Frequently Asked Questions - English, Spanish, & Mandarin

Bureau of Recruitment & Hiring FAQ's (Frequently Asked Questions)


  1. I've completed my online application recently. Are there different ways to apply?
    • Effective July 1st, 2022, there is only one way to apply for a job.
    • You must apply using the online system - Career Opportunities.
    • Click the Apply Button on each posting to apply.
  2. Once I apply, what is the follow up process?
    • You can check the status of your application by logging into your profile and viewing the Jobs Applied tab.
  3. If I applied for a job weeks ago and haven't heard anything, does that mean that I didn't get the job?
    • Not necessarily. There is a large encompassing process behind the scenes that our personnel department must first work through.
    • If the job is filled internally, no action will be taken on your application, and you will receive an email with a disposition. Please continue to apply for future openings.
    • If the job is not filled internally, your application will be reviewed. You will receive an email with next steps or a disposition.
    • If your title requires an automated exam, you will be contacted by one of the testing centers to arrange a date and time for testing.
    • To ensure you do not miss any communication - Please check your "junk mail", "spam", or "other" folder for communication(s) regarding any submitted application(s).
  4. What do the different "Opt"s stand for?
    • Some position titles have Options. An Option is an identifier for that specific title that corresponds to more specific duties of that title and may require an additional exam. For example, if the position requires being fluent in another language besides English, such as Spanish, it will have Option SS after the position title. Some of the Office series titles have an Option 1, 2, or 3. Option 1 means that the position covers general office work. Option 3 is an additional dictation test. If you ever have a question on what an Option stands for, please refer to the bottom section of the job posting; it will state the Option and what it means.
  5. After submitting my application, how long can one expect to hear back, and how will we be informed if our application is rejected?
    • It depends on the specific vacancy. As previously stated, there are many variables that must be covered in the hiring process. As for your grade, if the position you applied for does not require a test, please continue to check the status of your application by logging into your profile. If an exam is required at a CMS examining center is required, CMS will contact you to set up an appointment, and your grade will be instantly issued and automatically uploaded to the appropriate grade lists once you take the exam.
  6. Do you recommend submitting a resume and/or cover letter when applying?
    • A resume and cover letter are not required unless the job posting specifically asks for one. Uploading a resume will make the online job applications process easier as the system will automatically pull the information from the resume and populate it to the designated fields. You will just need to check the fields to ensure all the information was pulled correctly.
  7. Do I have to complete the education section if I attach my transcripts?
    • Yes. If the position you are applying for requires a college degree, you must completely fill out the education section. Please upload all information to support your education, licenses, or training and experience.
  8. If I do not have a degree, should I still put my education down?
    • Yes. Education could be used as a tiebreaker between two candidates who have the exact same interview score.
  9. Can I apply for multiple titles on my online application?
    • No. You need a separate online application for each active position in which you are interested.
  10. Do you accept foreign degrees/education?
    • We do. However, degrees from foreign countries must be converted into American University terms to be credited when applications for state employment are being evaluated. You can find more information about on the CMS FAQ page.
  11. I do not have the required degree, but [X] years of experience in the field. Am I still eligible?
    • If the Minimum Requirements state that we will accept [X] number of years, such as "Requires a degree OR [X] years' experience", then yes. If the Minimum Requirements list a degree is required, but no experience equivalency, the answer is no.
  12. How can I update my email address/mailing address /phone number on file?
    • Please log into your profile and update your contact information.
    • Complete the CMS263 Change of Information Form and send it to CMS.
    • You will need to complete a CMS263 Change of Information Form (PDF) and send it to CMS.
  13. Is there counseling available for my application?
  14. I am a veteran. How do I establish my veteran's preference? Do I need to do it each time I apply?
    • Under State law, qualified veterans are entitled to points added to a passing grade and appointment preference. Please Note: Illinois National Guard/Reserves non-activated with less than 4 years of service only receive points added to a passing grade. All veterans will be required to submit a certified copy of their DD214/DD215 as proof of service at the time of application. Once you have established your veteran's preference, it is permanent. For more information, please visit the CMS Veteran's Outreach Program page.
  15. Are grades issued for all positions?
    • Grade notices are issued only for positions that require an exam.


  1. 1. When will the CMS examining centers reopen for walk-in testing?
    • Potential candidates are no longer able to walk-in and test without being scheduled. All required testing is through appointment only. CMS will contact you to schedule an appointment if one is necessary.
  2. When I receive my grade notice from CMS, am I automatically applying for the position and future openings for that specific job title?
    • When you receive your passing grade, you should apply for each vacancy that for which you would like to be considered for.
  3. I have my grade. What are the next steps?
    • Once you have received your grade notice for a specific title, there is nothing further needed. Your grade is valid for one year from the Exam Date on your Grade Notice.
  4. My grade for a title expired. Do I really have to retest?
    • Once your grade expires, you must reapply, and if required, retest.
  5. How long before I can retest?
    • You must wait 30 days to retest and there must be an active posting for that title. Please keep in mind that testing is by appointment only. CMS will contact you to schedule a testing date and time.
  6. How long is my CMS grade/score valid for?
    • o Your grade is valid for one year from the Exam Date on your Grade Notice.
  7. Are these timed tests? Is it possible to get accommodations if I have a disability?
    • The qualifying exams at the CMS Examining Centers are timed. Applicants are allowed at least 90 minutes to answer the questions on automated tests.
    • If you require a testing accommodation, please refer to the CMS Disabled Workers Program.
  8. I live in [other state]. Can I take the CMS exam online or at a local library or any other location?
    • If that position title requires a CMS exam, it must be taken at a CMS examining center. There is no online testing offered at this time.
  9. What titles require an exam?
    • Only the titles that read Option 3 
      • Executive Secretary I
      • Executive Secretary II
      • Executive Secretary III
      • Office Administrator II, III, IV, V
      • Office Aide
      • Office Assistant
      • Office Associate
      • Office Coordinator
      • Office Specialist


  1. How often are new jobs posted?
    • We do not have a posting schedule; new positions are posted daily. Positions are posted for 14 days.
  2. Can I still be considered for a posted vacancy after the closing date?
    • Unfortunately, you cannot. Your application must be submitted by the closing date.
  3. What does (Upward Mobility Target Title) mean? I see it listed after a job title on a posting.
    • The State of Illinois Upward Mobility Program is a career mobility program designed to give internal state employees an opportunity to advance to promotional opportunities. Therefore, this means that the specific title is a targeted title for this program. As an external, non-state candidate, you are still more than welcome to apply for these vacancies; In the event the vacancy is not filled internally, external candidates will be considered.