Application and interview tips

Are you hoping to join Avon Fire & Rescue Service as a wholetime or on-call firefighter? Follow our tips to be as successful as you can be during the application and interview process.

Application form: dos and don’ts

For those successful in the eligibility stage, you will need to progress through several more stages in the application process. These include online assessments, interviews and practical and physical tests.

While there is a lot of information on the fitness side of being a firefighter, what should you consider when moving forward with the application form?

The application form comprises of two sections:

Application form

image of application form on screen and paper

The first section captures your personal details, which includes your address and requires you to deal with your sickness absence levels in the past 12 months. If this exceeds five days, you will be asked to provide further details.

HR will review the information provided and will make a fair and consistent judgement on whether you pass this section.

Long-term absences due to operations, injuries, significant illnesses/medical conditions or life events, such as bereavement or divorce, will be considered in a positive light and it’s likely you will pass this stage.

Repeated absences over five days in a year due to minor ailments are likely to mean that you will not pass this stage.

It is essential that firefighters have good levels of health and wellbeing and a strong work ethic.

Personal statement

hands typing on laptop

The second section is the personal statement, which is up to 1,500 words.

Allow yourself plenty of time for your personal statement. We recommend drafting it in a Word document ahead of the application stage, which can then be cut and pasted into the application form. You may wish to present your statement using headings or bullet points so each part is clear.

We advise that you split your statement into two parts. One should cover your skills and experiences and the second should cover each of the values of Avon Fire & Rescue Service.

In the first part, we are looking for candidates to demonstrate the core skills required to become a firefighter, including:

Please note that this is not exhaustive. You must include evidence against each of the above and you may also wish to outline other skills and experience you feel would positively contribute to the role of a firefighter.

The personal statement also requires you to evidence how you meet the values of Avon Fire & Rescue Service. These are:

We believe it is not just what we do but how we do it that is important. Our values act as the standards of behaviour we expect from our staff. These values can mean different things to different people.

Writing examples

Your examples should highlight the required skills, experiences and values needed to become a firefighter. Think about any particularly difficult, demanding and/or challenging situations you have faced and what skills you used to overcome them.

The examples do not all have to have a positive outcome. Sometimes we learn most from situations which did not go so well. Don’t be afraid to use these if they demonstrate what you have learned and what you do differently.

Be concise and make full use of the 1,500 words. This is your chance to make your application form really stand out from the rest. A short statement is unlikely to pass.

Ask friends, family or colleagues to assist you. This will help ensure you have covered all the required points and provided the best possible examples. We sometimes undersell ourselves and lack confidence in our abilities. If you seek input from others, they may help you think of other positive examples which show your full range of skills and strengths.

Make sure to proofread your application form before submitting it. We would also recommend asking someone else to read through it as well. A fresh pair of eyes can help with your application.

Interview information and tips

Picture of woman in an interview

Congratulations! Your application has been successful, and you’ve got an interview to become a firefighter at Avon Fire & Rescue Service.

The interview lasts for one hour and will comprise of six set questions, which are the same for all candidates, and will be conducted by a panel of two members of staff. The interview panel will endeavour to help you relax and enable you to perform your best.

A link to our online booking system will be sent to you to arrange the date and time slot for your interview.

The interview is your opportunity to provide further details, examples and evidence of your skills, experiences and values and how these make you one of the best candidates for the role. You will also be expected to understand the role of a firefighter at Avon Fire & Rescue Service, and we recommend that you review our website to familiarise yourself with the work we do.

Hints and tips:

If you meet the set pass mark, we will advise you by email. We will not advise you of our interview score as this will be used at the end of the process to select the best performing candidates for the limited number of places available on the training course.

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