Table of Contents

Merit System

The county’s personnel system, which operates within policies established by the Board of Supervisors, is known as a Merit System. The Merit System operates by a set of rules and procedures which ensures that employees are hired and promoted on the basis of merit and fitness for the job. Job vacancies are filled through competitive examinations.

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Recruitment Announcements

Recruitment announcements for job vacancies are posted in the Human Resources Department for at least 2 weeks prior to the application filing deadline. The announcements contain information about the duties, qualifications, salary and benefits. Announcements are sent to a wide variety of organizations which represent veteran, minority, female and other groups of potential candidates. Recruitment announcements are also posted on the county's online Job Application System

Online Job Application System

The Human Resources Department maintains an online job application system that allows job seeking candidates to review current job openings, submit applications online, review all county job class descriptions, and submit interest cards for future recruitments.

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Job Line

The Human Resources Department maintains a 24-hour job hotline. Interested parties can call anytime to find out what recruitments are currently being conducted. The county’s job line number is 707-476-2357.

Interest Cards

The Human Resources Department maintains an interest card system. This system provides potential applicants with a means to register their interest to be notified directly of a future recruitment for a specific job classification. The key to making the system work is for applicants to know the exact title of the job classification for which they wish to apply when a recruitment begins. Applicants interested in completing interest cards may do so online through the county’s Job Application System, or may come by the Human Resources Department during regular working hours. Either way, candidates may review copies of all county job classifications, identify the exact titles of the classifications for which they are interested in applying for, and complete interest cards.

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Application Procedure

A complete, original, or electronic online application must be filed for each separate position. Applications may be submitted in person to the Human Resources Department no later than 5 p.m. on the final filing date shown on the job bulletin, or mailed with a postmark no later than the final filing date, or completed online by midnight of the final filing date. Depending on the number of candidates, applications may be screened by subject matter experts, based upon information supplied in the application material. Candidates who are among the most qualified may then be invited for further testing. Applicants are notified by mail of the results of the application screening process.

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Examination notices are mailed approximately 1 to 2 weeks prior to the scheduled exam date. Examinations normally consist of 1 or more of the following: evaluation of education and experience, performance, written or oral. Examinations are usually given during business hours. Subject matter to be covered by the test is indicated on the job announcement under the duties and qualifications of the position. Candidates are notified of exam results by mail. No information regarding exam results will be given out over the phone.

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Successful candidates are placed on an eligibility list in rank order, according to their final exam scores. The eligibility list is normally good for 1 year. When a vacancy occurs, the top 6 eligible candidates are certified to the department for a selection interview (top 5 for Social Services, Child Support Services, and the Office of Emergency Services). Employment is contingent upon satisfactory completion of a pre-employment medical examination provided by the County of Humboldt.

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Probationary Period

Persons appointed to regular County positions serve a probationary period, which is the final part of the examination process. This is normally 6 months, but may be up to 1 year. All safety employees of the Sheriff’s Department serve a 1 year probationary period.

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Salaries for most classifications (except management and confidential positions) are covered by collective bargaining agreements. Each salary range has 6 steps, and appointments are usually made at the first step. A step increase occurs after the equivalent of 6 months of full-time employment and yearly thereafter to the top step. County employees are paid biweekly.

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Department heads are encouraged to fill vacant positions by promoting from within. Regular employees who have completed their probationary period are eligible to apply for promotional exams. Your chances for promotion are improved by continuing your education and by excelling in your present job. Regular employees who are promoted serve a probationary period in their new position.

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Employment Hints

  •  You can improve your chances of employment by submitting a well-prepared application. 
  • If you are not completing the application online, print neatly in blue or black ink or type your application.
  • Be sure to complete all items on the application form.
  • Provide all information asked about your work history, education and training in the spaces provided.
  • Do not substitute a resume for any part of your application. A 1 or 2 page resume in addition to your application is acceptable, but not required.
  • Include all volunteer jobs and outside activities that relate to the job you are seeking.
  • Avoid errors in spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
  • Make a copy of your application to keep for your future reference. Remember: each recruitment requires a separate application.
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Oral Examination

The purpose of the oral exam is to evaluate your training, experience and personal qualifications as they relate to the duties of the position for which you are being tested. The oral board will usually consist of 3 members who are familiar with the requirements of the position. The Chairperson will introduce you to the other members and give you a chance to get settled. The board members’ evaluation of your qualifications will not be determined by your answer to any 1 question. Instead, ratings are based on the overall picture you present of your training, experience, and personal fitness for the job.

Hints For The Oral Examination

Review the recruitment announcement to obtain a clear picture of the duties and responsibilities of the position.
  • Review your experience and education as they apply to the position.
  • Give brief, direct, and complete answers. Make sure to answer the questions fully, but avoid lengthy explanations.
  • Be yourself; people make their most favorable impression when they act naturally. Some nervousness is expected, and remember, panel members have also been in your shoes.
It is your responsibility to present your qualifications to the panel. At the end of the oral examination, you will be given an opportunity to present any information you believe might further assist the board members in evaluating your qualifications.

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Written Examination

A written examination is designed to test your knowledge of job-related subjects. Some recruitments may require a written examination and oral or other method of testing.

Hints For The Written Exam

  • Be prompt; exams begin on time.
  • Listen carefully to instructions.
  • Read instructions in the test booklet.
  • Work quickly but carefully; if 1 question takes too much time, skip it and go back to it after the others have been answered.
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Equal Employment Opportunity

Women and members of minority groups are encouraged to apply. Special testing arrangements may be made to accommodate disabilities or religious convictions. Contact the Human Resources Department well in advance of the examination for assistance.

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