Civil Service Exams
Employment testing is designed to assess job-related knowledge, skills and abilities for a particular position. The purpose of testing applicants is to objectively evaluate the experience & knowledge that candidates have as it relates to a specific position. Furthermore, testing can provide an opportunity to assess the candidates' oral communication skills and written skills. The testing process is designed to ensure that each candidate is treated fairly and equitably. Here is a list of frequently used types of Examinations, please note this list does not display all types of Civil Service Examinations.
Frequently Used Types of Civil Service Examinations
1) Written Multiple Choice Exams: In a written multiple choice examination, your score is based on the number of questions you answer correctly; therefore, it is to your advantage to attempt to answer as many items as possible. These examinations have a set time limit.
- Listen carefully to the instructions the Monitor gives you.
- Try to keep calm, cool, and collected throughout the test. Keep a positive attitude throughout the whole test and try to stay relaxed, if you start to feel nervous take a few deep breaths to relax.
- Keep track of time. The written multiple choice tests have a set time limit, so it is important that you work quickly – however not so fast as to become careless.
- Read the directions for each section carefully.
- Always read the possible choices before answering.
2) Training & Experience Form: A training and experience form is written essay examination. All complete training & experience forms that are returned on or before the deadline date will be reviewed and scored according to pre-established benchmarks. You are graded based solely on your answers – we do not look at your application or resume. Things to remember when filling out your training & experience form:
- Answer all questions completely and in detail. You should not assume that the evaluators are familiar with your education, training, and work history. Therefore, you should use the Training & Experience form as an opportunity to communicate your experience and any other relevant information as it relates to each question. Evaluators can only give you credit for what you communicate to them within this form.
- Answer all parts of the question. Some questions will have several parts, in order to receive full credit for the question, make sure all parts are answered.
- Be specific regarding dates of employment and employers.
- When describing experiences and achievements, pay particular attention to your specific duties and responsibilities.
- When describing specific experiences or accomplishments, be sure to include the outcomes where appropriate.
- Please be clear and concise.
- Each Training & Experience form has different requirements, read the directions on the front page.
3) Structured Panel Interview: During a structured panel interview the interviewer has a standard set of questions that are asked to all candidates. The responses to the questions are then evaluated and scored using a predetermined set of benchmarks (a standard rating scale). Download a study guide for the structured interview. Things to remember when preparing for a Structured Interview:
- Listen! One common mistake candidates make when interviewing is talking too much.
- Avoid long rambling responses, which don’t answer the interviewer’s questions and may use up the interview time. Make sure your answers are responsive to the questions asked and that you have answered all parts of the question. Each part of the question may be judged and scored separately.
- Manage your time. Structured interviews are timed, when the time is up, so is the interview. Any questions left unanswered will count against you.
4) Performance Examination: During a performance test, an applicant will be asked to perform simulations of job tasks, similar to the position posting. For example, a position may require experience in the operation of automotive vehicles and equipment of the type assigned to that classification. A position similar to this may require the applicant to perform in a performance test – testing their ability to use that particular equipment. Things to remember when conducting a performance test:
- Listen to the instructions the monitor gives you before the test.
- Be aware of any time limits.
- Know your exact appointment time/location, and arrive early. Plan your time wisely.
- If you are asked to bring additional materials, information, and/or references to the interview – be sure to do so.
5) Assessment Center (Police & Fire sworn employees ONLY): In an assessment center, candidates participate in a series of individual and group exercises which simulate critical aspects of the target job. Trained assessors observe each candidate’s performance and evaluate his or her behavior on predefined dimensions which relate to success in the specific job in question. The exercises may involve working with a role-player(s) on a subordinate exercise, giving a presentation, or a written exercise. Download the assessment center packet (including the grading dimensions).