CalJOBS Security is a Mess

After years of spending summers doing research and some consulting, the economic situation in California has gotten so bad that I’ve been searching for contracting opportunities.  One resource is the Employment Development Department (EDD) of the state of California. EDD runs a web site for job seekers and employers called CalJOBS (their capitalization, not mine).  A recent security upgrade, however, has made it impossible for at least one user (me) to log in at all.

The new web site requires a user name and password.  There are restrictions on both the name and password.  The user name must be 6 to 11 alphanumeric characters.  So far so good.  The password must be 6 to 8 characters.  Only after you enter the password (twice) and the answers to your two security questions (see below) do you see this:

**Password must contain 3 of the following 4 items:
1) capital letters A-Z,
2) lowercase letters a-z,
3) numbers 0-9,
4) special characters ! # $ % ? + – _ @ **

Then you are asked for the answers to two security questions.  I have no idea who made up these questions, but they are just plain bizarre.  Here they are:



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Even worse, the answers to all the questions are blacked out.  You have to answer each security question twice, but you’re SOL if you manage to make the same typo twice.  Here’s what the screen looks like:



If you make a mistake, you’re really out of luck.  The web site instructs you to call EDD at (800) 758-0398.  If there are any human beings behind the voicemail, I haven’t found them yet.

To top it all off, when you try to submit a description of the problem you’re likely to get this error:



No wonder the state unemployment rate is still in double digits.

About Tony Lima

Tony Lima has been working with technology, economic modeling, forecasting, and market research for 40 years. His background makes him uniquely qualified to navigate this varied landscape. Begin with his education: B.S. in chemical engineering from M.I.T. , M.B.A. from Harvard, Ph.D. in economics from Stanford. His day job was professor of economics at California State University, East Bay. He retired in 2016 to devote his time to consulting and writing. But he has found time to: write (eight books and over 100 articles ranging from wine economics to detailed analyses of meta-language code generators) consult with companies ranging from Microsoft to CEDEX keep his expertise up-to-date, constantly reading and sorting through the avalanche of information available daily maintain three blogs: Wine Research, Wine Economics, and Economic Policy Local policy analysis: Los Altos

4 Replies to “CalJOBS Security is a Mess”

  1. guest

    well i have a huge problem i forgot the answers for my security questions it sucks big time idk what to do ….. why cant we use our e-mail and a freakin normal password uuuugh

    1. Tony Lima Post author

      Best thing to do: write CalJOBS. Send them an actual s-mail letter. It worked for me, but you’ll probably have to wait a week or so for a callback. If you have a friend that trusts you, get them to set up an account, then use their account in the meantime. (That may violate a law or regulation — you’re on your own if you follow that advice.) – Tony

  2. DeAngelo

    OMG I’m going through the same thing!!! I call the number to caljobs and it doesn’t even ring, as if it were an invalid number! what the deuce!!??

  3. Susan Wolbarst

    You’re right. It’s a TERRIBLE user interface. I took their “survey” yesterday to answer their question: How are we doing? Bad idea. Even the survey is frustrating, as they severely limit the length of answers and won’t allow “invalid characters” such as apostrophes. I was trying to complain about the resume section. I followed their steps to enter a resume in CalJobs, a precondition for collecting unemployment, and they had such strange character limitations that one of my former job titles came out as Strategic Marketing Initiatives M (instead of manager) despite plenty of space on the line. And when I wrote company’s, the resume program changed it to companys. As I’m a writer, I can’t afford typos in my resume. Luckily, CalJobs lets a person check a box so no employer can actually SEE the resume. I checked it…Why they can’t let an applicant ATTACH his or her existing resume is beyond me.


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