Human Resources

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: Open during regular business hours 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday - Friday

703-324-3311
TTY 703-222-7314

12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 270
Fairfax, VA 22035-0035

Cathy Spage,
Director

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

In addition to the responses to most frequently asked questions, please also see Help & Support. You can also access the link at Fairfax County Career Pages, in the menu at the upper left-hand corner or if you are on the login screen, click on the Support link in the upper right-hand corner of your screen to access the Application Guide. You may also copy and paste the following link to your browser: https://www.governmentjobs.com/careers/fairfaxcounty/helpandsupport/applicationguide

New jobs are posted every Saturday. We recommend that you subscribe to Job Alerts to receive a notification when jobs in your field of interest become available. To sign up for Job Alerts, please click here.

You are welcome to visit our HR Central Office where staff will assist you. The HR Central Office is located in the Government Center at 12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 270, Fairfax, Virginia. Call 703-324-3311 (TTY 703-222-7314) for more information. Directions to the Government Center. They will assist you with accessing or creating an account in NEOGOV so that you can enter your personal information and qualifications.

Personal computers that can be used for job applications are available in many locations in the county:

After you apply, you will receive an email that begins: “Your application has been received by Fairfax County...” In addition, you should log into your GovernmentJobs.com account periodically to view the updated status notes for each of the job opportunities you have applied.  If you have additional questions regarding your statuses, you can call the Department of Human Resources at 703-324-3311 (TTY 703-222-7314) or email HRCentral@fairfaxcounty.gov and request assistance.
 

Fairfax County operates under a merit system, which means that applicants are selected for jobs on the basis of their education, experience and skills. Your application will be reviewed against the job you applied for, so it is important to read the job announcement and provide detailed information about your experience and skills as they relate to the description of the job. Also, remember that when you respond to supplemental questions that you must substantiate your responses within your application. For example, if the question asks if you have a valid state issued driver’s license, you need to list it as a license within your application under Additional Information to include license number, expiration and issuing authority.  Respond to supplemental questions thoroughly and truthfully.  See also Step 3 of the Hiring Process Overview – the link is also located at Fairfax County’s Jobs site.

Fairfax County’s applicant pools are very large and highly competitive. Most often the reason an applicant is not selected for an interview is because of the high number of qualified applicants for that job opening. For example, it is common for a single job announcement to receive hundreds of applications. From a pool of highly qualified applicants, only the top candidates will be considered for an interview.

If you have questions about the review process, such as why you were not interviewed for a job that you believe you are highly qualified for, you can call the HR Central Office to request assistance. The HR Central Office is open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The phone number is 703-324-3311 (TTY 703-222-7314), email is HRCentral@fairfaxcounty.gov.

No. You must apply in response to a specific job announcement to be considered.

Applicants with disabilities may request a reasonable accommodation during the selection process. Please call 703-324-3311 (voice) or 703-222-7314 (TDD). Click here to learn more about reasonable accommodations. 

Fairfax County’s Department of Human Resources receives well over 140,000 applications a year. Due to this huge volume of interest, it is not possible for our staff to provide one-on-one assistance. Please visit our Job Application Guidelines and Tips page and Hiring Process Overview for advice on submitting an application that will accurately reflect your skills, experience and education.

If you still feel you need assistance, there are many companies/organizations that provide one-on-one guidance. The Virginia Career Works centers can assist you or refer you to helpful resources, and they have multiple locations for your convenience.

The county standard is that 2,080 hours equals one work year. Therefore, if you worked 40-hours per week for one year, you have one year of experience. If you worked part-time at a rate of 20 hours per week, it would take two years to reach 2,080 hours, or the equivalent of one year of experience. When your application is reviewed, this is the standard by which your years of experience are evaluated. For a comprehensive explanation of our education and experience equivalencies, please click here.  

Merit employees receive 12-½ paid holidays per year. Full time merit employees with less than three years of service earn 13 days of annual leave per year; between 3 and 15 years of service, 19-½ days per year, and over 15 years of service, 26 days per year.  Part time employees earn leave on a pro-rated basis.

Fairfax County employees earn 4 hours of sick leave every pay period (2 weeks).  Additional offerings include advanced sick leave, extraordinary sick leave, paid family leave (effective October 10, 2020), transferred leave, military leave and pay differential, bereavement, voluntary activity, and emergency administrative leave.  For additional leave, please visit our Benefits page (Work/Life Balance).

Visit our Benefits Summary page for overview and details about Fairfax County benefits. You may also contact HR Central at 703-324-3311 or TTY 703-222-7314 and request to speak with a member of the Benefits team.
 

