HRAR-3.01 - Recruitment Processes

Administrative Rules Adopted by Bureaus Pursuant to Rule Making Authority (ARB)
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Recruitment processes are developed and used to attract, evaluate and select the most qualified candidates to fill vacancies for all regular and limited duration positions. The criteria used in these processes shall be based upon knowledge, skills, abilities, experience and other characteristics needed for the effective performance of duties assigned to position(s) being recruited. Competitive or limited competitive recruitment and selection processes are also developed to attract and evaluate qualified candidates to fill temporary and casual workforce needs. Recruitment processes shall be job related and shall be developed and administered in accordance with federal, state, City administrative rule guidelines and equity goals. All recruitment and selection processes must be equitable and competitive.

Types of Recruitment Processes

Recruitment processes for positions in the classified service may be Open, Internal, Continuous or Promotional.

Open Recruitment:

Recruitment open to all applicants (including applicants that are not currently City of Portland employees).

Internal Recruitment:

A recruitment open to applicants who are or have been temporary, limited duration, seasonal, or regular City employees within the timeframe specified on the announcement.

Promotional Recruitment:

A recruitment open only to regularly appointed City employees who meet the announced requirements. Applications for promotional recruitments may be restricted to all regularly appointed employees, employees within certain designated classes or to employees with designated time in service, as determined by the Director of Human Resources or designee.

Continuous Recruitment:

A recruitment without a closing date.

Limited Competitive Recruitment:

A recruitment and selection process open to a limited pool of applicants who are uniquely qualified for the position.

Recruitment Announcements

The announcements for each recruitment shall contain, but are not limited to information about the position, salary, and form(s) of competition which comprise the recruitment, qualifications, application procedures including the process for requesting disability accommodation or veterans’ preference, the application filing location(s) and application deadline. Employees may not participate in a recruitment process for a classification in which they currently hold regular status; however, they can request a transfer to the vacant position. See Administrative Rule 7.01 on Transfers.


The number of applications accepted for a recruitment process may be limited by specifying the time during which applications will be accepted and/or any other limiting criteria the Director of Human Resources or designee determine to be appropriate.


Under certain circumstances, the City may sponsor successful candidates who require an H-1B or TN Visa to work in the U.S.

For an H-1B visa the City may only sponsor a candidate if all the following criteria are met:

  1. The hiring bureau must demonstrate a critical need for the candidate, that they have unique qualifications and that the bureau has not been able to fill the position;
  2.  The candidate must be legally entitled to work in the U.S.;
  3. The bureau’s request must be reviewed and approved by the Commissioner in-Charge, the Director of Human Resources and the City Attorney to ensure all federal criteria are met;
  4. The candidate must be in one of the eligible occupations (as determined by federal regulations);
  5. The bureau’s request must be initiated between April and September (the only time during the calendar year when an H-1B visa can be obtained); and
  6. The candidate must pay all outside attorney’s fees for completing the H-1B visa application process. For a TN Visa, the following criteria must be met:
    1. The candidate must be in one of the identified professional categories (as determined by federal regulations)
    2. The candidate must be legally entitled to work in the U.S.
    3. The candidate must pay any required Visa fees
    4. The position must be temporary or limited term as TN Visas are valid for only one year and can only be extended for one additional year
    5. The Director of Human Resources must approve the bureaus’ request to hire a candidate with a TN Visa to ensure all federal criteria are met. Any proposed or potential work arrangement where the individual will be residing abroad, whether the individual is a City employee, independent contractor, employee of a contractor, or subcontractor, will be subject to the advance approval of the bureau director, the Commissioner in charge, and the Director of Human Resources.

Rejected Application

The Director of Human Resources may reject the application of any person who:

  1. lacks the qualifications for the position; or
  2. has made false statements of any material fact on the application; or
  3. has been dismissed for cause from the classified service; or
  4. has resigned in lieu of discipline or termination, (including resigning during the disciplinary investigative process); or
  5. has provided unclear or incomplete information.

Prior to rejecting an application under (3) or (4) above, the Director will determine whether there are any special circumstances or accommodations that should be considered.

Unsolicited Resumes

The City of Portland does not accept unsolicited resumes and letters of inquiry from persons seeking employment with the City of Portland in lieu of a current recruitment process for that classification. When unsolicited applications are received, the administrative support staff in the Bureau of Human Resources will return the original resume to the sender via email and include the link to the Job Interest Notification. The City does NOT maintain any copies of the resume.

