9252 Communications Specialist

Recruitment #PBT-9252-080613



This announcement has been amended and extended to reflect changes with the Filing Deadline.  Applicants who already applied under Recruitment PBT-9252-080613 during the filing period July 27, 2020 through August 6, 2020 need not reapply and will be included in the applicant pool. This announcement may close at any time but not before August 31, 2020.


8/6/20: Extended application deadline to Continuous

This is a Position-Based Test conducted in accordance with Civil Service Rule 111A.


There are three (3) positions located in the Administration Department at the Human Services Agency (HSA) in the City and County of San Francisco. Descriptions for each are below.


The San Francisco HSA is charged with building well-being in our communities and ensuring that all San Franciscans can reach their full potential. Our 2,200+ employees provide a range of services to approximately 200,000 diverse San Franciscans, including: low-income individuals and families trying to access medical insurance, food, and cash assistance; aging adults and children who are victims of neglect or violence; parents seeking affordable childcare; veterans; and older adults and people with disabilities who need support to live at home. Our work depends on a close partnership with over 150 dedicated community organizations, and you, by joining our team in the Agency’s Communication’s Office.

Why Join the Communications Team?

HSA is at an exciting juncture in our communications work.  We are in the process of building a new communications team and infrastructure to make our critical services more accessible to the public. 

Over the coming months and years, we will:

  • Launch a new agency brand and visual identity;
  • Develop internal and external communications plans with targeted, data-driven outreach campaigns and materials;
  • Overhaul our major collateral materials to describe a holistic set of services;
  • Make our quality human services more accessible to the public; and
  • Move toward a more digital, online delivery system of support.

Our communications team is responsible for connecting San Franciscans to vital social services and keeping the public informed regarding public assistance, such as the Affordable Care Act, CalFresh food assistance, early education, and local services to support our aging population. At a time of great uncertainty at the federal level—particularly for immigrant communities—you will help shape and modernize one of the most progressive human service agencies in the Nation. Join us to help innovate communications strategies regarding a safety-net system that touches nearly one in four San Franciscans.  


The Ideal Candidate

We want talented people with diverse experiences, who are inspired by our mission. We seek those who are excellent writers and communicators, strong collaborators, and reflective thinkers to join our growing team. We want creative, flexible, and analytically minded individuals who can communicate the compelling story of our work through clear, accessible collateral materials, social media, and engaging data visualizations for print and the web.  We need people who are self-motivated to get the job done, are able to build relationships, and manage a variety of communications projects across the HSA.


Position appointments for this recruitment will report to the Director of Communications and include the following specialized roles:


  • External Communications
  1. Develop public relations and marketing programs that support HSA’s brand strategy objectives, engage the public, and identify innovative methods to bring targeted messages to market;
  2. Design and implement high-impact marketing campaigns targeted to San Francisco residents— both internally managed and in collaboration with external vendors and partners;
  3. Create informative and visually compelling content across distribution channels (websites, social media, out of home campaigns, and digital newsletters, ) for external audiences;
  4. Serve as a spokesperson for the Agency. Develop and maintain effective relationships with media and solicit media coverage of HSA services and programs. Write, produce, and distribute news releases;
  5. Author compelling content for marketing collateral, outreach campaigns, and talking points for internal audiences and external stakeholders;
  6. Evaluate communication campaigns for effectiveness with the goal of increasing access and enrollment in HSA’s array of programs;
  7. Serve as liaison between Agency staff and community groups, providing accurate public, stakeholder, and community information, including crises management communications;
  8. Represent the Agency at various community, organizational, and governmental meetings.


