Frequently Asked Questions

Mary Hao, Director, Human Resources

Benefits - Coverage

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Leaves of Absence

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Benefits - Dependents

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Benefit - Eligibility

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Benefits - Other Questions

  • An employee has been on medical leave for several months. I know he has SDI and has had hours donated to him through the catastrophic leave program. I understand there is also Family Medical Leave potentially available to him. At what point should he apply for that?

    He may already be on FMLA.  SDI and catastrophic leave are methods for getting paid while on a leave.  FMLA doesn’t provide any payments.

    FMLA protects a person’s job while they are out. In order for an employee to be eligible for FMLA, the employee must have worked for the County for at least one year, and the employee must have worked at least 1,250 hours in the 12 month period dating back from the employee’s requested FMLA effective date.

    FMLA is an entitlement to be away from your job for up to 12 weeks (concurrently or intermittently) for specific reasons, such as birth or adoption, care for self or a child, parent, spouse or registered domestic partner who has a serious health condition as defined in the Act (see PMR 44.7for definition).  While an employee is out on FMLA, the County’s benefit contribution will continue during the 12 week FMLA leave at the same level as if the employee was actively at work.  The County’s contribution to benefits will be based on the number of hours the employee was working when the employee went out on FMLA.

    FMLA runs concurrently with paid leave; it does not start after paid leave ends.

    FMLA is unpaid leave, however, an employee must use paid leave while out on FMLA (note: employee may hold up to ten days vacation while out on FMLA).

  • I don’t contribute to Medicare, what happens to me when I turn 65?
    While you are still working, there will be no change when you turn 65 since you don’t need to enroll in Medicare while working.  Once you retire you may still be eligible for Medicare if your spouse has contributed to Medicare for at least 40 calendar year quarters and they are now enrolling in Medicare.  You will need to apply for Medicare when you retire even if you don’t think you are eligible.  The County requires all retirees that are eligible for Medicare to enroll.  You must provide proof that you are not eligible, or you will be changed a surcharge on your premium.  Note that retirees that are eligible for the County to pay their full medical premiums will have to pay the surcharge.  This will not be paid by the County.
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Classification - General Questions

  • What is a classification plan?

    A classification plan is a system for defining and grouping individual jobs into common classifications based on similar duties, responsibilities and requirements. The system consists of documenting and defining standards and measures to allocate positions in an equitable manner, to establish and maintain accurate class descriptions, and to establish and maintain a sound compensation plan.

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Classification Studies

  • If Human Resources studies a position does a salary increase

    No. There are several possible outcomes to a classification study. Human Resources may determine that an employee is in the correct classification. The employee may be reclassified into a job classification which pays the same, more, or less than the current job classification; Human Resources may determine some duties need to be removed from the assignment; or Human Resources may determine that a new job classification needs to be created, and will conduct a salary survey at that time to establish an appropriate salary range. The salary for the new job classification may be the same, more, or less than the employee’s current classification.

  • What types of classification studies are there?

    There are three main types of classification studies:

    • Position Review or Reclassification: A study of a position’s duties to determine the most appropriate classification.
    • Classification Specification Update: A study of an existing class’ current duties, responsibilities, and required knowledge and abilities.
    • New Classification: A study of newly identified duties, responsibilities, and required knowledge and abilities to develop an appropriate classification, specification, and salary.
  • What will an employee's new salary be if their position is reclassified?

    When an employee is reclassified to a job classification with a higher salary range than the current job classification, it is considered a promotion. Unless the applicable MOU provides otherwise, the employee will be placed on the lowest step of the new range that results in not less than a 5% increase from the employee’s current salary. When an employee is reclassified to a job classification with the same salary range as the current job classification, the employee’s salary will not change.

    When an employee is reclassified to a job classification with a lower salary range than the current job classification, the employee will be placed within the salary range of the new classification at the step which is lower and closest to the salary the employee was receiving before the reclassification. However, whenever the effect of a reclassification reduces an employee’s salary, the Human Resources Director may recommend the employee continue to receive their previously authorized salary (known as Y-rating) until such time as the salary range for the new classification exceeds the employee’s current salary.

  • When should a request for a position review/reclassification study be submitted?

    Requests should be submitted when there have been significant and/or major changes that appear to be ongoing in an incumbent’s duties and responsibilities, particularly in the level of complexity, decision making authority, scope of the position, and knowledge and abilities. This can result from changes in staffing, organizational structures, programs or laws.

  • Who can request a classification study? What is the process?

    Department heads or their designee may submit a Classification and Compensation Study Request Form with supporting information to Human Resources.

    Position reviews/reclassifications – the request will include a description of the duties being performed; how the duties, functions and responsibilities have changed; what caused the change; and the length of time the employee has been performing those functions, duties, and responsibilities.

    New classification – the request will include proposed duties, and why these duties cannot be reasonably assigned to another classification.

  • How is seniority affected when an employee has been reclassified to a different job classification

    If the reclassification is to a higher level job class, meaning a higher salary range, the seniority in the new job class begins upon the date the reclassification is effective.

    If the reclassification is to a lower level classification, meaning a lower salary range, an employee’s time in a higher (paid) job class counts toward seniority in the lower (paid) job class. The time in the higher class will be added to the time in the new class for purposes of determining seniority in a layoff situation.

