Hiring Process FAQ

Hiring Process FAQ

​​​​​​Oakland County finds the most qualified person for each available job through a competitive examination process. Because we try to make the system impartial to all applicants, our hiring process is highly structured. Once you have identified a potential position, you may apply online or you may visit the Oakland County Human Resources Department and use one of our Personal Computer stations to search for jobs and apply online. It is important to read each announcement carefully before you apply because the requirements vary from job to job.
When filling out your application materials, please be as complete as possible. Before submitting your application, make sure all required information is provided. An incomplete application will be rejected.
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What are the steps I need to follow to apply for a job with Oakland County?,

Please read the Applicant Tutorial for step by step instructions on how to apply for a job online. See the Job Applicant FAQ section for answers to the most frequently asked questions.

What is the hiring process?,

Oakland County processes applicants under the rules of the Oakland County Employment Merit System. All applicants are screened to determine if they meet minimum qualifications as described on the job posting. Applicants meeting the minimum qualifications are required to take an examination.

What is the Oakland County Merit System?,

The Merit System is Oakland County's version of a civil service system by which applicants obtain their jobs on the basis of their individual qualifications, much like one finds at the state and federal government levels. Competitive testing determines each person's selection for a job, without regard to political affiliation, national origin, religious beliefs, race, sex, age or disability.


Oakland County's Merit System was adopted in November of 1966 after a resolution, placed on the ballot during the general elections, was passed by an overwhelming majority of Oakland County voters. It is now administered by the County Executive through the Human Resources Department, with policies established by the Board of Commissioners.


What is an examination and why do I have to take one?,

The term "examination" refers to the test or total battery of tests and other selection devices used to rank all candidates for that particular classification. All applicants applying for employment with the Oakland County Merit System are required to go through an "examination" process. Depending upon the position for which you are applying, examinations may consist of written, oral, performance, a rating of past experience and training, or be made up of a combination of such tests.

What type of test might I expect?,

The tentative examination content is described in our job posting.  Some jobs require a written test that may consist of short answer, multiple choice, true-false, or essay type questions that are directly related to the job. For example, do not be concerned about taking a spelling test if you are applying for a maintenance job; you will most likely be asked questions about plumbing, carpentry, painting, etc.

Not all of Oakland County's positions require written tests. Some jobs may require a performance test where applicants must perform tasks similar to those performed on the job. For example, clerical applicants may take a typing test on a computer.

Another common type of test is an oral evaluation of qualifications, in which you will be asked questions pertaining to your experience, education and other qualifications for the job. This type of test is structured and scored by a panel, but it does give you the opportunity to express yourself, and to discuss what unique qualifications you bring to the position. It also gives you the opportunity to ask questions about the job.

An online Training & Experience Questionnaire (T&E) may be included on the online application. The online T&E is a set of questions specifically suited for the job to which you are applying. The questions are scored and then you will be notified of your score by mail. Sometimes the T&E is mailed to your home for completion. In this case, you will be given a deadline to complete the questionnaire and return it to the Human Resources Department.

The examination may consist of one or any combination of these types of tests. You must successfully pass each portion of the examination in order to be considered. The passing score is determined by a statistical evaluation of the test scores. Applicants will be notified of their test results by mail. The Human Resources Department is always available to discuss any problems or questions you may have regarding the examination you have taken.

How are tests scheduled?,

When an examination has a closing date, all applicants who meet the minimum qualifications are generally scheduled to take the test at the same time. However, a large number of applicants may require more than one testing session. In such cases there is no possibility of rescheduling. However, if the examination is open continuous, applicants are scheduled in groups in the order of the date their applications are received.

The frequency of testing depends on the number of applicants and the amount and immediacy of openings that exist for that job. Candidates wishing to reschedule a portion or portions of an examination must do so in writing to the Human Resources Department. An examination may be rescheduled only if the written request is received by the Human Resources Department and the examination is still open at the time of the request.

I passed, now what happens?,

After all testing is complete and each successful applicant's score is computed, they are placed on an eligible list in a high to low rank order according to their total scores. At this time applicants will be mailed an official notice of their scores and relative rank on the list.

Merit System Rules require that the hiring department with the vacancy choose from the top five ranking applicants on the eligible list, inclusive of ties. For tests with a pass or fail outcome a "top group" will be established for the eligible list. If you are in the top five or top group, and an opening occurs, you will be considered for the job. It is possible that you may be requested by the hiring department to appear for a second interview. The hiring department makes the final decision of who is chosen for the job.

I did not score high enough to be considered, now what can I do?,

Naturally, not all applicants are going to score high enough to rank in the top five or top group of the eligible list, nor pass the examination for which they applied. However, not passing one examination in no way affects applying for other examinations.

Can my rank ever change?,

There are some ways your rank may change if you are on a Top Five Eligible List. First of all, if the examination is open continuous, new names will be added to the list each time the tests are administered. If another applicant scores higher than you, this may lower your rank. However, it is also possible for you to advance higher on the eligible list when others are hired, find other jobs, or lose interest.

How long will I remain on the eligible list?,

In accordance with the Oakland County Merit System Resolution, an eligible list may be in effect for at least six months from the date it was first established. For example, an eligible list established in January will remain in existence until the following July. If you are placed upon the list in March, the list will still expire in July, six months after the establishment of the list, not six months after you were placed on this list.

If other vacancies occur before the list expires, the current top five/top group applicants again will be considered by the department. The Board of Commissioners may extend the list for an additional six months. There are rare circumstances when eligible lists may expire before the six month period. This would occur when it is necessary to change the examination content and "re-announce" the examination.

What benefits are available to me as an Oakland County employee?,

Oakland County provides its employees with one of the most comprehensive benefits package available today. It offers a combination of medical, child care, tuition reimbursement and many other attractive opportunities in addition to competitive and fair wages.

I have been offered employment, what's next?,
  • Complete the appointment kit (tax, insurance and retirement forms, etc...)
  • Take and pass an employment physical examination at County expense.
  • Provide acceptable documents to verify both identity and eligibility for employment in the U.S. in compliance with the Federal Immigration Law.
  • Oakland County uses E-Verify to verify the employment eligibility of employees. If you have a legal right to work in the United States, there are laws to protect you against discrimination in the workplace.
  • Have an identification picture taken.
  • May be required to submit to and pass a drug test, TB skin test or other medical tests depending on the position for which you applied.

Whom should I contact for specific questions not listed here?,

Please call the job hotline at 248/858-0530 or email ocijobs@oakgov.com.