Selection process

Pre-selection of candidates

The pre-selection of candidates is undertaken by the UN/DESA Office in Rome on the basis of:

  • the profiles requested by the recipient organizations and approved for donor sponsorship
  • the candidates’ qualifications, educational background, professional experience, language and computer skills. 

For each position, five candidates are pre-selected and invited to participate in the next stages of the selection process.

Due to the large number of applications, only short-listed candidates will be informed by UN/DESA of the positive outcome of the pre-selection process. They will also be provided with a full description of the fellowship position for which they have been pre-selected. 

Final selection of candidates

Pre-selected candidates are invited for a written assessment and a competency-based interview.

This written test – in English or the working language required for the position – aims to assess candidates’ substantive knowledge and writing skills. It will be administered through a straightforward web-based tool.

The interview is conducted remotely via web-based video conference facilities (or, in exceptional cases, by phone). It provides the occasion to elicit further information on the candidates’ combination of skills, attributes and behaviours that are directly related to the requested profile. More information on competency-based interviews is available at:

The interview panels communicate to UN/DESA the results of the selection process according to the following categories:

  • selected candidate
  • reserve candidate (first choice)
  • reserve candidate (second choice)
  • unsuccessful candidates

The integrity of the entire selection process is subsequently reviewed by the UN/DESA Fellowship Committee in New York, which is responsible for finalizing the list of selected candidates.

All pre-selected candidates are informed by e-mail of the outcome of the final selection. Reserve candidates will only be re-contacted if the previous candidate selected declines the fellowship award.

Selection process calendar (tentative)

May/June: Programme launch and activation of the online application tool
July/August: Pre-selection and short-listing of candidates
• SeptemberNotifications sent to pre-selected candidates.
October: Interview period
November: Notifications sent to selected/reserve candidates and to unsuccessful interviewees.