  • What are the factors that justify a reclassification?

    The factors that may justify reclassification include:

    • Change in type of work/essential functions
    • Change in lead/supervisory responsibilities
    • Addition of more complex duties requiring different skills
    • Change in organizational structure that affects reporting relationships and factors such as authority for making operational changes and the impact of decisions to the organization

    These changes must be significant in order to justify reclassification. For example, if the new function that is not currently within the scope of the current class is found to only be 10% of the overall duties of the position, reclassification is not likely.

  • If an employee’s position is reclassified to a different job classification, will they continue to be covered by the current MOU and/or represented by the same Union?

    The employee will be covered by the MOU and represented by the Union which represents the job classification into which they have been reclassified.

  • What factors do not justify a reclassification?
    • Performance of the incumbent in the position – reclassification should not be considered a reward or means to promote an employee
    • Retention of a specific employee
    • Increase in workload that is of the same nature and level of complexity or lower level duties – this is a workload issue to be considered by departmental management, not a classification issue
    • Knowledge, skills, and abilities possessed by the incumbent which are not required or regularly used in the position
    • Desired salary changes
    • Technological changes or tools (e.g. new software) that does not substantially alter the essential functions of the job, particularly if the industry is similarly changing to the new technology
    • Job stress
  • Additional assignments for high performing employees

    Even if a manager has been giving a high performing employee additional assignments that aren’t listed in the class spec for their current position, this does not necessarily warrant a reclassification study. The County’s job classifications have been written broadly to be able to encompass a wide variety of duties and responsibilities. To think that an employee can’t do anything outside of what’s specifically stated in a job class specification is not accurate. Employees often perform duties that are not specifically listed on the class specification, but as long as those duties are within the overall purpose, scope, and level of the class, then the duties are likely to be appropriately assigned.

    Managers and supervisors are responsible for ensuring that employees work within the definition of their position. If the duties that are assigned are not appropriate, then when operationally possible, the duties should be reassigned to a more appropriate position. Only if the additional duties cannot be reassigned and are anticipated to be ongoing, should a reclassification study be requested.

    The Classification & Compensation team can also help with additional acceptable options.

  • What happens when a classification study, as opposed to an incumbent’s position study, results in the establishment of a new classification or significantly revised classification?

    Employees will be required to compete for a new or significantly modified position through the competitive exam process

  • How often can reclassification study requests be made?
    Reclassification study requests for any position may be made no more than once every two years.
  • What happens during a position review study?
    A classification study requires a significant amount of research and analysis and involves a good deal of "process." Human Resources looks at various factors in determining the proper class, such as, but not limited to, decision making responsibilities; scope and complexity of work; nature and purpose of contact with others; required knowledge, skills, and abilities; supervision received and exercised; working conditions and physical effort; organizational level, size, etc. The methodology typically includes:
    • Departments send a request form to the Classification & Compensation team who review the initial documentation to determine if a study is appropriate.
    • If a study is deemed appropriate, the employee completes a Position Description Questionnaire (PDQ) which is reviewed and signed by the employee’s supervisor, division manager and/or department head, and then is sent to Human Resources for review and analysis by a Classification & Compensation Analyst.
    • The Classification & Compensation Analyst conducts an interview and/or desk audit with the incumbent, and in some cases, gathers information from employees in positions performing similar work.
    • A follow up interview is conducted with the employee’s supervisor/manager to confirm and clarify information.
    • The Classification & Compensation Analyst researches comparable agency classes and/or organizational structures if needed.
    • Following an Internal review of the employee’s current classification, as well as other existing classifications, the Analyst will determine one of the following: 1) employee is appropriately classified; 2) employee would be appropriately classified in another existing classification; 3) employee is performing work not currently represented in the classification plan and a new class needs to be developed; or 4) employee is performing work which would is more appropriate for another employee.
    • The Analyst may update a classification specification or develop a new classification specification and salary range, based on a survey of comparable classes at comparator agencies and internal equity considerations.
    • The Analyst submits a report and recommendations to Human Resources management for review and approval.
    • Study findings and recommendations are communicated to employees, departments and the bargaining unit representing the classification.
    • Recommendations for reclassifications and establishment of new classifications are submitted to the Board of Supervisors for adoption. Findings and recommendations are proposed actions until adopted by the Board of Supervisors.
  • How long does it take to conduct a study?

    A study generally takes 3 months from the receipt of the required supporting documentation. Some of the factors that affect the length of a study are the number of classes and positions included in the study, the amount of research necessary, the extent of the recommendations, department’s shifting priorities, the length of time it takes to get information from the department and/or incumbent, the workload of the assigned analyst, and the interested parties acceptance of the recommendations. Studies involving multiple employees, particularly if the employees are employed in different divisions or departments, routinely take longer due to the greater complexity.

  • How is the incumbent involved in the study?

    The incumbent’s role is to thoroughly and accurately complete the PDQ and provide clear and concise information in an interview and/or desk audit regarding the work that is being performed in the position.