  • Social/Digital Media
  1. Lead social media strategy with the following objectives: brand awareness, stakeholder engagement, cultural competency, and outreach to San Francisco’s many diverse communities;
  2. Manage HSA’s social media channels, content requirements, and ongoing refinements that help connect San Franciscans to vial social services programs;
  3. Create informative, user-focused, and visually compelling content across internal and external communication channels (web, social media, and intranet);
  4. Manage content calendars to ensure our website and social channels remain fresh and engaging;
  1. Evaluate organic and paid social marketing campaigns for effectiveness with the goal of increasing access to our services;
  1. Incorporate learnings from analytics into the development of content;
  2. Lead the work of in-house and agency resources for graphic design, photography, video production, and copywriting.


  • Internal Communications
  1. Deliver integrated internal communications and change management activities that create a culture of innovation and community among employees in HSA’s three City Departments;
  2. Develop plans and messaging for critical Agency initiatives and updates, such as organizational changes, human resources policies, crises, etc.;
  3. Lead internal communications campaigns, innovative ways to engage employees and formulate a compelling vision for change that is in tune with public sector culture;
  4. Develop, write, and edit communications for HSA executives, commissioners, and program management, including organizational and business process narratives, talking points, emails, employee profiles, articles and presentations;
  5. Facilitate processes to identify communications needs within various HSA programs; provide guidance, coaching, and support to leadership and management about effective communications;
  6. Direct the strategy and day-to-day management of internal communications channels; serve as the content manager and editor for HSA intranet;
  7. Develop and facilitate employee surveys, focus groups and related feedback loops;
  8. Coordinate and execute logistics around employee events (social events, town halls, meetings, opportunities for recognition);
  9. Identify and implement appropriate metrics that evaluate the success and impact of internal communications strategies and initiatives;
  10. Oversee work of professional consultants and manage vendor relationships.


A Few Reasons You Might Love This Job:

  1. We have a compelling mission at a historic moment in our Nation;
  2. We do transformative work in moving people out of poverty to economic security. We want San Franciscans to know our story; and
  3. We have committed, smart colleagues (who also happen to have a sense of humor).


A Few Challenges You Might Face in This Job:

  1. We’re building a new communications infrastructure from the ground up which will take time and dedication from our communications professionals to be successful;
  2. We have a large number of programs and services that span three City departments. There are competing priorities to manage throughout our strategic communications planning processes; and
  3. Our work is often impacted by shifting political priorities and policies at the local, state, and national level.


Minimum Qualifications

1. Education: Possession of a Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited college or university in Journalism, Communications, Public Administration, Business, or a related field;


2. Experience: Three (3) years of professional experience working in the field of internal communications, public affairs, public information, or public relations unit. Experience must include one (1) year of professional experience in social media, digital engagement, or web content management. 

Substitution: Additional experience as described above may be substituted for the required degree on a year for-year basis (up to a maximum of two (2) years).  Thirty (30) semester units or forty-five (45) quarter units equal one (1) year.

  • Desirable Qualifications:

The stated desirable qualifications may be used to identify job finalists at the end of the selection process when candidates are referred for hiring.

  1. Exceptional written and oral communications skills. Ability to refine complex subjects into coherent and easy-to-understand language.
  2. Effective media relations skills to engage with editors, reporters, and journalists in the regional market and national media.
  3. Direct experience in strategic communications project management: vendor selection, exceptional organizational skills, and experience managing multiple projects (timelines, budgets, priorities) simultaneously.
  4. Experience managing employee engagement and recognition initiatives, and development of internal communications plans in an organization of 2,000+ employees.
  5. Execution of social media strategy and campaigns, both paid and organic.
  6. Ability to work independently and within a team; demonstrated experience working collaboratively with cross-functional teams.
  7. Ability to shape organizational needs into a speech or narrative.
  8. Relationship and consensus building skills.



Applicants may be required to submit verification of qualifying education and experience at any point during the recruitment and selection process. If education verification is required, information on how to verify education requirements, including verifying foreign education credits or degree equivalency, can be found at https://sfdhr.org/how-verify-education-requirements

Note: Falsifying one’s education, training, or work experience or attempted deception on the application may result in disqualification for this and future job opportunities with the City and County of San Francisco.