All candidates should enter their education achievements in their application and have certificates of completion or transcripts readily available if you are selected for appointment. You will also respond to an Agency-wide question about your ability to provide proof of licenses, certifications and degrees:

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For education and regulated professional credentials acquired outside of the United States, candidates may be required to obtain an evaluation by a credential evaluation service recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. You may also search on the internet for a service. Fairfax County does not endorse any specific company.

We encourage you to use your full legal name on your applicant profile; however, your  full legal name will be required on the first Agency-wide question. This eliminates errors in employment background checks and if hired, will facilitate a smooth on-boarding process. 

All applicants will complete an Agency-wide questionnaire as part of their application submission which includes the question:

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Fairfax County Government does not sponsor employment of non-US citizens.
 

Your application is the primary tool used to evaluate your job qualifications. All fields must be completed on the application, to include work experience (volunteer and paid), education, training, licenses/certifications (if required by the job posting), skills, etc. Blank fields, and/or initialed, or "See attached resume" in those fields will cause your application to be REJECTED.

Your first application will be archived, and we will evaluate the most recent application you submitted. The evaluation of qualifications begins after the job posting closes.

No. Every applicant is unique and brings with them their own education, experiences, knowledge, skills, and abilities. Applications are not reviewed in the sense of perfection. They are reviewed to determine if the candidate’s qualifications meet the minimums and preferred qualifications outlined in the job posting. Our selection process aims to select the best qualified candidates and is aware that there is a varied range of what defines the best qualified candidates for a position.

This is also why we focus our recommendation and trainings on how to apply to one of our jobs, so that applicants understand how to build a strong application from their current and previous experience, education, skills and abilities. An applicant knows their own background and experience better than anyone. They are in the driver’s seat when it comes to writing a strong application. If an applicant applies our guidelines, they will create a solid application that will be effective. As a benefit, the analysis and writing that a candidate does when they prepare their application, will serve as preparation in the event they are invited in for an interview.
 

Each candidate should use whichever technique is most effective for presentation of their qualifications. Either format can be productive and successful. The content is more of the driving force, and should be clear, detailed, and well-documented. Pick whatever format allows you to do a better job of advocating for yourself and showcasing your talents, experience and future potential. There is no right or wrong style—rather it is the content that will determine the overall strength of your application.

There is no absolute rule/expectation that applies in this scenario. For Non-merit positions that you are applying for, we suggest that you read the instructions carefully and follow the guidance in the particular advertisement for that particular position. Each Hiring Contact Person may request different information from their applicants.  If you have questions, you can always reach out to the name of the contact person listed in the Job Announcement to get clarification and specific advice. It is better to confirm the details of their expectations, when in doubt.

Yes. Fairfax County offers its employees many diverse training and development opportunities to help them grow professionally. Once a new appointee joins our team, they will receive daily notices to announce training opportunities (in addition to the other relevant news/happenings for county functions) in a multitude of disciplines. Our Organization and Development Training team also maintains a catalog of offerings, updated annually, that one can use to map out their pathway. An employee’s home department and supervisor can also work with them directly to identify what specific skills and tools they will need to succeed in their position. In addition, the county supports employees by offering a Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) to assist merit employees taking classes towards a degree program.

Administrative assistant positions receive hundreds of applications and following the application screening process, only the best qualified candidates (typically 10-15) will be referred to the hiring manager for possible interviews. Tips/pointers:

  • Read the job posting carefully.    
  • Your application should demonstrate that you meet the minimum qualifications of the position. 

Your application should demonstrate how you meet the listed preferred qualifications for the position.  For example, if the job posting lists a preferred qualification as “Proficiency in Microsoft Excel”, then you will also be responding to a Supplemental Question about your knowledge, skill and ability with the software.  As stated in previous questions, you must substantiate your response to the question within your application.  Using the Microsoft Excel example, you should demonstrate how you use the software (i.e. creating, maintaining, functions used) in your work experience, education, training, and/or volunteer experience.

No. The benefits that come with each position can vary slightly (depending on the underlying classification) and are included under a separate “TAB” once you pull up a specific job announcement.  If you have specific questions about a particular announcement, you can call Human Resources Central for clarification 703-324-3311 (TTY 703-222-7314) to answer your questions or refer you to the appropriate person to respond.

Fairfax County’s policy is that only the best qualified candidates are placed on a Referred list, after which the hiring supervisor selects one half plus one of the certified candidates to interview. For example, if there are 10 candidates certified, the hiring manager will contact at least 6 to schedule an interview.  When the resulting scores of a selection process are equal between a veteran and non-veteran, the preference goes to a veteran. If the scores are equal between a veteran and a veteran with a disability, then preference is given to the disabled veteran.