Job Interest Notification Form

The City of Portland’s Job Interest Notification is the vehicle by which a person can inform the City of their interest in specific employment opportunities with the City.

Disability Accommodations

Recruitment procedures may be modified to reasonably accommodate disabled individuals. See Administrative Rule on Title I Reasonable Accommodations for People with Disabilities. See Administrative Rule 2.06 on Title I Reasonable Accommodations Request for modification in procedures should be submitted to the Bureau of Human Resources at the time of application for the exam.

Veterans’ Preference Points

See Administrative Rule 3.07 on Veterans’ Preference.

Waiver of Examination

If, after reasonable efforts at recruitment, five or fewer qualified applicants respond, the examination process may be waived, and the names of the qualified applicants may be placed on the appropriate eligible list.

Eligible Lists

As soon as possible after the conclusion of a recruitment process, the Bureau of Human Resources shall prepare and publish an eligible list consisting of the names of persons successful in the recruitment process. See Administrative Rule 3.02 on Eligible Lists.

Written Tests

All written tests must be administered as part of the recruitment process. At no time shall a written test of any form be administered after the eligible list is established.

Unless the test is purchased and therefore covered by proprietorship rules and regulations, applicants taking the written test may only review a copy of the test showing the correct answers for up to one (1) hour after the completion of the testing period. The candidate must specify the problem with the question(s), what correction is recommended and identify any references to support the claim.

Once the testing process has been administered, the Senior Recruiter responsible for the recruitment will review any items indicated as needing reconsideration. If the Senior Recruiter and the subject matter expert agree there is a problem with the question, a correction will be made in one of two ways:

  1. The question will be eliminated, or
  2. Multiple correct answers will be accepted

The Bureau of Human Resources’ Senior Recruiter will send notification of resolution on all test item questions. The notice will include the conclusion of the review along with the action that was taken to complete the testing process.

A purchased test is covered by proprietorship rules and regulations and applicants may not review any of the testing content and applicants may refer concerns to the administrator of the purchased test via the Senior Recruiter.

Assessment Center Exercises

All assessment center exercises must be administered as part of the recruitment process. At no time shall an assessment center exercise test of any form be administered after the eligible list is established.

Assessment center exercises may be used as part of a recruitment process. If assessment center exercises are purchased and therefore covered by proprietorship rules and regulations, applicants taking assessment center exercises may only review the feedback reports supplied by the consultants who administered the exercises and applicants may refer concerns to the administrator of the purchased test via the Senior Recruiter.

Examination Review

Examination results shall be available online for review by applicants for positions within the classified service for fourteen (14) calendar days from the date of the notice of the examination results. Each applicant is entitled to review, online, their individual results during this 14-day period. Hard copy review of the actual testing documents including instructions, evaluation forms, answer keys, distribution reports and other documents used in the testing process shall be made available for review by the applicants one time during the fourteen (14)-day review period. Applicants may take notes on some promotional examinations with bureau approval. Applicants may not take notes, pictures or video.

Recruitment Process Appeals to the Director of Human Resources

Only appeals of recruitment processes for positions in the classified service shall be allowed. Any appeal of recruitment process results for positions in the classified service must be submitted in writing to the Director of Human Resources no later than fourteen (14) calendar days after the notice of examination results is mailed. Within fourteen (14) calendar days of the date the Director receives the appeal; the appellant shall be sent a letter acknowledging receipt of the appeal. The Director or his/her designee shall offer to meet with the candidate to discuss the appeal. The Director shall respond in writing to the appeal within fourteen (14) calendar days after the meeting, or if a meeting is not held, within fourteen (14) calendar days following an offer to meet.

  1. The recruitment process, in whole or part, was administered in a manner that was contrary to the Human Resources Administrative Rules governing recruitments; or
  2. The recruitment process, in whole or part, was contrary to the law; or
  3. The recruitment process, in whole or part, was administered based on decisions that were politically based rather than on merit.

The Director will not consider appeals that do not meet one of the above criteria.

The Director may elect to halt or modify a recruitment process if the Director determines that the appeal raises a probability of questionable validity or integrity of the recruitment process.

