How To Successfully Compete for State Employment
Following are some tips to assist you in your search for State employment.
Positions for all State agencies are updated weekly online.
Most State employment opportunities are civil service positions, which require a competitive
application or examination process in order to be eligible for consideration for interview.
Some exams are only offered once or twice each year. Others are offered only as positions become
available. Some entry level professional titles have ongoing recruitment.
As a job seeker it is to your benefit to check the Website weekly for new opportunities. It is
advantageous to compete for more than one position in order to increase your opportunities for
employment with the State. In fact, agencies sometimes are able to share their list of eligible
applicants with other agencies with similar positions. It is beneficial to apply for as many
opportunities as interest you, and for which you possess the qualifications.
In conjunction with all examination or application procedures, the applicant will be required to
submit an Application for State Employment. The
can be found online or in paper format at local libraries, job centers, State office buildings and
campus career centers.
Read the announcement and follow the application information carefully. A separate application must be
completed for each position in which you are interested. It is important to use the exact job title
and job code number that appears in the announcement.
There are several different formats for exams. Not all require that you test at a specific location.
In fact, many can be completed at home and sent in for review.
Exam formats include:
- Walk-in Testing (Saturday Exams in various locations Statewide). Walk-in exams typically consist of
a combination of multiple choice and essay exams. These exam types are designed to measure applicants'
existing knowledge and skills for the position(s) they are testing for. Walk-in tests require no advanced
registration. Be sure to bring identification, two sharpened #2 pencils, and you may also bring a silent,
hand-held, battery-operated calculator, unless the announcement states otherwise. A picture ID with your
signature is preferred.
- Multiple Choice Exams require applicants to select the best of several answer choices and may include
true/false and matching questions.
- Essay Examinations require applicants to evaluate hypothetical situations and respond with solutions
- Objective Inventory Questionnaire is an exam type that can be completed at the applicant's home.
The applicant identifies their level of experience, training, and/or academic preparation relating to
specific job tasks, tools, technologies or equipment.
- Application Materials Review is an exam process which requires the applicant to submit a letter of
application (a cover letter), a resume and a brief paper addressing several specific questions related
to the position. The written paper is the exam.
- Achievement History Questionnaires are another type of exam that requires the applicant to describe
their accomplishments, achievements and experiences in several job-related areas critical for successful
- Oral Examinations involve a panel of job experts who ask a series of standard, open-ended questions
of the applicant. Follow-up questions may also be asked to clarify the applicant's responses. Although
this format "looks" like an interview, it is in fact an examination and will not involve the opportunity
for the applicant to ask questions other than to clarify the exam questions. The interview process occurs
at another time after the oral examinations have been completed.
In some cases applicants will be required to compete in stages of exams, perhaps beginning with an
Application Materials Review process and then moving to an Oral Examination prior to the interview process.
As an applicant, it is important to remember that only you know about your training, experience, skills
and knowledge as it relates to the position you apply for. When responding to questions in any exam
format, it is important to be truthful, yet thorough in your responses.
It is also important to be concise in your responses since there is typically a limit to the length allowed
for your responses. Fully articulate your training and experience as it relates to the position. This is your
opportunity to "sell" yourself as the best candidate for the position.
After the exam you will be sent a Notice of Examination Results. For each exam a list is created of
applicants who pass the exam and are eligible to be interviewed. The list is then used to provide hiring
agencies with the names of applicants they can interview.
Generally applicants who score the highest may be interviewed or receive further consideration. As positions
are filled, we move further down the list of eligible applicants. We normally use employment lists for three to
We hope that you find this information useful and that it will assist you in successfully competing for
State of Wisconsin employment opportunities.
Last Revised: July 12, 2010