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On-Call Firefighter Recruitment Process

Dare to be different - V2

There are eight stages to the recruitment process for on-call firefighters:

• Stage 1 - Online application form

• Stage 2 – Suitability interview

• Stage 3 – Online psychometric tests

• Stage 4 - Practical assessments

• Stage 5 - Interview

• Stage 6 – Medical, Fitness tests

• Stage 7 – Pre-employment checks

• Stage 8 – Training 

Stage 1 - Online application form

The first step to becoming a firefighter starts with our online application form. This is where you fill in your personal details and explain how you meet the eligibility criteria.

You must fully complete all sections before submitting the application, it is important you complete the availability section accurately.  The application form provided is the only accepted format of application; therefore please do not email a CV or covering letter with your application.

If you have any questions or queries about the application form please email recruitment@bedsfire.gov.uk.

Stage 2 – Suitability Meeting

This will be with the Station Commander, Watch Commander or Crew Commander and will review key details of your application form such as, cover hours being offered. The meeting will also cover key requirements of an On-call Firefighters role and Service expectations.

Stage 3 – Online psychometric tests

This stage involves completing two timed assessments, you will require internet access from a computer to complete the assessments. 
You will be emailed a link to complete the assessments from our provider SHL, please check your junk mail as these emails sometimes end up in there.

The two tests are as follows - 

Verbal Reasoning
Verbal tests are designed to measure your ability to understand written information and to evaluate arguments about this information. 

Calculation tests are designed to assess your understanding of mathematical equations and your ability to solve problems.

Extra time can be added if a candidate has special requirements.  These should be identified on application in order to assist making the appropriate arrangements. Statements should be submitted to recruitment@bedsfire.gov.uk  

Practice tests are available online at the following location -https://www.shl.com/shldirect/en/practice-tests/ 

Hints and tips 

• It is a time bound test so ensure that you have no distractions whiles completing the test.

• Ensure you complete the practice tests first 

• If the test freezes, contact the recruitment team immediately or in the morning if you have done the test late at night. 

• Ideally use a computer to carry out the test 

• Ensure that you have a pen, paper and calculator to hand when you complete the test

• Ensure you are in a quiet room/area away from distractions

• Consider completing the two tests at separate times

If you are successful at this stage of the process your application will be passed for an eligibility assessment. 

Stage 4 - Practical assessments

The next stage of the process is to invite successful applicants to a practical assessment session. Each session will take approximately 1.5 hours to complete. 

The role of a firefighter is physically demanding and so it is important for us to assess your ability to handle the situations and challenges you will face.   

Once you have arrived and signed in you will receive a briefing. For the assessments you will be wearing full fire kit including helmet, tunic, leggings, boots and gloves. You will begin the session by completing a warm up before undertaking the practical tests. There will be 7 practical assessments. These will include:

• Ladder Climb - This aims to test your confidence with heights.

• Casualty Evacuation - This aims to test your upper and lower body strength as well as your co-ordination.

• Ladder Lift - This aims to test your upper and lower body strength as well as your co-ordination. 

• Confined Space - Working in enclosed spaces is sometimes required when working as a firefighter. This test is designed to test your confidence, agility and stamina working in these conditions.

• Equipment Assembly - This test is designed to assess your manual dexterity and co-ordination.

• Equipment Carry - This aims to test your upper and lower body strength as well as your co-ordination. 

• Ladder Extension – This test aims to test your upper body strength and your co-ordination. 

(Click on each title to view a short video about each assessment) 

Stage 5 - Interview

Upon successfully passing the practical tests you will be invited to attend an interview.  

Applicants will undertake a structured interview based on the firefighter job description and person specification.  The interview will last for approximately one hour and will be held virtually via Microsoft Teams.

A preparation booklet will be emailed to you when you are invited to this stage.

Stage 6 – Medical and fitness test


We need you to take a full medical assessment prior to joining us. We will need you to meet the nationally agreed health and fitness standards for the physically demanding and potentially hazardous role of a firefighter and to ensure the safety of yourself and others.
The assessment will be conducted at our Occupational Health Unit at our Headquarters in Kempston.

The tests that will be completed on the day will include:

• A check of your blood pressure and pulse

• Checks of your height, weight and body mass index

• A hearing test

• A vision test 

• A test of your lung function

• A drugs and alcohol test

Fitness Test

The aerobic fitness test will comprise of undertaking the Chester Treadmill Walk test.  More information can be found here: http://www.cfoa.org.uk/18322 You must complete this 12 minute test to achieve an aerobic fitness level of 42 VO2 max.

Stage 7 – Pre-employment checks

You’re almost there! We will now need to check your references.  We will also need to carry out an enhanced check under the Disclosure and Barring Service and complete a DVLA check. These checks will be carried out by the HR team.

If these clearances are deemed satisfactory at all of these areas you will be offered a place on the training course subject to there being a place available.

Stage 8 – Training 

You have made it! You will now begin initial modular training course to become a firefighter. Further details of what this training will involve are detailed below:

• Pumps and ladders

• Breathing apparatus and fire behaviour

• Road traffic collision

• Trauma care

• Hazardous materials

• Specialist rescue

The course will be over a 12 week period involving a variety of day and evening sessions. Further information regarding the next on-call modular course can be requested from Recruitment.


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