The old spoils system of political patronage is alive and well in President Carter's White House.

It may be a bit more scientific, a bit more computerized, than in past administrations. But as always, those who benefit are those who supported the President when he needed them - in this case, Carter election campaign and transition team workers.

For about two weeks, Carter aides have been sending the names of such loyal supporters to various government agencies with instructions, in the words of one White House aide to "take a serious look at these people . . ."

A source who asked not to be named, but who said she is "involved in the process," said the instructions generally indicate the White House would "appreciate i if you'd place these people if you could, and if you can't place them permanently, place them for 90 days" in Schedule C appointments, which are exempt from Civil Service requirements.

The names come from a master list, dated Feb. 1, that contains about 500 such supporters who want government jobs.

The Washington Post has obtained a copy.

The list includes codes to indicate who in the White House recommended the applicant, his or her first, second and third job choices, desired salary, race, sex, and the urgency of each individual case.

The White House and agency officials deny rumors that the agencies are under pressure to hire any of the former Carter workers, or have been given oral quotas with instructions to fill them even if they have to create jobs to do so.

"What really must be borne in mind is that many of the people the White House had referred are the best people for the jobs," said Health, Education and Welfare Secretary Joseph A. Califano, Jr.

Nevertheless, the names being sent out from the office of White House Personnel Director Jim King are clearly more than just another list of applicants.

"We're just asking that each department give a good look at these people and treat them with some consideration and compassion," said James Gammill, an aide to King.

Sources said the President's Chief aide, Hamilton Jordan, who is listed in the White House telephone book as a "political coordinator," has a lot to do with what is said to various agencies about the names referred to them. Jordan was unavailable for comment. ammill said about 200 names have been sent out so far, with every Cabinet-level agency getting some.

The White House puts no pressure on the agencies to hire anyone from the list, Gammill said, but he admitted that "I don't know all the directives" that have been sent out.

At least one directive came from much higher authority than Gammill.

Jack Eckerd, who Friday announced his intention to quit as head of the General Services Administration after the White House told him he could not choose his own top deputy, said he had discussed the situation directly with President Carter.

It came up in a meeting Feb. 4, Eckerd said, after Carter told him that he had done well in keeping politics out of GSA and that he should continue in the job.

"I believe I told him that I knew the realities," Eckered said. "He said, yes, there would be some people from around the country that would be presented to me for some of the heads of my services. I said that would be fine as long as their resume and their background qualified them . . ."

The master list appears to be a mixed group ranging from Anne Ainsworth, whose occupation is listed as secretary and job preference as the White House, to Patricia (Patt) Derain, one of the deputy directors of the Carter election campaign, who listed no job or salary preference.

A number of people on the list have been given high-level jobs, including Derian, who is now coordinator of human rights in the State Department. Joseph Duffy, who is assistant secretary for educational and cultural affairs at the State Department, and Anne Wexler, a deputy under secretary of Commerce, are on the list even though both got their jobs before Carter was inaugurated.

Of the roughly 500 names on the document, 11 are listed as Spanish surnamed, two are Oriental, and 91 are black. At least 230 are women.

Fifty-one are listed as secretaries, while 43 are lawyers. The great majority, however, have no listing for profession.

Gammill said the White House has tried to communicate to the agencies a "tone" of ". . . we know these people, know their qualifications, and would expect that departments . . . give them a fair chance, and . . . take a serious look at their qualifications."

"We tried to make it clear that we have an interest, in the status of the referrals," he said. "If a department feels as though certain people aren't qualified, fine. We just want to know."

An aide to Califano said that as of Thursday, 48 such names had been referred to HEW, where they go through two sets of interviews, one by HEW's regular personnel department and a second by the persons handling personnel for Califano's own office.

Of the 48, the aide said, 35 have had the first interview, 24 have had both, 12 had been offered jobs, and three have been told they are not qualified for the job they are seeking.

"We do not expect to hire more people that we want," the aide said."No one will be hired here who is not qualified for the posts they are hired for," said Califano.

He said most of those hired "are being given only a 90-day Schedule C appointment," which can in some cases be renewed.

If they then decide they want an HEW career, Califano said, they are told to apply for a regular Civil Service appointment.