FAQs

A. Applying for an examination

Do I have to be an Albany County resident to take a civil service examination?

Most examinations do not require that you be an Albany County resident, however some do. Residence information is listed on each examination announcement. Some municipalities have residence requirements for employment, so even though you may not need to be a resident to take the examination, you may need to be a resident to be considered for appointment.

How can I tell when a particular test will be given by the County?

Not all examinations are held on a regular basis. Examinations are prepared and scheduled by the New York State Department of Civil Service. The Albany County Department of Civil Service requests examinations to be scheduled based on the length of the current eligible list, the age of the list and the turnover of employees within the title. Eligible lists are valid for a minimum period of one year from the date of establishment up to four years.

How can I obtain information on civil service examinations?

Examination announcements for Albany County Department of Civil Service are posted in our office at 112 State Street, Room 1100 in Albany, NY and on our web site at www.albanycounty.com/civilservice. The Application for Examination or Employment (ACS-21) is available at the above address or may be downloaded from the web site.

Is there an application fee?

There is a non-refundable application processing fee for each examination which must accompany your application. The amount of the fee depends on the type of examination and is listed on each examination announcement. Send check or money order payable to the "Albany County Director of Finance". Cash will not be accepted as form of payment.

The application processing fee is waived for those receiving public assistance or unemployment benefits. Official proof is required and must be accompanied by a completed Application Fee Waiver Request and Certification Form (ACS-04).

Can I take more than one examination on a test date?

The New York State Department of Civil Service prepares the examinations in such a manner that you can participate in more than one examination on the same day even if it is for different jurisdictions. All examinations for which you have been approved must be taken on the same day in the same testing center. Be sure to complete a Cross-File Application (ACS-10) indicating that you are filing for more than one examination. It is the applicant’s responsibility to notify our department if you are taking exams in more than one municipality.

Is the experience required in the minimum qualifications always full-time?

The experience rating scale is located under the General Instructions to Applicants. Experience will be rated as follows: 1-10 hours worked per week = ¼ time; 11-20 hours worked per week = ½ time; 21-30 hours worked per week = ¾ time; 31-40 hours worked per week = full time.

I received my qualifying degree/higher education in a foreign country, what documentation do I need?

If the minimum qualifications on an announcement require a degree or course work and you have obtained this education in another country, please visit https://www.cs.state.ny.us/jobseeker/degrees.cfm for a listing of agencies that provide evaluations of foreign education for New York State employment. Evaluation fees must be paid by the applicant.

Are study materials available?

For some examinations, the New York State Department of Civil Service develops study guides. There are some study guides on our web site that are for specific examination series such as the clerical series and the entry-level custodians and janitors series. The NYS Department of Civil Service advises applicants to use the "scope of examination" section of the announcement as a guide for studying. Some materials may be available through public libraries, public employee unions and private publishers. We can make no recommendation on the quality or usefulness of such materials.

I filed for an examination, but I haven't heard...

Appearance letters for an examination are typically mailed to arrive at least three days prior to the Saturday on which the test is being held. If you have not received your notice to appear by then, call us at (518) 447-7770. Disqualification notices are usually sent out much sooner. If you have been disqualified, follow the instructions on your notice if you believe you have additional, relevant information on your qualifications.

What time do exams start?

Our exams start at 9:00 am, please arrive at the exam site by 8:45 A.M.


Where are the tests held?

The Albany County Department of Civil Service uses several sites to hold examinations. The site for your particular examination will be printed on your appearance letter.

B. Types of examinations

What are the examinations like?

Civil Service examinations may consist of a written and/or performance test, an evaluation of education, training and experience or a combination of these. The exam announcement will indicate which type of test(s) will be given. The majority of written tests use multiple choice questions.

What is the difference between an open-competitive and promotional examination?

Open-competitive examinations can be taken by any individuals who demonstrate that they meet the minimum educational and experience qualifications cited on the examination announcement. Promotional examinations are restricted to current employees of the participating agency or appointing authority who meet the service requirement as cited on the announcement. It is possible for current employees to take an examination both open-competitively and promotionally, and appear on both lists if they pass the examination. Candidates on promotional lists are canvassed before open-competitive lists when both lists exist for a title.

What does continuous recruitment mean?

Continuous recruitment refers to those examinations for which applications are accepted on a continuous basis. The examination is held on certain scheduled dates for which you will be notified. The scores for these examinations are filed with existing candidate scores to form a constantly changing eligible list. Your name remains on the list for a period of one year.

What is a training and experience examination?

A Training and Experience examination is a method of testing whereby a candidate receives a test score based on the information contained in the application and/or a questionnaire sent to eligible candidates. The score is calculated from weights given to various factors of education (training) and experience.

C. After taking the exam

Who uses Albany County Civil Service lists?

Lists of eligible candidates established by the Albany County Department of Civil Service are used to fill vacancies in competitive class titles in Albany County government and the school districts, towns, villages, libraries and Special Districts covered by the Albany County Department of Civil Service.

How can I review my examination?

Some exam questions may be open to review after the test is held. This is called "pre-rating review" and you must request this review at the test site when you finish your examination. You will be able to see the questions and the tentative answers, but not your answer sheet. This is the forum in which to challenge what you may consider to be an inappropriate question and/or answer. Some examinations are not open to review.

After you receive your score, you may request a computational review, in which you will be able to review a copy of your answer sheet and the final answer key, but not the test questions. If interested, contact the Albany County Department of Civil Service at (518) 447-7770.

How long will it take to get my score?

Result letters are mailed approximately 8 to 10 weeks following the date of the examination.

What happens if I change my address?

Candidates are responsible for notifying our office, in writing, of a change of address. Do not depend on the postal service to forward your mail in sufficient time to respond to a canvass letter for a position. A change of address form can be downloaded on our web site and then mailed to this office.

Will I get the job if I get the highest score?

If you are the top scorer, you might be considered for the job, but having a high score does not guarantee that you will be hired. The canvass and interview are equally important parts of the selection process. If you are interested in a position, return your canvass letter promptly and do your best to make a good impression during the interview. The interview is also an opportunity for you to learn if this is the job for you.