    It’s critical for incumbents to understand an important concept: A classification study is the evaluation of a position or group of positions, not a study of incumbents. An incumbent’s performance on the job is not considered in a study.
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Classification - Temporary Promotions and Special Assignment Pay

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Organization Development and Training

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Performance Planning

  • What if department or program priorities change after performance plans are established?

    Performance planning is a dynamic process.  When situations change during the year, employee goals may be modified to reflect these changes. In such cases, managers should take into consideration what the employee can reasonably be expected to accomplish during the remainder of the performance review period.

  • What is the difference between job performance goals and developmental goals?

    Performance goals are job-based and relate to the purpose of the job. They are derived from the goals and priorities of the department and work unit.

    Developmental goals are person-based and identify specific training and developmental experiences that will support the employee’s success in the job and promote growth.

  • In what ways does performance planning and review contribute to organizational effectiveness?

    Performance Planning takes place at the beginning of the review period and:

    • Creates a shared understanding of job expectations between managers and employees,
    • Aligns priorities for each employee’s position with organizational priorities, and
    • Sets employee development goals for the year.

    Feedback and Coaching occur on an ongoing basis throughout the review period to:

    • Promote learning,
    • Reinforce performance expectations, and
    • Address performance issues.

    Performance Review takes place at the end of the review period and:

    • Brings into focus the employee’s overall performance during the year,
    • Celebrates achievements, and
    • Identifies areas for improvement and growth in the year ahead.

    This annual performance cycle – from planning, through feedback and coaching, to performance review – clarifies work, promotes a culture of continuous improvement, and is a fundamental element of well-managed organizations. 

    Annual Performance Cycles - three arrows in a circlular formation

  • What are some important words used in this document?

    Manager and Rater are used interchangeably to mean the person conducting the evaluation. Employee and Evaluee are used interchangeably to refer to the person being evaluated. Performance Review is used to emphasize the retrospective and “no surprises” nature of the annual performance evaluation.

  • Are there any mandatory goals for managers and supervisors?

    There are no mandatory goals, but departments are encouraged to have one goal that addresses performance planning and review. The goal might be expressed as, “Completes performance plans and conducts performance reviews annually for direct reports.”

  • Can the Form be completed on line?

    Yes. The Performance Planning and Review Form can be accessed on The MINE – either through the Features Section of the County Home Page or through the HR Home Page. It should be saved on the manager’s personal drive before it is completed. The Form contains links to supporting documents, and contains drops downs and text boxes that are expandable to facilitate easy completion.

  • Do I have to use Part I of the Performance Planning and Review Form for performance planning?

    In developing job performance goals and developmental goals, you may use either Part I of the Performance Planning and Review Form, or an alternative format of your choice. We have also provided alternative formats on this website. For additional guidance on performance planning, contact the Organization Development and Training Division, Human Resources Department.

  • What is the purpose of performance planning and review?

    To promote and support individual, team, and organizational effectiveness, achievement, and growth.

  • How do employee performance plans relate to department performance plans?

    Department performance plans outline the department’s top goals and priorities for the fiscal year. To the extent possible, performance plans for individual managers and supervisors should be aligned with their department’s annual goals. Department performance plans may be accessed through The MINE.

  • Who is responsible for performance planning?

    Each manager is responsible for developing performance plans for his/her direct reports. For best results, the process should be collaborative.

  • When should I develop performance plans for my direct reports?

    At the beginning of each employee’s evaluation period. Plans may be adjusted throughout the performance period.

  • Does the County provide training in performance planning?

    Yes. The Human Resources Management Academy and Introduction to Supervision both provide training in performance planning.

  • What are the two parts of the Performance Planning and Review Form?

    The form is designed to be completed in two stages:

    Part I - Performance Planning is carried out at the beginning of the annual evaluation period. The manager meets with his/her employees to create and/or communicate performance goals and developmental objectives for the year ahead.

    Part II - Performance Review is generally completed at the end of the evaluation period. The manager rates employee performance in relation to six countywide Performance Categories and any additional Department-Specific Criteria. (Probationary employees and employees involved in a corrective action work plan may be evaluated more frequently, consistent with the appropriate Memorandum of Understanding or Personnel Management Regulation.)

  • What is involved in performance planning?

    There are two parts to the planning process:

    • Setting job performance goals and expectations
    • Setting developmental goals
  • Who should be evaluated using the form?

    Assistant department heads, managers, and supervisors. Department heads are covered by a separate process. Form 1, PMR 43, will remain in effect for non-supervisory staff until further notice.

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Performance Planning Feedback and Coaching

  • What is the difference between criticism and constructive feedback?

    Criticism attacks the person to whom it is directed; it is negative, judgmental, labeling, and accusing.

    Constructive feedback focuses on specific behaviors, is collaborative, informative, specific, and actionable.

  • Should managers wait for the year-end review to give feedback?

    No. Both positive and constructive feedback should be given throughout the year as close as possible to the situation that gave rise to it.

  • What is the role of coaching in managing performance?

    The coach’s role is to facilitate self-knowledge and promote professional development.  Coaching increases productive capacity by supporting people in exploring the creative possibilities in the work and their own potential.

  • What is feedback?

    Feedback is an ongoing exchange of information about performance. Effective feedback systems generate the information needed for self-reflection, growth, and renewal. Feedback is not limited to top-down communication. When channels of communication are open and trust levels high, leaders, employees, and customers are all part of the feedback loop.

