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Meaning of "eligibility list"

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  • Meaning of "eligibility list"

    After my oral board for a bay area department I got an email that said something along the lines of: Congratulations, as a result of your oral board you are now on an eligibility list and may be contacted for a selection interview.

    This is the first department I've interviewed with, and I didn't get a clear answer from my searches. In my previous career in government this response would be interpreted as, "you have no chance, but thanks for trying". Either way I feel encouraged because the department is very selective and this is only my first try. Thanks, for any insight provided.

  • #2
    You passed the first step in a government hiring process. Depending on the department's policy the agency can do one of the following:

    1) Work their way down the list and invite people to a chief/executive interview
    2) Invite you to go into a background investigation.
    3) Shop a portion of the list and selectively interview candidates. I know Contra Costa SO used to (they still may do this) rank after oral boards into bands A, B, & C. Although all ranks were technically on an "eligibility list" only people in the A band got called back.

    Don't bother trying to figure out the agency's policies. It is buried in some HR department rule book. Keep testing with agencies and wait for a call.
    If you see me running try to keep up!

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    • #3
      Congratulations but have no fear, you are in a good position and this is par for the course.

      It is a list of all those who have applied and are eligible to continue with the hiring process. Generally, this list is ranked in some way and people are called for the next step in the hiring process according to their rank. They often will call folks en mass as many people get removed from the eligibility list for various reasons. As people complete the next step(s) they may be disqualified for various reasons and removed from the eligibility list. This list will generally have a life span of some sort. Sometimes it is one or more years from when it was established, or until all those who are on the eligibility list have been exhausted.

      Best of luck!
      “You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life.” ― Winston Churchill

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      • #4
        In California the eligible list is traditionally based on your combined written and oral score. Applicants are hired in the order of their score (highest first, next highest second. etc.) with one exception.

        Most civil service agencies operate under what's called the Rule of Three. This allows them the latitude to fill a vacancy from anyone in the top three positions on the eligible list. They can do so for any reason or for no reason and they do not have to say why they elected to employ the Rule of Three.

        In a large agency, the Rule of Three rarely comes into play because there is so much mass hiring over time.
        Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

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        • #5
          As a follow up, it's important to find out where you are in the list (what number), how long the list is good for (six months, one year, two years), and how many people they expect to hire from the list before it expires.

          Let's say you are number 10 on a list which is good for two years. Let's also say they expect to hire 20 people over the two year life of the list. From that you can anticipate hearing something from them within the first year. OTOH, let's say you are number 40 on the list. Odds are the list will expire before you are reachable and need to keep testing with other agencies.

          You also want to find out if they do continuous testing and if so, whether they integrate test scores. If they do continuous testing and integrate test scores, you could be number 10 on the list today and number 40 next month if a bunch of people from the next group tests higher than you and their scores are combined with the current list.
          Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

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          • #6
            Thanks for the replys. I wasn't told what number on the list or what rank I was. The department also has a continuous recruitment. So I will forge on testing with other departments. I have Palo Alto coming up in a week and a half.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by inshanity View Post
              I wasn't told what number on the list or what rank I was.
              Don't be afraid to ask HR. It's not a state secret.
              Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

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