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How to apply with Alameda County

Application Procedures

The easiest and fastest way to file an application is to do it online. To submit an application online, go to the Alameda County employment opportunities page at www.acgov.org/hrs. There, you can search any job that is currently open by category or by title, or you can just browse through the jobs that are listed in alphabetical order. Click on the job title that interests you. This will open up the job announcement pertaining to the job you have selected. Click on the Apply prompt. Follow the prompt to set up your own account if you are a first-time user or to access your existing account. The instructions online will lead you step by step through the entire application. At the end, you will be asked to certify and submit your application. After you click the Accept button, you will receive a confirmation as proof that your application has been successfully filed.

Please note that once you have created your own account and filed the very first application, you do not need to recreate a new application every time you're applying for a position. Of course, you will be given a chance to review and modify the transmitted information.

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Applying Online

NOTE: User accounts are established for one person only and should not be shared with another person. Multiple applications with multiple users may jeopardize your status in the recruitment process for any positions you apply for.

  • Create an application.
  • The application can be used to apply for your job today and any other job you may want to apply for in the future.
  • Select any job classification that interests you and you will receive an e-mail when a new job opens up in that classification.

Make sure you SAVE your application! If you lose your internet connection in the middle of filling out an application, all of your work will be lost!.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q. Do I have to submit my application on-line?

A. Yes, all Alameda County applications will be accepted on-line. If applying online poses a hardship to any applicant, the Human Resources Analyst listed on the announcement will provide assistance to ensure that applications are submitted by the closing date. Applicants must contact the Human Resources Analyst prior to the closing date to receive assistance.

Q. What if I don't have a computer?

A. You may complete an on-line application at Alameda County Human Resource Services Department located at 1405 Lakeside Drive in Oakland, our office hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday-Friday. In addition, most college placement offices, job search agencies, career centers, public libraries and some civic centers have computers and Internet access for their patrons' free use.

Some Alameda County partners include the EastbayWorks One-Stop Career Centers and the Alameda County Libraries.

Q. What if I don't have email?

A. There are several Internet Service Providers that offer free email accounts. Hotmail and Yahoo are just two of these. Through them or other companies, you can obtain a free email address that you can use to apply. However, don't forget to check your new e-mail account for correspondence from Alameda County Human Resource Services. You should expect to receive a notice regarding the receipt of your application and within a few weeks, a notice explaining your status in the recruitment process which may include an invitation to a written exam and/or interview. Depending on your e-mail inbox settings some of our notices may appear as junk mail/spam.

Q. What will I need to complete an application on-line?

A. It's important for your job applications to be complete and accurate. Regardless of whether you complete an online job application or apply in-person, make sure you have all the information you need handy before you begin the application process.

The information you will need to complete an application for employment:

  • Personal Information:
    • Name
    • Address
    • City, State, Zip Code
    • Phone Number
    • E-mail Address
    • Eligibility to Work in US
    • If under age, school work authorization
  • Education:
    • Schools/Colleges Attended
    • Major
    • Degree/Diploma
    • Graduation Date(s)
  • Position Applied For Information:
    • Title of the job you are applying for
    • Hours/days available to work
    • When you can start work
  • Employment Information:
    • Names, addresses, phone numbers of previous employers
    • Supervisor's name
    • Dates of employment (months and years)
    • Salary
    • Reason for Leaving
  • References
    • List of three references - names, job title or relationship, addresses, phone numbers
  • Tips for Completing Job Applications
    • Complete all requested information. Don't leave anything blank. If you don't know the details, click the "save" button and continue later.
    • Check for spelling and grammatical errors. Proofread your job application form before submitting it.
    • List your most recent job first when completing employment information.
    • List your most recent education first. Include vocational schools and training programs as well as college and high school.

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Filing Deadlines

Complete application packets must be submitted on-line by 5:00 p.m. on the last day for filing, unless otherwise noted in the job announcement.

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Resumes

A resume is not accepted in lieu of an on-line application, although you may include a resume to further describe your qualifications, Alameda County requires a completed on-line application form. An incomplete on-line application form, as well as partial information, will result in disqualification. List your complete work record, beginning with your current employer or most recent experience. List each promotion separately. Explain gaps between employment periods. Include volunteer work and military service. Indicate regular hours per week only. Omit overtime hours. Include area code for all telephone numbers. Describe duties as completely as possible. Your on-line application will first be reviewed to ensure that your work experience and educational background meet the minimum requirements for the position. Be sure to present complete and concise information. Incomplete information will result in disqualification.