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Performance Process

  • What are developmental goals?

    Developmental Goals are customized to the individual. They cover both the training and support needed for the employee to be successful in current assignments, as well as longer-term growth objectives.

  • What is goal alignment?

    In addition to communicating goals and standards, managers must also ensure that employees understand the connection between their jobs and larger organizational priorities. This connection or goal alignment ensures that individuals and business units have a shared understanding of what their collective efforts are designed to achieve.

    Aligning individual and organizational priorities ensures “right focus” and provides context for the work to be performed. It also conveys the idea that work is not a fixed entity: As organizational priorities shift and change in response to environmental factors, individual priorities may shift as well.

  • What are the job-based components?

    Performance Goals - Performance goals are high leverage job priorities for which the employee is accountable. Performance goals are derived from the goals and priorities of the department, program and/or work unit.

    Performance Standards - Performance Standards for each goal are the metrics and indicators for evaluating success.

  • Is there an official County template for performance planning?

    There is no required template for county-wide use. Departments may adopt the Performance Planning Worksheet on this site or customize their own.

  • What is involved in performance planning?

    There are two parts to the planning process:

    • Job-based performance goals and standards
    • Person-based developmental goals
  • How do position-specific goals relate to the county-wide performance categories?

    The county-wide performance categories serve as yardsticks for evaluating the employee’s degree of success in achieving his/her specific goals.

  • Who is responsible for performance planning?

    Each manager is responsible for developing performance plans for his/her direct reports. For best results, the process should be collaborative.

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Performance Review

  • Who should I contact for assistance if an employee is performing below an acceptable level?

    It is strongly advised that you discuss Needs Improvement and Unsatisfactory ratings with the Employee Relations Analyst assigned to your department before conducting the performance review and notifying the employee of his/her rating.

  • Is one Performance Category more important than another?

    Not necessarily.  Department managers may determine the level of importance of each Performance Category in relation to specific positions.

  • If I need help completing the performance review, who do I contact?
    • For content questions on the Performance Planning and Review Form and performance management practice, contact the Organization Development and Training Division of the Human Resources Department
    • For Needs Improvement and Unsatisfactory performance ratings, contact the Employee and Labor Relations Division of the Human Resources Department
    • For technical problems with the on line form, contact the IST Helpdesk at extension 6315
  • What criteria will be applied in rating managers and supervisors?

    Performance will be evaluated in relation to six countywide Performance Categories and any Department-Specific Criteria.

    The six countywide Performance Categories are:

    1. Leadership
    2. Managing Work
    3. Individual Contribution
    4. Managing Employee Performance
    5. Managing Communication
    6. Professionalism

    A seventh category entitled, Department-Specific Criteria (Optional), is provided to allow departments to include other performance requirements.

  • When are performance reviews due?

    Generally, the entire process – including drafting the performance evaluation, conducting the performance review meeting, and finalizing the evaluation – should be completed within 30 days of the end of the performance review period.

  • How were the Performance Categories and subcategories determined?

    The Performance Categories were determined following an extensive data collection effort that encompassed County of Marin employees at all levels of the organization. This included focus groups with employees, supervisors, managers, assistant department heads, and bargaining unit representatives and interviews with department heads. Several draft versions were circulated among additional advisory groups at various stages of the design and development process.

  • What is the difference between Outstanding, Exceeds Expectations, and Competent and Effective?

    All three rating levels represent successful performance.  The difference is that they represent different degrees of successful performance.  Before assigning ratings, refer to the Rating Level Definitions.

  • What is the difference between an Individual Development Plan and Work Improvement Plan?

    Individual Development Plans are for everyone. Their purpose is to plan developmental experiences for the year that will contribute to the employee’s growth and support success in the job. 

    Work Improvement Plans, by contrast, are only completed for employees whose performance drops below Competent and Effective. Their purpose is to bring performance up to an acceptable level.

  • How will the County ensure consistency in rating?

    The Performance Categories and Rating Levels are extensively described to promote consistency. Do not compare employees to each other as that skews rating reliability and consistency.

  • Where are performance reviews filed?

    The completed evaluation with original signatures should be sent to the Human Resources Department to be placed in the employee’s Official Personnel File.

  • What are some guidelines for conducting the performance review?
    • Allow sufficient time.
    • Share the written evaluation with the employee ahead of time so that he/she is prepared to discuss it.
    • To start, describe the purpose of the meeting.
    • Discuss performance in each Performance Category, citing specific examples.
    • Encourage employee input.
    • Identify ways to break down any barriers to improved performance.
    • Offer personal assistance to build on strengths and address weaknesses.
    • Summarize the results of the discussion, including any agreements reached.
  • How much narrative do I need?

    Well-written narratives objectively describe specific events. When others read them, they will clearly see why you rated as you did. The amount of narrative should be determined by what is necessary to support the conclusions that led to the rating.

  • What information does the Work Improvement Plan communicate?

