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How to Get a Job With the City

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The information provided here was designed to help you to be successful in obtaining a job with the City of Santa Cruz. By carefully reading the information below, you will understand the various steps involved in the City's hiring process and what you can do to get the job you want. Although our hiring process may be considered lengthy by applicants who are anxious to get that new job, the process ensures fairness and objectivity in hiring talented people to serve the citizens of the City of Santa Cruz.

Types of Exams 

Job Interest Form 

Eligible List

Minimum Qualifications
Selection Interview




Review the current job announcements and select the position(s) for which you wish to apply. It is important that you thoroughly read the job announcement because it includes information regarding the application and examination process, current vacancies, minimum qualifications, shift requirements and whether the recruitment is for regular and/or temporary positions.

Complete and submit the required City application form-either online or print version- and attach all required materials as listed on the job announcement. Resumes are optional.

Be sure to submit your application materials by the final filing date shown on the job announcement. Or submit your application materials early enough to be within the number of qualified and complete applications specified in the job announcement. Postmarks will not be accepted.

We only accept applications for positions for which we are currently recruiting. You must submit a separate application form for each position in which you are interested. If you wish to keep a copy, please make one before you submit your (paper) application. If your address or phone number changes after you submit an application, contact the Human Resources Department, or correct your profile in the online application system.

When you complete the application:

  • Check your application for completeness, including signature (on print forms) and required supplemental materials. Applications submitted without the required supplemental material may be rejected.
  • Be specific; do not leave anything blank.
  • Do not submit a resume in lieu of completely filling out the application or the supplemental questions.
  • Take the time to include past job details in the Employment History section; the amount of your experience will be calculated from the hours per week and to/from dates that you specify.
  • For online applications, if you are not able to scan and attach your supplemental materials, such as resume, DMV driving record printout, certificates, letters of recommendation etc., you may bring or send those materials to the Human Resources office by the deadline date. (Postmarks will not be accepted).
  • Be clear and concise; type or print carefully; check your spelling and grammar.  
  • Be thorough and truthful.
  • Indicate if you want full-time, part-time, etc. (You will only be considered for the schedules you mark.)

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The City of Santa Cruz only accepts applications for those positions for which we are currently recruiting. If the City is not currently accepting applications for a position in which you are interested, you may submit a Job Interest Form to receive notification when certain kinds of jobs open up.

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Most City jobs require that candidates possess job-related education, training and/or experience. The specific requirements for the position are stated in the job announcement. These minimum qualifications are used to assure that individuals have the necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform the job.

Your application will be reviewed within two weeks after the final filing date. This review determines whether you meet the minimum qualifications for the job. Selected candidates will be notified as to when and where the next step of the process will occur. If you are not selected to continue in a recruitment process for a regular (non-temporary) position, you will also be notified. Notification is by email, or by regular mail if specified.

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If you receive a notice inviting you to the next step in the exam process, read the notice carefully. The notice will give you important information concerning the exam. If you have a question regarding the notice, email the Human Resources Department or call 831-420-5040.

Exams allow you to demonstrate that you possess the knowledge, skills and abilities that are required to perform the job.

Some recruitment processes may include a single exam. Others may include multiple exams. If there is more than one exam, you must pass the first exam to qualify to take the next exam. Your final score from the exam(s) determines your rank on the eligible list. 

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Application Screening
Applications and supplemental questions are competitively screened based on the minimum qualifications of the job. Responses to supplemental questions, and other types of attachments, are required for many jobs. When responding to the supplemental questions, please provide thorough responses to each question and provide examples where possible or appropriate. Any work experience mentioned in your response to the supplemental questions should also be listed in the Employment History section of your application.

Written Exam
This type of exam may be multiple choice, true/false, and/or fill-in-the-blank. Written exams typically test technical knowledge required for the job and other job-related characteristics such as reading comprehension and mathematical abilities. Written exams are typically two to three hours long.

Oral Exam
A panel of job experts serve as oral exam raters to interview and rate each applicant. A standard set of job-related questions are asked of all applicants. Oral exams are designed to fairly and objectively assess each applicant's qualifications.

Performance/Practical Exam
This type of exam is given to allow applicants to demonstrate a skill or ability that is required to perform the job. Performance/practical exams measure such things as writing skills, physical agility, or the ability to use tools and equipment. Examples of practical exams include writing exercises, in-basket exercises, typing tests, driving tests, and physical agility obstacle courses.


After each exam, you will receive your exam results within two weeks. If you have any questions about your exam results, please contact the Human Resources Department immediately.

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Eligible lists are lists of applicants who have successfully completed all of the stages of the testing process. All regular vacancies in the City are filled from these eligible lists. Eligible lists are only created when there is an actual vacant position.

Eligible lists may be valid for up to one year and may be abolished or extended by the Human Resources Director.

Your name is placed on the eligible list according to your rank as determined by your final exam score. When a vacancy occurs, the top ranked candidates from the eligible list for that position are sent to the hiring department for selection interviews. 

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Once you are on an eligible list, you may be considered for employment. When a vacancy in that job classification occurs (which may be in any City department), the names and applications of the top ranked candidates are referred to the department. The hiring department will make a selection after interviewing all referred candidates.

If you are called by a department for a selection interview, here are some helpful suggestions:

  • Remember, the selection interview is an opportunity for you to show the department that you are the best person for the job and that you are interested in the job.
  • Be relaxed, prompt and dress appropriately.
  • Review the job flyer and make sure that you have a good understanding of the job duties.
  • Ask when you will be notified of the selection.

Hiring departments, not the Human Resources Department, conduct the selection interviews and make the final hiring decision. For that reason, if you have questions regarding the department selection interview or results of that interview, please contact the hiring department before calling the Human Resources Department. The hiring department will inform you of the results of the interview by email. 

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Once you have been selected and have accepted the job offer, the next steps of the hiring process take place. Your employment is contingent upon passing a medical examination performed by a City-selected physician (if required) and upon the Human Resources Department's receipt and review of information provided by the Department of Justice regarding the processing of your fingerprints. You will be sworn in as a City employee and will be required to present proof of eligibility to work in the United States when you sign the appointment paperwork. You will attend an orientation session which will provide information on City policies and benefits.

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