The United Nations Young Professionals Programme (YPP) consists of three stages: application, written examination, and interview. Information on the 2020 YPP estimated timeline and the detailed description of what each 2020 YPP stage will entail is presented below.
UN YPP Stage 1: Application
The Young Professionals Programme (YPP) is an annual recruitment initiative of the United Nations. The list of participating countries and job families for the upcoming YPP cohort is announced in May-June every year. The UN YPP 2020 list of participating countries and exam areas was announced on 7 May 2020.
Candidates who meet all requirements are invited to submit an application for the YPP 2020 online. You will need to enter all the information about your background in the Personal History Profile (PHP) form in Inspira, which is a specific recruitment system of the United Nations, and submit it to the YPP 2020 job opening during the application period. The application period will be open for 45-60 days, preliminary scheduled to start at the end of August 2020, the exact dates and deadlines will be posted in the job openings on inspira. Kindly note that you will not be able to find or submit an application until the start of the application period, however you may start drafting your application in Inspira now, review it to make sure your background is listed as required and presents you as a strong candidate for the UN YPP 2020, and submit it when the application period is open.
First Screening Round
Young professionals who apply for the UN YPP 2020 are initially evaluated by a special software, which automatically filters and “ranks” candidates according to their background (“first screening round”). The software screens out candidates who do not meet the requirements for the job family they applied for, who have an incomplete/inaccurate profile or who have submitted several applications to the UN YPP 2020. Candidates who pass the first screening round are invited to take the first part of the written examination.
We bring your attention to the fact that many potentially successful applicants do not pass the screening because they inadvertently communicate incomplete or imprecise information in Inspira. As mentioned above, the first screening round is fully automated and in case you accidentally “tick the wrong box” in one of the eligibility sections, your application will be screened out by the software. We, therefore, recommend you to be extra careful and make sure that your background is presented in line with the UN YPP 2020 requirements.
Second Screening Round
The second screening round takes place after the first part of the written examination. According to the United Nations standards, a maximum of 60 people from each participating country for each job family will be invited to the second stage of the written examination. Therefore, at the second screening round the United Nations conducts a combined evaluation of applicants’ background and their performance in the first part of the written examination, and selects the highest ranked 40 candidates to be considered further in the selection process. There are three criteria that are used to assess applicants’ background at the second screening round: additional relevant university degrees, knowledge of the official UN languages, number of years of relevant professional experience.
There are a number of recommendations to incorporate into your application form which will help you to be ranked higher in the YPP 2020 second screening round. These recommendations mainly refer to the description of your past professional engagements, extracurricular activities, skills, and competencies as these are the key factors affecting your profile evaluation. Candidates entrusting us to assist them with the application review for the YPP 2020 receive concrete suggestions on how to adjust your cover letter, duties and achievements, extracurricular and leadership roles description to increase your chances pass the selection at this stage and move further in the recruitment process.
UN YPP Stage 2: Written Examination
Starting from 2017, the YPP written examination is held online via a United Nations online testing platform. Candidates who pass the first screening round of the YPP 2020 cohort will receive an official email from the UN YPP team in September-October 2020 notifying them about the successful screening outcome and providing further instructions on how to access the online testing platform.
The written examination consists of two parts. The first part is preliminarily scheduled for winter 2020-2021 and consists of General Paper and Specialised Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs). Candidates who are successful in the first part of the written examination (and pass the second screening round – see above) are invited to the second part of the written exam preliminarily scheduled for spring 2021. The second part consists of Specialised Constructive Response Items (CRIs), or essay questions. The number of questions and their content depends on the job family you take the YPP 2020 exam.
Those applicants who successfully pass the second part of the written exam will be asked to take a proctored verification test. This test is also held online and intends to confirm that candidates completed the actual exam on a fair basis. Successful candidates are then invited to the final YPP stage which is an oral examination (interview).
The written examination is the most competitive stage of the YPP process as you are competing with all other candidates applying to the same job family. The exam tests your substantive knowledge of various subjects and UN regulations relevant to your job family, as well as your ability to analyze data, think critically, and your compliance with the core UN values and competencies. The key to succeeding at this stage are, firstly, persistence in the preparation process, and, secondly, starting the preparation early as there is a comprehensive amount of information to be covered. Past successful candidates recommend starting the readings as soon as you have submitted your application as this will help to ensure that you have enough a sufficient amount of time to go through each item in the suggested reading list, and will also have enough time to practice the exam questions.
At YPUN, we help candidates to prepare for the YPP written examination from 2014 and are very proud of our success stories. Materials for the UN YPP 2020 cohort will be available soon, please follow the updates on our website.
UN YPP Stage 3: Oral examination (interview)
The final stage for the YPP is an interview, which is conducted via an online video conference in either English or French and is held in a competency-based format. The anticipated timeframe for the YPP 2020 oral examinations is spring-summer 2021.
The interview aims to test your compliance with the three values and competencies of the United Nations which YPP Officers are expected to possess – Professionalism, Teamwork, and Planning & Organising. Candidates are asked competency-based interview questions asking to provide examples from their past professional experience on a certain topic, demonstrating their priorities and behavior at the workplace, which is then compared with positive and negative indicators for each competency. Most young professionals find competency based questions difficult, however, arranging mock interview sessions will help you practice your answers and receive professional feedback on your performance. We offer candidates invited for the final stage of the YPP process professional advice and support, and the opportunity to polish your answers to the most challenging competency based interview questions.
I still have questions. What should I do?
In our FAQ section about the Application stage you will find the answers to the most frequently asked questions about the UN YPP.