The application process

Fire and Emergency New Zealand

The application process

Firefighters earn respect by protecting communities and gain responsibility through continual learning and development. They’re part of a tight crew who have each other’s backs, no matter what they're facing. 

This is why we have such a thorough application process. We need to ensure we pick the best people for the job – it can be the difference between life and death. 

The application process includes the following steps and each step must be completed before progressing to the next step:

1. Complete an online Expression of Interest

Applications open throughout the year - check out our Facebook page for up to date information on when applications will open. 

We want to know why you are interested in this career and what have you done previously? It doesn’t matter if you don’t have any firefighting experience, but getting a feel for the role by trying out first as a volunteer firefighter can assist you.

Once we've received your application, we'll review your information and see if it's a good fit.

2. Attend an Open Day

If shortlisted, you'll be invited to an Open Day on station to find out more about the organisation, the role, the application process and tests.

You'll also have an opportunity to try out some of our equipment, the fitness test, and ask actual firefighters any burning questions you may have.

3. Take the tests

If you're still interested after attending an Open Day then you will need to answer a few more questions before you commence the following tests:

  • Cognitive test: An online test that includes a mix of abstract reasoning (problem solving) questions. We've provided some practice questions to help you prepare.
  • Pre-entry Physical Test (aka PPT): A physical test with job related tasks, aerobic, strength and endurance tests. Part of the test includes seeing if you have a fear of heights and can work in confined spaces. 
  • Practical Assessment Centre (aka PAC): A range of rapid-fire tests to view your problem solving, teamwork and communication skills. It will also include a more detailed supervised cognitive test, which will incorporate verbal and numerical questions.

All tests are pass/fail. If you pass all three, you'll move onto the formal interview.

Testing dates

Testing occurs around the country throughout the year, including weekdays, on weekends and some evenings during the summer months.

We'll let you know where and when you can book in via our website, Facebook or email after we have received your expression of interest.

4. Attend a formal interview

Finally, you'll have a behavioural and situational based interview with an interview panel that may include your new boss, HR partners and other senior station officers. 

This interview will take about 1 hour and we'll be asking questions on the following competencies:

  • Background (Motivation for your application)
  • Problem Solving
  • Perseverance
  • People Relationships
  • Managing Diversity
  • Composure
  • Ethics and Values

Check out some tips on how to prepare for the formal interview. 

5. Undergo checks 

Police check 

If you make it to the interview stage, we'll need to complete your police check at the same time.

Make sure there are no surprises at this point by requesting a copy of your own police check before commencing the application process. The Ministry of Justice website has information on getting a copy of your criminal record

Medical check

If you do well at the interview stage, we also need to check if you are suitable for a role as an operational Firefighter, and to investigate any potential health related issues prior to employment.

A full medical examination will be arranged and paid for by us with your usual Doctor or medical centre. You can find more information about the medical check here.

6. Talent pool and offer stage

Once you've passed all the above steps, you'll be placed into a Talent Pool until the next available vacancy comes up near you. 

You can remain in the talent pool for up to 12 months before you have to start the recruitment process again.

We'll then be in touch to let you know when and where our vacancies are based and see if the timing suits. If it does – great!

We'll need to do the last remaining check and contact two referees (one needs to be your current boss) before we can send you an official letter of offer, uniform ordering form and book you into a 12 week training course at our National Training Centre in Rotorua. 

Didn’t get an offer?

Didn't manage to get through to the offer stage the first time you apply? That's OK. This is a unique career and it can take some time to fully prepare for it.

Feel free to ask us for feedback if you're stopped at any point so you can come back and try again. We like motivated and proactive candidates who strive to continually learn and grow, as this is key for all our firefighters. 

We don’t give up when the going gets hard, so we hope you don’t either. 

7. Attend a 12-Week training course

Training courses normally commence in January, April and September each year. But don’t worry – we'll keep in touch with you throughout the process to do our best to meet your preferred start date wherever possible. 

Sometimes though we do need people sooner rather than later and if the dates don’t suit you we may have to offer your position to someone else who can start when needed.

The 12-week training course is the most challenging but the most rewarding part of the whole process. It includes studying and practising to develop the mental and physical toughness needed to start work as a firefighter.

We put you up for the duration. Hearty meals and accommodation is provided.

Final acceptance is dependent on successful graduation.