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Hiring process and practices

Learn about Public Health - Seattle and King County employment types, hiring and selection processes, application procedures, and probationary periods.

The City of Seattle and King County governments had their own health departments until the 2 merged in 1951 forming what is now Public Health – Seattle & King County (PHKSC). King County’s codes govern the employment in the agency.

Types of employment at Public Health - Seattle & King County

Exempt employment

Each King County department is allocated positions that are career service-exempt positions. Department Directors, Division Managers, primary assistants and confidential secretaries to such managers as well as physicians and dentists are appointed in accordance with the King County Charter. Employees in these positions accrue benefits and serve at the pleasure of the appointing authority, therefore they do not gain career service status.

Career service employment

King County requires applicants to compete for career service positions. This merit system approach obligates hiring managers to make appointments and promotions on the basis of qualification. Career Service positions are budgeted without a particular expiration for funding.

Career service employees are provided benefits and gain tenure in accord with the labor agreement or administrative rules governing the terms of employment. Career Service employees must serve a probationary period as the last step of the selection process.

Recruitment for most career service positions are open to the public; however, the county may hold recruitments exclusively for promotion of career service employees. Temporary and probationary employees are not eligible for internal promotional opportunities.

Temporary employment

We have 3 categories of paid contingent workers: Temporary Limited Term (TLT), Short-term Temporary (STT), and contract workers.

  • TLT and STT employees are 'at will' employees and do not gain career service status.
  • TLT positions are approved for up to 5 years to perform project work or to fill behind a regular, career service employee that is on extended leave or re-deployed within the agency. TLTs are employees that receive benefits but do not gain status in the regular career service.
  • STT jobs are approved for up 6 months to perform project work or to fill behind a regular, career service employee that is on shorter leave. STTs are employees that do not receive benefits and do not gain status in the regular career service.

King County maintains contracts and service agreements with various vendors that provide on-call, temporary labor as needed to meet operational needs, often on short notice. These workers are employees of the temporary agency, not King County.

How to be considered for employment with Public Health - Seattle & King County

Hiring process overview

The hiring process is straight-forward. It is comprised of 3 or 4 phases:

  1. Application
  2. Selection activities (application screening through conditional job offer)
  3. Post-selection, pre-placement actions
  4. Probationary period (only applicable to career service appointments)

To ensure consistency and fairness for each applicant, the process is the same for all candidates in any step within a particular recruitment.

Applicants with disabilities can request special accommodations by answering "Yes" to the question, "Will you need accommodation in the applicant or testing process?" Once hired, employees with disabilities can also request reasonable accommodations to perform their job.

Applicants are responsible for updating their application materials and notifying PHKSC Human Resources of address and phone number changes. This is most easily done by sending an email.

Application procedures

Public Health - Seattle & King County (PHKSC) requires applicants to compete for career service positions. An applicant must first meet the published qualifications to be considered for employment. Your online application/resume must be submitted by 4:30 p.m. on the deadline date listed in the job announcement.

Online applications are preferred; however, if you must submit a paper application, please note that our offices are not open after 5 p.m. Therefore, if you use a paper application it must be received before 4:30 p.m. on the deadline date.

Please apply only for positions for which your qualify.

Applications are accepted only for positions that are open for recruitment; electronic job interest cards may be submitted for classifications not open for recruitment. Our system will notify you when the job is opened for recruitment.

Your application materials will be carefully reviewed. This review determines if your background demonstrates possession of requisite knowledge, skills, and abilities. Only the most qualified applicants will be invited to participate in successive parts of the selection process.

Possession of the minimum qualifications does not ensure that an applicant will be interviewed. Applications will be reviewed in comparison with all other applications received.

Once you complete an online application/resume with us, you will be able to submit that material (or edit it for further submission) for jobs with PHKSC or other employers that utilize the job board. It is a convenient place in which to store your information should you need application/resume information in a text format.

The selection process

The selection process is intended to narrow the applicant pool so that the hiring manager is provided a list of candidates that best meet the qualifications necessary to successfully perform the job. 1 or more selection devices may be used to narrow the group. Selection devices typically used include:XX

After careful consideration of all candidates, the Hiring Manager will contact the selected candidate with a "conditional job offer" and establish a tentative starting pay rate and date. When an offer of employment is made, it is usually subject to job-related post-selection, pre-placement requirements.

Application Screening

Applications are reviewed to ensure that the minimum qualifications are met and rated based on job-related criteria to narrow the applicant pool. This is typically done by scoring responses to the ‘Supplemental Questions’ that drill down an applicant’s knowledge, skill and ability. Applications are screened in/out or ranked based on the responses to the questions.

Written Test

Written tests are used to assess your knowledge in an area needed to successfully perform the job for which you are applying. Generally, these are tests conducted online with our web-based provider, eSkill.

Oral Exam or Rated Interview

The basic format for each oral interview is the same. An interview panel composed of two or more persons evaluates how well you are prepared for the position. You will be asked a series of job-related questions, and the panel will take notes during the interview. These notes will assist the panel in rating your responses against a pre-determined set of behavioral anchors which measure varying degrees of a given competency that is being evaluated.

Final Interview

A list of candidates successful in the examination phase of the process will be referred for a hiring interview.  This interview is the final step and is used to assess workplace fit. This interview is with the hiring manager and other people that will work with the selected applicant.  This is your opportunity to present your qualifications and describe how and why you are the perfect candidate for the job.

Reference Check

The applicants that are the most qualified and seem to provide the best job fit will be invited to participate in the reference check phase of the screening process. PHKSC will contact the references you have supplied and/or prior supervisors to verify your qualifications and suitability for employment in PHKSC.

After careful consideration of all candidates, the Hiring Manager will contact the selected candidate with a "conditional job offer" and establish a tentative starting pay rate and date. When an offer of employment is made, it is usually subject to job-related post-selection, pre-placement requirements.

Post-selection, pre-placement actions

Once you have been selected and a conditional job offer is accepted, the next steps of the hiring process take place. Employment is contingent upon successful completion of post-offer, pre-employment reviews. Reviews may include but are not limited to the following:

  • Work Authorization (I-9)
  • Professional License Verification
  • Credentialing
  • Criminal Background Check
  • Driver’s License Check
  • Salary Offer Review/Approval
  • Medical Examination
  • Drug Screening

The post-offer, pre-employment review is tailored to comport with federal, state and local law and to meet the needs of a particular position.

After you have met all pre-employment requirements, a hire date will be set, and you will be provided with a written "final job offer".

Upon acceptance of the final offer you will be given instructions on where to go and what to do in order to officially become an employee of PHKSC.

Probationary period

Newly appointed career service employees and employees who are promoted serve a probationary period. This is considered the end stage of the hiring process. The duration of the probationary period is 6 to 12 months, depending on the job. The duration of probation is outlined in the labor agreement and/or personnel guidelines.