**Applicants must meet the minimum qualification requirement by the final filing date unless otherwise noted. **

How To Apply

Applications for City and County of San Francisco jobs are only accepted through an online process. Visit www.jobaps.com/sf to register an account (if you have not already done so) and begin the application process.

  • Select the desired job announcement
  • Select “Apply” and read and acknowledge the information
  • Select either “I am a New User” if you have not previously registered, or “I have Registered Previously”
  • Follow instructions on the screen

Computers are available for the public (from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday) to file online applications in the lobby of the Dept. of Human Resources at 1 South Van Ness Avenue, 4th Floor, San Francisco.

Applicants may be contacted by email about this announcement and, therefore, it is their responsibility to ensure that their registered email address is accurate and kept up-to-date.  Also, applicants must ensure that email from CCSF is not blocked on their computer by a spam filter.  To prevent blocking, applicants should set up their email to accept CCSF mail from the following addresses (@sfgov.org, @sfdpw.org, @sfport.com, @flysfo.com, @sfwater.org, @sfdph.org, @asianart.org, @sfmta.com, @sfpl.org, @dcyf.org, @first5sf.org).

Applicants will receive a confirmation email that their online application has been received in response to every announcement for which they file.  Applicants should retain this confirmation email for their records.  Failure to receive this email means that the online application was not submitted or received.

All work experience, education, training and other information substantiating how you meet the minimum qualifications must be included on your application by the filing deadline.  Information submitted after the filing deadline will not be considered in determining whether you meet the minimum qualifications.

Applications completed improperly may be cause for ineligibility, disqualification or may lead to lower scores.

If you have any questions regarding this recruitment or application process, please contact the exam analyst Ivy Yeung by telephone at 415-557-6205, or by email at Ivy.Yeung@sfgov.org.

Selection Plan

Supplemental Questionnaire Examination (Weight: 100%)

Selection Procedures

Minimum Qualification Supplemental Questionnaire (Weight: Qualifying):

Candidates will be prompted to complete a Minimum Qualification Supplemental Questionnaire as part of the online employment application. This Minimum Qualification Supplemental Questionnaire is designed to obtain specific information regarding an applicant's experience in relation to the Minimum Qualifications for this position. Applicants must also complete the official application. It is essential that applicants provide complete information in identifying their education, experience and training. The Minimum Qualification Supplemental Questionnaire will be used to evaluate if the applicant possesses the required minimum qualifications.

Supplemental Questionnaire Examination: (Weight: 100%)

Applicants who meet the minimum qualifications will be eligible to have their Supplemental Questionnaires scored. The Supplemental Questionnaire must be completed and submitted at the same time as the online application. The Supplemental Questionnaire has been designed to measure knowledge, skills and/or abilities in job-related areas which may include but not be limited to: knowledge of communications principles and practices; ability to exercise independent judgment; knowledge of industry regulations; interpersonal skills; written and oral communications ability.


The certification rule for the eligible list resulting from this examination will be Rule of the List.  Additional selection processes may be conducted by the hiring department prior to making final hiring decisions.

Eligible List/Score Report:

A confidential eligible list of applicant names that have passed the civil service examination process will be created, and used for certification purposes only. An examination score report will be established, so applicants can view the ranks, final scores and number of eligible candidates. Applicant information, including names of applicants on the eligible list, shall not be made public unless required by law. However, an eligible list shall be made available for public inspection, upon request, once the eligible list is exhausted or expired and referrals resolved. The eligible list/score report resulting from this civil service examination process is subject to change after adoption (e.g., as a result of appeals), as directed by the Human Resources Director or the Civil Service Commission.

The duration of the eligible list resulting from this examination process will be six (6) months, and may be extended with the approval of the Human Resources Director.

Upon approval of the Human Resource Director (see Civil Service Rule 111A.26.5), the eligible list/score report resulting from this announcement may be used by other departments that also use this classification or a similar classification. To find other Departments which use this classification, please see https://sfdhr.org/sites/default/files/documents/ASO-Level-Chart.pdf?documentID=21246.