    Typically, it has the following components:

    • Employee name and duration of Work Improvement Plan
    • Areas of needed improvement (from the Performance Review)
    • A description of improvement needed to bring performance to an acceptable level
    • Activities to support and/or demonstrate improvement
    • Follow up date(s) to evaluate performance
    • A statement that failure to meet the requirements of the Work Improvement Plan and to achieve acceptable performance may lead to future disciplinary action up to and including termination
  • How do I convey the performance evaluation to the employee?

    Both verbally and in writing.

  • Does one Needs Improvement or Unsatisfactory rating in a Performance Category mean an overall rating of Needs Improvement or Unsatisfactory?

    Not necessarily. The rater decides the overall rating based on the seriousness and impact of the performance issues. However, a single rating of Unsatisfactory in any Performance Category generally means that the overall rating will be no higher than Needs Improvement.

    An overall rating of Needs Improvement or Unsatisfactory requires a strong and objective narrative justification and a Work Improvement Plan.

  • This category is optional. Departments may add Department-Specific Criteria if they have performance requirements not covered by the six Performance Categories.

    The Human Resources Department will be developing a new form to be used in evaluating non-supervisory staff. Until then, departments should continue to use Form 1, PMR 43.

  • How many rating levels are there?

    The five rating levels are:

    • Outstanding
    • Exceeds Expectations
    • Competent and Effective
    • Needs Improvement
    • Unsatisfactory
  • How many ratings do I assign?

    First, assign six ratings – one for each of the countywide Performance Categories – and a seventh if there are Department-Specific Criteria; and

    Second, assign an Overall Rating.

  • How often do performance reviews need to be conducted?

    Regular employees will be evaluated annually. Probationary employees and employees involved in a corrective action work plan may be formally evaluated more frequently, consistent with the appropriate Memorandum of Understanding or Personnel Management Regulation.

  • What is meant by “other Department-Specific Criteria?”

    This category is optional. Departments may add Department-Specific Criteria if they have performance requirements not covered by the six Performance Categories.

  • How do I determine the overall rating?

    There is no mathematical formula for assigning an overall rating.  Performance evaluation is not an exact science. The overall rating should take into account the employee’s success in achieving goals and expectations and the extent to which the employee demonstrated leadership, management, and supervisory behaviors. It should also reflect the manager’s judgment on the relative importance of each Performance Category.

  • What process should managers follow when assigning ratings of Needs Improvement and Unsatisfactory?
    1. Establish clear performance expectations.
    2. Provide ongoing feedback that communicates the difference between actual and acceptable performance.
    3. Provide appropriate support and/or training.
    4. Document performance discussions.
    5. Draft the performance evaluation, including a strong, objective narrative justification.
    6. Draft a Work Improvement Plan, using the template provided on this website.
    7. Discuss the rating with your Employee Relations Analyst before conducting the performance review and notifying the employee of his/her rating.
  • What is the purpose of the subcategories?

    The subcategories help to clarify the meaning of the six countywide Performance Categories.

  • Do evaluators rate the subcategories?

    No. Evaluators rate employees only on the six Performance Categories plus any additional Department-Specific Criteria.

  • Do I have to write a statement supporting my rating?

    Yes. It is important that employees understand the basis for their ratings. A thoughtful narrative in support of high achievement is a form of recognition. Objective information and specific examples in support of weak performance provide a basis for learning and improvement.

  • What thought process should I use in rating each Performance Category?
    1. Start by reviewing the job performance goals you established (Part I) and other assignments the employee carried out during the year. Refer to the notes and documentation in your supervisor’s working folder.
    2. Consider the employee’s performance in relation to the Performance Categories. In achieving goals, to what extent did the employee demonstrate leadership, sound management practice, good supervisory behaviors, etc.?
    3. Assign a rating for each Performance Category using the Rating Level Definitions to guide your decision.
    4. When you have finished evaluating each Performance Category, assign an overall rating, again using the Rating Level Definitions as a guide.
    5. Write a statement to show how you arrived at your ratings. Text boxes are provided with each Performance Category and the Overall Rating. You can write one continuous narrative or connect the narrative to each Performance Category.
  • How much time should I plan for conducting annual performance reviews?

    A good rule of thumb is 6-8 hours per employee. This includes approximately 4 hours for preparation, 1-2 hours for the evaluation meeting, and 1-2 hours for completing the final document.

  • What is a Work Improvement Plan?

    A Work Improvement Plan is a tool that can be used at any time during the evaluation period to support employees in raising performance to an acceptable level. It is required when the employee’s overall rating is Needs Improvement or Unsatisfactory

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Performance Review from Employees Perspective

  • How does my performance rating affect my pay increases?

    Step increases require an overall rating of Competent and Effective or above. An overall rating below Competent and Effective will result in a delay in the increase. Continued unsatisfactory performance could lead to formal disciplinary action.

  • Who conducts my performance review?

    Managers are responsible for completing the performance review.  Input may be obtained from other sources including peers, managers, customers, and direct reports.

  • What are my responsibilities as the employee?

    You are responsible for actively participating in the performance planning and review process by asking questions and contributing ideas.

  • Do I still need a performance evaluation if I’m at the top step?

    Yes. The performance evaluation is an important and ongoing step in supporting and developing excellent job performance, even after the top step is reached.

  • What is the process for completing a self evaluation?

    Employees may be asked to complete a self evaluation prior to the performance review meeting to provide their point of view on performance and achievement during the year.

