Skip to main content

Recruitment and selection process

The following sections are designed to give you an indication of the recruitment process, what to expect and what will be required of you. The selection process spans a set period and is broken down into stages.

Application process

The first stage of the process is to apply online. Visit our Apply for on-call page to download an application form. If you have any questions please contact our recruitment team on 01480 444500.

The application process consists of:

  • Application form
  • Availability form (to show which hours you are available to be on-call)
  • Diversity monitoring form

Once your application has been submitted and accepted you will be sent an email advising you of the next steps including arranging a suitability meeting and fitness test. During the recruitment process you will be asked to provide documentary evidence which proves your right to work in the UK. Details of what we can accept as proof of right to work in the UK are outlined here.


Watch our short animation below to learn what 'availability' means to us. Please note, since this animation was created we have launched a new day time contract with a minimum commitment of 24 hours plus 2 hours for drill night a week. This must be between the hours of 7am-7pm Monday - Friday. This contract is great for people who work nearby but might not be in the Town or Village longer than 49 hours a week.

Suitability meeting and fitness test

Once we have reviewed your application form and hours of availability, you will be invited to attend a suitability meeting and carry out the fitness test (Chester Treadmill Test) at your home station.

The Chester treadmill walking test was designed specifically for fire and rescue services by a professor of occupational health and fitness at the Centre for Exercise and Nutrition Science at Chester University.

The object of the test is to measure the Aerobic Capacity (Vo2 Max) of candidates. Aerobic fitness is the ability to carry out activities in all aspects of your social and occupational life without causing undue fatigue. This is a 12 minute progressive treadmill walking test to identify individuals who are capable (or not) of reaching the required fitness standard of 42 Vo2 Max. The test consists of walking at a specified and constant brisk pace to climb gradually increasing gradients from 0 to 15 degrees incline.

You are required to wear suitable clothing and trainers to complete the test. A document to assist you in preparation for this test can be found here.

Online aptitude test stage:

Once your predicted availability has been approved you will be invited to complete 3 online assessments. 

This stage involves completing a series of two timed and one untimed test which are detailed below and will take approximately 1 hour in total to complete:

Verbal Reasoning

For the Verbal Reasoning test you will be presented with a passage of information, followed by four statements. For each of the four statements you must select one of the following answers from the drop-down box: Definitely True, Probably True, Insufficient Information, Probably False or Definitely False

Numerical Reasoning

For the Numerical Reasoning test you will be presented with numerical information in the form of either a graph, table or infographic, along with three related questions. Referring solely to the information provided to answer each question. You are permitted to use a calculator for this test. 

Perceptions Situational Judgement

For the Perceptions Situational Judgement test you will be presented with an overall scenario, and several potential actions based on that scenario. For each action, you will need to rate the effectiveness of that action in addressing that scenario by selecting one of the following ratings from the drop-down box: Very Ineffective, Ineffective, Fairly Ineffective, Fairly Effective, Effective, Very Effective.

If you have previously completed the written assessment or online aptitude tests, either as part of the On-call recruitment process or a previous Wholetime recruitment process, you will not be required to complete them again.

Assessment stage:

If you are successful at the online tests you will be invited to attend an assessment day which will include the physical tests, interview and uniform fitting.

The assessment days are held at the Training Centre in Huntingdon and have been developed and specifically designed as single person tests.

The physical tests aim to assess your level of fitness, strength, stamina, co-ordination and manual dexterity. The tests also look at your ability to work at heights and in darkened confined spaces as well as your level of confidence in simulated exercises. These tests are designed to reflect operational practice.

You will be provided with personal protective equipment to complete the tests.

A fitness information pack to assist you in preparation for these tests can be found here. The tests take around two to three hours in total to complete.

There are currently seven point of entry tests. Videos explaining and demonstrating each of the exercises can be viewed here, along with some ideas on how you can maintain and improve your fitness, strength and stamina

Medical and eyesight assessment stage:

If you are successful at the assessment stage you will be invited to attend a medical assessment with the Service Doctor and Occupational Health Team. This will take approximately 1 hour in total to complete. There are some medical conditions that may have an impact on your application. Download this document to find out more.


The purpose of the medical is to assess the general level of health, including weight, blood pressure and lung function to allow the Service doctor to make an informed medical decision as to whether a candidate is fit to undertake firefighting duties, allowing for any reasonable adjustments that may be made in accordance with the Equality Act 2010. Candidates will also have a hearing, eyesight and urine test.

A report may also be required from a hospital where you have received treatment or an independent specialist if the Service doctor requires it. Your consent is required to access these records and in order for you to complete the selection process it is necessary that this consent is given as requested.

Eye test

Prior to attending this appointment, candidates should visit the opticians for an eyesight test. The visual entry standards for firefighters are as detailed below:

  • The applicant MUST have a minimum uncorrected distance visual acuity of 6/18 in the better eye and 6/24 in the worse eye.

  • Have a corrected visual acuity of at least 6/9 binocular with a minimum of 6/12 in the worse eye and read N12 at 30cm with both eyes open. Please note applicants can use glasses of an appropriate specification on the fire ground should they be needed to obtain this standard of vision.

  • Have normal binocular visual field determined by confrontation techniques or formal testing methods.

Please click here to download the optician form.