skip to content
Primary navigation

Minnesota Merit System

General application information

How to apply

Candidates for positions covered under the Merit System are encouraged to apply via our Online Application Center. If you apply using the online process, all Merit System correspondence will be sent to you via e-mail. You must have a valid e-mail address to apply online.

Although county agency hiring authorities prefer that applicants apply online, you may file a paper copy if you do not have regular access to a computer. Contact Merit System directly to request a paper application.

Read the position summaries thoroughly so you understand the duties, minimum qualifications and examination procedures for the position you desire.

Complete a separate application for each examination. Be specific and complete in describing your experience for jobs (for jobs with an experience and training rating, this part of the application will determine your score). List each promotion separately, even if it was within the same agency. We will not look at your prior application. If you do not list all of your qualifying education or experience, we will assume you do not have it. The minimum experience requirements listed are for full-time work. Partial credit will be assigned when work experience listed on the application is less than full time. Remember to fill out the application completely.

Examination procedures

The examination procedure may include one or more of the following examinations:

Online examination: The content areas of the test are given in the exam or vacancy posting. Generally, these are multiple-choice examinations. After your Merit System application has been submitted, you will receive an e mail that will include a unique (URL) link to access the examination. Set aside enough time (slightly over an hour) to take the online examination in its entirety (in one sitting).  If you click out of a section before completing it - it will score the unanswered questions as "0s" zeros and you will not be given credit.  IMPORTANT INFORMATION: You will have a limited number of days from the date you have submitted your application to complete the exam.  However, please note that if you are applying for a specific county vacancy, you should check the county's special posting for more information on the exam completion deadline.    

Rating of education and experience: The examination will consist of a rating of training and experience based on the information you provide in your application and on your resume. Frequently, there will be a supplemental questionnaire that you will be asked to complete as part of the application process and your responses to the supplemental questions will determine your score. You must read the questions carefully answer truthfully and include any experience claimed in your answers to the supplemental questions in the “Work Experience” section of your application. Any experience claimed in your answers to the supplemental questions, but not included in the “Work Experience” section of your application will not be credited.

Examination scoring

You must achieve a score of at least 70 in each part of the examination in order to be placed on the eligible register. Applicants may apply to retake a written examination at any time. However, no examination may be retaken within 60 days, and no exam can be taken more than three times in a calendar year. Certain examinations, not open on a continuous basis, may only be taken once. If you do retest, your most recent score will be used and your previous score invalidated.

Referral procedures

The names of applicants who successfully complete all required examinations are placed on a register of eligibles in order of score. Passing scores for all examinations range from 70 to 100. As vacancies occur in a specific agency, the candidates with the top 15 scores, plus any names of candidates who are within three points of the top score, and available for the geographic area and employment conditions of the vacancy are referred for consideration. The agency with the vacancy may contact any or all of these individuals. Personal interviews are usually used by agencies for further determination of an applicant’s qualifications.


The salaries listed for the positions will vary by county. Counties operating under the terms and conditions of a union contract may have salary ranges that differ from those listed on the Merit System’s general exam announcement

Apply online

Apply online >>

A Merit System Application is available in another format if needed. Please contact Merit directly to request this at or call 651-431-3030.

Additional questions about Merit System?


back to top