  • What recourse do I have if my review is not completed?

    All managers are expected to complete annual performance evaluations for their employees. If an employee’s request for a performance evaluation is not honored, the employee may take his/her request to the next higher level.

  • What recourse do I have if I don’t agree with my evaluation?

    Employees are encouraged first to discuss disagreements with their manager.  Employees have the right to submit in writing any comments on or disagreements with their performance evaluation. Signing the performance evaluation does not signify agreement, only receipt of the document.

  • Who gets to see my performance evaluation?

    The supervisor, manager, department head, and human resources staff generally have access to performance evaluations. In some cases, Human Resources may permit other County management to review performance evaluations, as in the case of considering candidates for other positions.

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Performance Review Preparation

  • How long should I keep information in the supervisor’s working folder?

    Because employee evaluation cycles are annual, the usefulness of the information in the working folder expires after 14 months or after the evaluation covering the period, whichever is later, and should be disposed of in a manner appropriate for confidential information. If you have any questions about the disposal of information in the working folder, please contact the Employee Relations Analyst assigned to your department.

  • How do I prepare for the year-end performance review?

    Planning for the performance review is a year-round process. Here are some guidelines:

    At the beginning of the evaluation period:

    • Set up working folders for each employee who reports to you.
    • Maintain notes about employee performance in the working folder to ensure you remember significant events throughout the evaluation period.
    • Examples of information to maintain:
      • Performance and developmental goals
      • Notes from one-on-one meetings, performance observations, calendars, relevant    e-mails, sample work products, letters of commendation
      • Feedback from others with direct knowledge of some aspect of the employee’s performance
      • Leave and attendance records
      • Training completion certificates
      • Any disciplinary documentation

    Preparing for the performance review meeting:

    • Refresh your memory by reviewing the working folder.
    • Ask the employee to provide information about accomplishments (Use the Employee Self Evaluation Form included on this website, or a similar format).
    • Prepare a draft evaluation following the instructions outlined above.
    • Share the draft with the employee prior to the evaluation meeting.
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RideGreen Commuter Benefits

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Staffing - General Information

  • How can I find out about job openings?

    Job Announcements and “Employment Opportunities” (a summary list of job openings are posted in the Marin County Human Resources Department and in various agencies throughout the County.

    Job Announcements are also posted on our Employment Opportunities Web Page at Each opening functions as a link to the actual Job Announcement.

    You may also hear a recorded listing of current job openings by dialing (415) 473-7800. This recording can be accessed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

  • The Job Announcements list a number of different "recruitment types". What types of recruitments do you have?

    There are three types of recruitments:

    • Open – available to anyone who meets the minimum qualifications for the job. Minimum qualifications for our jobs are listed on our Job Announcements.
    • Continuous – a type of Open recruitment that is available to anyone who meets the minimum qualifications for the job. Whereas other recruitments have specific closing dates, a "continuous" recruitment remains open until such time that the position is filled, so may close at any time.
    • County-wide Promotional – available only to current County regular hire employees.*
    • Department Promotional - available only to regular hire employees currently working in the specific department*

    * Regular hire employees must have completed at least six months of their probationary period to be eligible to apply.

  • I’m interested in a job for which you are not currently hiring. What can I do?

    We have an electronic interest card system. Simply go to our website at, click on the "Notify Me of New Jobs" button, and then click on the job in which you are interested. At the top of the new screen that will appear is a link that says "Email Me When a Job Opens for the Above Position." Simply click on the link and complete the information requested. When the job opens, we will email the Job Announcement to you.

    Please note: Interest cards remain active for one year. After that time, you will need to submit a new one.

  • I want to apply for several of the jobs listed. Do I need to fill out a separate application for each job?

    Yes. Every application is evaluated separately based on the job for which you are applying.

  • After I have submitted my completed application and, if applicable, any required supplemental information, how will I be informed of the next step?

    We will send you a notice informing you of the next step in the process. We will either email you or send you a notice by US Mail. Because we use mail notices, it is imperative that we have an accurate address on record. Be sure you advise us immediately of a change in address by calling us at (415) 473-6104. OR if you filed an application electronically, you may go to our website at and click on the "Update My Contact Info" button.

  • How long does the recruitment process take?

    The recruitment process can range from a few weeks to a few months depending on the complexity of the selection process. Typically, there are two to three weeks between examination steps once the filing period has ending. The more testing steps there are, the longer the time until an eligible (employment) list is established and a selection made.

  • Once I have successfully completed the examination process, how long will my name remain active on the eligible (employment) list?

    As a rule, eligible lists remain in effect for a minimum of six months and a maximum of two years.

  • I’m currently a County employee. Does that give me priority?

    The County encourages all current employees to apply for promotional opportunities (though you must complete six months of your initial probationary period to apply.) For open recruitments, you will receive additional points to your overall score if you have completed your initial probationary period and achieved a successful score on the examination. You are also eligible for transfer to similar positions within the County. If interested, simply file a transfer application to be placed on the transfer list. Your name will be certified along with the other candidates that possess the top five scores.

  • How can I get a temporary ("extra hire") job with the County?

