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Frequently Asked Questions

The probationary period is a time when new employees must prove themselves capable of doing the job for which they were hired. The probationary period for competitive employees is 26 weeks, except for some traineeships, where it runs the length of the training period.

The probationary period for labor and non-competitive positions in the county is usually for a period of one year. In non-county jurisdictions (towns, villages, etc.), the length of probationary periods may vary according to the jurisdiction’s bargaining agreement. Other than those non-competitive positions specifically excluded pursuant to section 75 of New York state civil service law, every appointment of a veteran or an exempt volunteer fire fighter to a position in the non-competitive, labor or exempt class is for a probationary term of twenty-six weeks.

A provisional appointment, which occurs only in the competitive class, is a temporary appointment to a position for which no eligible list exists or for which an eligible list exists with fewer than three candidates who are willing to accept the position. In order to become permanent, the employee who is provisionally appointed must take the next examination for the position in question. The appointment to the position is then made from among the three highest scoring passing candidates who indicate their willingness to accept the position. Civil Service law does not compel the appointing authority to choose the provisional employee should he or she be one of the three candidates.

Open-competitive examinations can be taken by any individual who meets the minimum education and experience qualifications cited on the job announcement. Promotional examinations are restricted to current employees who have had the required length of service in a specified position. It is possible for current County employees to take an examination both open-competitively and promotionally, and, if they successfully pass the exam, appear on both lists. When appointments to the position are made, however, candidates on the promotional list are canvassed and appointed before those on the open-competitive list.

Before deciding that a test should be scheduled, a number of factors are considered: the number of positions, the length of the current eligible list, the turnover of employees within the title. When a test is given, the resulting eligible list is valid for a least one year. However, the Personnel Officer may, at his discretion, extend a list for as long as 4 years. On the average, tests for titles that are not highly specialized are given every two years.

Civil service information may be obtained by checking the Department of Human Resources, Personnel and Civil Service Website or going to and subscribing to the E-UPDATE for the Cilvil Service Examination Announcement Summary. When a new summary of upcoming examinations is released, you will receive notification by e-mail. You may also call our Information Division at (631) 853-5500 for information on Civil Service tests and examination application filing procedures.

The average length of time is six months, although many variables can affect the time frame. The Department of Human Resources, Personnel and Civil Service has an "open-filing" policy which allows applicants to file for any job title they may be interested in, whether or not an examination is currently scheduled; applications are then held in file and candidates are notified when the examination for the title is scheduled.

Suffolk County Government

H. Lee Dennison Bldg

100 Veterans Memorial Hwy
P.O. Box 6100
Hauppauge, NY 11788

Riverhead County Center

County Road 51
Riverhead, NY 11901