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Examination Process

The Recruitment Process begins with the job announcement. The job announcement describes the steps that will be followed in the recruitment.

The first examination step for recruitments is usually a review of all submitted application materials to determine if the applicant meets the minimum qualifications stated on the bulletin and has submitted a complete application. Possession of the minimum qualifications is not necessarily a guarantee of further advancement in the application process.

Depending upon the number of anticipated or actual qualified applications received, additional steps often include an application screening, written exam, performance or an oral exam. The highest scoring applicants of a testing step proceed to the next step until an eligible list is established. Candidates remain on an eligible list for a minimum of one year and are "certified" in rank order to a hiring authority when a vacancy occurs.

Results of recruitment steps, ranking on the eligible list, and notice of certification to the hiring authority are sent to participating candidates by e-mail. The entire recruitment process takes approximately 10-16 weeks depending on the number of applications received and examination components.

Please refer to the specific job announcement for test topics and dates of the examination steps. You will be notified by e-mail of test time and location. If you feel that you need special testing arrangements due to a disability, please notify the Human Resources Division by the last day of file, as indicated on the job announcement.

The exam process includes turning in a complete application which clearly demonstrates that you meet the minimum requirements and achieving a qualifying competitive score on a test or evaluation, if applicable. You will be notified by e-mail of your examination results.

How do I prepare for an Alameda County written exam?

The purpose of the written exam is to determine the suitability of a job applicant as it relates to the knowledge, skills and abilities required for a specific job. Employment tests must be reliable, valid, and specific to the job. To ensure accuracy and reliability of results, Alameda County develops standardized, objective, and consistent measures to evaluate skills by conducting a thorough job analysis and writing effective job descriptions to use in test development process.

You can usually find study guides, materials, and practice civil service examinations at your local library. To take on-line practice tests through your local library, search out Learning Express for both standard basic skills tests or specialized Civil Service practice exams. To access Learning Express through the Alameda County Library system, you will need an Alameda County Library Card. If you do not have one, you may register for an e-card on line at www.aclibrary.org. When you enter the web site, look for Using your library, and click on get a library card to register for an e-card. Your e-card number will be emailed to you. You can then explore the testing materials in the research feature and click on job service; from there you will find test preparation; click on Learning Express Library. If you are not an Alameda County resident, please search for Learning Express through your local library system.

Tips to help you succeed!

  • Be on time for the test! Allow for problems, hold-ups and traffic jams on the way and make sure you arrive with time to spare so that you can go in calmly rather than in a frantic rush.
  • Understand the Instructions! Don't forget to read the instructions and make sure you know what you are being asked to do.
  • Try to get a good night's sleep the night before any exam.
  • Eat right! Not eating a balanced meal before an exam can add to your stress and lack of concentration.
  • Ensure your professionalism! Written/practical exams are pretty low-key, you may not need to dress in formal business attire. However, consider your presentation (including behavior) as part of the recruitment/selection process.

How do I prepare for an Alameda County Interview?

Alameda County utilizes a panel of subject matter experts. Some interview panels may be comprised of subject matter experts within the organization which may include supervisors and managers from the hiring department; other interviews may be comprised of experts from outside of the organization.

The purpose of the interview is to assess your suitability for a position. The primary objectives are to:

  • To acquaint interviewer and candidate.
  • To learn more about the candidate's background and experience as it relates to the job.
  • To help the candidate understand the position and organization.

The interview process will consist of:

  • Briefly reviewing last or current job.
  • Questions to get specific information about jobs/experiences.
  • Providing information about the position and organization and ensuring that both interview and interviewee will get information needed to make good decisions.
  • The interviewers will be taking notes.
  • Interview questions meant to elicit specific examples of past experiences that are most relevant to the job for which you are applying. This interview process is called a "behavioral interview."
  • The interviewers will be asking questions about specific competency areas, and will ask follow-up questions for clarification, if needed.

Your interviewers will be looking for specific examples of some of your past accomplishments and challenges. Some of those examples will be successes, some will not; things don't always work out the way we'd like them to despite the steps we take along the way to ensure success. Your interviewers will be seeking a balance of both types of situations- those that were successful and those that weren't.

We will be asking you to describe the actions you took in each situation and the impact your actions had on co-workers, the organization or the community. The time you invest in preparing will ensure an effective and productive interview.