Conviction History

As a selected candidate for a job, you will be fingerprinted, and your fingerprints will be sent to the California Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The resulting report of your conviction history (if any) will be used to determine whether the nature of your conviction (or arrest, in limited circumstances) conflicts with the specific duties and responsibilities of the job for which you are a selected candidate. If a conflict exists, you will be asked to present any evidence of rehabilitation that may mitigate the conflict, except when federal or state regulations bar employment in specific circumstances, such as:

  • Candidates for positions with the Unified School District and the Community College District may be disqualified from consideration should their conviction history not meet the standards established under the California Education Code.
  • Candidates for positions with the Recreation and Park Department may be disqualified from consideration should their conviction history not meet the standards established under California Public Resources Code 5164.

Having a conviction history does not automatically preclude you from a job with the City.

If you are a selected candidate, the hiring department will contact you to schedule a fingerprinting appointment.

Disaster Service Workers

All City and County of San Francisco employees are designated Disaster Service Workers through state and local law (California Government Code Section 3100-3109). Employment with the City requires the affirmation of a loyalty oath to this effect. Employees are required to complete all Disaster Service Worker-related training as assigned, and to return to work as ordered in the event of an emergency.


Terms of Announcement and Appeal Rights: Applicants must be guided solely by the provisions of this announcement, including requirements, time periods and other particulars, except when superseded by federal, state or local laws, rules or regulations. Clerical errors may be corrected by the posting the correction on the Department of Human Resources website at www.jobaps.com/sf. The terms of this announcement may be appealed under Civil Service Rule 111A.35.1. The standard for the review of such appeals is ‘abuse of discretion’ or ‘no rational basis’ for establishing the position description, the minimum qualifications and/or the certification rule. Appeals must include a written statement of the item(s) being contested and the specific reason(s) why the cited item(s) constitute(s) abuse of discretion by the Human Resources Director. Appeals must be submitted directly to the Executive Officer of the Civil Service Commission within five business days of the announcement issuance date.

Copies of Application Documents: Applicants should keep copies of all documents submitted, as these will not be returned. Additional information can be found at: https://sfdhr.org/information-about-hiring-process#copies

Reasonable Accommodation Request: Information on requesting reasonable accommodation for persons with disabilities can be found at: https://sfdhr.org/information-about-hiring-process#applicantswithdisabilities

Clerical Errors: May be corrected by the posting of the correction on the Department of Human Resources website at: https://sfdhr.org/information-about-hiring-process#announcementsdefinitions

General Information: Concerning City and County of San Francisco Employment Policies and Procedures: http://www.sfdhr.org/index.aspx?page=20

Driver’s License requirement: Most positions require a valid California’s driver’s license: https://sfdhr.org/information-about-hiring-process#license

Veteran’s Preference: https://sfdhr.org/information-about-hiring-process#veteranspreference

Right to Work: All persons entering the City and County of San Francisco workforce are required to provide verification of authorization to work in the United States. https://sfdhr.org/information-about-hiring-process#identification


The Human Services Agency of the City and County of San Francisco shares a commitment to a diverse, inclusive, and equitable community. Each member of our organization is responsible and accountable for promoting success, being compassionate, and ensuring that everyone has a voice to make San Francisco an inclusive and equitable place to live and work by employing fair and just practices to and for all.


Exam Type: Entrance
Issued: July 27, 2020
Micki Callahan, Human Resources Director
Department of Human Resources
Recruitment ID Number: PBT-9252-080613
HSA/IY/ 415-557-6205


All employees hired on or after January 10, 2009 will be required (pursuant to San Francisco Charter Section A8.432) to contribute 2% of pre-tax compensation to fund retiree healthcare. In addition, most employees are required to make a member contribution towards retirement, ranging from 7.5%-13.25% of compensation. For more information on these provisions, please contact the personnel office of the hiring agency.

For more information about benefits, please click here.


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