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The recruitment process

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

Application process

Information & practice day (Not compulsory)

You are welcome to attend an information session aimed at giving you a good grasp of what the job entails. You will have a chance to speak to current Career Firefighter’s and ask any questions you may have regarding the job.  It will have a set start time.

The practice day allows you to see the full Physical Pre-entry Test with an instructor walk through, then if time permits everyone will have the opportunity to test themselves on the course.  This is valuable to gauge where you are at physically against our requirements & allows you to tailor your training programme. See where your local Information & Practice Day is here.

1. & 2. Online Application and Shortlisting

Complete an outline Expression of Interest (EOI)

This is the application stage. Make sure you fit our entry requirements

Career Firefighter (CFF) 2nd National Round 2019 – Applications open from 1st July to 29th July 2019

3 & 4. Cognitive Testing & Psychometric Assessment

During phase 1, you will be invited to complete the following online assessments:

  1. Firefighter Talent Screener: this is an untimed assessment.  You will be presented with 20 scenarios in which you might find yourself when working as a Firefighter. For each scenario, you should imagine yourself in that situation and then choose the most effective response from the three options given.
  2.  General Ability Screen: this is a timed, 10 minute assessment that includes items that cover numerical ability, verbal ability, deductive reasoning (drawing logical conclusions from available information), and abstract reasoning (identifying patterns in nonverbal stimuli).

If you are successful in passing the Phase 1 tests, you will be eligible to start phase 2 and you will be invited to complete the following online assessments:

  1. Mechanical Comprehension: this is a timed, 15 minute assessment. Mechanical comprehension relates to the ability to understand mechanical concepts. This assessment involves interpreting images and answering short questions in relation to those images.
  2. Following Instructions: this is a timed, 8 minute assessment. You will be give information or rules about different work-related scenarios and asked to apply those rules to answer specific questions.
  3. Occupational Personality Questionnaire: you will be presented with a number of sets of statements, and in each set asked to select the statement that is most like you and the one that is least like you. There are no right or wrong answers in this questionnaire – it is measuring your preferred or typical way of working.

Preparing for the online assessments

  • Each of the timed assessments (when sent to you to complete) will provide a short practice test before starting the actual assessment. Be sure to complete the practice questions. 
  • Full length practice assessments can be found at here. This will provide you with the opportunity to get the feel for completing assessments under timed conditions. However, please note that the level of difficulty of the practice tests may not exactly reflect the level of difficulty of the test you will be asked to complete. The ‘Mechanical Comprehension Test’ and the ‘Reading Comprehension Test’ reflect some of the questions you will be asked to complete (but are not identical). Please note: Not all services offered by SHL apply to our recruitment process.
  • Before completing any of the assessments, make sure that you have set yourself up in a quiet, well-lit room that is free from distraction. Complete the assessments at a time when you feel at your best. 

Candidates will undergo a verification test at the Physical pre-entry test day. 

5. Physical Testing

Candidates interested in paid operational positions are required to pass the Physical Pre-entry Test composing of 8 job related scenarios, and 4 tests of general strength and endurance.

Candidates will be timed from the commencement of the first job related scenario until completion of the last scenario. The candidates total time must be less than 8 minutes and 15 seconds.  There will be then a 7 minute rest before commencing the strength & endurance testing.

General Strength & Endurance Tests Candidates will be required to perform shoulder presses, grip strength tests, dead lift tests, and press-ups.

Candidates will also be required to conduct a final 2 tests for:

  1. Heights – you will be expected to perform simple tasks, while working on a 10.5 metre ladder, and
  2. Confined Spaces – you will operate in a dark environment

Watch our video to see what the test entails and how to prepare.

6. Practical Assessment

The Practical Assessment Centre (PAC) is used to assess core competencies required for our firefighters, which includes:

  • Team work
  • Problem Solving
  • Communication (including delivering a 5-minute presentation on a topic of your choice)

The Practical Assessment Centre (PAC) is held at an operational Fire Station for approximately 3 hours. Candidates are assessed on the skill or attribute relevant to the individual workstations.  Some scenarios may include more than just one skill or attribute being assessed. The candidates assessment sheets for all workstations are then collated together and the scores and assessment comments are used to formulate a shortlist of candidates considered suitable for interview. 

Watch our video to see what the test entails and how to prepare. 

7. Formal Interview

Successful candidates will be invited to have a behavioural and situational based interview with an interview panel that may include the 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. 

8. Background Checks

Police vetting

During Practical Assessment Centre day (PAC) day you will have been asked to complete a Police Vetting form. If you are invited to interview this Police Check will get underway.

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 are recommended for employment and a job is available you will be asked to do a medical assessment to access your suitability for a role as an operational Firefighter, and to investigate any potential health related issues prior to employment.

A full medical examination will be paid for by us. You just have to arrange an appointment with your usual Doctor or medical centre. You can find more information about the medical check here.

Reference check

You will be asked to choose two people to be your referees. They will be asked to fill in an online reference about you. Contact details must be provided by the referees as the Region employing you may choose to call your referee to discuss your suitability.

9. Final Acceptance & 12-week course

Successful candidates are now recruits and will be invited to attend a 12 week live-in course at our National Training Centre in Rotorua. It’s vital that recruits prepare – both physically and mentally.

Please note: Before you commence your 12week training course you will be asked to attend a Physical Pre-entry test revaluation to ensure you are maintaining your fitness.

Training courses normally commence in January, April, July and September each year. We'll keep in touch with you throughout the process to do our best to meet your preferred start date wherever possible. 

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.

Watch our video to see what the course involves.


Final acceptance is dependent on successful graduation.

Watch our video to find out about life as a firefighter after graduating.