Behavioral interviewing is a standardized method of interviewing designed to measure how you will perform on the job. The principle behind the technique is the belief that the best indicator of future behavior is past behavior.

During a behavioral interview, you will be asked a series of standardized questions designed to get you to talk about how you handled or responded to certain situations in the past. With each answer, you'll be expected to describe situations from your past and your feelings and observations about them. The interviewer will use this information to assess your proficiency in one or more job-related areas, which may include anything from adaptability to leadership to problem solving. You can expect interviewers to have several follow up questions and probe for details that explore all aspects of a given situation or experience.

Behavioral questions usually begin with a statement like: 'Tell me about a time when...' or 'Can you a describe a situation where...'

The following are some examples of typical behavioral questions and the competencies they demonstrate:

  • Describe a difficult problem that you tried to solve. How did you identify the problem? How did you go about trying to solve it? (Demonstrates problem solving)
  • Describe a time when you tried to persuade another person to do something that they were not very willing to do. (Demonstrates leadership)
  • Describe a time when you decided on your own that something needed to be done, and you took on the task to get it done. (Demonstrates initiative)

Here are some tips to help you prepare:

  • Be familiar with the job for which you're being interviewed. Read the advertisement or job description to identify which personal attributes and behaviors are likely to be key success factors for the role. For Client interviews it is advised that you research the company's website and any external information about them from business directories etc.
  • Make a note of two or three examples for each personal attribute that will best illustrate your suitability for your target job.
  • Be able to draw from a variety of experiences that demonstrate your skills and abilities. A good story can also combine work experience with a non-work experience (shows you can use the skill in a variety of settings). Examples may be from your work experience, your personal life or some social or other situation. Of course a unique work situation story (unless otherwise specifically requested) should take priority. Be as open, expressive and succinct as possible about each experience.
  • Let others help you out - use examples of quotes from bosses or customers, i.e., "My boss gave me a good performance review, they liked the way I stepped in to get the job done without being told to." This demonstrates your willingness to accept contribution, your flexibility and teamwork skills.
  • Think 'STAR' - Situation or Task, Action and Result. There are several variations of this acronym in the recruiting industry, but all of them are intended to provide structure and focus to your answers. When asked about a type of situation, the interviewer is looking at how you responded to it by via a specific example. Using the STAR model you would break your answer into the three segments of; description of the task, then the action you took, and the final measurable result. This makes it easier for the interviewer to visualize and record your specific behavioral responses to specific events and so gain the best impression of your potential future performance. Prepare at least one STAR response for each personal attribute you may be questioned on. Make sure you don't use the same example for all the attributes.
  • Use recent examples. As you will be probed for detail around the situation, it is better to use events in the last 12-18 months as the detail will be clearer in your mind. Be specific as possible about your contribution and the quantitative results achieved. Specific absolute or relative (%) gains in areas such as cost or time savings will give you the interviewer a clearer picture of your abilities. If specific measurable results don't apply to your example, you might explain how it streamlined processes, empowered others or resolved communication or productivity issues.
  • Practice telling your stories until they are vivid and concise, one to three minutes long.
  • Remember, you are selling your technical AND personal skills. Being able to communicate your adaptability and relatedness at an interview is essential to becoming the leading candidate. This 'story telling practice' is an important preparation tool to assist you in creating a natural flow to your stories so that the interviewer can focus on your potential benefit to the County.

Some common questions related to behavioral competency areas:

Tell me about a time when you demonstrated your ability to...

  • work effectively under pressure
  • handle a difficult situation with a co-worker
  • be creative in solving a problem
  • completed a project on time
  • persuade team members to do things your way
  • write a report that was well-received
  • anticipate potential problems and develop preventative measures
  • make an important decision with limited facts
  • make an unpopular decision
  • adapt to a difficult situation
  • be tolerant of an opinion that was different from yours
  • deal with your disappointment in your behavior
  • use your political savvy to push a program through that you really believed in deal with an irate customer
  • delegate a project effectively overcome a major obstacle
  • prioritize the elements of a complicated project

Analyzing the questions asked by the interviewers can help you learn more about the expectations required of your target job!

