[IPAC-List] Use of Application and/or Examination Fees

John Kraus John.Kraus at sfgov.org
Mon Jul 20 19:59:57 EDT 2009

Message from "Mitch Stein" <Mitch.Stein at tn.gov> on Mon, 20 Jul 2009
13:15:55 -0500 -----

To: <ipac-list at ipacweb.org>

Subject: Re: [IPAC-List] Use of Application and/or
Examination Fees


If I recall correctly NJ and NY charge a fee to take certain tests.

We've talked it about it from time to time as a defense against
skyrocketing applicant rates to the point we can no longer handle them.
This has become like a ticking time bomb but so far we've tried other means
to curtail the avalanche of applications. The fuse was lit several years
ago when we first introduced an online app, and has been further shortened
by this economy as well as by shifting to Neogov. (Neogov also lists our
job postings on their governmentjobs.com site, and we have been hearing
rumors that the government jobs site is being harvested by multiple third
party sources to further spread the word).

As a result, we had a recent example of opening a job class for
recruitment...the job has a highly specific MQ which requires a license as
well as highly specific experience, so most people are not going to be able
to qualify. In all of FY 07-08 we had a total of 11 applicants for that
job class. In self defense we have now closed almost all our job classes
that were previously on continuous recruitment, and now open most job
classes only when needed and only for a short duration. So, we opened this
job class for two weeks only and had 177 people who allegedly qualified and
met the MQ, with several more who applied but apparently had not bothered
to read the MQ.

Things we've done in lieu of charging an application fee to reduce
application volume:

closing most job classes to continuous recruitment
opening certain jobs postings to promotion only to fill a specific vacancy
limiting promotion only job postings to only online applications
highlighting certain aspects in flashing red letters (e.g. the MQ, a test
requirement, geographic location)
calling applicants who keep repeatedly applying for the same job class over
and over
calling applicants who we have caught applying for the same job class using
multiple accounts
closing down the online application during certain periods

Hope this helps,

Mitchell Stein, PhD
Human Resources Research Psychologist
TN Dept. of Human Resources
(615) 532-8069

NJ has had an application fee since the early 90's. Initially, $5 per
application, then raised to $15 per app around 1998. Public Safety promo
applicants pay more ($25 or $35) but not as high as public safety
promotionals in Mass. which as I recall run around $200 or so per
application. A survey on application fees several years ago found the
greatest concentration of fee-requiring civil service systems in the
Those in NJ who can document that they are receiving financial assistance
have their fee waived.
A few observations while I was there:
Introduction of the fee did indeed lower the application count...at least
15-20 %.
The trade-off is that fee-paying applicants are more demanding with respect
to service/product quality and more vocal when rejected for not meeting the
minimum requirements.
Make sure your fee covers the cost involved to actually process the fee.
Processing the fee requires detailed records for audit purposes, an
automated system for auditing/record keeping, a way to connect a fee to a
particular announcement/applicant (even though others may pay the
applicant's fee), a way to check for duplicate fees, etc.
Will you accept credit card, as well as check? What will you do and what
safeguards will you provide when applicants send cash?
You will need to develop a policy regarding when to refund. Issuing
refunds can be work and may limit options when you are considering a re-do
or cancellation of a selection process.
By far, the largest impact of introducing the fee was what it might mean in
terms of the budget. It may not enhance your budget. Rather, those
involved in budget appropriations may reduce your budget by the amount they
anticipate you will generate from future fees. This in turn can change the
way you do business (e.g., you may need to plan your announcements around
upcoming budget projections and to "smooth out" what otherwise might be
peaks and valleys in your revenue stream.
Good luck!

John Kraus
City and County of San Francisco

----- Message from rpclare at aol.com on Mon, 20 Jul 2009 18:32:30 +0000 -----

To: "Fisher, James" <James.Fisher at mwrdgc.dst.il.us>, ipac-list-bounces at ipacweb.org,
ipac-list at ipacweb.org

Subject: Re: [IPAC-List] Use of Application and/or Examination Fees

When I was with State of RI, we explored and opted not to. Issues relating
to the impact on minority candidates, waivers for folks on unemployment or
other "welfare-type" programs, hard to recruit professions (scientists,
engineers, etc.) and the cost of handling payments (receipt, follow-up,
records) all factored into the decision not to charge. Some folks even
suggested that if we charge, we should have list expire quickly to gain
more fees (budget folks idea). Perhaps with larger volume the issues shift
but new issues could include charging for paper apps but free online.
Have fun.
------Original Message------
From: Fisher, James
Sender: ipac-list-bounces at ipacweb.org
To: ipac-list at ipacweb.org
Subject: [IPAC-List] Use of Application and/or Examination Fees
Sent: Jul 14, 2009 3:32 PM

Our agency is exploring the idea of implementing an application fee
and/or a fee to participate in all or a portion of the examination
process (such as the performance test for skilled trades and police).
Are any of your agencies currently using a fee system? If so, any
information as to amount of the fee, at which steps the fee is assessed
(upon application, for the written test, for each test, etc.), what to
do with questions of inability to pay, etc. would be very helpful.

Thank you in advance for any assistance you can provide.

Jamie Fisher
Employment Manager
Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago
Ph (312)751-5172
Fax (312)751-5171

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