Pre-Employment Process

All applicants must submit a City of Marshalltown application when the position has been posted. A basic criminal history background investigation will be conducted as applications are received. Applicants who are eligible for consideration will participate in Communication Operator Testing.

911 Zone Test

A 911 zone test is an assessment tool that provides an atmosphere similar to a communication center environment. The test is fast paced, involves listening to audio, taking notes and answering questions related to the audio. In some scenarios the data is written directly from the audio onto paper and note taking is not allowed. During the assessment, you will hear information commonly heard during 911 calls and radio traffic, such as letters, numbers, and colors commonly found in vehicle plates, vehicle descriptions and addresses. 

We are interested in how accurately you can gather and relay that information. The exercises are fast-paced; you will not get a second chance so it is imperative to keep up. Work hard and be tenacious in your concentration. Do not focus on just one element. Accuracy is a primary concern and your score is a combination of the correct answers minus the answers you answer incorrectly. To be successful you must stay calm, focused and organized. Use abbreviations that you understand to help speed up note taking. Listen carefully, do not insert information into calls that was not said or is untrue. Do not make assumptions; only write down what you actually heard. The communications center can be a noisy, stressful environment with a lot of background noise. We have multiple radio audio and phone audio coming in simultaneously. You must be able to multi-task. 

You may want to prepare yourself at home by listening to the radio, television and working on the computer, and talking on the phone all at the same time. Training your body and mind to listen carefully to details and be able to sort through information coming from multiple places is the best way to practice.

Completion of the Test

Upon successful completion of the 911 Zone Test, interviews are conducted, followed by a typing test. These scores are compiled to certify a potential hiring list by the Civil Service Commission. Further background investigation and medical exams are completed before any final employment offer.