How to Get a Job with CDFW


IMPORTANT: Permanent State jobs are filled from lists of eligible candidates who have already taken and passed examinations, or by current or former State employees in equivalent classifications.
See also, Seasonal and Temporary Job Opportunities (no exam necessary)

The State hiring process consists of the following six steps

  1. Find an examination for a CDFW career that interests you.
  2. Apply for the examination
  3. Become reachable on a list
  4. Apply for job openings
  5. Participate in a hiring interview
  6. Probation

For more information about the examination and civil service process you may want to visit CalHR's Frequently Asked Questions web page(opens in new tab).

Step 1: Find an Examination

Before you can be appointed to a permanent position, you must first take an open competitive examination to obtain list eligibility. We encourage you to take as many examinations as you qualify for. While some examinations are given periodically throughout the year, others are only given every year or two, so check the CDFW Current Exams(opens in new tab) frequently to avoid missing an open filing period for an examination.

Step 2: Apply for an Examination

State Application Form: To apply for an exam, you must complete a State Application Form (STD 678)(opens in new tab) and submit it to the address as indicated on the examination bulletin. Late applications will not be accepted. State application forms are available from any local Employment Development Department office, any State of California agency and from the State Personnel Board's website indicated above. If you meet the minimum qualifications, you will be notified of a test date.

Individuals with Disabilities: If you are an individual with a "disability" who either (1) has a physical or mental impairment or medical condition that limits one or more major life activities, (2) has a record or history of such impairment or medical condition, or (3) is regarded as having such an impairment or medical condition, you may wish to participate in the State's Limited Examination & Appointment Program (LEAP)(opens in new tab)

Step 3: Become Reachable on a List

Upon completing an examination, successful applicants will be placed on an eligible list. Only those that are in reachable ranks may be considered for appointment. Reachable ranks are typically those employees who are in the top three ranks. If a rank is cleared (all candidates in the rank are either hired or no longer available for employment), the next lowest rank is then considered reachable and those candidates can now be considered for appointment.

Step 4: Apply for CDFW Job Openings

Find a Vacancy: Now that you have taken an examination and are on an eligible list, the next step is locating a vacant position. There are many ways to obtain vacancy information. You may receive a contact letter; however, because there may be several candidates in the same rank, the computer may randomly choose the candidates who will receive a contact letter or due to employment preferences, you may be reachable for one position and not reachable for another position. If you receive a contact letter and fail to reply or if you decline three job inquiries, your name may be removed from the list.

Don't wait to be contacted: You may immediately apply for job openings. If you are not in the first three ranks, you may have to wait until a rank is cleared before you can be hired. CDFW advertises vacancies on the CDFW website in the CDFW Job Opportunity Bulletin (PDF)(opens in new tab), and on SPB's website(opens in new tab).

Step 5: Participate in a Hiring Interview

The hiring interview is designed to identify the best job/person match for that position only. Before you go to your interview, you should acquaint yourself with the mission and functions of that department and how your education and experience contributes to the job you are interviewing for. Unless you are offered a job, your name remains on the eligibility list to be considered for other vacancies.

Step 6: Probation

All newly appointed state employees participate in a probation period of 6 or 12 months depending on the job classification. During this time, you will receive training related to your position, and will receive three probationary reports/evaluations tracking how well you are doing on the job. When you have successfully completed your probationary period, you will attain permanent status.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is an equal employment opportunity employer for all, regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, ancestry, sex, marital status, disability, religious or political affiliation, age, or sexual orientation. It is an objective of the state of California to achieve a drug-free state work place, any applicant for state employment will be expected to behave in accordance with this objective because the use of illegal drugs is inconsistent with the law of the state, the rules governing civil service and the special trust placed in public servants.

Human Resources Branch
Main Office: 715 P Street, 16th Floor, Sacramento, CA 95814
Mailing: PO Box 944209, Sacramento, CA 94244-2090