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The recruitment and selection process for becoming a wholetime firefighter

There are five stages in the recruitment and selection process, which are highlighted below:

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

Stage 1 - Application and online ability tests

Once you have clicked- 'apply online' through our website and have filled in the required information you will be send straight through to the online ability tests.

Dependability and safety questionnaire.

Once the advert campaign closes, successful applicants at the previous stage will be sent a link to the first element of the assessment to complete the Dependability and Safety Questionnaire.

Situational judgement assessment

Once this has been completed, successful candidates will be sent a link to complete the second element of the assessment which is the Situational Judgement assessment.

This 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.

Following these tests, you will need to complete a series of tests which are detailed below:

Verbal reasoning

This test has a maximum time limit of 15 minutes to complete. 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.

Numerical reasoning

This test has a maximum time limit of 18 minutes to complete. 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.

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

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Stage 2 - Fitness and physical testing

If successful following the online assessment stages as detailed above, you will be invited to attend a fitness and physical assessment. These are due to take place in January 2020.

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.

'Have a go' sessions

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a firefighter? Now is your chance to find out.

In order to support candidates who are going through the selection process we will be running 'have a go' days at Reigate and Guildford.

Our 'Have A Go' sessions will give you some practical hands-on experience of what being a firefighter entails, and can provide some guidance on how to help you achieve your fitness goals.

Please click the links below to book on to one of our fitness sessions:

Healthy weight

A healthy weight is important because underweight, overweight and obesity, can have an adverse effect on a firefighters performance, safety 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 fitness assessment, the medical examination or both of these stages of the recruitment and selection process.


Your level of physical fitness will 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 in line with requirements of the role.

The National Firefighter Selection 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 invited to an interview.

Applicants selected for interview will be asked to book a date for an interview.

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 - Appointment

Following on from all of the above selection processes, any offer of employment is conditional upon receipt of satisfactory references and an enhanced DBS check. Should the Service receive unsatisfactory reference/s or enhanced DBS disclosure, the offer of employment may be withdrawn.

Stage 5 - 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.


Wednesday 20 November 2019Advert goes live
Midnight Sunday 24 November 2019Advert closes for applicants

Friday 20 December 2019

Applicants commence SHL Firefighter talent screening test

Successful applicants at the previous stage are sent a link to complete the SHL Verbal Reasoning Assessment

Successful applicants at the previous stage are sent a link to complete the SHL Workplace Safety questionnaire

Successful applicants at the previous stage are sent a link to complete the SHL Calculation Assessment

Email sent to successful applicants with info and request to book session for fitness and physical test

Wednesday/Thursday 8/9 January Tuesday/Wednesday 21/22 January 2020Fitness and physical test takes place
W/C Monday 27 January 2020Invites to interview sent out
Monday 10 February – Friday 28 February 2020Interviews and presentations take place
Wednesday 11 March – Friday 18 March 2020Email to successful applicants with provisional offer of employment or placed in a pool
W/C 23 March - 09 April 2020Medicals take place followed by references and DBS for successful applicants
Tuesday 26 May 2020Training course starts

Files available to download