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FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q: What is Civil Service? 

A: Civil Service is a system required by New York State Law for the purpose of filling and maintaining positions in local governments formulated on the basis of merit and fitness.

Q: Where can I find Current Civil Service opportunities/exams?

A: Applicants are encouraged to visit Erie County’s Website at for a list of current exams posted for both the general public as well as current employees.  Applicants may also call the Erie County Civil Service Hotline at 716-858-8729 for a list of upcoming exam opportunities.

Q: What are the office hours for the Erie County Department of Personnel?

A: The Erie County Department of Personnel is open to the public from 8:30am to 4:30pm Monday through Friday. The Erie County Civil Service Hotline and website ( are available 24/7.

Q: Where can I view current Civil Service Lists and canvassing activity?

A: The Erie County Department of Personnel office located at 95 Franklin St. Room 604  Buffalo, NY 14202 contains two public computing stations where the public can access current Civil Service lists in addition to canvassing activity for all County Departments as well as local municipalities and agencies under Erie County civil service jurisdiction (including: towns, villages, schools districts, Erie 1 BOCES, Erie County Medical Center Corp., Erie Community College, Erie County Water Authority, Erie County Home, and a number of special districts).

Q: Can I be automatically notified of upcoming exam announcements?

A: Yes! Applicants are encouraged to take advantage of our latest website feature where potential applicants can sign up to receive automated email notifications when new opportunities are posted on the website.  To sign up for the notifications please visit:

Q: How to apply?

A: NEW September 2022!  For exams listed with the ability to apply online, please click here for a step-by-step list of instructions.

When submitting paper applications, applications are available on the Erie County Website under the heading for "How to Apply".  Applications are also available at town and village halls, NYS Employment Service, downloadable at Buffalo & Erie County libraries (printing fees may apply) and many other non-profit agencies. 

If you would like to take an exam for another county, city (Such as Buffalo), or New York State as well as an Erie County Exam all on the same day you must submit a cross-filer form (Exams Cross-Filer Form) at time of application. Instructions for taking civil service exams for multiple jurisdictions on the same day can be found on the cross filer form.

Q: What is Cross-filing?

A: Taking civil service exams for multiple jurisdictions on the same day.  For example, if you would like to take an exam for another county, city, such as Buffalo, or New York State, as well as an Erie County Exam all on the same day applicants must submit a cross-filer form (Exams Cross-Filer Form) at time of application.

Q: How much does it cost to take a Civil Service Exam?

A: Most all Civil Service Exams require a non-refundable $20 application processing fee. However, uniformed (ex. Police Officer, Deputy Sheriff etc.) services exams require a non-refundable $30 application processing fee and continuous recruitment exams only require a $15 non-refundable application processing fee.  Please keep in mind that even if it is determined that a candidate is ineligible to sit for an exam due to failure to meet minimum qualifications etc. that the processing fee remains non-refundable.  All exam fees required are posted on the relevant exam announcement. 

Q: Can applications be accepted past the filing deadline?

A: No.  In order to have enough time to review and notify candidates as to whether or not they are approved or disapproved, organize room assignments as well as leave enough time for disqualified candidates to go through the appeals process, it is imperative that the last filing date be held firmly.

Q: If you are disqualified from an exam can you appeal it?

A: Yes. Appeals forms are available in the forms section under how to apply.  All appeals must be received by the date and time indicated on the disqualification letter.  It is important to note that just because an appeal is submitted does not necessarily mean that an applicant will be admitted to the exam.  The appeal is to provide additional information and request re-review of a candidate’s application and only then should they then be found to meet the minimum qualifications will he/she be admitted to sit for the exam. There are NO exceptions or extensions.

Q: How specific do the dates of employment, hours worked per week and duties descriptions need to be when filling out the application?

A: All dates need to be as accurate as possible as experience is prorated based on length of time spent in the position as well as by the number of hours worked per week.  For example, working part time job of 20 hrs per week for 3 full months equates to 1.5 months of experience as long as it is provided in the required field.  Listing out the duties for every experience is crucial in the review of an applicant’s work history to determine whether or not the experience applies to the position minimum qualifications.  We ask applicants to be as specific as possible; even to list out percentages of time spent performing each duty for all previous employments.

Q: Can I submit an unofficial transcript with my application?

A: A photocopy or original of official transcripts is required (sealed in an envelope is not necessary). Transcripts printed from the college’s website will not be accepted.

Q: What happens after I apply for an exam?

A: Notifications for exam admittance and/or disqualification are mailed approximately 10 days prior to the exam date.  The notification will contain the location and address of where to appear for the exam as well as the room number which you must report to.  Applicants who receive disqualification notices should review the appeals process. 

Q: When do I receive my exam results?

A: Exam results are mailed out generally between 3 to 6 months following the date of the exam.

Q: What is the Civil Service Rule of Three?

A: Once a list is established, appointing authorities who have positions to fill receive a certified list of applicants which they can canvass and choose from to hire.  The pool of candidates who are eligible immediately for hire are those candidates who score either rank 1,2 or 3, and or have a score which is equal to that of the candidate holding the rank of 3 on the eligible list.  For example, if an appointing authority receives a list where the 1st and 2nd ranking candidates both have a score of 100 (as no two candidates can have the same rank) and the 3rd ranking candidate has a score of 95 then these three individuals are in the pool for the appointing authority to choose from as well as any candidates whom also received a score of 95 on the exam.  That being said, if the 4th and 5th ranking candidates also had a score of 95, then the appointing authority could appoint from any of those 5 eligible candidates.

Q: Who hires from Erie County civil service lists?

A: The Erie County Department of Personnel administers exams and maintains eligible lists for all Erie County Departments, Erie County Medical Center, Erie Community College, Erie County Home, Erie County Water Authority, Erie 1 BOCES, as well as towns, villages, school districts and special districts within Erie County.

Q: What will be on the Exam?

A: The subjects for each examination are posted on the exam announcement.

Q: Are there study materials for exams?

A: There are some study guides available on our website (  Beyond what is posted on our website our office does not supply or endorse any outside study guides which may be obtained at local libraries and/or bookstores.

Q: What happens if I move?

A: Please fill out a change of address form which can be found on our website and submit it to our office as soon as possible to ensure that your residency for list certification, canvass mailings and score notifications purposes is accurate at all times.  Address changes are updated on a monthly basis.

Q: Are there positions that do not require a Civil Service Test?

A: Yes. These positions include Exempt, Labor and Non-competitive Classifications.  To apply for these positions and to be notified of such positions please contact the appointing authority or agency. 

Q: Are there residency requirements to participate in Erie County Civil Service examinations?

Municipal civil service agencies may require residency requirements to participate in civil service examinations. You should carefully review the examination announcement to verify if you meet the residency requirements for a particular examination before filing and paying your application fee. Any questions regarding residency must be addressed to the municipal civil service agency that has jurisdiction.

More NYS Civil Service References:

Please also see the NYS Dept. of Civil Service link for job seekers at