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Frequently Asked Questions About Exams
The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago is an Equal Opportunity Employer dedicated to maintaining a diverse workforce reflective of the communities it serves. It strives to provide an employment process offering equal employment opportunity to all individuals regardless of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, sexual orientation or disability. The MWRD believes that hiring employees of varied talents, backgrounds and points of view contributes to the long-term success of the organization.
Testing Accommodations for Persons with Disabilities
Reasonable accommodation for individuals with disabilities will be made in accordance with applicable laws. Requests for testing accommodations are to be made within one week after the close of the filing period. For information regarding accommodation for individuals with disabilities, phone (312) 751-5173 (voice) or (312) 751-5916 (TTY).
Voluntary Equal Employment Opportunity Information
Information regarding age, race and gender is collected as part of the employment application. Submission of this information is voluntary.
Civil Service Examinations
Civil service examinations are designed to evaluate whether a candidate has the knowledge, skills and abilities necessary to perform the essential functions of the job. The examination consists of one or more tests designed specifically for that particular job. Common test types include written tests, oral tests, performance tests or training and experience questionnaires.
Why an Examination?
The Illinois state statute that governs the operations of the MWRD states in part that all applicants for positions in the civil services of the MWRD “shall be subjected to examination, which shall be public and competitive.” The statute requires that these examinations be practical in nature and assess those areas necessary to perform the duties of the particular job to be filled.
In addition to the statutory requirements, it is simply good business practice to hire employees who will be able to successfully perform the duties of the job. As with any employer, the MWRD wants to hire the best candidate for the job. Requiring applicants to successfully pass a test based on the knowledge, skills and abilities needed to perform the job is one way to achieve this goal.
Finally, the use of civil service examinations provides a fair and objective means to evaluate and select employees. Every participant in the examination takes the same test and is evaluated using the same criteria. This gives every candidate an equal opportunity to be successful on the examination and be selected for the job.
Types of Tests
Written Test- A written test is typically a multiple-choice test using a machine scored (Scantron) answer sheet.
Oral Test- In an oral test, candidates are given a series of situational or scenario-based questions to answer. They often also contain a written exercise as part of the evaluation. The candidates are given a study period of a defined length to develop answers to these questions. At the end of the study period, the candidate appears before a panel of raters referred to as the oral board to present their answers to the questions. It is important to note that an oral test is not an interview. There is no back and forth conversation between the oral board and the candidate. The oral board simply reads each test question aloud and the candidate gives his or her response to that question.
Performance Test - A performance test is often referred to as a work sample or practical test. These tests measure a candidate’s ability to perform tasks similar to those performed on the job. For example, candidates for an ironworker test may be asked to perform a welding task, carpenter candidates may be asked to build a saw horse or clerical candidates may be asked to complete a typing exercise.
Training and Experience Questionnaire
These tests, often referred to as T&E’s, are used to evaluate a candidate’s training and experience in comparison to the training and experience necessary to successfully perform the job. They are often in the form of a detailed questionnaire or supplemental application form submitted by the candidate. The candidate is not required to attend an actual test administration.
On the Day of the Test
Candidates are to appear promptly at the time listed on the admission letter. Candidates who are late may not be admitted. Allow sufficient time for travel and parking at the test site. Candidates will need to bring their admission letter and a photo ID to the test. A quiet, cordless calculator may also be allowed in accordance with the job announcement.
Candidates are normally given between two and four hours to complete a written test. The oral test process typically takes between four and five hours. Candidates should park their car where it can be left for the duration of the test. Leaving the test to move a vehicle or to feed a parking meter is not permitted. If glasses or a hearing aid are required, be certain to bring them to the examination. Bring any specialized equipment or materials which may be specified in the job announcement.
Textbooks, reference materials, tablets, laptops, PDA's or cell phones will not be allowed in the test room unless they are specifically permitted by a statement in the job announcement.