Language staff are recruited mainly through competitive examinations for language positions, which are held on average once every two or three years in each language and occupational group (specialist field). The examination announcements are posted on the United Nations Careers portal a few months prior to the date of the examination, together with information on eligibility requirements and how to apply.

The purpose of the examinations is to establish a roster of successful candidates from which to fill present and future vacancies for language positions at United Nations Headquarters in New York, its offices in Geneva, Nairobi and Vienna, and the regional commissions in Addis Ababa, Bangkok, Beirut and Santiago.

For descriptions and tips, see exams for interpreters and exams for translators, verbatim reporters and editors.

For detailed information about the examination process, consult the competitive examinations for language positions page of the United Nations Careers portal.

In addition to competitive examinations for language positions, examinations for placement on the Secretariat’s global roster of language professionals eligible for contractual work or temporary appointments are arranged on an as-needed basis. These are not announced on the United Nations Careers portal, but are advertised in Inspira.