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Civil Service Testing Updates

The State University Civil Service System, who is delegated from the Merit Board, has the authority and direct responsibility to manage all aspects of the classification plan, including the maintenance of written specifications and examination materials for each class title in the classification plan for civil service employees. Accordingly, their office routinely makes revisions and changes to the classification plan based on standard classification plan management principles and objectives. Traditionally, there has been a mixture of examination methods, varied by classification, between knowledge tests that are administered via paper or e-test and credentials assessments. Scoring rubrics for each examination are provided by the SUCSS office and the university is obligated to score according to the provided rubrics. All universities in the SUCSS system were notified that the SUCSS office was moving the form of examination from knowledge tests to credentials assessments in three phases to be completed before the end of calendar year 2022 with a few exceptions: examinations with a revision date of less than one year will be converted at the one-year mark and Police Officer, Police Corporal, Police Sergeant, and Police Telecommunicator would not be revised at this time. Here are the first three phases of converted exams. We have received a preliminary status notice for classification revisions (Phase 4) for the attached list with an effective date of 12/01/2022. We will post a final list after it is received.

To view the recent Periodic Crafts and Trades Testing Communication, click here.

Below are frequently asked questions regarding this new process and our application process: 

What is credential assessment and how is it different from knowledge tests? Is there a way to be notified of job postings?

A Credential Assessment is a review of an applicant or employee’s education, experience, and special credentials/qualifications (licenses, etc.); staff in the Illinois Human Resources office complete this review. To determine an appropriate score for each examination, a review of materials submitted by the applicant is conducted. These materials may include a résumé, cover letter, official employment application, college transcript, copies of licenses/certifications and any other relevant material. Applicant materials are then scored based on a rubric provided by the State University Civil Service System to arrive at an exam score. 

This is a change from the knowledge-based test, which typically included an in-person examination of multiple choice questions. With Credential Assessment scoring, there is no longer a need to come for in-person testing as applicants will be scored based on the information submitted. Additionally, the need for frequent ability to test is lessened as it is no longer a situation in which re-testing might result in getting another question or two correct, thereby changing the score. 

It is important that applicants are detailed in their job duties and education and that they upload any special credentials such as licenses and certifications prior to the posting deadline to be accurately scored.  

If I have previously tested for a classification, is my name still on an employment register?

Those who have previously tested for a classification that is being converted from knowledge to credential assessment will no longer be on the register. In accordance with State University Civil Service rules, each register is voided at the time a new examination is created. Only those who have previously been laid off for a classification will remain on the register. All other applicants must apply during the posting period for each classification of interest. Please monitor our website at for employment opportunities. 

How do I apply for employment?

Please see the following guide with step-by-step instructions for applying for university employment. 

What happens after I submit my resume/application to a specific position? Will my name be automatically referred?

Once you submit your resume/application, our HR Professionals will complete credential assessment scoring based on the information provided using a rubric provided by the State University Civil Service System. Referrals are sent to departments in accordance with civil service rules starting with the top three scores. There has been no change in this process.

What happens if I am not hired into the position for which I have applied? Will my name remain on the register and be referred for future vacancies?

In order to be considered for future vacancies, you will need to apply to that vacancy. There will not be “automatic” referrals. Applying for the vacancy both provides for your credentials to be assessed (scored) and is the official expression of interest for any position to which your score qualifies you to be referred. 

I am a current University of Illinois employee interested in temporarily upgrading in my unit. How do I express my interest?

Illinois Human Resources is working with departments to identify individuals who may be temporarily upgraded into supervisory roles to ensure there is no lapse in their eligibility to upgrade during the testing transition period. This requires a timely response from each unit with names and a timely response from the employee being upgraded, who will receive a link to submit information for credential assessment. Additionally, temporary upgrade requests can be submitted by departmental human resources staff at any time. 

I am a current University of Illinois employee interested in transferring to another unit within my same classification. Do I need to apply for an individual position, or will I be automatically referred?

Transfer candidates are not automatically referred to departmental vacancies. In order to express an interest in a position, you must apply to that individual position prior to the posting deadline.  

If I must apply to each position individually, is there a benefit of having my name on the transfer list?

Departments will have access to look at the transfer list and may decide to reach out to current employees directly to encourage them to apply for their individual vacancy.  

My position is being considered for reclassification. How do I request to test?

Testing is a part of the reclassification/audit process so those individuals whose position is being audited for reclassification have their credentials scored as a part of that process.  

Where do I find my register scores?

Applicants can view test scores by logging into Cornerstone and clicking on my profile (applicants) or my jobs (employees) found in the upper right-hand corner of the screen. Once you click this link, click on the button that says check exam to see your scores.

There were previously open testing periods for various classifications. Will you continue to have those bi-annual or quarterly postings?

Crafts & Trades will be posted on a bi-annual basis during the third week of the month of January and July. All interested applicants/employees must request to be credentialed during this time through the new Cornerstone Applicant System (accessed via launched in July 2022.

Additionally, with our new Cornerstone Applicant System, all vacancies in Crafts and Trades will be posted and interested individuals will apply, which is again an opportunity for new applicants to have their credential exam, as well as any existing employee or applicant to submit new credentials for review.