    The Human Resources Department maintains a pool of employees interested in temporary employment. These opportunities are listed on our Employment Opportunities Web Page as "Temporary Job Opportunities". Simply complete an application on-line.

  • Will temporary employment lead to a permanent position with the County?

    Being an extra hire does not automatically lead to regular hire employment with the County. You must take and pass the Merit System testing processes in order to be considered to regular hire employment; however, extra hires have an opportunity to enhance their chances for being hired by taking advantage of opportunities for learning the County systems, practices and procedures.

  • How can I find out about specific requirements or salary for a specific position?

    This information is available in the electronic salary book located on our website. Additionally, if we post a position vacancy, the job announcement will contain full information on both the skills typically required and the salary range of the position.

  • Does the County offer Veteran’s Preference?

    Yes. Simply upload your Form DD-214 along with your application – or mail it separately to Human Resources by the filing deadline date. Human Resources staff will review your documentation and determine if you qualify for Veteran’s Preference.

  • What happens if I move or have some other change after I apply?

    Since we contact you about invitations to tests and the status of applications, it is important that we have your correct information.

    If you filed an application electronically, you may notify us of changes in your contact information by going to our website at and clicking on the "Update My Contact Info" button. This will update all of the applications that you have submitted.

    You may also directly contact the HR Department at (415) 473-6104 or email us.

  • Does the County keep applications on file for future recruitments?

    No. Although applications you submit are maintained in our system, it is necessary for you to submit a new application for each job being applied to.

  • I understand that the County has a probationary period. How long is it?

    Probationary periods are one year for all positions.

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Staffing - On-line Application Questions

  • How do I apply on-line?

    First, find a job for which you would like to apply. From the Job Posting List screen, find the job title and then click on the title (it serves as a link) to bring up the Job Announcement. You will be able to print the Job Announcement.

  • User Accounts and Logins

    If this is the first time you are using the on-line application system, you will need to create an account and select a Username and Password. To do so, read the Terms of Use Agreement that appears on the screen after you have clicked on the link to “Fill out the Supplemental Questionnaire and Application NOW” – if you agree with the terms, click on the “I agree with the above terms of use” button. The next screen is the Instructions for the on-line Employment Application. Thoroughly read these instructions. For first time applicants, you will need to click on the “New Registration” button – you will then be asked to provide a UserID and Password. If you have previously filed on—line, click on the "Existing Registration" button – you will then be able to login to your account with your existing UserID and Password.

    Tip: As you complete your application, remember to save work in progress as you complete each section of the application (by pressing the "submit" button.) We also suggest creating and saving any answers to the supplemental questions in a word processing program before copying them into the appropriate box of the application. You will also be able to upload resumes and any other supplemental documentation (such as licenses).

  • Submitting your Employment Application

    After you’ve finished completing each section of your application and are ready to submit it for consideration, click on the “Final Submit” button to send the application. The final submit will not work if you have not completed all mandatory sections of the application. The "Applicant Release of Employment Information" authorization statement will come up for you to either "accept" or "decline". If you "accept", a message will come up thanking your for applying and informing you that your application has been forwarded to the Marin County Human Resources Department. You will also receive two confirmation emails. The first notice is that your application was forwarded; the second informs you that your application was received by the Human Resources Department. If you do not receive the second email within a couple of days, please contact the Human Resources Department.

  • How can I edit or delete information on my on-line job application?

    You can continue to edit any section of your application until you make the final submission (click on the "Final Submit" button). Once that occurs, you can view your application but you will no longer be able to edit the application materials.

  • I previously created an application in the on-line system and now, when I try to log in, the system doesn’t recognize me. What do I do?

    There are two possibilities as to why this is happening:

    • You are entering an incorrect UserID and/or Password. In this case, you may either send an email to or call us at (415) 473-6104, or
    • The issue you are experience is occurring because cookies are not enabled in your web browser. Your browser must be set up to accept cookies, and specifically "Per Session Cookies". If the problem persists, you can print a PDF version of both the application and the supplemental questionnaire form and complete both by hand.
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Staffing - Testing Related Questions

  • How can I best prepare myself to apply and test for County employment?

    We suggest you keep a copy of the Job Announcement to help you prepare your answers for any supplemental questions and to use as a reference in preparing for written and oral examinations. We also suggest you go to our website to obtain a copy of the class specification for the position and review the material included in the class specification. The class specification provides an illustrative list of duty statements for the job being applied to. This information will be helpful in your preparation of exam questions.

  • What kind of test(s) will I be given?

    There are several different types of tests or examinations that are used to determine the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to be successful in the job.  Any one, or a combination, of tests may be given.  Here are some examples:

    • Written – usually multiple-choice items (but can be essay, short answer, matching, true/false, etc.) that test specific areas of knowledge and abilities.
    • Oral -- a panel asks questions to determine an applicant's qualifications to perform the essential functions of the position. The same questions are asked of all the candidates.
    • Performance or Practical -- evaluates an applicant's skills or physical abilities (swimming, equipment operations, etc.)
    • Application Evaluation (candidates do not appear) – standard application and/or supplemental questionnaires, etc. are reviewed by an analyst or panel of subject matter experts to determine possession of required knowledge, skills and abilities. All candidates are rated against the same criteria.

