The California state civil service hiring process consists of the following steps:
- Completing and submitting an application for an examination
- Competing in the examination
- Becoming reachable on a list
- Locating a vacant position
- Applying for a job
- Participating in a hiring interview
- Completion of a probationary period
Examination - generally, to enter state service, you must first be successful in a competitive examination. This includes:
- Obtaining bulletin information for examinations in progress, which includes how, where, and when to file, and the minimum requirements you must meet to participate in the examination.
- Submitting an application to the testing office as indicated on the examination bulletin. For directions on completing an application, see "Job Applications" .
- Taking and passing the test. A civil service examination typically consists of an oral interview, however, that may be either replaced or supplemented by a written performance test, training and experience evaluation, and/or another examination component, depending on the classification. Pass points are in part a comparison of your knowlege and abilities measured against those of other competitors.
Provides explanations of terms commonly used in the examination process and found on examination bulletins.
The Standard State Application Form 678 and examination bulletins may be obtained from any Department of Mental Health Headquarters and State Hospital Personnel Office. You may also link to the State Personnel Board's web site to obtain the Standard State Application form and instructions or use their online application database.
For more information on examinations currently being administered by the Department of Mental Health and how to obtain examination bulletins from our web site, check Current DMH Exams.
Becoming "reachable" on a list - In most examinations, far more candidates are succesful than are needed for immediate vacancies. State lists are divided into ranks by score. Those in the top three reachable ranks (the top three scores) may be considered for appointment. However, as all of the candidates in a given rank are cleared (i.e., waive a position, already hired, do not respond to an inquiry), the next lowest rank is considered "reachable", and candidates in that rank may be offered jobs.
Locating a vacant position -There are several ways of obtaining vacancy information:
- Contact Letters - Letters are automatically sent to those in reachable ranks for vacancies. Generally, in the Depatment of Mental Health, supervisors will ask for 25 or so names for each position. If there are more than 25 names in a rank, there is a random selection program to choose the names that will be sent out, so not all candidates in a reachable rank will necessarily receive a contact letter. If you know that you are in the top three ranks, you may apply for a vacant position even if you did not receive a contact letter. Note: On open examination lists, you may only waive three times before being removed from the list. In addition, if you do not respond to a contact letter, you will be taken off the list, therefore, it is important to respond to the letters and inform us of address changes, if you change your interest in working in a particular location or if you would like to be placed inactive on the list.
- VPOS (Vacant Positions) -This is a database designed for state employees who are looking for transfer or promotions. However, it is located on a public site, available through the State Personnel Board's web site. You may file for any position advertised in this database for which you have taken and passed the test and are in a reachable rank. Include the classification title of the exam, the department with which you took it, and your score in applying for these positions. Link to the Vacancy Search. This will page allow you to get a list positions for all of the Department of Mental Health, including Sacramento Headquarters, State Hospitals and field offices.
- Participating in a hiring interview - In addition to the examination, candidates typically are called to interview for specific jobs, as they become available. The interview is normally designed to identify the best job/person match for that position only.
- Completion of a Probationary Period - All newly appointed state employees participate in a 6-to 12-month probationary period. During this time you will receive training related to your position, and receive regular evaluations tracking how well you are doing at your new job. Most employees pass the probationary period and become permanent staff. However, those who are not doing a good job should expect to be terminated before the end of the probationary period.
For more detailed information about the examination and civil service process you may want to visit the State Personnel Board's Civil Service Jobs and Employment Information page.
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