When it comes to personnel selection, civil service testing benefits employers in the public sector in many ways. Relying on the psychometrics of the merit system, testing allows candidates to bypass biases of hiring procedures such as an interview. As a result, job seekers can remain confident that their aptitude undergoes objective assessment and employers can rest assured that only the most capable applicants fill the open positions. Due to these factors, testing has become a mainstay of the hiring process for the majority of civil service jobs.
Civil Service Employment in California
In many states across the US, the state has the sole authority to determine civil service pre-employment screening procedures. This, however, is not the case in the State of California.
The California Department of Human Resources administers civil service examinations only for civil service jobs at the state level. All such examinations are part of the California state civil service system. The format of these exams is subject to state regulations and does not depend on where you apply.
What if the job you want is not part of the state civil service system? In this case, where you apply for the job will be more pertinent. The testing requirements for the job will now depend more on the preferences of the city, county or department.
Most civil service job positions across the State of California are usually available at the county level. Yet, this convenience comes at a price if you ever decide to pursue employment at the state level. You will not be able to transfer the job position you held at the county level, and you will be subject to a new civil service test at the state level.
What Types of Civil Service Tests Can You Expect?
The level at which you pursue civil service employment in California dictates a significant part of testing requirements. At the same time, the civil service job you apply for can place additional demands on the test format.
Sadly, it is not feasible to cover every type of civil service examination that you might face across California. Yet, certain types of tests in California encompass large sections of jobs and locations that may require taking them. Here are some tips on what the most common of them are:
County and City Exams This type of civil service exam in California is quite diverse. Both the format and the content of these tests heavily rely on the demands of local civil service employers. Among them, the major ones are Californian cities such as Sacramento, San Francisco, San Diego, and Los Angeles. All the local civil service employers in California have detailed information readily available about the tests that they administer. Make sure to check the civil service job site of your particular city, county or department for more information.
Public Safety Exams The unique requirements of the civil service position may dictate the format of civil service examination as well. In this regard, the jobs concerning matters of public safety in the State of California are good examples. If you decide to apply for one of them, you will have to take a written job-specific aptitude assessment. For instance, the LAPD and LAFD assessment centers administer such tests to evaluate the police and firefighting job seekers.
State Job Exams All civil service employment at the level of the State of California takes place through the Merit System Services. The California Department of Human Resources runs this system as a medium for evaluating civil service job seekers. In this capacity, it schedules and administers civil service tests that assess your aptitude for state civil service jobs.
What Is on the California Civil Service Exam?
Public sector jobs in California encompass a diverse range of professional roles and positions. Many of them require their candidates to take and pass a civil service test as a hiring requirement. As such, most civil service exams in California tend to be computerized, time-limited, and multiple-choice assessments.
On most of these tests, you must score at least 70% to make it to your employer’s eligibility list. Often, scores less than this threshold disqualify you from the job you are applying for. At the same time, scores higher than this threshold make you a more competitive candidate for the job. Higher scores rank you higher on the eligibility list making your employer give you higher priority for employment.
Content-wise, almost all CA civil service exams tend to assess common areas of your aptitude. Here are some tips on what most civil service employers look for in potential job prospects:
Working knowledge of English and an ability to apply grammar, punctuation, spelling and vocabulary usage rules accurately.
An ability to follow verbal and written instructions accurately and take action effectively.
How to Prepare for the California Civil Service Exam
Competitive government salaries and benefit packages are an undisputed advantage of civil service employment. But simply being a graduate with a relevant degree may be insufficient to secure these benefits for yourself. Only excelling at your civil service test can help you with this task.
Exam preparation is the key to ensure high scores on your civil service test. These study aids will help you to prepare better than other candidates:
California State Exam practice test with sample questions and answers.
Online practice with free example questions.
Exam study guides with detailed explanations.
Regular practice with these tools will increase your confidence and allow you to perform optimally during your civil service examination.