    It is very important that you arrive on time for any scheduled examination and bring picture identification with you. Failure to do so may result in not being admitted to the examination.

    Approximately two weeks after your examination, the Human Resources Department will notify you in writing of your score and standing on the eligible list. Please do not call the Human Resources Department to request your score. Scores cannot be given over the phone.

  • I require a testing accommodation for disability or religious beliefs. What do I need to do?

    Please contact us at (415) 473-6104 or send us an email. Requests for an accommodation in testing must be made at least one week prior to the testing event.

  • I work during business hours; I live/work out of town; I will be on vacation on the date of the test. Will you be flexible?

    As flexible as we can be. Please let us know as soon as possible by calling (415) 473-6104 or by emailing us if there is a conflict with the process or date of the test.

  • What happens after the examination?

    If you pass all of the examination step(s), your name will be placed on an eligible list and you will be notified by email or regular mail. As a rule, eligible lists remain in effect for a minimum of six months and a maximum of two years. Applicants with the top 5 scores are referred to the hiring department for a selection interview.

  • What happens if I'm referred to the hiring department for a selection interview?

    When your name is referred to a department/agency for the final selection interview, you will receive a letter from us. This letter will provide you with information on who to contact for an interview appointment. OR, you may be provided with instructions that will allow you to self-schedule an interview date and time. It is important that you respond within seven calendar days of the date on the notice. Applicants will be notified of selection/non-selection in writing by the hiring department/agency.

    If you do not want your name to be sent to a particular agency/department for the selection interview (or if you are no longer interested in the position), please let us know by contacting the Human Resource Department at (415) 473-6104. If you are temporarily unavailable for work (for instance, for a few months due to surgery, family emergency, etc.), let us know as well. We will inactivate your name and you will not be referred to the hiring department.

  • I still have questions.

    Contact the Human Resources Department at (415) 473-6104. We will be able to help you.

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Volunteer and Student Internship Program

  • What is the difference between a volunteer and a student intern?

    To qualify as a student intern, you must be enrolled in an educational program or be within one year of completing your education. A volunteer is any other non-paid staff member.

  • Who volunteers and interns with the County of Marin?

    Career changers, students, retirees, individuals reentering the workforce, disabled people, and traditional volunteers who want to contribute to the community. Our volunteers and interns are individuals of all ages.

  • Are all of your opportunities listed here?

    No. Often we can create a specific assignment to meet the needs and skills of a volunteer or student intern. To explore the possibilities, you may call 415.473.7407 and talk with Anita Erola, administrative coordinator for the program.

  • If I volunteer or serve as a student intern, will I get a permanent paid job at the county?

    Volunteering and interning are great ways to make contacts and improve your skills. We encourage you to serve only if you believe you’d enjoy it as a complete experience in and of itself.

  • How much time does it take?

    From two hours a week, depending on the assignment, and the commitment lasts from three months to two years minimum depending on the assignment. There are also some shorter term projects available.

  • I work full time – do you have opportunities for evenings and weekends?

    Yes, though not as many as we’d like. Some examples include working with at-risk teens in Juvenile Hall, Open Space group projects, Court Appointed Special Advocates, and assignments at some county library branches.

  • What kind of training will I receive?

    Every volunteer and student intern receives an orientation, and some will receive hands-on training specific to an assignment. Many find volunteering and student interning a great way to update their resumes and gain experience for their next step.

  • If I have never met a computer face-to-face can you teach me how to use one?

    If you want to learn computer skills, it’s best to take an introductory course through the Marin Regional Occupation Program or College of Marin and then come to us to build your experience, speed, and confidence.

  • What is the difference between Civic Center Volunteers and the Center for Volunteer and Nonprofit Leadership?

    Civic Center Volunteers provides volunteers and student interns to local county government departments, while the Center for Volunteer and Nonprofit Leadership of Marin provides volunteers to nonprofit agencies in the community. The Center for Volunteer and Non Profit Leadership of Marin can be reached at (415) 479-5710.

  • How do I get to your office?

    Coming southbound from Novato and points north: Take Highway 101 to North San Pedro Road. Turn left at the stop sign (Merrydale Road.). Make another left at the first stoplight (North San Pedro Road) and go under the freeway. Turn left at the next light (Civic Center Drive). Then, immediately take another left onto the drive that goes under the archway of the building. After parking, return to the building’s archway/entrance and take the elevator on your left up to the 4th floor, Suite 415.

    Coming northbound from Central San Rafael and points south: Take Highway 101 to the North San Pedro Road exit and stay to your right to merge onto North San Pedro Road. Ease left to get into the left-turn pocket at the traffic light. Turn left onto Civic Center Drive. Then, immediately take another left onto the drive that goes under the archway of the building. After parking, return to the building’s archway/entrance and take the elevator on your left up to the 4th floor, Suite 415.

    There is free parking at any location marked 2-Hour or All Day Parking.

    Marin Transit buses serve the Marin Civic Center. For more details visit or call (415) 226-0855. Golden Gate Transit buses serve Highway 101 bus pads within walking distance of the Civic Center; call 511 for details about fixed-route transit. The Marin Access specialized transportation program serves older adults, persons with disabilities, and low-income residents; for more information visit or call (415) 454-0902.

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