FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) and Answers

Below you will find answers to frequently asked questions about the State’s eligibility and referral process, examination steps, applying for jobs, definition of our commonly used terms, and other miscellaneous topics.

What are your Service Counter business hours?
The Service Counter of the State Recruiting Office is open from 7:45 a.m. through 4:30 p.m. (HST) Monday through Friday except for State Observed Holidays. For your added convenience our Public Service Counter is open through the lunch hour.

What services does your Service Counter offer?
Our Counter features the use of a computer at no cost for applicants to apply for available State Career Opportunity job applications online. All users must have established a personal email address from a different computer prior to using our computers.

Who should I call before arriving to the Service Counter if I need help using the computers at the Service Counter?
We have friendly staff available to answer questions or provide computer assistance if needed. For accommodations please telephone (808) 587-1111 between 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (HST) Monday through Friday, except for State Observed Holidays.

Where can I call for help over the telephone?
The State Recruiting Office can provide live telephone assistance by dialing (808) 587-1111 between the hours of 11:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (HST) Monday through Friday, except for State Observed Holidays.

What is the Paperless, Online Application?
Effective January 1, 2009 the State Recruiting Office has asked all job applicants to support our efforts to increase operational efficiency, promote the conservation of green resources, and minimize delays and costs by applying for State careers online. During 2009, 99.9 percent of our applications have come in online, making greater time efficiencies possible for people who applied online!

How does going paperless help me find a job?
It’s faster, all forms are at your fingertips, you can save your work, and we are able to process and review your application faster than with the old paper system.

Do I have to type in my information every time I want to apply for a job?
NOT AT ALL! You create a master application and use that to apply for future State Career opportunities. You also have the full ability to update and edit this secure master application whenever you need to.

Where May I Obtain Language Assistance For Filing My State Application?
All of our written and oral material will be provided to you in English. For assistance, you may contact our department’s Language Access Coordinator by telephone (808) 587-2661 during business hours or write to the Language Access Coordinator, Department of Human Resources Development, 235 S. Beretania Street Suite 1003, Honolulu, Hawai‘i 96813.

Commonly Used Terms

1. What is a recruitment? A recruitment is a process for locating applicants for employment.

2. What is a Recruitment Number? A “Recruitment Number” is a six digit number that identifies a recruitment.

3. What is a recruitment period? A recruitment period is a time period indicated on the job announcement during which applications are accepted.

4. What does “Continuous Recruitment Until Needs are Met” mean? The recruitment will be open continuously until there’s no longer a need for eligibles. A Continuous Recruitment may close at any time; the notice of the last day to file applications will be on the Civil Service Hawaii State Government Jobs page of our website as well as within the individual job posting.

5. What is a State of Hawai‘i Career Opportunity Announcement? A State of Hawai‘i Career Opportunity Announcement describes a job that the Department of Human Resources Development, State Recruiting Office, is currently recruiting for. It is the best source of information about a job as it tells you the time period for which applications will be accepted, the title of the job, recruitment number, geographic location, pay, job duties, minimum qualification requirements, what type of examination (if any) you must take to qualify for the job, and instructions on how to apply.

6. What is an Open-Competitive recruitment? An open-competitive recruitment is a recruiting notice that announces the receipt of applications open to the general public.

7. Who is considered a member of the State civil service? An employee who successfully completes an initial probation period and demonstrates continued fitness and ability by meeting all performance requirements of the employee’s position.

Applying for a Job

8. How are vacancies filled? Jobs can be filled either from a department announced recruitment also known as an Internal Vacancy Announcement (IVA) for which only members of the civil service can apply, or from an “eligible list” established for a recruitment that the State Recruiting Office has announced. The State Recruiting Office publishes Career Opportunity Announcements for jobs open to the public. These announcements contain important information about the duties and responsibilities of the job, minimum qualifications required, and the examination process for placement on the eligible lists. You should review the Career Opportunity Announcement of the job(s) for which you are interested prior to completing the application form. CLICK HERE for our Job Opportunities Listing.

9. What kind of jobs does the Department of Human Resources Development, State Recruiting Office recruit for? A very large range of jobs. The Department of Human Resources Development administers the civil service system for the Executive Branch of Hawai‘i State government. The civil service employment system is based upon hiring, retaining and promoting employees based on their qualifications and ability to do the work. There are over 1500 different job titles. For a complete set of the Class Specifications of every civil service job title that exists in State government, a current list can be found at the Employee Classification and Compensation Division page, or visit the following public libraries: On Oahu at the Main, Kaimuki, Kaneohe, and Pearl City libraries; and on the Neighbor Islands, at the Hilo, Kahului, and Lihue libraries. Ask the library personnel at the reference desk where the Class Specifications for State government jobs are located.

10. Where can I find out about State jobs that are currently being recruited for? Information about jobs are available online, at the State Recruiting Office and other designated distribution centers, and on occasion in the newspaper. In some instances, the department that has the vacancy may be delegated to conduct their own recruitment. If this occurs, the department will be responsible for advertising the vacancy.

11. How do I apply for a State job? We urge all applicants to use our online application. Effective January 1, 2009 we are adopting a “go green” effort to help save resources and save taxpayers’ limited monies. By using our online application helps to process your application faster (compared to a paper system) and saves money by cutting printing costs over the year.

To apply online, go to the Job Opportunities Listing page of our website to view current job openings. From your job search results, click on the job title to view the Career Opportunity Announcement. You will find step-by-step instructions in the “How to Apply” section and a link to create an online application for the specific job. Applications are available for current job openings only.

12. Where can I obtain a job application? We strongly recommend that you use our online application system because it is convenient, you have all our forms at your fingertips, and it speeds up the processing and review of your application once we receive it. 1) The online application can be accessed through the Job Opportunities Listing page by clicking on the job you’re interested in, then clicking the “apply” link. 2) If you don’t own a computer there are places with free access to computers such as your local Oahu Worklinks unit (on Oahu), State Workforce Development Division offices on the Neighbor Islands, and, all 51 Hawai‘i State Public Libraries. Please telephone the nearest location first to learn about their hours and requirements.

13. When can I apply for a State job? Applications are accepted only when a recruitment has been announced and only during the recruitment period specified on the job announcement. If the recruitment has a deadline to apply, you must submit your online application and any other additional materials required in the job announcement by the last day to file applications.

14. How do I know what jobs I qualify for? You must first meet the minimum qualification requirements of the job. These requirements can be found on each Career Opportunity Announcement. You should review each announcement carefully, noting the location of the job opening, minimum qualification requirements, description of job duties, and any other special requirements. Taking the time to thoroughly review each announcement will help you avoid applying for jobs that may not interest you, or for which you may not qualify.

15. Can I submit a resume instead of the online or paper application? No. A resume in itself will not be processed. It must be accompanied by an online application, along with other required supporting documents asked for in the Career Opportunity Announcement.

16. Can I use the same application to apply for several different jobs? If you are applying online and have finished setting up your user account, you may use your saved master application you already completed for any other State Civil Service positions you wish to apply for. You will need to answer the specific questions attached to the different Career Opportunity Announcements and follow the instructions.

17. What is considered a “complete application”? A “complete application” consists of the online or paper application as well as supporting documents that are necessary for us to complete our review. Examples of these documents include the Applicant Data Survey, your college transcripts, documentation of veteran status, a copy of your valid driver’s license or professional licensure. Supporting documents as described in the job announcement must be on file with the Department of Human Resources Development (HRD), to complete your application. Note: You must re-submit supporting documents to HRD if they were submitted: 1) to the City & County of Honolulu; 2) to the Hawai‘i State Judiciary; 3) to the Hawai‘i Department of Education; or 4) to HRD prior to July 2006.
Your application is considered incomplete until all of the information required to complete our review is received, so please read the Career Opportunity Announcement carefully.


21. What is an “unassembled” examination? An examination in which applicants are not required to take a written examination at a designated date, time, and place. Your rating (score) is based on the education and experience information you provided on your application form.

22. Can I apply for a job requiring a college degree, if I have not yet graduated? Unless otherwise indicated on the Career Opportunity Announcement, you must meet the education requirement at the time your application is filed.

23. Do you have study guides to help me prepare for a written exam? No. We design written tests to reflect the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) needed to be brought to the job. The tests are not designed to show what you have learned from books. We want to give you a chance to show how many of the job-related KSAs you have. People with these KSAs should do well on the test.

24. What kind of test will I have to take? The type of test you take will depend on the type of examination being administered for a particular job. The job announcement will provide this information under the section titled “Testing Information.”

25. How often is the written exam given? If you apply for a recruitment open on a continuous basis, the exam will be administered several times a year. This can vary depending on the number of applicants, the type of exam, and the needs of the hiring agency. If the recruitment has a closing date, it will only be administered once after the closing date.

26. I have a disability. How do I request special accommodations to take a State exam? If you have been informed that you are required to take a State exam due to the class of work you have applied for, please call our Production Branch at (808) 587-1111 as soon as possible. Be prepared to provide medical proof of your need for accommodation by a professional who is qualified to make a diagnosis.

27. How are scores calculated? The way scores are calculated depends on the type of examination procedure administered. For more information on the type of examination, please refer to the section titled, “Testing Information.”

28. I already took a written exam and was placed on the eligible list. Can I take the exam again to improve my score? If the recruitment is still open, you may re-apply and take the written exam again, as long as 30-days have lapsed between the written tests. If you do not pass the exam the second time, you will keep your original score.

29. If I take the test again before my eligibility expires, and score lower, can I still keep my original score? No. If you pass the written exam and receive a lower score, the lower score will replace the original score.

30. Are original transcripts required or can I just submit a copy? If you are using education to qualify, or if there are mandatory course requirements for the job, you may submit a legible copy of your official college transcripts. Transcripts obtained through the internet are not accepted. Please note that education obtained outside of the United States must be comparable to a degree earned at an accredited school in the United States. The State Recruiting Office reserves the right to request evidence of comparability and/or an official copy of your transcript.

