How To Get A Job With DOR

To be employed by the Department of Rehabilitation, or any other State department, an examination must be taken to obtain list eligibility. State civil service exams are open to all regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, ancestry, sex, marital status, disability, religious or political affiliation, age or sexual orientation. California residency is not required, and U.S. citizenship is required only for peace officer jobs.

In accordance with the California state civil service process, becoming a California State employee consists of seven steps:

  1. Obtaining the Examination Information
  2. Applying for an Examination
  3. Preparing for the Examination
  4. Employment List
  5. Locating a Vacant Position
  6. Participating in a Hiring Interview
  7. Probation

Step 1: Obtaining the Examination Information

Before you can be appointed to a permanent position, you must first take an open competitive examination to obtain list eligibility. Examination bulletins specify information that you will need to review to make sure you meet the minimum qualifications to take the exam. The examination bulletins also contain information that tells you how, where, and when to file for a particular exam. To find out more about a particular classification, visit the State Personnel Board's State Examinations Website.

Examinations are given by the State of CA Jobs Website and by Individual State Departments. To find out about specific DOR examinations, you may visit DOR Departmental Examinations. You may also contact us at (916) 558-5545 for more information about the exams that are being offered by DOR. The DOR also maintains exam bulletins at its Personnel Office located at 721 Capitol Mall in Sacramento. The State Personnel Board maintains information on all examinations and copies of the examination bulletins are available at the State Personnel Board, 801 Capitol Mall in Sacramento or on the State Personnel Board's State Examinations Website.

Examination Announcements:

When you find an examination you are interested in applying for, obtain a copy of the exam announcement (bulletin) and an application from the department conducting the examination. Read it over carefully, as you are filling out your application. You may also wish to refer back to it as the examination process continues.

Step 2: Applying for an Examination

To apply for an exam, you must complete a State Application Form (STD 678), and submit it as indicated on the examination bulletin. State application forms are available from any local Employment Development Department office, any State of California Agency and from the State of CA Jobs Website. Read it over carefully, and answer all questions that apply to you. Type or print it in ink. The completed application is an example of your reading comprehension skills, your ability to follow directions, and your attention to detail.

You may want to make a copy for yourself in case you need to refer to it later. The examination bulletin will tell you where to send your application or if you must apply in person, and the last date to apply. The postmark on the envelope is generally used to determine whether you meet the final filing deadline. Late applications are not accepted.

Application Review:

If you do not meet the minimum requirements, which are stated in the Class Specification for the classification you are applying for, you will receive a letter after the final filing date. If you do meet the requirements and the examination does not have a written test, you will receive a letter after the final filing date. If you have not received acknowledgment one month after the final filing date you should contact the department conducting the examination. This contact information is listed on the examination bulletin.

If the examination has a written test and you have not received your admittance letter five days before the announced written test date, call the department conducting the examination. The staff will determine if your application was accepted, tell you where the test will be given, and/or how to identify yourself to the proctor.

Step 3: Preparing for the Examination

Civil service exams may include any of the following depending upon the classification: Written Tests, Oral Test/Interviews, Internet/Automated Examination, Performance Test, Supplemental Application/Achievement Rating Test, or Education and Experience Evaluation. In order to move forward in the process, you must successfully pass the exam enabling placement on an eligible list. Notification of your exam results will be mailed to you.

Go back to the examination announcement, 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 list what subjects will be covered by the questions in the examination. If you have a disability that requires accommodation in the testing process, you should also obtain a copy of "Important Information for Persons with Disabilities Applying for State Civil Service Examinations" (SPB-83). Written tests are given in a wide variety of locations throughout California. Performance tests and oral tests are usually only given in large metropolitan areas. Candidates are not reimbursed for travel to and from test sites.

Written Test:

The test date is printed on the examination announcement. These tests typically consist of multiple-choice questions. Refer to the "Scope of Written Test" on the bulletin to determine what will be on the test. Six to eight weeks after the test, you will receive a notice telling you whether or not you have passed. You will not receive a percentage score until all parts of the examination process are completed. If the written test is pass/fail only, scores are not assigned.

Oral Test/Interview:

The oral test may be called "Qualifications Appraisal", "Employee Development Appraisal", or "Promotional Readiness Examination". Before going to the interview, review the "Position", "Examination Information", and "Scope" sections of the examination bulletin. In your interview, you will be asked a series of questions that will be asked of all candidates. It is your answers to these questions that will be used by the panel to rate you competitively. The panel will not see your application.

Internet/Automated Examination:

Examinations for some jobs require applicants to apply via the Internet, complete an on-line education and experience examination process and/or appear at a test site to take a computer-based test. Information regarding these types of examinations can be accessed from the Internet examinations page site at State Personnel Board's State Examination Page. Other Internet based examinations are continuous file and test, and allow you to complete the exam on-line and get an immediate score. If you successfully complete the examination, your score will be merged into a list within a few days.

Performance Test:

Clerical and trades classifications frequently have a performance tests in which candidates demonstrate their knowledge of tools and materials or their ability to operate machines or equipment, such as typing tests.

Supplemental Application/Achievement Rating Test:

Consists of essay questions that are mailed out to candidates to be returned before the oral test/interview. They are used as an elaboration of your education and experience and provide information for the interview panel.

Education and Experience Evaluation:

If the examination announcement states that there may be an Education and Experience Evaluation, it is absolutely critical that you fill out your application as completely and thoroughly as possible. Your score in this type of examination will depend entirely upon the information submitted on your application. There will not be a written test or interview.

Agility/Physical Ability:

For law enforcement and some other jobs, physical ability tests are commonly given and are frequently combined with vision and hearing tests. These are usually given just prior to hiring.

Step 4: Employment List

Successful exam applicants will be placed on employment lists, which are divided into ranks by score. When there are job openings in State civil service, the people (eligibles) with the highest scores on the employment list are contacted first. Reachable ranks are those employees who are in the top three ranks. If a rank is cleared (all candidates in the rank are either hired or no longer available for employment), the next lower rank is then considered reachable and those candidates can now be considered for appointment. The department has the discretion to hire anyone that is certified as reachable and eligible on the employment list, or people that have other eligibility for appointment.

Step 5: Locating a Vacant Position

Now that you've taken an exam and are reachable, the next step is locating a vacant position. There are many ways to obtain vacancy information.

  • Contact letters may be sent to those candidates that are in reachable ranks for current vacancies. In some cases, because there may be several candidates in the same rank, there is a random computer program that will choose the candidates who will receive a contact letter. If you receive a contact letter and fail to reply or decline a job inquiry, your name is placed "inactive" for that eligible list. If you should decline or not respond to three inquiries, your name will be removed from the list.
  • The Vacant Position Database (VPOS) is a service provided by the State that contains information on current vacancies statewide. You may apply for any position advertised in this database for which you have taken and passed the appropriate exam and are in a reachable rank.
  • A departmental vacancy listing is available and can be accessed by going to DOR Job Vacancies.

Step 6: Participate in a Hiring Interview

While the examination is general, for an entire class, the hiring interview is unique to the particular department and vacancy. One class can offer a wide variety of opportunities. This process is designed to identify the best job/person match for that position only. 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 to this mission. If you are not selected for this job vacancy, your name remains on the eligibility list to be considered for other vacancies.

Step 7: Probation

All newly appointed state employees participate in a probation period that is usually 6 or 12 months depending on the job classification. During this time you will receive training related to your position, and will receive three performance reports (PDF) tracking how well you are doing on the job. Most employees successfully pass the probationary period and become permanent staff. However, those employees who are not performing adequately should expect to be terminated before the end of the probationary period.

(Note: For more information about PDF documents please go to our "About PDF" page.)


Career Credits:

Career Credits may be granted to eligible State employees in some open examinations. If Career Credits will be granted, the examination announcement will state it is a "Nonpromotional" examination. Three points are added to the final score, only after the candidate has successfully passed all parts of the examination.

Change of Address:

If you move during the examination process or while you are on any employment list, write immediately to the department conducting the examination. It is your responsibility to update your information.

Test Results:

It may take up to four weeks to score each part of the examination and to notify all candidates of their results. If you do not receive results within eight weeks of taking any test, contact the department conducting the examination. It is every applicant's responsibility to maintain a copy of his/her final test results letter. It contains information, such as the title of the examination, the testing department, and your Candidate ID Number. This information is needed if you wish to update/change your personal and list eligibility information. The Candidate ID number is also needed if you wish to monitor your rank online on the Eligible List Disclosure Website.

Veterans Preference Credits:

Veterans Preference Credits are awarded in open and open nonpromotional entrance examinations requiring less than college graduation AND two years of experience. In OPEN examinations, eligible veterans, widows/widowers of veterans, and spouses of 100% disabled veterans receive 10 points. Eligible disabled veterans receive 15 points. In Open, nonpromotional examinations, eligible veterans receive 5 points. Eligible disabled veterans receive 10 points. Individuals who receive veterans points are not eligible for career credits pursuant to Sections 18950.1, 18951, and 18951.5. NOTE: NO VETERANS PREFERENCE CREDITS WILL BE ALLOWED ONCE A VETERAN ACHIEVES PERMANENT CIVIL SERVICE STATUS. The examination announcement will tell you whether or not Veterans Preference Credits will be awarded. Veterans Points are added to the final score, only after the candidate has successfully passed all parts of the examination. To apply, obtain an "Application for Veterans Preference Form" (SPB-1093) from any departmental testing office and return it with your examination application.

Employment Contacts:

Generally, only individuals in reachable ranks (highest three scores) on the employment list, are contacted to apply for vacancies.

Due to a number of factors, your ranking on the employment list can change often. You may obtain point-in-time information regarding your ranking on the overall employment list using the eligible list disclosure feature on the State of CA Jobs Website. Although you are not obligated to interview for every job or to accept the first job that is offered, you are required to respond to all employment contacts. If you waive a total of three contacts or job offers, your name will be removed from the open employment list. Whenever you receive a contact letter (Standard Clearance and Waiver Form), it is imperative that you respond, even if you do not wish to be interviewed. If you fail to respond, it may be assumed that you are no longer interested in being hired from that list, and your name will be made inactive. To be made active again, you must write to the department that conducted the examination.

Proof of Minimum Qualifications:

Some examinations require individuals to self-certify possession of the stated minimum qualifications when they apply to take the examination. Upon request, it is the applicant's responsibility to provide proof of these minimum qualifications to the requesting state department and/or prior to being eligible for hire. These may include providing copies of official college transcripts, or a typing certificate that verifies the ability to type 40 words per minute. Your name may be withheld or removed permanently from the eligible list if you fail to provide this information or are found to not possess the required minimum qualifications.


A candidate who cheats on any part of a civil service examination may be disqualified from competing in the rest of the examination, removed from other employment lists on which he or she already has eligibility, barred from participating in future examinations, and/or subject to criminal charges.

For more information about the examination and civil service process you may want to visit the State of CA Jobs Website or specifically:


(916) 653-1705
(For callers outside the 916 area code)
TTY* (916) 651-8782
*TTY is a Telecommunications Device for the Deaf and is reachable only from phones equipped with such a device.