CA Dept of Mental Health
1.5 of 5 2 reviews Sacramento, CA 1000 to 5000 Employees

CA Dept of Mental Health Interview Questions & Reviews

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Declined Offer

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Average Interview

RN Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate
San Luis Obispo, CA

I applied online and the process took a day - interviewed at CA Dept of Mental Health in January 2011.

Interview Details – I was already a state employee and applied for another state job

Interview Question – Why did you not bring the paperwork you were asked to bring?   View Answer

Reason for Declining – Location

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Accepted Offer

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Associate Mental Health Specialist/AGPA $4400-5048 Interview

Anonymous Employee

I applied through other source and the process took 3+ months - interviewed at CA Dept of Mental Health.

Interview Details – The exam for this class was extensive, required the STD 678, a supplemental questionnaire and an oral panel interview. Rule of three ranks means you have to be reachable in rank 1-3 in order to be hired, you must be ranked in 1-7 to be considered "passed" on this test. The interview invite came several months after submitting applications for this classification. The exam interview was similar to future hiring interviews with the state in that it consisted of a binder with interview questions, and I had 30 minutes to complete them. This classification has since been deleted, and the department was assumed by a larger department.

The hiring interview was separate, occurred about 2 months after passing the initial interview, and I interviewed for two positions before being offered one. The interviewers are not allowed to ask you anything they haven't asked anyone else, but sometimes they do get chatty, and the more engaging and confident you are, the higher you will score because you will likely hit more of their target points. You are usually allowed to revisit a question if you have more to add, and you are usually allowed to bring your resume and or notes into your hiring interview with you (but ask first.) Also, if you have work that can be shared that you completed and that represents your skillsets (for example, if you know ArcGIS, bring a map you made), bring a sample to share.

The hiring interview was another panel interview consisting of two managers and an EEO representative. The hiring interview was followed up by a writing sample, in which I was required to navigate the computer screen, open a word document, write an answer to a question, and save to a disk. Other interviews may ask for a powerpoint demo or an excel spreadsheet with different math questions worked out, but most require a simple writing sample. Be prepared for any of these, although they are not required. The interview and writing sample are usually combined for a total score, although the hiring manager can go with someone who is a lower scorer if they think that person would be a better fit for the team.

Before interviewing or applying for state jobs, make sure you are on the exam list and scored high enough to rank 4 or better. When you apply, make sure you tailor your application/ resume to fit the actual job duty statement. For example, if the job is an entry level analyst position, and your last job is a project manager, focus on the analysis work you did as a project manager, not as much the project management; ensure you hit at least 2 or 3 of the duties on your resume and application. Make sure your application encompasses everything you need to get the job, the cover letter and resumes may not be reviewed for a score screening. When I apply for a job, I always apply with an application, cover letter, and resume, and check the job query for detailed information on things like whether they require an SOQ.

Public employees are often disparaged by private sector workers, but the hiring process is very rigorous usually and the process weeds out a lot of people who cannot produce quality work. Most of the stereotypical "stateworker" issues tend to be at the higher end, with smaller agencies having less dead weight rank and file workers than larger. That said, most private sector workers are paid much more and public entities can be very difficult to work in if you need fast pace, though some of them have very quick decision making and good leadership.

Interview Question – I don't remember exactly, but it had to do with how do I get along on a team and what is my communication style.   View Answer

Negotiation Details – There is no negotiation for the AGPA level classification. If you come in as a CEA, or have extensive work relationships, there is some Hire Above Minimum (HAM) in other classifications, but it is usually only within 5% of the base pay. For the Staff Services Analyst, the class leading into the Associate Governmental Program Analyst (AGPA) level, there is some pay range spread, but it is based on whether or not the applicant has a bachelor's degree. Once you are actually working for the state, any promotion will be a 5% jump in salary unless you are currently making much less than the base pay of the promotional position (for example, a jump from the ceiling of an Office Technician to a Range C for the SSA Class is a pay jump much higher than 5%. But if you are at the ceiling for an AGPA and you promote to a Staff Services Manager, your jump in pay will only be 5%. There is no negotiation.)

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