The firefighter recruitment process

This section guides you through the recruitment process; the process can take 4 to 8 months. To find out more about when registration opens and the timescales for the next process, please subscribe to our mailing list

All of the online stages can be completed using a computer, laptop or tablet. Please note, they are not compatible with a smartphone.

All communication will be made via email. It is essential that you monitor your emails on a regular basis to ensure that you do not miss any vital communication.

Stage 1: Eligibility and registration

The first part of the process is candidate registration and eligibility screening, which takes up to 15 minutes. To be eligible to apply you must:

  • Reside within Avon Fire & Rescue Service area
  • Be able to work in the UK without any restrictions
  • Be aged 18 or over at the start of the training school
  • If you hold a full UK driving licence you must have no more than 3 penalty points
  • If you do not hold a full UK licence, then you will need to achieve this within your probation period
  • If you are eligible to proceed with your application you will be invited to complete the Behavioural Styles Questionnaire

As part of this role, you will be required to undertake an enhanced DBS check. This will identify any spent and unspent convictions and cautions, a review of any Police intelligence and barred list.

Some spent and unspent convictions and cautions may preclude you from the role of wholetime or on-call firefighter. Should you have any questions then please contact a member of our Human Resources department: [email protected].

Stage 2: Online questionnaires

If you are eligible to apply you will receive an email with a link to the Behavioural Styles Questionnaire. The email will confirm the closing date and time. Please ensure you regularly check your emails, including trash/spam folders making sure you don’t miss the strict deadline. 

This is not a timed assessment and will take you approximately 15 to 20 minutes to complete. You will receive an email to advise if you have passed this stage. If successful, you will then be invited to complete an online Situational Judgement Test. 

Download our Behavioural Styles Applicant Guide (160kB pdf)

Situational Judgement Test 

If you pass the Behavioural Styles Questionnaire you will receive an email link to the Situational Judgement Test. Again, please ensure you check your emails so you do not miss out on this opportunity. 

This is not a timed assessment and will take you approximately 30 minutes to complete.

Download our Situational Judgement applicant guide (145kB pdf)

You will receive an email informing you whether you have been successful at this stage of the application process. If you are successful, you will then be invited to complete the online ability tests.

Stage 3: Online ability tests

These consist of two tests that are designed to measure your ability to understand, interpret and logically evaluate numerical and written information.

The numerical test comprises of 18 questions and you will have 18 minutes to complete the test. The verbal test comprises of 20 questions and there is a maximum time limit of 15 minutes.

Time extensions will be given for candidates who inform us that they have dyslexia (checks will be made at a later stage of the process to validate this).

If you pass these tests, you will be sent an email with a link to our electronic application form.

You can familiarise yourself with the ability tests by completing the practice tests below. These tests will not be recorded as part of your application.

Follow these links to access the practice tests.

Stage 4: Online application form

Before reading your application form, please read the essential criteria. We would also encourage you to familiarise yourself with our advice on completing this application, which is available on our website and given out at recruitment events. To find out more about all our events subscribe to our mailing list.

There are two sections to the application form. In the first section, you will need to provide contact details including your address which we will use to verify your eligibility to apply. It is important that the information you provide is accurate or it may affect your application.

The second section of the form is about you. This is your opportunity to tell us about the skills and experience you would bring to the role; providing examples and evidence to demonstrate how you meet our Service values.

You can prepare for this section by making a start on your personal statement. Starting it now, could help give you more time to capture information which could help with your application.

It is best to present the information in a clear and logical format using headings and bullet points ensuring your skills, experience and evidence appear clearly against each of our Service values.

It’s important you support your statement with evidence and examples throughout. For instance, ‘I work well within a team’ will not help us to assess your skills unless you have provided specific examples of how you have worked well within a team in previous roles.

Stage 5: Shortlisting

If your application is successful, we will email you. Please check spam and junk folders regularly. 

We will be extremely busy during this stage of the process and ask that you do not contact us for updates. Due to the high number of applications we receive, we are unable to provide feedback on your application.

Stage 6: Fitness and strength tests

You will be able to book the date and time slot for these tests via our online booking system. Our HR team will send you the details if you reach this stage.

Candidates who score sufficiently at shortlisting will be invited to demonstrate that they can meet the fitness and strength requirements of the role. This test will comprise of the following two elements:

  • Fitness test/run – a 1.5 mile run in timed conditions
  • Upper body strength test – a lateral pull-down of between 30kg and 60kg and shoulder press of 30kg

To find out how to prepare, visit practical physical tests.

If you pass the initial fitness test (a 1.5 mile run in timed conditions), you will then proceed to the strength tests (upper body strength tests).

If you score sufficiently, you will be invited to the next stage of the selection process – the physical tests.

Stage 7: Practical physical tests

Candidates who pass the fitness and strength test will be invited to attend the practical physical tests.

You will be able to book the date and either a morning or afternoon session using our online booking system. These tests will be conducted in small group sessions by our training team. The tests will include:

  • Ladder climb 
  • Ladder lift and extension 
  • Crawl through a small tunnel wearing breathing apparatus 
  • Dummy drag 
  • Equipment carry 
  • Equipment assembly test 
  • To find out how to prepare, visit practical physical tests.

These tests replicate the type of tasks you would be expected to undertake on the training school and within the role of a firefighter. They are designed to test practical ability and the ability to follow instructions. Some of the tests are conducted to set time constraints. All tests must be passed to move forward to the next stage of the process. You will not be advised of the results on the day. The HR team will email you to advise if you have passed or failed these tests.

Stage 8: Interview

The interview lasts one hour and will comprise of six set questions which are the same for all candidates.  

Your interview will be conducted by a panel of two members of our staff. You will be able to book the date and time slot for your interview via our online booking system. The link to this will be sent to you.

The interview panel will endeavour to help you relax and enable you to perform to the best of your ability. They will ask a range of questions to obtain as much information within the hour as possible.

This is your opportunity to provide further details, examples and evidence of your skills, experience and values and how these make you one of the best candidates for the role. You will also be expected to know about the role of a firefighter and Avon Fire & Rescue Service. It is recommended that you familiarise yourself with our website, attend recruitment events and learn all about the work we do. This will assist you at the interview stage.

If you meet the set pass mark, we will advise you by email and you will progress to the next stage. We will not advise you of your interview score. 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.

Stage 9: Job offer decisions

The HR team will review how many people have passed all stages of the process.

We will also assess any criminal conviction declarations made by candidates at the start of the process at this stage.

The top scoring candidates will be invited to attend a medical with our Occupational Health (OH) nurse. You must pass the medical. If there are any medical queries these will be escalated to our OH doctor. Their decision is final. If further medical advice is required to confirm your medical fitness for the role, this may prevent a job offer being made as we must confirm job offers quickly in order to complete the final stages of checks and uniform fittings in time for the training school start date.

If you are aware of a medical condition which may require further evidence you must contact your GP/Specialist to obtain this as early as possible. Any delays at this stage could affect our ability to offer you a post.

All job offers are made on a conditional basis, subject to receipt of satisfactory references and other pre-employment checks.

Visit our FAQs pagege for answers to common questions around our recruitment process including those regarding health conditions and requirements.

Stage 10: Firefighter training

Following your job offer, you will be invited into a 12-week intensive firefighter training course. You will also be enrolled into a Level 3 Operational Firefighter Apprenticeship, it is expected that this will take around 24 months to complete.

You can read more about the apprenticeship via this link: Level 3 Operational Firefighter Apprenticeship.

Further details will be provided at the job offer stage. Please be aware that we cannot accommodate any annual leave during training school for any reason, this is due to the intense nature of the course.

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