3005 - Using 511B Form


Examination and Hiring

Audience List

  • Human Resources Analysts
  • Human Resources Chiefs
  • Human Resources Managers
  • Personnel Officers


This policy:

• Provides the purpose of the 511B form.

• Provides instruction on how to complete a 511B form.

• Explains how to use the 511B form.

• Advises appointing powers to consistently review and update 511B forms.


This policy provides standardized instructions for creating and using the 511B form for appointing power staff to determine if applicants meet the minimum qualifications (MQs) of a classification.


Government Code section 18930 provides that examinations shall be competitive and shall fairly test and determine the qualifications, fitness, and ability of competitors to perform the duties of the position for which they seek appointment. Furthermore, Government Code section 18931, in part, provides that the State Personnel Board (SPB) shall establish minimum qualifications for determining fitness for each class of position.

The Department of Human Resources (CalHR) and SPB recommend that appointing powers utilize the classification-specific 511B form to assess candidates’ qualifications for both the examinations and hiring process. The 511B form is an assessment tool used to fairly and consistently determine whether applicants’ education and experience satisfy the MQs of a class specification. It defines class specification language and provides a list of state classifications previously analyzed and determined to satisfy the MQ requirement(s). Additional classifications identified as meeting the MQs may be added to the 511B form.

CalHR shall complete a 511B form for all servicewide classifications; appointing powers may complete a 511B form for their own departmental classifications. Appointing powers shall not complete or amend a servicewide 511B unless CalHR has provided written authorization to do so.

Since job tasks may change over time due to various business needs, it is imperative that appointing powers periodically review 511B forms for accuracy. Specifically, appointing powers should conduct a thorough analysis of specific job duties to determine if they satisfy the MQs of the class specification.

Please note that the 511B form is a fluid application review tool that helps appointing powers process MQ determinations in an efficient and consistent manner. The 511B form is not intended to provide an inclusive list of qualifying experience or classifications from which to make final MQ determinations. Human Resources (HR) staff should conduct their own independent analysis to determine if an applicant satisfies the MQs of the classification specification pursuant to California Code of Regulations, title 2, section 249.4.


Creating the 511B for a Department Specific Classification

Creating the 511B form requires collaboration with Subject Matter Experts (SMEs). SMEs can provide knowledge of the classification and how it is currently used in the field. Current/previous incumbents who have served in the classification, individuals who supervise staff appointed to the classification or individuals who possess expert knowledge in the classification may serve as SMEs.

Prior to the release of the examination bulletin, the appointing power should create a 511B form if none exists for the classification. This allows sufficient time for the document to be ready for use prior to the application review process. HR staff should create one using the following steps:

1. Obtain a 511B template. (See “Resources” below.)

2. Insert all information about the classification in Table A.

3. Insert the Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSAs) from the class specification in Table B.

4. Insert all the MQ patterns into No. 9 in Table C.

5. In No. 10, provide specific definitions for all quantitative MQ language (phrases) such as “substantially the same”, “equivalent to”, “performing the duties of” and “recent”, etc. should be clearly defined as well as any technical terms and license and educational requirements. Using knowledge of the classification, HR staff and the SMEs will collaborate to define all MQ language and create definitions that align with the scope of the class specification. Be as specific as possible.

6. In No. 10, link pertinent information such as educational websites for college accreditation, official industry websites, and other approved websites containing helpful information to define the educational and/or other requirements of the classification.

7. Work with SMEs to complete No. 12. Identify and list comparable state classifications that meet the MQs of the 511B classification. Determine that the experience earned in the approved comparable classification is supported by one or more of the MQ patterns. Work to identify and list non-state experience that could meet the MQs. (All information is subject to a definitive determination by the application reviewer.)

Revising the 511B for a Department Specific Classification

If a 511B form exists for the classification being tested, the appointing power should conduct a thorough review of the existing 511B form to determine if any updates are required. When reviewing an existing 511B form, HR staff should:

1. Verify the MQs are complete and correctly match the MQ patterns in the class specification. Revise language if necessary.

2. Review current definitions to determine clarity and if new definitions should be included. Quantitative language such as “substantially the same”, “equivalent to”, “recent” or “performing the duties of”, etc., should be clearly defined as well as any technical terms, licenses, and educational requirements. Examples should be included to clarify definitions or any unfamiliar language. Additionally, the 511B form should cite the authority that serves as the basis for the definitions used to interpret the minimum qualifications to ensure a thorough analysis was conducted separate from the 511B form itself.

3. Identify abolished classifications referenced on the form that need removal.

4. Identify new/updated classifications that need to be added, removed, or updated.

5. Revise the 511B form when necessary.

Creating and Revising the 511B for Servicewide Specific Classifications

CalHR creates and amends all 511Bs for servicewide classifications. Appointing powers who have suggested amendments shall contact CalHR Selections Division.

Using the 511B

Even if HR staff follow these instructions and thoroughly complete a 511B form, they may not capture all qualifying experience. Therefore, when conducting application review, HR staff must carefully evaluate the education and experience on applications to definitively determine whether the applicant meets the MQs of the classification. HR staff shall never solely rely on the 511B form itself and must conduct their own complete analysis. It is recommended that HR staff consult with SMEs to best assess whether the applicant’s experience is qualifying. This can be accomplished by asking the SME if specific experience, education, and/or training satisfies the MQs. Where an appointing power determines that a review of the application is necessary due to the technical nature of the position and minimum qualifications, all Personally Identifiable Information (PII) shall be redacted from the application. Only relevant job-related information (i.e., relevant education and experience) should be provided to the SME pursuant to California Code regulations, title 2, section 249.6.

In cases where HR staff determines that an applicant has qualifying experience not captured on the 511B form, the appointing power may consider adding the experience to the 511B form. However, this should only occur after extensive review and consideration including direct consultation with relevant SMEs to verify the experience and duties satisfy the MQs of the class specification.

MQ determinations must be supported by the class specification. The 511B form merely serves as a guide to assist in interpreting the MQs of the class specification. The 511B may not be claimed as the sole authority or singular basis for the analysis in and of itself.

When an application is rejected for not meeting MQs pursuant to California Code of Regulations, title 2, section 249.4, appointing powers shall clearly notate the specific reason(s) why the MQs were not met. Appointing powers shall retain the documentation for five years as prescribed by California Code of Regulations, title 2, section 26.




Authorized By

Chris Dainard
Chief, California Department of Human Resources

Chief, Policy Division
State Personnel Board

Contact Person

Selection Division
Policy Program , Selection Division
Phone: 916-909-3757
Email: SDPolicy@calhr.ca.gov

Superseded Policies

SPB Memo- Instructions for Use of the Form 511B - 12/12/2008
Selection Manual- Instructions for Preparing Form 511B - 7/13/1979


View History

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Table of Contents

1000 - Equal Employment Opportunity

1100 - Selection

1200 - Appointments

1300 - Exempt Employees

1400 - Benefits and Insurance

1500 - Work Schedules

1600 - Third Party Pre-Tax Parking

1700 - Compensation

1800 - Savings Plus

1900 - Bona Fide Associations

2000 - Collective Bargaining

2100 - Leave

2200 - Travel/Relocation

2300 - State Owned Housing

2400 - Employee Recognition

2600 - Layoffs

2700 - Retirement

2800 - Training

2900 - Workforce Planning

3000 - Examination and Hiring

3100 - Drug-Free Workplace

3200 - Medical Screening

3300 - Apprenticeships

3400 - Temporary Assignment

3500 - Classification Plan