How to Get a Job with the State of Illinois – A Guide to the Employment Process


By Jennifer Weggeman – Career Counselor and Workshop Facilitator

March 30, 2017

The workNet DuPage Career Center recently hosted representatives onsite from the State of Illinois to help job-seekers understand the hiring process for open positions with the State.  This post is a recap of the information shared in the presentation, for those who could not attend in person.

The State of Illinois’ web-based electronic hiring system offers many features to assist individuals interested in knowing current vacancies within agencies under the jurisdiction of the Governor. Through it they may obtain grades and/or establish that they are qualified for certain titles; they may also want to use the system to identify titles/positions that match their interests and/or qualifications should vacancies in those titles exist or occur in the future.


The State provides job opportunities in a wide range of occupations and titles. The State is required to comply with certain hiring criteria when selecting individuals for employment. Please be aware of these hiring preferences as you proceed through the state employment process:

  • Under state law, qualified Illinois Veterans must be afforded an opportunity for interview and employment before non-Illinois Veterans in the same grade category.
  • Qualified Illinois residents must be afforded an opportunity for interview and employment before out of state veterans in the same grade category.
  • Qualified out of state Veterans have hiring preference over out of state residents in the same grade category.
  • Many positions are covered by collective bargaining agreements. For these positions, the filling of vacancy language specified in the current agreements will apply. Current employees may have contractual right preferences for bargaining unit positions over non state applicants and non-union employees.

Individuals seeking employment with State of Illinois, who are not currently state employees, compete for positions from an open competitive list of eligible applicants after potential candidates from within state government have been considered.

To be placed on the eligible list, applicants must have a current grade for the position (preferably an A Grade). When the agency is ready to fill the position it requests the list of eligible applicants from CMS.  Veteran applicants with A grades and then non-veteran applicants with A grades are given priority.

Veterans/Disabilities/Diversity Hiring policies and contacts:

Proof of military service must be provided prior to awarding of Veterans Preference. For more information call Central Management Services Veteran Outreach at 800-643-8138.

Other state employment opportunities: Secretary of State, Attorney General, Comptroller, State Board of Elections, Illinois General Assembly, and State Treasurer are not under the jurisdiction of the Governor. All these entities have their own employment process and procedures and should be contacted individually.

The web based electronic hiring system significantly expands access to state employment while increasing transparency, accessibility, accountability and consistency in the state hiring process.

The state of Illinois hiring system has notification capabilities by title, agency and county through usage of a Job Interest Card.  Submission of a Job Interest Card will prompt an email notification to the interested individuals whenever a posted vacancy meets the criteria that has been selected.

Appropriate Titles & Open Positions

Group A titles are the job titles for which examinations are given on a regularly scheduled basis. These titles are listed under the Examination Schedule link on

There are multiple choice exams and other titles graded based on Training and Experience (TRAEX).

You must take a copy of your online application to the CMS assessment center when you are ready to test.  Your test grade will be provided immediately and expire after one year. Applications for Group A TRAEX titles are graded after submitting online or mailing in application; grades are mailed to applicant and expire one year after the effective date.  Contact the Examining and Counseling Division for more information at: 217-782-7100.

Group B Titles (closed titles) are job titles that CMS does not test for on a regular basis. Applications for these positions are kept on file for one year. Exams are not given and applications are not graded until an agency needs to fill that positon and request that CMS grade on file applications.

Once you receive a grade for a Group B title it will expire after one year. A listing of all titles, including Group B titles is available through the Job Titles Search link at or by accessing the “Open Competitive Application Procedures by Title” link through the “Application Procedures” link.  Types of test and requirements are listed under the Open Competitive Grades section.

Agency Select Titles Some state agencies have an entry level position title for which they hire individuals and target them for a permanent positon.  For these titles, an applicant applies directly to the agency rather than to CMS.  For more information, contact a career services counselor at one of the five test centers.  CMS does not administer tests or issue grades for these titles.

Exam Process/Grading

Automated testing is offered at all test sites.  Applicants are allowed 90 minutes to answer the questions on automated tests. Performance, TRAEX/TX Testing and any required supplemental questionnaires specific to the position may be required for specific job titles.

Alphabetic grades are assigned in categories A, B, C and fail, based on test performance and/or training and experience review (TRAEX/TX). Grades are valid for one year.  Veterans take preference, then A grades.  Tests can be retaken after 30 calendar days. The most recent passing score will be used to determine eligibility.

Examinations may be cancelled or limited to certain localities without notice as hiring needs are met.

Individuals with disabilities who need reasonable accommodations to participate in the testing process can contact the Accommodated Testing Scheduler at 217/524-1321 to schedule an appointment.

Details/Contact Locations:

Career Services: Career Counselors are available at all our assessment center locations by appointment only. (Assessment Centers Hours are Monday – Friday 8AM – 4:30PM.  For other Illinois locations/hours, see the website.)

After reviewing your completed application and discussing your education and work experiences, the counselor will recommend job titles for you and provide descriptions of the job requirements.

Telephone numbers for the 5 counseling offices are:

Chicago: 312-814-2398;

Rockford 815-987-7004

Springfield 217–524-1321

Champaign 217-278-3435

Marion 618-993-7005

People who are hearing impaired can contact the Illinois relay center at 800-526-0844 to contact the career services offices at any assessment center.

Call or write for more info; the above information can be used as a reference, but is subject to change:

Central Management Services
Examing and Counseling Division
William G. Stratton Building
401 S. Spring St. Room 500
Springfield, IL 62706


James R. Thomson Center (JRTC)
100 W. Randolph St. Suite 3-300
Chicago, IL 60601
Note: Govt. issued photo id is required to enter the JRTC building.