We invite you to review our equivalencies page to show how education, experience and training equivalencies are evaluated:    

The key is to make sure that your application reflects the details of your education, training and experience. Please understand that if the minimum qualifications on the job posting do not reflect “Any combination of education, training and experience equivalent to”, then equivalencies cannot be utilized to meet the minimum qualifications for the position.

After logging into your governmentjobs.com account, go to your Status page to review the status of applications you have submitted. See also the Application Guide.
For general county positions, you should expect to see the following steps:

  1. Application Received – this means we received your application by the closing date.
  2. Screen for Minimum Qualifications – the HR Analyst utilizes various tools to screen applicants and verifies all responses to Agencywide and supplemental questions. Candidates who pass this step will move forward.
  3. Screen for Preferred Qualifications – the HR analyst or agency designee will review applications against the preferred qualifications listed on the job posting.  If you pass, you will be placed on the Referred list. 
  4. Referred – you have been certified as one of the best qualified candidates and may be contacted for an interview.  The agency will contact at least one half plus one of the certified candidates for an interview.  

This policy is a subset of a broader group of employment practices; reference checks are routinely completed to verify an individual’s qualifications and criminal background checks are completed on individuals assuming sensitive positions – credit checks provide similar information regarding individuals assuming positions of trust. The credit check policy was launched in 2002, and was updated in 2012, and recently updated when the county contracted with a different vendor, Inquiries Screening, a Cisive Company.

Department directors make that determination.

Yes. Credit checks cannot be conducted without a signed authorization of permission from an employee or applicant.

The credit report is obtained from up to three credit reporting agencies, including Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Report content includes:
A list of creditors

  • Civil suits, civil judgments
  • Number of open credit accounts with high and low balances
  • Payment history such as:  paid as agreed; number of late payments, i.e., 30 days late; 60 days late; 90 days late; and 120 days late
  • Accounts that have been written off by grantor(s), or placed in collection
  • Bankruptcies
  • Mortgage(s) – high and low balances
  • Tax liens
  • Debt to income ratio
  • Indication of closure of account of an by the consumer
  • Indications of disputes by the consumer
     

Using a third-party vendor ensures professional and confidential handling of sensitive employee information.  The county’s vendor has been licensed by the state of Virginia to conduct background and credit checks for employment purposes. DHR access to report content is limited to designated staff responsible for all credit report handling. Candidates/employees can access their credit report via the account they set up with the vendor.  

That depends on the results contained in each report.  The county has established a color-coding system with the organization hired to conduct the credit check. 

  • Red – the report indicates late payments made on a consistent basis; charge offs, and/or bankruptcies. One copy of this report is distributed to the department director. The employee/candidate can access their credit report through their account set up with the vendor.
  • Yellow – the report indicates several open accounts with late payments of 30 – 60 days, no liens, bankruptcies or charge offs. No copies to the agency.  The employee/candidate can access their credit report through their account set up with the vendor 
  • Green – the report indicates all payments have been paid as agreed. No copies to the agency.  The employee/candidate can access their credit report through their account set up with the vendor

The department director will review the report with the employee/candidate. In many cases, the employee will be asked to develop a credit improvement plan using resources such as financial counseling available through the Employee Assistance Program, financial planning classes, working with a credit assistance agency or seeking credit counseling. In some cases, it may be necessary to transfer the employee to a position that is not deemed a “position of trust.”

Credit checks are conducted every four years. Department directors do not receive copies of acceptable credit reports (green and yellow reports); red credit reports are retained by the department director in locked, confidential files until the next credit report is received. The prior report is then destroyed.

Credit checks are required for all director, deputy/assistant director and division director positions. Department directors will identify additional positions of trust based on criteria such as the level of fiduciary responsibility, scope of responsibility, percentage of duties tied to financial work , level of autonomy and independence, size of the financial operation, strength of management controls, and dollar threshold overseen.

The Fair Credit Report Act (FCRA) outlines a step by step process for individuals who wish to dispute information in the credit report. The process is outlined in the “Summary of Your Rights Under The Fair Credit Reporting Act," which you will review prior to submitting for the credit report.  You may dispute your credit report electronically through your candidate portal, a dispute hotline, fax, email or mail.

In general, reports contain seven years of credit history.  

Department directors or their designees (in many cases, the department human resources manager) are responsible for ensuring credit checks are completed. Employees should direct questions to their supervisor or department human resources manager.

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