potential.  Disclose and recuse yourself from the selection process if your spouse, partner or a close colleague is among the candidates.  Also, remember that other immediate family members (siblings, parents and children) cannot be hired by the Secretariat. Discuss any concerns with your manager and/or consult the Ethics Office. 
  5. You must know the contractual status and career aspirations of all personnel in your unit to understand what eligibility they have.
    • Staff recruited through the Young Professionals Programme (YPP) move in a rotation exercise after serving two years in their initial assignment.
    • Staff pursuing lateral moves to another work area, in the same or another duty station, are impacted in different ways by Organizational rules.
    • Non-staff personnel—interns, consultants and individual contractors—cannot apply for a position in the UN Secretariat until at least six months after the end of their contract.

Q: What are the staffing targets in the Senior Managers Compacts?
A: The human resources performance measures related to stafffing are: timelines of selection, vacancy management, review of eligible candidates, geographical distribution, and gender representation in senior level Professional, non-senior Professional, and General Service and related categories. The administrative or executive office of your department/office provides support by guiding the process of post advertisement, and identifying suitable candidates from rosters.

Q: What is geographical distribution?
A: Regular budget posts at the Professional level or above, except language posts up to the P-5 level, are subject to a system of desirable ranges, established by the General Assembly to promote equitable geographical distribution in the composition of the Secretariat. The system calculates a “range” of the number of citizens of each Member State that should be employed by the Secretariat against those posts--commonly referred to as the “desirable range.” A Member State is considered “unrepresented” when it has no national serving in a post subject to geographical distribution; “within range” when the number of its nationals is between the lower and upper limits of the desirable range;  “underrepresented” when the number is below the lower limit of the desirable range; and “overrepresented” when the number exceeds the upper limit of the desirable range.

Q:  How can I improve gender representation?
A: The Departmental Focal Points for Women advise selection panels and heads of department/offices on activities or conditions that help to recruit and retain women.

Types of appointments

Know the types of appointments offered in the UN (temporary, fixed term, continuing)

Manager’s role in contract renewal

Understand your role and the procedures by consulting the administrative/executive office in your department/office.

Understand UN job classification, the structure of your department, and planning staffing needs

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  • Job classification aims to set fair and equitable remuneration by applying standards uniformly and consistently in keeping with the principles of equal pay for work of equal value, and relative worth of the work performed. It ensures consistency between the actual duties and responsibilities of a post and the grade allocated.
  • The job classification method organizes levels of responsibility in a particular order, grouping together similar or comparable jobs according to the functions to be performed and related skills, knowledge or experience required to accomplish these functions.
  • Organizations of the United Nations common system classify posts in accordance with the standards established by the International Civil Service Commission (ICSC) for posts in the Professional category and at the D-1 and D-2 levels and for posts in the General Service and related categories at the duty station concerned, and in accordance with the classification standards approved by the Secretary-General for posts in the Field Service category, and in the Security Service category at Headquarters.
  • Staffing tables which describe the valid and available classified posts approved in the budget are maintained in the executive or administrative office of each department or office. Managers should consult with their senior managers about the availability of posts and the status of each post to plan staffing needs.
  • There can be considerations of part-time employment in some situations. Discuss this option with your HR/administrative/executive office should you or a staff member have an interest in such an arrangement.

Conduct a recruitment process

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  • Learn about the staff selection system, the competitive process through which most staff members at the United Nations are selected, and the critical roles and responsibilities of hiring managers and heads of department in the process.
  • Refer to the At-a-Glance guidance materials under the ‘manual’ link in your inspira account (how to create a job opening; formula for creating a job posting; building meaningful assessment exercises; and evaluating applicants). You may also refer to the Manual for Hiring Manager to get details with the underpinning rationale for the process and best practice tips.
  • Refer to the guidance materials under the 'Manuals' link in the 'Help' tile of your Inspira homepage to get access to the iManual on Staff Selection System and specific QuickStart guides.
  • Be familiar with recruitment conducted through competitive examinations for the young professionals program (YPP) and certain other posts.

Staff Selection System FAQs

Q. What are the main steps in the staffing process?

A. You can see the process at a glance here

Q. What roles and responsibilities do managers and senior leaders have in the staff selection system?

A. When seeking to fill a vacancy in your office or if you are managing an occupational group, you are responsible for creating a job opening, evaluating applicants, and preparing a reasoned and documented record of the evaluation of the proposed candidates against the applicable evaluation criteria. Heads of department/office/mission have the authority to make selection decisions for positions up to and including the D-1 level, based on the recommendation of the hiring and/or occupational group manager and after review by the central review body.  
Heads of department/office have the authority to transfer staff to job openings at the same level within their departments/offices without advertising the position or review by a central review body. Heads of mission have the same authority under conditions established by the Department of Field Service.  This authority must be carried out in consultation with the staff member concerned, as well as the releasing and receiving offices. The decision must be made in good faith, transparent and in the best interests of the department/office.

