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Working at the Human Services Agency (HSA) Exams

Your application process for a Permanent position (or appointment) with HSA, or any other City division, includes taking a Civil Service Exam. If you apply for a Provisional (temporary) or Exempt position, you will not need to take a Civil Service Exam.

Regardless of the appointment type, you may be asked to take additional exams, which test the knowledge, ability, and skill levels required for a specific job role. In this section, you’ll find some helpful tips on the exams process.

Exam Types

  • Supplemental questionnaire: Your application may include a questionnaire asking for a narrative job history or about specific technical skills.
  • Written multiple-choice: Most Civil Service Exams use a multiple-choice format and usually take over an hour. Some recruitments have a Core exam, which can be used for multiple recruitments because your score is banked (saved) for up to three years.
  • Oral examination: This is an in-person interview where a panel of raters will ask you questions and score your responses based on an established rating guide. You may be asked to base your answers on a scenario or previous job experience.
  • Performance examination: An HSA panel of raters will ask you to perform a job-related task. They may score you based on your completed tasks or level of detail provided.

Testing Tips

  • Get ready: Review the job announcement for details on the knowledge, skills, and abilities that will be assessed on each exam. Then review how your experience has shaped your expertise in those areas. You may find study material from the DHR website
  • Get rest: Ensure you are well rested before an exam. Fatigue can adversely affect your test performance.
  • Arrive early: Give yourself at least 30 extra minutes to arrive on time and unhurried. If you arrive late, you will not be permitted to take the test.
  • Pay attention: Listen closely to instructions, especially those on how to fill out the answer sheet. Filling out your answer sheet incorrectly will impact your score.
  • Ask questions: Ask the proctor questions about the instructions before the exam starts. You may not be allowed to ask questions during the test.
  • Pace yourself: Figure out roughly the amount of time to spend on each question. Try to save time to review your responses and check for missed questions. 

More Information

Email hsa.personnel@sfgov.org or call (415) 557-5561 with questions about the exam process. 

For more details on the exam process, visit: