Frequently Asked Questions

Q: May I submit a résumé for grading instead of an Examining/Employment Application (CMS100)?
A: No. In order to get full credit for your work experience, you must complete the Examining/Employment Application (CMS100) in detail with comprehensive descriptions of your previous:
Q: Do I have to submit a new Examining/Employment Application (CMS100) for each test?
A: Yes
Q: Is volunteer experience credited toward my final grade?
A: Related professional volunteer experience, if quantified, will be considered and credited accordingly. Be sure to describe the hours worked per week or month, any supervisory responsibilities, etc. Non-related volunteer experience is not credited for the position for which you are applying.
Q: What if there is not enough room for my work experience on the application?
A: You may utilize additional paper so long as you keep it in the same format as the application.
Q: How long does it take to get a grade notice?
A: CMS grades the applications in date order; if a test is required, grades are available at the end of the test.
Q: What happens if I don't get an A grade?
A: "A" grade candidates are interviewed first. If you do not receive an "A" grade, it would be to your benefit to re-test in an effort to improve your score. You may test again for this title in 30 calendar days. If you wish to appeal a grade you've received by means of TRAEX testing, address your concerns in writing to Central Management Services, Examining & Counseling Division, Room 500, Stratton Office Building, Springfield, Illinois 62706
Q: What happens after I take my test and get my grade?
A: Your name will be placed on an eligibility list for the county or counties of your choice. When a state agency intends to fill a position, the personnel office requests the eligibility list for the position title and a particular county. The employing agency contacts the individuals inviting them to interview for the vacant position.
Q: How long are my grades valid?
A: When you receive a passing grade, your name is placed on an eligibility list. Open competitive grades remain on the list for 12 months; promotional grades are valid for three years. Your name will be removed from the eligibility list if you fail to respond to an invitation for interview (referral), or if you waive or decline two referrals.
Q: How do I renew my grades?
A: After your grade expires, you have to again participate in the civil service testing process.
Q: How many times may I change my counties?
A: There is no limit.
Q: I have heard of hiring preferences. Do Illinois residents have preference for hiring over non-residents?
A: Yes
Q: What is "Reinstatement"?

A: The Personnel Rules state that a former certified employee who resigned or terminated in good standing may be reinstated to a position in the class to which the employee was assigned prior to resignation, or to a position in any other position class for which the employee is qualified. Reinstatement is a means of employment, it is not a guarantee of employment.

In order to be considered for employment via reinstatement, you must apply to agencies for posted vacancies.

Q: What does Absolute Veterans Preference mean?

A: In 1997, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that military veterans shall receive absolute hiring preference over non-veterans in the same grade category. Absolute Veterans Preference refers to two aspects of the hiring process. First, preference points are awarded to the passing scores of veterans when they apply for open competitive grades. The points vary depending on the nature of the military service and the status of the veteran.

Second, when an agency hires from the open competitive eligibility list, it must consider veteran applicants before non-veterans.

Q: What are "Cook County Zones"?
A: Cook County is divided into five zones. Please refer to the CMS100 for details.
Q: Where can I get an Examining/Employment Application (CMS100)?
A: You may obtain an Examining/Employment Application (CMS100) by contacting any one of the following locations: CMS Web site at or the DCFS Web site at The application can be downloaded from the Internet and printed for your convenience.
Q. Is the salary negotiable?
A. The salary is not negotiable. CMS has established guidelines for determining what the agency may offer a candidate based upon the candidate's previous salary (which may require written documentation for verification). The salary may not go outside the pre-determined salary range for that title.
Q. What do I do if I have bilingual skills?

A: If you are fluent in both English and Spanish, orally and written, you should indicate "SS" for Spanish speaking in the box marked Option (next to the positions title) on the front page of the CMS 100 Employment Application.

If your bilingual skill is in another language other than Spanish, please contact CMS at (217) 524-1321 for the appropriate option code.

Please note: If you are selected to be interviewed at DCFS for a bilingual position, your bilingual skills will be tested. Failure to pass the bilingual certification for a bilingual position will result in not being selected for that position. We encourage bilingual candidates to apply for both the bilingual and non-bilingual option.

Q. Are there any conditions of employment?
A. Yes. Information gathered during the background investigation phase and/or hiring process may be utilized when selecting an applicant for hire.
Q. Is it possible to have accommodations made for persons with disabilities during the job interview?
A. Yes. In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Illinois Human Rights Act, state agencies must ensure that the employment process is accessible to persons with disabilities. Specifically, the state shall provide reasonable accommodations upon request by individuals participating in all steps of the employment process. This includes the initial testing phases of the candidate selection process for state positions as well as the subsequent employment interview process. If you need such an accommodation during a DCFS job interview, please contact the DCFS Office of Employee Services at one of the contact sources indentified on this web page.