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Massachusetts amends hiring process for state’s probation officers

5/1/2014, 9:17 a.m.

Under the direction of Commissioner Edward J. Dolan, the Office of the Commissioner of Probation of Massachusetts has amended its hiring process for probation officers by introducing a civil service exam as a first step in the hiring process, followed by application and interview.

“The exam professionalizes the hiring process,” said OCP Communications Director Coria Holland. “All candidates initially will be judged by how well they do on the exam.”

The exam tests applicants for their knowledge of relevant topics, such as drugs and the court system, as well as reading comprehension. The exam is only one component in the selection process, and a passing score is not a guarantee of selection for interview.

This exam may be taken by any resident of Massachusetts seriously considering a career as a probation officer. Exam registrants must have a bachelor’s degree and at least two years of pertinent experience, or a relevant master’s degree in lieu of experience. Additional requirements can be found on the agency’s website. The deadline for registration for this exam is Wednesday, May 7; the exam is June 28.

Hiring criteria for probation officers are clearly listed in detail on the agency’s website, in contrast to the previous administration of John O’Brien who was charged, along with members of his senior staff, with bribery, corruption and mail fraud when it was revealed that his hiring criteria were favoritism and quid-pro-quo.