How to Apply for Jobs at DSA

DSA fills permanent state jobs via methods governed by the California State civil service hiring process. Options include filling job vacancies:

—From a list of eligible candidates who have taken and passed a competitive examination.

—With current state employees who transfer from equivalent position.

—With former state employees who have reinstatement rights.


To apply for a job with DSA:

  1. Review the Exam Bulletin
  2. Apply for an Examination
  3. Prepare for the Examination
  4. Employment List
  5. Hiring Interview
  6. Probation

1. Review the Exam Bulletin

The DSA Job Opportunities page lists examinations for which we are currently accepting applications. Download the examination that interests you for details, including:

  • Final Filing Date
  • Where to submit your application
  • Minimum Qualifications
  • Month testing will occur
  • Type of Exam
  • Scope of exam (this tells the knowledge and abilities you will be tested for)
  • Position description

Please note that the process for Internet Exams is different; please go directly to the link for the Internet Exam you are interested in and follow the bulletin instructions. Also, DSA's Internet Exam FAQs page provides additional information on the Internet Exam process.

2. Apply for an Examination

Note: The State Examination Application (Form STD. 678) is incorporated into the Internet Exam; therefore, you will not need to complete a separate STD. 678 when applying for an Internet Exam.

Complete and submit a State Examination Application (Form STD 678)(PDF) to the address listed on the bulletin. Read this form carefully and answer all questions which apply to you. Include all relevant experience, dates of employment, hours worked per week, etc. Check the education and job experience requirements on the exam bulletin and make sure you list on the application all of your qualifying experience. Include any experience, education or training you believe would enhance or substantiate your qualifications. It is important for you to be thorough when listing your qualifications. The person reviewing your application can only determine whether or not you qualify based on the information you provide. Do not make any assumptions. The information you provide will be used to determine whether or not you meet the minimum qualifications for entry into the exam. Send your application to the address listed on the exam announcement. Your application must be postmarked by the final filing date listed on the announcement. Late applications will not be accepted. NOTE-Continuous Filing: If the exam announcement states that the exam is continuous filing, applications postmarked or delivered after the indicated cut off date or after the deadline will be held for the next examination period.

Your application will be reviewed to determine if you meet the minimum qualifications. If you meet the minimum qualifications, you will receive a notice to appear for the examination. If you do not meet the minimum qualifications you will receive a notice informing you of that decision. If you receive this notice and you believe you meet the minimum qualifications, contact the exam analyst at the phone number provided in your notice. It is possible that information on your application was unclear, inadvertently left out, or misinterpreted. You will have seven working days from the date of the notice to provide any additional information that you feel may qualify you for the examination.

If you have not received any notice within three weeks of the final filing date or three days prior to a written test date contact the Office of Human Resources at the number listed on the exam announcement.

3. Prepare for the Examination

Refer to the examination announcement and read the section entitled "Examination Information." It will tell you what type of test will be used and what effect (known as "weight") each test will have on your final score. There are several combinations and variations. Any one or a combination of the types of tests described here may be used. Read the "Scope" section carefully; it will tell you what subjects will be covered.

  • Qualifications Appraisal Panel (QAP) Examination - A qualifications appraisal panel examination consists of an interview. A two to three person panel will ask predetermined questions. The Department of General Services typically utilizes Structured Interviews in our exams. Candidates are asked the same pre-determined set of job-related questions in the same order. Candidate responses are evaluated using an anchored rating scale and pre-determined scoring criteria. Questions can be comprised of job knowledge, situational, behavioral, or background questions.

Structured interviews may be comprised of pre-exposed questions, and/or pre-interview exercises.

Pre-exposed questions involve giving the candidates some or all of the interview questions prior to their actual interview. Candidates are given a pre-determined amount of time immediately prior to their interview to review and take notes on one or more of the questions to be asked during the interview. Candidates are then allowed to reference their notes when responding to the pre-exposed questions during the interview.

Pre-interview exercises include the use of one or more performance-based exercises. Candidates are asked to perform a task or a series of tasks or produce a product. The intent of a pre-interview exercise is to combine a performance test or work sample with a traditional question-answer interview. The pre-interview exercise is followed by a traditional exam interview.

  • Performance Examination - A performance examination is a work-sample test in which the candidate is required to perform simulated job tasks using tools, materials, equipment and methods characteristic of the job for which the test is designed.
  • Written Examination - A written examination is timed and consists of multiple-choice, true/false and /or essay questions in which the candidate must recall job relevant information, or formulate conclusions from material contained within the question.
  • Internet Examination - An internet examination consists of questions regarding the candidate's ability to meet the minimum qualifications, and completing the Training and Experience Evaluation and other information requested.

4. Employment List

All candidates who are successful in passing the exam are given a score based on their responses to the interview questions. An employment or eligibility list is established which places the successful candidates in a "rank" based on their scores. Each rank can include one or more candidates. Only candidates from the top three ranks can be selected for employment. However, as a rank is cleared of candidates either by the candidate(s) hire or non-interest in the position, candidates from the next rank may then be selected.

5. Hiring Interview

The hiring interview is specific to the DSA Regional or Headquarters' Office where the vacancy exists. When the hiring office is ready to fill a vacancy, "contact letters" may be sent to candidates on the employment list to ask if you are interested in an interview. It is not necessary to wait for a contact letter to apply for a vacancy. You may submit your application for any listed vacancy for which you have eligibility status. All DSA vacancies are listed on our website under Current Job/Exam Bulletins.

6. Probation

When you have been hired, you will serve a probationary period of six months to one year. You will receive three probationary reports from your immediate supervisor, which will be discussed with you and reviewed by another supervisor. When you have successfully completed your probation, you will attain permanent status as a State employee.