Firefighter Recruitment - The Selection Process

When recruiting firefighters, we often get asked how the selection process works. Check out our handy guide on what to expect...

Stage 1: Online Application

This requires you to provide personal information, including work experience, qualifications and answer specific role related questions.

To ensure fairness, managers shortlisting application forms do so without access to personal information.

You can watch a video on how to complete the application below.         

The video below shows how an application form can look generally and provides support around filling in each section. It may be that you are asked to complete a single supporting evidence section or a number of smaller sections. Please ensure that each section outlined on your form is completed as necessary.

Stage 2: Functional Fitness Tests

Fitness tests include:

  • Equipment carry and casualty evacuation
  • Ladder lift
  • Lateral pull down
  • Seated or standing shoulder press
  • Chester treadmill run test
  • Equipment assembly
  • Ladder climb
  • Confined space

You can find out further info and watch videos of what to expect at the physical assessments on our website here. 

Stage 3: Assessment Centre

This is usually half a day in duration and consists of three to four exercises, with a combination of both group and individual exercises. Our biggest piece of advice for this part of the process is to be yourself.  If you’re invited to this stage of the process, we already think you have the potential to be a firefighter and we want to get to know you better! You will be assessed against our organisational values and key firefighter role competencies.

Stage 4: Interview

You will be interviewed by a panel of Senior Officers and a representative from Human Resources. During the interview, we’ll ask you a number of questions to assess what skills and experiences you can bring to the role. We’ll also have a discussion as to why you wish to become a Firefighter and what has attracted you to this career. You’ll also have the opportunity to ask any questions to the panel so that you can find out all about us.

Stage 5: Swimming Test & Pre-Employment Checks

The swimming test is a 50 metres swim unaided, using front crawl stroke. This is to ensure applicants are confident and safe in water. This takes place in cold, open water conditions wearing personal protective equipment.

Pre-employment checks also includes a health screening and medical assessment, large goods vehicle (LGV) medical, enhanced disclosure barring service check and references.

Final Stage: Offered a place on a recruit course

If successful in the selection process, you will be offered a place as a Recruit Firefighter on a 16 week recruit training course. You will commence a level 3 Operational Firefighter apprenticeship programme which will take up to two years to complete. At the end of the recruit training course, you will pass out as a Firefighter in Development. The video below shows you an overview of the recruit course.

Please note: The information on this page is correct at the time of publication (March 2024)