Q. The staff recruitment process takes a long time. Is there not a faster method?

A. For speedier recruitment, you may select a candidate from a pre-approved roster, a pool of assessed candidates that have been reviewed and endorsed by a central review body and who are available for selection against a vacant position. There is also an expedited process for temporary positions (i.e. when there is an opening for less than one year due to, for example, maternity leave or need for urgent assistance).

Q. I know a great person with whom I’d like to work. Can I hire him/her?

A: Yes if the person proves to be the best candidate for the position through the competitive process. The best candidate must be determined through an open and transparent process that follows the staff selection procedures, and in which candidates meet the academic and professional experience requirements and compete with other eligible candidates. The person may not be a member of your immediate family. You must disclose your relationship with any candidate when the applicant names are first forwarded to the department/office for review to avoid any perceived or actual conflict of interest.

Conduct the evaluation and selection proces

Refer to the guidance materials under the ‘Manuals’ link in the 'Help' tile of your Inspira homepage to get access to the iManual on Staff Selection System and specific QuickStart guides. 

Manager’s role in new staff induction

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  • Managers should be aware of how new staff members receive information about the Organization before and after they join.
  • While based on the same templates, induction processes may vary by duty station. In general, before joining, new staff receive an offer letter from the Organization and it is usually accompanied by some induction information. 
  • On a staff member's first day, they usually meet with an HR officer and receive additional information related to their specific office.
  • It's also important for managers to welcome new staff to their teams. To find some tips on how to do this, go to the Welcome new staff to your team section on this page.

FAQs: Hiring consultants and contractors, UN Volunteers, Interns, Associate Experts, JPOs

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Different procedures govern hiring consultants, individual contractors, interns and UN Volunteers

Q. When may I use the services of a consultant or an individual contractor?

A. Consultants are engaged in an advisory or consultative capacity when programmes have a need for special skills or knowledge not normally possessed by regular staff and for which there is no continuing need. These specialist functions are result-oriented and normally involve analysing problems, facilitating seminars or training courses, preparing documents for conferences and meetings or writing reports.  An individual contractor provides expertise, skills or knowledge for a specific task or piece of work that is short term in nature, and the assignment may involve functions similar to those of staff members, such as provision of translation, editing, public information, or secretarial services. For more information consult ST/AI/2013/4.

Q. How do I hire a consultant or an individual contractor?

A. The hiring process is managed locally.  Contact your administrative/executive/HR office.  You are responsible for developing the terms of reference of the work to be performed by the consultant or individual contractor and the outputs expected, as well as submitting the terms to your executive/administrative/HR office.

Q. Can a retired or former staff member be hired as a consultant or individual contractor?

A. Within certain guidelines and restrictions, yes.  Briefly, there must be at least a one-month break between separation or retirement of the former or retired staff member and reengagement on an individual contract, unless the separation was on mutually agreed terms, in which case the former staff member may be reengaged on an individual contract only after a period of 36 months from the date of separation from service; the individual cannot be reengaged to perform the functions of the same post from which he or she separated or contracted to encumber the position from which he or she separated; and the former staff member must have separated from the organization on satisfactory terms.  Other conditions also apply and there are limits on the fees to be paid. Refer to ST/AI/2013/4, Consultants and individual contractors for the details, and talk with your HR officer.

Q. How do I hire an intern?

A. The internship programme may be offered at any duty station of the Secretariat designated as a family duty station, and is managed locally. Contact your executive/administrative/HR office if you are interested in the services of an intern.

Q. What are the manager’s responsibilities and obligations towards interns?

A. The manager should create a working environment conducive to the interns’ substantive learning and professional development; ensure that an intern’s assignment is at the appropriate level of complexity and variety; prepare the terms of reference describing the tasks; and provide constructive performance feedback to the intern. Interns cannot undertake official travel on behalf of the United Nations. They may be permitted to travel in a UN vehicle with a signed liability waiver. For more information consult ST/AI/2014/1.

Manager’s role in the administration of leave, allowances and benefits

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You are expected to authorize leave and other benefits for your staff members.
> Go to the Work + Life page on the HR Portal for information on different types of leave and other benefits.
Every Factsheet explains the policy governing the benefit as well as the how-to for staff and manager. The Factsheets will guide you and the staff member in planning leaves; some situations have defined timeframes that must be respected (such as maternity leave, paternity leave, rest and recuperation break at certain duty stations). As duty stations come on-line with Umoja for HR, managers will learn how to authorize leaves and other benefits using the Umoja tool.

Using flexible working arrangements 

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Members of your team may ask you to consider flexible working arrangements. This is your decision to make, and with delivery of the work as a primary concern, you are encouraged to consider the manner in which the work is currently performed and how it could be done in a different way, perhaps even more productively. Be reasonable and reflective in considering the options. Certain types of flexible working arrangements may not be possible for some jobs. Similarly, demands and requirements may lead to suspension of flexible working arrangements at certain periods.
>Go to the flexible working arrangements options for more details.