The first step in gaining employment with the State is taking the examination (exam) for the classification (job title) for which you are interested. See what jobs and exams are available by browsing the California Department of Human Resources CalCareers page or DGS exams.

When you find a classification in which you're interested, view the examination bulletin. The bulletin will advise whether the exam is online or a written, in-person exam. If the exam is online, a link to the exam will be at the very bottom of the bulletin. If the exam is in-person and there are dates currently scheduled, those will be listed. Make sure to pay close attention to the Minimum Qualifications. If you do not meet those, you are not eligible for the position.

Applicants who are not State of California employees are eligible for "open" examinations only, not promotional.

How to Take an Examination and Apply for Jobs

  1. Examinations consist of various testing methods and are described on the bulletin under “Examination Information." It will tell you what type of test will be used (e.g., written, oral test/interview, training and experience) 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 may be used. Read the "Examination Scope" section carefully; it will tell you what subjects will be covered.

    Some examinations require you to complete and submit a State Examination/Employment Application, STD. 678 to a designated office. The completed application is an example of your reading comprehension skills, your ability to follow directions, and your attention to detail. If you have not received any acknowledgement one month after the final filing date, you should contact the department conducting the examination.

  2. Eligible lists are the listings of candidates who have been successful in an examination for State civil service employment. Eligible lists are established for each job classification within the State of California civil service system, and is a method used to fill vacancies. 

    If you are successful in the testing process, your name will be ranked on an employment list in score order. (For example, if a score of 94 is the highest score, all candidates receiving 94 are placed in "rank 1"; if 91 is the second highest score, all candidates receiving 91 are placed in "rank 2"; etc.). Successful test candidates remain on the employment list for the period stated on the examination bulletin.

    Hiring managers may interview candidates on an employment list, but can only hire candidates within the top three reachable ranks of the list.

  3. Eligible candidates on employment lists are encouraged to apply for vacant DGS positions. List candidates may receive an "employment inquiry" notice from DGS of a specific job opening and invitation to apply.

    Once you have taken and passed the examination for a classification, you can begin applying for jobs by browsing the California Department of Human Resources CalCareers page. Review the Job Posting carefully to find out who to contact, how to apply and if any documents such as resume, transcripts or statement of qualifications are required along with the State Examination/Employment Application, STD. 678. The completed application is an example of your reading comprehension skills, your ability to follow directions, and your attention to detail.

  4. Applications postmarked and received by the final filing date are reviewed and the most qualified candidates will be notified of their interview date, location, and time. The interview usually consists of a few panel members asking candidates several job-related questions specific to the position.

    The hiring interview is specific to a particular job, in a department for the classification. A classification can be used in a wide variety of departments; so before you go to your interview, you should acquaint yourself with the mission and functions of that department and how the job you are interviewing for contributes. 

    The hiring process concludes with hiring manager selecting the best qualified candidate for the position.

  5. 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.


DGS Recruitment Unit

Department of General Services
Office of Human Resources

707 3rd Street, Suite 1-435
West Sacramento, CA 95605