Examination Appeals to the Civil Service Board

The candidate for a position in the classified service may appeal the Director of Human Resources’ decision to the Civil Service Board. See Administrative Rule 3.15 on the Civil Service Board for procedure and timelines.

Recruitments for Positions Outside the Classified Service/Executive Recruitments

An appointing authority may choose to fill a vacant position outside the classified service through a limited-competitive process or may, request that the Bureau of Human Resources assist in the recruitment and selection process. As defined under Chapter 4 of the City Charter and by Council ordinance, positions outside the classified service include all officers chosen by popular election or by appointment by the Council, the members of all boards and commissions, the deputies of the City Attorney, the City Engineer, the Administrator and Chief Engineer of the Water Bureau, the Civil Service Board Administrator, the Secretary of the Auditor, the Chief Deputy City Auditor, the secretary and administrative staff of each Council member, the Chief of Police, and all Bureau Directors hired after December 31, 2000.

Additionally, at the recommendation of the Director of Human Resources and with the approval of City Council by ordinance, employees may be excluded from the classified service if they are in a classification where a critical element is exercising independent judgment in the formulation of policies that have citywide impact or importance. A listing of Classifications exempt from the Classified Service is located in the Classification & Compensation section of the Bureau of Human Resources web site.

Recruitment and Employment Incentives

The Elected Official in charge may determine which regular or limited duration positions are key, or in need of special recruitment efforts and therefore merit recruitment and/or employment incentives. Such positions are not limited to directors of bureaus but may also include candidates whose job qualifications are uniquely suited to a particular City position or in a profession for which there are only a limited number of qualified candidates. Such positions should normally be identified as "key" before recruitment and examination efforts commence. The following recruitment and employment expenses are authorized under these conditions:

Travel Expenses

The City of Portland may pay for reasonable travel expenses for those candidates asked to attend one or more interviews.

Travel expenses may include:

  • economy class round-trip airfare or its equivalent;
  • appropriate ground transportation
  • necessary lodging and meals

Approval of payment for such expenses is at the discretion of the Elected Official in charge, with the affected Office or Bureau bearing the cost.

Relocation Expenses

The City of Portland may pay relocation expenses for new, non-represented employees who incur relocation costs following their appointment to a budgeted position. Authorization for relocation expenses must be approved by the Bureau Director and by the Elected Official in charge. Recipients of relocation expenses must repay the City a pro-rata amount of those expenses if employment with the City of Portland is terminated, for any reason, within two years of date of hire.

The City shall enter into a signed agreement with the new employee identifying household expenses to be paid by the City and employee-responsible expenses. The agreement must be signed by the Bureau Director and by the recipient of the relocation expenses. The agreement shall stipulate terms of payment by the City and shall include provisions for the pro-rata repayment of relocation expenses by the employee should their employment terminate within two years. See attached Guidance. Template documents for the Relocation Assistance Application and Agreement are online under Hiring Forms in the Employment Forms section of the BHR Forms Library. In consideration of the City's payment of relocation expenses, relocation within the limits of the City of Portland may be encouraged by the Elected Official. Relocation Expenses as a recruitment incentive are not available to Limited Duration appointees.

Vacation Accruals

When authorized by the Elected Official in charge, newly appointed employees in key positions may be credited for prior professional service by placement at the appropriate step of the vacation accrual table contained in the Administrative Rule 6.03 on Vacation. Once placed on the schedule, future service with the City shall count normally towards additional vacation accrual rates. The Elected Official in charge may also authorize the one-time crediting of up to 40 hours of vacation available for use from date of hire.

Recruitment incentives are limited to employees newly appointed to City employment and are not available to current City employees except as specifically outlined here. However, in limited circumstances when recruiting for key positions and if approved by the appointing authority and the Director of Human Resources, the vacation accrual incentive may be offered to temporary City employees applying for regular employment.


Adopted by Council March 6, 2002, Ordinance No. 176302, Effective April 5, 2002

Revised October 15, 2002

Revised July 28, 2003

Revised July 1, 2004

Revised September 16, 2005

Revised July 9, 2007

Revised April 17, 2009

Revised October 19, 2010

Revised November 4, 2011

Revised December 4, 2013

Revised April 25, 2016

Revised December 28, 2017

Revised February 15, 2018

Revised February 13, 2019

Adopted by Council March 4, 2020, Ordinance No. 189873, Effective January 1, 2020

Revised March 15, 2021

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