31. Can my college send my transcripts directly to your office? Yes, if your name and recruitment number are clearly identified on the transcript. However, if you plan to apply for multiple recruitments, you may want to request the university send the original copy of your transcript to you so that you can make copies. While we accept copies of transcripts, we reserve the right to request an original transcript.

32. I was placed on an eligible list 3 months ago, and have since obtained an advanced degree that could improve my score. Can I ask to amend my score? No. Your newly acquired education or work experience cannot be considered after your name has been placed on an eligible list. However, if the recruitment is still open, you may re-apply and submit any additional education and experience on your new application.

33. Why was my application rejected? An application can be rejected for several reasons such as: 1) missing forms or other supplemental information; 2) insufficient detail in your description of job duties and responsibilities; 3) performing work in more than one specialty area and not providing the average hours per week spent in each task; 4) inability to verify your education (diploma, coursework), education, licensure, etc. needed for a particular job. Your notice of results letter may indicate which specific minimum qualification requirement(s) have not been met and/or request additional information in order to complete our review.

34. Why was my application not processed? An application cannot be processed for several reasons, including but not limited to: missing information such as name, address, etc. Another reason may be that an applicant did not indicate the recruitment they were applying for, or they tried to apply for more than one job on the same application.


35. What is an eligible list? A list of names of persons who have successfully completed the examination.

36. How long will it take until I am placed on an eligible list? We try to place qualified applicants on the eligible list as timely as possible. The actual time frame depends on a variety of factors, including the number of persons applying for a job, the type of exam used for the job, and the needs of the hiring agency that will be using the eligible list.

37. How long will I remain on the eligible list? You will have eligibility for the period stated on the Notice of Examination Results and Eligibility. It will indicate whether you meet all the minimum qualification requirements. If you qualify, the letter will also indicate your score and placement into the pool of eligibles.

38. If I accept a temporary position, will my name be removed from the eligible list? It depends. 1) If you are appointed to a temporary position from an eligible list that was established to fill both permanent and temporary vacancies, it will depend on the duration of the temporary appointment. If the duration of the appointment allows you to serve an initial probationary appointment which could lead to civil service membership, your name will be removed from the eligible list and you will no longer be referred to other vacancies. However, if the duration of the temporary appointment does not allow you to serve an initial probationary appointment, your availability for temporary positions will be removed and you will not be referred to future temporary vacancies. But, if you indicated interest in permanent positions on your application, your name will continue to be referred to permanent vacancies. 2) If you are appointed to a temporary position from an eligible list that was established to fill temporary positions only, you will be removed from the eligible list and you will no longer be referred to other vacancies.

39. How long does it take to be referred for a job interview? It depends on several factors. After you are placed on the eligible list, you will be referred to vacancies based on your examination score and the employment conditions/geographic locations you specified on your application form. Factors that increase your chances of being referred include how high your score is, your availability, and the number of vacancies that must be filled.

40. After I am placed on the eligible list, what happens if I decline or fail to respond to an employment inquiry? Your eligibility will be suspended when you decline a job offer; do not report for an employment interview or respond to an employment inquiry; indicate a lack of interest in any other way for a position; or you are contacted and not available to attend an interview.

41. If my eligibility is suspended, can my name be put back on the eligible list for future referrals? Yes. If the list is still active and your eligibility has not expired, you may reinstate your eligibility under the following conditions: 1) you are now available for employment; 2) you now meet the physical standards of the job; or 3) you terminated without delinquency or misconduct during your probationary period after being appointed to a permanent position from the eligible list. Your request must be in writing and include your name, job title, and recruitment number.

42. Can I find out my ranking on the eligible list? No. Your ranking may change from day to day for several reasons. Factors such as names being added and removed, availability changes, and hiring can affect your ranking.


43. Where is your office located and is parking available? Click Here for a map of our Office. Our office is located in the Leiopapa a Kamehameha Building, Eleventh Floor, 235 South Beretania Street. If you are heading in the Ewa (west) direction on South Beretania Street, we are located on the next block after the State Capitol between the cross streets of Richards and Alakea, directly across of the St. Andrew’s Cathedral. Parking is available at the Alii Place building’s parking structure located at 1099 Alakea Street, just makai (oceanside) of the intersection of Alakea and South Hotel Streets.

44. What type of benefits does the State government offer? The State of Hawai‘i offers its employees who are members of the civil service a range of benefits. These benefits are subject to change whenever applicable collective bargaining agreements, laws, rules, policies or plan documents are changed.

45. How do I contact the State Recruiting Office during normal business hours?
The Service Counter is open from 7:45 a.m. through 4:30 p.m. (HST) Monday through Friday except for State Observed Holidays.
The State Recruiting Office can provide live telephone assistance by dialing (808) 587-1111 between the hours of 11:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (HST) Monday through Friday, except for State Observed Holidays.

46. What should I do if I am experiencing technical difficulties submitting my application online after normal business hours? See information on Technical Difficulties.

47. Does the State of Hawai‘i accept applications from out-of-state applicants who are not residents of Hawai‘i?  Yes. Visit our State Job Opportunities link for our current job opportunities listing.