More Practice Questions:

  • Describe a situation in which you were able to use persuasion to successfully convince someone to see things your way.
  • Give me a specific example of a time when you used good judgment and logic in solving a problem.
  • Give me an example of a colleague/ vendor/ customer who was hard to communicate with and tell me how you handled it.
  • Describe a situation in which you felt it was necessary to break company policy or alter procedures to get things done.
  • Tell me about something you've done in your job that was creative. Think of a specific example. Tell me exactly how you handled it.
  • Tell me about a time you made a quick decision you were proud of. What was the situation? What action did you take? What was the result?
  • Tell me about an important goal you've set in the past and specifically how you accomplished it.
  • Do you know the expression 'to roll with the punches'? Tell me about a time when you had to do that.
  • When you had to do a job that was particularly uninteresting, how did you deal with it?
  • Tell me about a time when an upper level decision of policy change held up your work. How did you handle it?
  • Describe a situation in your last job where you could structure your own work schedule. What did you do?
  • Tell me about a time when you've stuck to company policy or procedure, when it might have been easier and more effective not to.
  • What's been your experience of dealing with poor performance of subordinates? Provide an example.
  • Give an example of a time in which you had to be relatively quick in coming to a decision.
  • Describe a time when you had to use your written communication skills to get an important point across.
  • Give me a specific occasion in which you conformed to a policy with which you did not agree.
  • Tell me about a time when you had to go above and beyond the call of duty in order to get a job done.
  • Sometimes it's easy to get in "over your head." Describe a situation where you had to request help or assistance on a project or assignment.
  • Describe a situation in which you had to arrive at a compromise or guide others to a compromise.
  • We can sometimes identify a small problem and fix it before it becomes a major problem. Give an example(s) of how you have done this.

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Rule of Five

A list of qualified candidates will be established in order of standardized scores. You will be informed of the score and rank into which you were placed if you were successful in the examination process; certification to County departments will be made from this list.

The County will notify you by e-mail when you have been certified follow the instructions on this notice to schedule a hiring interview with the department in which the vacancy exists. Candidates' names will remain on eligible lists typically for a minimum of one year and are "certified" in rank order to a hiring authority when a vacancy occurs.

Alameda County utilizes the "rule of the five highest ranked scores." This means when a vacancy occurs, the department with the vacancy will interview the candidates with the five highest ranked scores and may select one of them to fill the vacancy. The specific number of names will be determined by the number of persons, including those with tie scores, having the five highest ranked scores. If you are one of these, you will receive a notice informing you about the next step in the process. After interviewing, the candidates with the five highest ranked scores, the department may select one of them to fill the vacancy.

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Re-Entry Program

The objective of the Alameda County Re-Entry Pilot Program is to assist formerly incarcerated individuals who may qualify for County employment.

Re-Entry Program Brochure (PDF - 186kB)*

Conviction History Form (PDF - 48kB)*

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Reasonable Accommodations

The Human Resource Services Department will make reasonable efforts in the examination process to accommodate qualified individuals with disabilities and/or medical conditions in compliance with the State Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), Federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and Alameda County Resolution No. R-83-773. To request a reasonable accommodation, you must notify the Human Resource Services Representative listed on the job announcement before the last day to file or as soon as you know that you will need a reasonable accommodation, as advanced notice is required in order to make necessary arrangements during each step of the examination process.

Alameda County Human Resource Services requires documentation to substantiate a request for reasonable accommodation. In order to qualify for a reasonable accommodation, applicants must have a disability/medical condition, as defined under the ADA/FEHA, and supporting documentation. Applicants requesting an accommodation are required to complete and submit a Request for Reasonable Accommodation Applicant or Candidate form and provide supporting documentation from an appropriate health care or rehabilitation professional. An appropriate professional will depend on the disability and the type of functional limitation it imposes. Appropriate professionals include, but are not limited to medical doctors, psychologists, nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, vocational rehabilitation specialists, and licensed mental health professionals.

Please be advised that an applicant's Request for Reasonable Accommodation form and supporting documentation will be reviewed upon receipt. Once a determination has been made, applicants will be advised accordingly. Reasonable accommodation requests are kept confidential within the Human Resources Services Department and are not attached to the employment application packet that is forwarded to the hiring authority.

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Probationary Period

New employees must satisfactorily serve at least a six-month probation period before permanent status is attained. The hiring department can advise prospective employees of the specific period of probation associated with the job classification.

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Fingerprint/Physical

All new County employees will be fingerprinted. A conviction record will not necessarily disqualify an applicant or employee. Each case will be given individual consideration, based on job-relatedness. Any record of conviction(s) will be reviewed and may result in a request for additional information or termination if warranted.

All prospective employees must pass a medical examination before beginning employment. For positions that require a commercial driver's license and the performance of functions defined as "safety sensitive," Federal law and County policy require the examination include a drug screening process.

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