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The recruitment and selection process for becoming a wholetime firefighter

Coronavirus update

Subject to the ongoing situation, it's essential that we continue recruiting safely. Therefore, interviews and communication will be virtual wherever possible and this will be communicated to you directly by the hiring manager.

Please also expect that advert closing dates and interview dates may change as required. We still continue to welcome applications for our current roles and wish you the best of luck with your application.

We would welcome applications especially for our most critical roles to ensure we're supporting our residents

There are five stages in our recruitment and selection process for the role of firefighter, which are highlighted below:

Stage 1 - Application and online ability tests

Once you apply online via our recruitment hub on our website and complete the required information, you will be sent to the online ability tests which are:

  • Dependability and safety questionnaire
  • Situational judgement assessment - 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.
  • Verbal reasoning - 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.
  • Numerical reasoning - 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.

Please note: candidates will be asked to complete a verification test during the recruitment process. This will be a shorter version of the above tests and will be conducted under supervision. This will ensure that the assessment is of the candidate's genuine ability and you have not been unfairly advantaged by receiving significant help from others.

Stage 2 - Fitness and physical testing

If successful following the online assessments, you will be asked to book a date to attend a fitness test and physical assessments.

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 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 a firefighters performance and 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:

Weight 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 medical examination.

Physical assessments

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

The tests are designed to assess your level of physical ability, aptitude and manual dexterity in line with requirements of the role.

The National Firefighter Selection physical and practical tests include:

(The YouTube videos above are from the Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service official channel).

Stage 3 - Interview

If you meet the requirements at Stage 2 you will be asked to book a date for the interview assessment.

At the interview stage you will be assessed against the person specification as outlined in the job profile (attached below) as well as the Leadership Behavioural framework.

Stage 4 - Medical examination

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 Service.

Stage 5 - Appointment

An offer of employment is conditional upon receipt of satisfactory references and a basic DBS check. Should the Service receive unsatisfactory reference or DBS disclosure, the offer of employment may be withdrawn.

'Have a Go' sessions

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a firefighter?

In order to support candidates who are going through the recruitment and selection process we are planning to run 'Have a Go' days. Our 'Have A Go' sessions will give you some practical hands-on experience of what being a firefighter entails and will provide some guidance on how to help you achieve your fitness goals.

Further information including dates and locations of forthcoming events will be published here and on social media (Facebook / Twitter) a little later in the year.


To be confirmed at the next recruitment campaign.

Files available to download