Oswego County Human Resources Department

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. WHAT IS CIVIL SERVICE?

The New York State Constitution and NYS Civil Service Law says that public employees must be hired for jobs on the basis of their merit and fitness. In practical terms, “merit and fitness” means finding people who are best suited to a particular job.

The Oswego County Human Resources Department is responsible for hiring people who meet the requirements of merit and fitness as mandated by the Civil Service Law. The Human Resources Department oversees civil service hiring for all Oswego County departments, towns, villages, school districts, and special districts, excluding the cities of Oswego and Fulton and their respective school districts.

Administration of the Civil Service Law is divided into two areas: positions that do not require a Civil Service examination and positions that do require an examination.

2. WHAT POSITIONS DO NOT REQUIRE A CIVIL SERVICE EXAM?

Job titles that have no minimum requirements; for example:

     Title      Department
     Laborer      Highway
     Cleaner      Buildings and Grounds

Job titles requiring specific education and experience but no written examination; for example:

     Title      Department
     Registered Professional Nurse      Public Health
     Licensed Practical Nurse      Public Health

Job titles that are filled on a part-time basis; for example:

     Title      Department
     Public Health Nurse (PT)      Public Health
     Typist (PT)      Various

Positions that are elected or appointed; for example:

     Title      Department
     County Treasurer      Treasurer's
     Assistant District Attorney      District Attorney's Office

Job titles which have been reclassified under Section 55a of the Civil Service Law for an applicant certified by ACCES-VR (Office of Adult Career and Continuing Education Services-Vocational Rehabilitation). In this instance a required examination is waived.

3. HOW DO I APPLY FOR POSITIONS THAT DO NOT REQUIRE A CIVIL SERVICE EXAM?

Applications and job descriptions for positions that do not require an exam are available from the Human Resources Department. Most positions have minimum qualifications. Candidates may complete and file an application for these titles at any time. Applications submitted to the Human Resources Department are forwarded to the appropriate Department Head/Appointing Authority who chooses from qualified applicants to fill vacancies as needed.

4. HOW DO I FIND OUT ABOUT POSITIONS THAT DO REQUIRE A CIVIL SERVICE EXAM?

Examination Announcements

When civil service exams are scheduled, announcements are published in the local media, posted in public buildings, and are available from the Human Resources Department. Exam announcements contain important information about minimum qualifications, exam fee, exam scope (description), last filing date, and exam date. Unless otherwise stated on the exam announcement, applicants must be residents of Oswego County for a minimum of four (4) months immediately preceding the date of the exam.

Request for Exam Notification

The Oswego County Human Resources Department maintains available job descriptions for all titles that require a civil service exam. Applications may not be filed for exam titles that have not yet been scheduled for examination. In this instance, applicants may file a "Request for Exam Notification" (blue sheet). A listing of frequently tested titles appears on the "Request for Exam Notification". Candidates should indicate all exam title(s) of interest to them. When a date is scheduled for the specified title, a notification letter will be sent to the candidate.

Completing Application

Fully complete all information requested on the application. Do not substitute a resume for the education or work experience sections of the application. Be sure to compare the information you provided about your education, training, and experience with the minimum qualifications required for the job before applying for the exam.

Continuous Recruitment Exam Program

This is a program of continuous testing for entry-level positions. Candidates may file their application and exam fee at any time and will be tested when an exam is next scheduled, generally annually in the Spring. Successful candidates for continuous recruitment titles have their names placed on an eligible list for a 1-year period. Continuous Recruitment titles include: Account Clerk, Clerk, Typist, Senior Typist, Custodian, and Public Health Nurse.

5. HOW DO I GET A JOB WITH A LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICT, TOWN, VILLAGE, OR SPECIAL DISTRICT?

The Human Resources Department oversees civil service hiring for the towns, villages, school districts, and special districts in Oswego County, excluding the cities of Oswego and Fulton.

If you are interested in a job that requires a civil service exam (for example: Typist), you should file to take the civil service exam through the County Human Resources Department. If you are interested in a position which does not yet have a scheduled exam date (for example: Head Custodian), you should complete a "Request for Exam Notification" and you will be notified when an exam is scheduled.

If you are interested in a position that does not require an exam (for example: Food Service Helper, Teacher Aide, Cleaner, Bus Driver), you should apply directly to the school district, town, village, and/or special district in which you seek employment. Teaching positions in the school districts are not included under civil service. Each jurisdiction selects its own candidates for these positions.

6. WHAT HAPPENS AFTER I APPLY FOR A TEST?

Applications for scheduled exams are evaluated to insure the candidate meets the minimum qualifications to take the exam. Approved applicants will receive an admission notice at least one week prior to the date of the exam with information regarding test location, start time, and other instructions. Applicants disapproved because they do not meet the minimum qualifications will be notified by mail. The exam fee is non-refundable.

7. WHEN WILL I RECEIVE MY TEST RESULTS?

Test results are received from the State Civil Service Commission approximately two to three months after the exam date. You will be notified by mail of your score and placed on an eligible list. Those who score 70% or above are included on the eligible list for job openings. Jobs are filled from these lists by the employer choosing one of the three highest scoring applicants willing to accept the job. Oswego County eligible lists are used by all Oswego County departments, towns, villages, school districts, and special districts, excluding the cities of Oswego and Fulton and their respective school districts.


  • For listings of government jobs throughout the United States, see: govtjobs.com or govjobs.com.
  • The web address to the New York State Department of Civil Service is: www.cs.ny.gov.

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