Job: Telephone Operator - English or English and Spanish Speaking (Open and Promotional)

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Job Description

Overall Job Objective

Job Title:Telephone Operator - English or English and Spanish Speaking (Open and Promotional)
Closing Date/Time:Thu. 10/19/17 11:59 PM Pacific Time
Salary:$20.47 - $25.57 Hourly
$1,637.60 - $2,045.60 Biweekly
$3,548.13 - $4,432.13 Monthly
$42,577.60 - $53,185.60 Annually
Job Type:Full-Time
Location:San Mateo County, California
The position vacancy is in the County's main 24-hour switchboard center which is a unit of the Information Services Department (ISD). The switchboard center is in the San Mateo Medical Center located at 222 West 39th Avenue in the city of San Mateo.

Telephone Operators perform the full range of telephone duties; operate a large console that consists of a multiple line automated telephone switchboard/online directory that connects a high volume of incoming calls to the correct departments and appropriate individuals; give general information to the public about the various functions and services of County departments; place authorized long distance calls; maintain records of personal and long distance calls; take emergency telephone calls and locate appropriate medical and maintenance staff; assist County employees and the public in the proper use of County telephone equipment and its features; locate and notify appropriate individuals of fires, bomb threats, disasters and similar emergencies; monitor County intrusion and fire alarms and notify the appropriate agencies whenever there are intrusions and alarms; notify appropriate staff who are on-call and responsible for issues occurring after normal business hours involving the County Coroner, Sheriff's Office, Probation Department and other County departments; maintain logs of specific types of calls; file records of telephone changes; operate standard office equipment; perform minimal typing and clerical duties; provide off-hours support to co-workers; and perform other related duties as assigned.

The ideal candidate will possess the following:
  • 1 year office support work experience involving considerable contact with the public primarily by extensive use of telephones;
  • Experience with PBX switchboard equipment and basic computer skills desired;
  • Ability to multi-task and have flexibility in a busy work environment;
  • Ability to maintain focus and calmness with emergency calls; 
  • Ability to work well as a team with co-workers;
  • Availability to work evening, weekend, holiday, and other shifts;
  • Ability to sit for long periods of time; and 
  • Possession of excellent hearing and manipulative skills to operate a multiple position telephone switchboard.
  • Ability to speak, read, and write Spanish as a second language

The Telephone Operator will likely be required to work evening, weekend, and holiday shifts. More than likely, the usual shift will be Friday and Saturday from 11 p.m. - 7 a.m. the following day. Other shifts may be necessary as well, including filling in for other workers and working on holidays.

NOTE: The list created from this recruitment may be used to fill current and future permanent, extra help and/or temporary vacancies.


Education and Experience: Any combination of education and experience that would likely provide the required knowledge, skills and abilities is qualifying. A typical way to qualify is one year of general clerical or office support experience which has included dealing with the public.

Knowledge of: Procedures and techniques for using multiple line switchboard/online directory equipment; proper spoken business English; and techniques for dealing with the public over the telephone.

Skill/Ability to: Deal tactfully and effectively with County callers, some of whom may be hostile or irate; determine the nature of the call and recommend appropriate action or solutions; quickly learn County procedures, personnel, offices and functions; understand and carry out oral and written instructions; use initiative and sound independent judgment within established guidelines; and operate a multi-position switchboard.

Bilingual Fluency: Some positions may require bilingual skills. Fluency in both English and Spanish is required to be considered for a bilingual position.  Language skills will be tested at the time candidates interview with the hiring department. 
Anyone may apply. Current San Mateo County and San Mateo County Court employees with at least six months (1040 hours) of continuous service in a classified regular, probationary, SEIU or AFSCME represented extra-help/term position prior to the final filing date will receive five points added to their final passing score on this examination.

A supplemental application form must be submitted in addition to our regular employment application form. A resume will not be accepted as a substitute for the required employment application and supplemental questionnaire.

The examination will consist of a panel interview or a combined Civil Service and departmental panel interview process (weight: 100%), which may include an additional exam component given prior to, or during, the interview. Based solely on the information provided in the application materials, an application screening committee will select those applicants whose education, experience and responses to the questions on the employment application and the supplemental questionnaire appear to best meet the needs of the position and invite them to interview. Because of this process, all applicants meeting the minimum qualifications are not guaranteed advancement through any subsequent phase of the examination. Depending on the number of applications, an application appraisal of education and/or experience may be used in place of other examinations. All examinations will be given in San Mateo County, California, and applicants must participate at their own expense.

IMPORTANT: Applications for this position will only be accepted online. If you are currently on the County's website, you may click the 'Apply Online' button above or below. If you are not on the County's website, please go to to apply. Online applications must be received by the Human Resources Department before midnight on the final filing date.

Tentative Recruitment Dates
Final Filing Date for Applications: October 19, 2017
Application Screening: October 25, 2017
Panel Interviews: November 2, 2017

Effective July 1, 2014, the County of San Mateo will no longer require job applicants to disclose conviction history information until after the applicant successfully completes all examination phases for the recruitment. All passing applicants will receive instructions by email only from Human Resources staff to complete and submit a conviction history questionnaire online within a specified deadline of two business days.  Failure to do so within the timeframe will disqualify you from the rest of the process.  Please visit this link at to find out more information about the conviction history questionnaire so that you can prepare accordingly.

Note: Positions in criminal justice agencies currently required by law to pass background checks are exempted from this bill, and applicants may be required to submit conviction information at the time of application.
County of San Mateo is an Equal Opportunity Employer

HR Analyst: Lucy Fung (092917) (Telephone Operator - E480)


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