The selection process
Recruitment banner

Recruitment update

We have had just under 800 applications to become a wholetime firefighter following our recruitment weekend.

All candidates will be informed of the outcome of their application during the week beginning 25 February. 

The selection process to become a wholetime firefighter is a highly competitive one designed to assess your fitness, resilience and both physical and personal strengths against the skills and qualities we are seeking.

If you successfully passed each stage of the selection process, you will be offered the opportunity to start training to become a wholetime firefighter.

Hose monday JPG

The process

What does each stage of the selection process entail?

Application form

When completing the online application form you will be asked to provide personal details such as your name, address, contact details, qualifications etc. You will also be required to answer the following motivational questions in support of your application 300 words per question. You may use evidence from both your personal and professional experiences.

  1. What strengths do you have that will enable you to be successful as a firefighter?
  2. How does the role of a firefighter align with your personal goals and values?
  3. What unique contribution will you bring to Hampshire Fire and Rescue?
  4. What do you expect to find most motivating about working in this role?

Make it personal

The questions are intentionally generic, so everyone can answer them.  Make your answers personal by providing relevant examples of when you have demonstrated certain strengths and how that made you feel.  Where possible please support your answers with evidence from both your professional and personal experiences.

If your application is not successful, we will contact you via email to let you know.

If you are selected to progress to the next stage of the recruitment process, we will notify you via email detailing the next steps.

Disability Confident Committed Employer

As a Disability Confident Committed Employer, we have committed to:      

  • Ensuring our recruitment process is inclusive and accessible
  • Communicating and promoting our vacancies  
  • Offering an interview to disabled applicants who meet the essential criteria for the role  
  • Anticipating and providing reasonable adjustments, as required

Please ensure that you complete the disability section of the application form so that we can treat your application appropriately.

If you are unable to compete the application form, we can accept your application in an alternative format.  Please ensure that you include a response to each of the areas covered on the standard application form.  If you need help or equipment to apply, or be interviewed, please email

We will make every effort to meet your requirements.    

Situational strength test

This online test assesses the strengths that you have against the requirements we have identified for the role. You will be asked to read a series of scenarios and then choose how you would respond in that scenario. This is not timed however we recommend you put aside some time to allow you to complete this in one sitting to achieve a true reflection of your strengths.

Verbal and numerical ability test

These online tests measure your ability to read and interpret numerical and verbal information quickly and accurately. Providing proof of GCSE Maths and English will exempt you from this stage.      

Fitness and functional assessment day

These tests are designed to test fitness and the ability to understand and apply information. They are related to the actual tasks a firefighter will have to do once appointed.

The fitness and functional assessment day will consist of 2 stages, you must successfully complete the first stage before proceeding to stage 2.

To participate in these assessments, you will be required to complete a form declaring any potential medical issues that might make it unsafe for you to participate.

The tests are timed and consist of the following:

Stage 1 - Chester Treadmill Walk Test

  • Time 0-2 minutes - treadmill gradient 0% - VO2 14
  • Time 2-4 minutes - treadmill gradient 3% - VO2 19   
  • Time 4-6 minutes - treadmill gradient 6% - VO2 25
  • Time 6-8/9 minutes - treadmill gradient 9% - VO2 31/35
  • Time 8-10 minutes - treadmill gradient 12% - VO2 36
  • Time 10-12 minutes - treadmill gradient 15% - VO2 42

You must successfully complete stage 1 to go forward to stage 2.

Stage 2 - we have provided links below to videos from our collegaues at Leciestershire Fire and Rescue to give you an idea of what to expect in the tests.

  • Ladder climb - This test involves climbing a 13.5 metre ladder and carrying out a selected task within a time limit. This test is designed to assess confidence and coordination whilst working at heights.  Candidates will be attached to  a safety  line.
  • Ladder Lift - This test involves lifting the weight of a ladder within a time limit to simulate housing a ladder back on an appliance.  This will test upper and lower body strength.
  • Enclosed Space - This involves negotiating through a measured crawl way wearing a Breathing Apparatus facemask within a set. Half the route will be with clear vision, the other half with obscured vision. You will also be required  to perform tasks during the test. This must be completed in under 5 minutes.
  • Equipment Carry - A variety of equipment will need to be carried to a fire scene. This test will be timed.
    This tests muscular strength and stamina.
    • Drag a hose reel from the appliance for 25 metres, then jog back 25 metres
    • Pick up and carry 2 coiled 70mm hoses for 100 metres
    • Carry 1 coiled 70mm hose at chest height for 25 metres, and then jog back 75 metres
    • Pick up and carry 2.4 metre suction hose and basket strainer for 100 metres, then jog back 100 metres.
    • Pick up and carry a simulated “light portable pump” for 100 metres (weighing approximately 20KGs) kettle bell to be used.
    This tests aerobic fitness, muscular strength and stamina.
    You will be given the option to complete this test with or without gloves.
  • Ladder Extension - Using a simulated ladder device candidate will need to demonstrate the ability to extend and lower a ladder safely and under control. This tests upper body strength, grip strength and coordination.

Strengths - based interview

The interview will be a strengths based interview that links to the strengths required in the firefighter role and seeks to explore whether they are something you would be good at and enjoy doing. There will be a predefined list of questions and scoring criteria to support this.

Pre-employment checks

Successful applicants will be required to attend a medical assessment. References and a Criminal Records checks will also be obtained prior to employment status being confirmed.

As the position of firefighter gives you privileged access to vulnerable groups, this means that you will be required to disclose any unspent convictions, including any driving offences. Through the criminal records checking process, we will apply for a criminal record disclosure. We will do this by asking you to complete a criminal record application.

Further support

If you require additional support, the Service will endeavour to provide this provided sufficient notice is given. Please send an email to or  tel: 07918887866 providing details of the assistance you will require.

We, as a service, are committed to a fair and transparent recruitment process, which will incorporate our commitment to ensuring we give underrepresented groups the opportunity to apply in line with our positive action statement.

This girl can

A man's job? No chance. Our firefighters come from all backgrounds. Find out more about how to get fit and ready


To be eligible to apply for a firefighter post, you must meet the following criteria:

  • It is a legal requirement to be 18 or over when you start training.
  • Be eligible to work in the UK (proof of which will be required)
  • Live in Hampshire or the Isle of Wight at the time of application (proof of which will be required)
  • Have a good standard of physical fitness
  • Have GSCE Grade C or above, or equivalent in Maths and English (proof of which will be required) or successfully complete the online verbal and numerical ability test.

Being a firefighter

It's not just any job! What will you be doing and what does it mean to be a firefighter in Hampshire?

Find out more.

Have you got what it takes?

Being a firefighter is challenging and you'll be facing situations you're not going to find anywhere else.

Find out if you've got what it takes.

Hours and pay

As you might imagine, being a firefighter isn't a 9-to-5 job.

Find out more about the pay and hours you will be working.