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WHY WE GIVE TESTS   show details

Tests are given to assure the selection of the most qualified candidate for employment with the City of Miami. As a job seeker, you deserve a fair chance to compete equally with others. The purpose of a test is to measure the differences between candidates' knowledge, skills, and abilities that are needed to perform the job successfully. Through the use of valid tests, usually those who score high will be more likely to be successful on the job than those who score low. The City of Miami administers many different types of tests, such as oral examinations, performance tests, practical examinations, assessment centers, and written tests. It is our hope that the information and suggestions mentioned here will relieve some of your fears and assist you in preparing for the testing process.


Recruitment is the term used when applications are being accepted for a position. The job announcement will provide basic information about the position, such as: the position title; the salary, a brief description of the duties of the position, the minimum qualification requirements, the specific type of test or tests that will be administered, and the specifics on how, where and when to apply.

Once applications have been received during a recruitment period, a personnel officer reviews the applications to determine if the applicant meets the minimum qualifications. All applicants will receive notification of whether or not they meet the minimum qualifications. Those applicants who do meet the minimum qualifications will receive notification of when and where they will be tested.

The examination process may consist of one or more of the tests identified above, depending on the number of qualified applicants, and the quality of their education and experience. Applicants must attain a passing score, which varies on each examination, in order to qualify, and be invited to the next phase of the hiring process.

Veteran's preference will be awarded to passing scores, in accordance with Chapter 295 of the Florida State Statutes, provided that form DD-214 and/or current proof of disability, if applicable, are submitted before the closing date.

For some positions, additional points may be awarded to passing scores. This also varies depending on the position and the certification(s) required for additional points, and is discussed on the “Register Announcement” for the subject position.
Once all test scores have been calculated, and additional points added where applicable, candidates are rank-ordered on an eligibility register based upon their overall score. The number of candidates processed for hire will depend upon the number of vacancies that exist for the particular position. However, it is important to note that an eligibility register remains active for no less than one year, and no more than two years. Therefore, if another vacancy becomes available while the list is still active, those candidates who were not initially hired may still have an opportunity to be selected.

After register establishment, the hiring department official then contacts and interviews a representative sample of the qualified applicants. If the applicant is selected, he or she is offered the position, and appointments are made for the final hiring steps (such as the medical screening, polygraph, etc.). If the applicant passes all of the steps of the hiring process, he or she is notified by the hiring department of when and where to report to work. Those qualified applicants who do not get selected will remain “active” on the eligible register, and may be considered if another vacancy for that position becomes available during the term of said register.


Background Research and Preparation

Again, the job announcement will provide some information on the duties of the position, but the job specification, or what is sometimes referred to as the official job description, will give you more detailed information about the position. The job specification includes: an extensive description of the position, examples of the work performed, the knowledge, skills and abilities needed to perform the job, and the tools and equipment used in the performance of the job. Reviewing the job specification will help you establish a clear understanding of the job and possible test areas and methods. It is also suggested that you consult individuals you know who are currently in a similar position with the City, to obtain additional background information. You may review job specifications on the position(s) for which you are applying, in the Classification and Pay Division of the Department of Human Resources.

Should You Study?

The answer to this question depends on you and the particular nature of the job for which you are competing. Some jobs require knowledge of a specific subject, such as accounting or engineering, and it would probably be worthwhile to review some of the basic concepts that you may have learned some time ago. Also, we have study guides for the tests for some of our positions, which outline the testing method and provide an idea of the subject matter. However, most of our tests attempt to measure the knowledge, skills and abilities you have already acquired by having you demonstrate these knowledge, skills and abilities in a work-related context.

What You Can Do About Test Anxiety

Most people are nervous about taking tests. Some experience physical symptoms of anxiety, such as an elevation in their blood pressure, a higher pulse rate, perspiration and muscle tension. If you are troubled by test anxiety, here are a few things that might help:
  • Do your homework - know what will be expected of you during the testing  process.

What You Should Know About Our Tests   show details

Written Exams

Written tests are typically used to assess your ability to apply technical knowledge relevant to the position. Our tests are designed so that the average person can correctly answer about half of the questions. If the test were too easy or too difficult, it would not do a good job of identifying the most qualified candidates. Typically, the written tests are in a multiple-choice format. You are asked to shade in the circle corresponding to your selected answer, on a separate scanable answer sheet, so that the answer sheets can be machine scored.

Oral Interviews

The method of interviewing used most often by the City of Miami is called Targeted Selection Interviewing. This method is done utilizing a panel format, and as a candidate, you would be asked to respond to questions or scenarios with specific examples from instances in your current or previous work experience. Each question, scenario or exercise assesses particular characteristics that are related to successful job performance. Each member on the panel is knowledgeable of the duties and requirements of the position and is thoroughly trained on how to properly conduct the interview. Candidates are ranked based on the pre-established selection criteria, and are offered positions based on that ranking.

Physical Ability Tests

For certain positions, tests are administered to measure the candidate's ability to perform the physical tasks required of the position. A physical ability test may include: running a designated distance under a certain period of time; running an obstacle course, and/or performing certain activities that represent elements of the job. Usually, these tests are scored on a pass/fail basis.

Practical Examinations

In this type of exam, a candidate must actually perform particular aspects of the job. For example, if a candidate applies for the position of Heavy Equipment Operator, he/she might be asked to actually demonstrate the operation of one or more pieces of heavy equipment normally used on the job. These types of tests are normally scored on the basis of speed and accuracy.

Assessment Centers

Assessment centers are a series of exercises, which simulate daily job activities and are designed to predict a candidate's future job performance. The particular components of the assessment center, as well as the bodies of information that may be used to prepare him/her for the tasks that will be administered, are described to the candidates prior to commencement of the process. The candidates' performance is rated according to pre-defined rating scales, usually resulting in a numerical score. The City of Miami may use assessment centers when testing for sworn promotional and upper-level management positions.

Affirmative Action and Testing

The City of Miami is committed to a policy of equal employment opportunity for all people regardless of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, marital status, sexual orientation or disabilities. Our tests are specifically designed to measure the knowledge, skills, and abilities required on the job. If, as in the case of some disabled candidates, the normal testing environment creates an artificial barrier to fair competition, the Department of Human Resources will arrange reasonable accommodations for testing.

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human resources:   home | contact us | ADA | faq | job openings