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The recruitment process for becoming a firefighter

There are six stages in the recruitment process, which are highlighted below:

You can also see a brief summary of the stages of the recruitment process on our webpage: Timetable of the recruitment process.

Please note, when you apply you will be able to see a more comprehensive account of the recruitment process.

Stage 1 - Eligibility questionnaire

The questionnaire is divided into three elements.

First element

The first element requires you to give some personal details and register with us. You will then be presented with details of the firefighting role and asked to consider how the role meets your expectations in terms of working environment and future career. You will also be asked some basic questions to ensure that you are eligible to apply. As part of your eligibility assessment, we will

  • Whether you are over the age of 17 years and 6 months.
  • Whether you have the right to work in the UK.
  • Whether you have any unspent criminal convictions.

At the end of this element you will be advised as to whether you are eligible to continue with your application or not. Please be aware once you have completed the first element there may be a wait between this and Element 2 becoming live and able for you to complete.

The timeframes for the first element can be seen below:

  What is involved? How long will it take? When will I need to do it?

Element 1
Online registration

Registration realistic, job preview and Eligibility check

You should allow approximately 30 minutes to complete all three parts.

Between the 1 May and 31 May 2018.

It is important to note that you can complete this or any of the online stages at any time during the timescales highlighted (i.e. day or night).

You will need to have your National Insurance number available to be able to register as well as your e-mail address. The system will communicate with you using the e-mail address that you provide during the registration.

If you do not complete the online registration, you will not be able to access the subsequent elements and progress within the campaign. You will only be able to register with us once during this recruitment campaign so please ensure the details you give are correct as you will be unable to amend them after they have been submitted.

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Second element

The second element is a Behavioural Styles Questionnaire (BSQ), which explores your preferred behaviours in a working environment. No revision or additional study is required for this element.

 What is involved?How long will it takeWhat will I need to do it?

Element 2

Behavioural Styles Questionnaire (BSQ)This assessment is not timed. You should allow approximately 15-20 minutes to complete in a quiet location.Between 5 June and 10 June 2018.

Third element

The third element is a Situational Judgement Test which measures your judgement and decision making skills in situations that are typical in the Fire and Rescue Service. No knowledge or experience as a firefighter is required to complete this test and no prior revision is needed.

  What is involved? How long will it take? When will I need to do it?

Element 3

Situational Judgement Test (SJT) This assessment is not timed. You should allow approximately 30 minutes to complete in a quiet location. Between 12 June and 17 June 2018.

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Stage 2 - Ability tests

If you meet the requirements at Stage 1, you will be invited to complete the ability tests. These tests will open on 19 June 2018 and close on 24 June 2018.

This stage involves completing a series of tests which are detailed below:

Numerical reasoning

This test measures your ability to understand, interpret and logically evaluate numerical information. You will be presented with graphs, charts and numerical details and required to make calculations on the information presented.

Practical reasoning

This test measures your ability to apply general mechanical principles that supports practical problem solving. You will be presented with a series of diagrams and asked to answer questions to demonstrate your understanding of the mechanical principles applicable.

Verbal reasoning

This test measures your ability to understand and interpret written information. You will be presented with a passage of text and asked to answer questions to demonstrate your ability to interpret and analyse verbal information.

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Stage 3 - Fitness tests

If successful following the online assessment stages as detailed above, you will be invited to attend a fitness assessment during July and August.

In addition you will be required to perform an 'aerobic' fitness test to predict your aerobic capacity (in mlsO2/kg/min). This allows us to assess your ability to perform exercise for longer periods which is important for safe firefighting. The minimum requirement for candidates at recruitment is 42.3 mls/O2/kg/min (equivalent to level eight shuttle eight on a bleep test). If you progress to medical you may be required to demonstrate this level of fitness again on a treadmill walk test to ensure that you have maintained the appropriate level of fitness.

Firefighting can be a physically demanding and hazardous activity with potential for exposure to high physiological and environmental thermal loads. To ensure effective and safe operational performance an appropriate level of physical fitness is essential.

Healthy weight

A healthy weight is important because underweight, overweight and obesity, can have an adverse effect on firefighting performance, safety and on general health. Height and weight measurements and the calculation of Body Mass Index (BMI) are in the majority of cases a suitable means of confirming the weight category of individuals. The following table identifies the relevant BMI ranges and the associated weight categories.

  BMI (Kg/m2)
Underweight Less than 18.5
Healthy weight 18.5 - 25
Overweight 25 - 30
Obese More than 30.0

Your BMI may be measured as a part of the fitness assessment, the Medical or both of these stages of the Recruitment process.

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Stage 4 - Physical assessment

If successful following the fitness testing, you will be invited to attend a physical assessment during July and August.


Your level of physical fitness will be determined by measuring your performance during a number of physical and practical firefighting tasks.

The tests is designed to assess your level of physical ability in line with requirements of the role. Details of the physical fitness and healthy weight requirements, along with the physical and practical tests are given below.

National Firefighter Selection practical tests include:

  • Equipment carry.
  • Confined space exercise.
  • Casualty evacuation exercise.
  • Ladder climb.
  • Ladder lift (simulated).
  • Equipment assembly.

Stage 5 - Interview and presentation

If you meet the requirements at Stage 4, the physical assessment tests, you will be invited to complete an application form. The application form will be sent to you between August and September.

Applicants selected for interview will be informed in September with further information and requested to book an interview and presentation session.

At interview stage you will be assessed against the person specification as outlined in the job profile above. The interviews will take place between September and October.

Please note: These dates are provided to you at the start of the recruitment process. If you are unable to make any assessment or training dates, unfortunately we will not be able to continue your recruitment process.

Stage 6 - The medical

Firefighters may be exposed to extreme physical and psychological demands in hostile and dangerous environments. In order to comply with relevant statutory provisions, and national guidance the medical screening for Firefighters is rigorous. Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, the Fire and Rescue Service must reduce risk so far as is reasonably practicable. This means a medical condition giving rise to reasonably foreseeable occupational risk would not be acceptable.

Medical suitability is determined by an individual assessment. For practical reasons, this cannot be undertaken until the later stages of the recruitment process. The nature and effect of medical conditions may vary. It is therefore not possible to confirm medical conditions that would be unacceptable prior to an individual medical assessment. However, if you have a medical condition or a history of a medical condition which might present problems, the following general guidance should help you consider your medical suitability before applying.

A medical condition or functional limitation which, despite any reasonable adjustments, gives rise to an increased occupational risk of the following is unacceptable:

  • Sudden collapse or sudden incapacitation.
  • Impaired judgement.
  • Altered awareness.
  • Substantial physical injury/ill health.
  • Psychological injury/ill health.
  • Any other effect which would pose a substantial health and safety risk to yourself or others.

The individual assessment will involve due consideration of any opinions or medical reports you may wish to submit. However, the decision on the significance of any risks identified will rest with the Fire and Rescue Services.

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Following on from all of the above selection processes, any offer of employment is conditional upon receipt of satisfactory references and vetting checks. Should the service receive unsatisfactory reference/s or vetting checks, the offer of employment will be withdrawn.