The recruitment process can take between 4 and 6 months, and involves various phases of testing.
Before you start
Your first step is to complete an online application. Before you start your online application you need to have the following ready to go:
- Electronic file of current resume with a full work history
- Scanned copy of current drivers license
- Your Health Care Card number (if applicable)
- Current CFA volunteer number (if applicable)
Read and comply with the following policies:
Candidates must be prepared to undertake testing on weekdays and weekends to be held in Melbourne.
There are 13 stages of the recruitment process outlined below:
- Online Application
- Written Selection
- Group Assessment
- Medical Clearance
- Voluntary PAT – Practice Session
- Shuttle Run
- Personality Profile
- Physical Aptitude Test
- Selection Interview
- Pre-Employment Medical Assessment
- Selection Process
- Offer of Employment
- Victorian Career Firefighters Course
Applications are accepted via an on-line portal.
Please ensure that you have read and understand all stages of the recruit selection process and comply with the minimum entry requirements including Criminal History and Driver History policies before submitting an application.
Written selection test
The written selection test is designed to assess your suitability to undertake the academic content of the recruit firefighter course, in addition to your ability to deal with the subsequent demands of the job.
The tests comprise a number of elements including verbal reasoning, numerical reasoning, abstract reasoning and mechanical reasoning, which measure general abilities such as problem solving, critical thinking, deduction and logical reasoning.
The Vocational Selection Test (VST) was developed and is administered by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER). The cost to undertake the written selection test is $176.00 (including GST).
Payment is not required when completing the online application, however, once applications have closed, you will be contacted via email to register for the written selection test and make payment to ACER.
Please note, the application fee is paid directly to the written selection test administrator, ACER (Australian Council for Educational Research). MFB/CFA does not receive any of this fee/payment.
Current CFA volunteers and candidates, who hold a current health care card, will not be required to pay for the written test. This exemption may be reviewed prior to the commencement of future campaigns.
The written selection test is multiple-choice format, with pen and paper, and comprises the following core subjects:
- Verbal reasoning – measures how well you understand and interpret written passages
- Quantitative reasoning – measures your numerical skills with questions using maths in an everyday context
- Abstract reasoning – measures your ability to identify and complete sequences and patterns
- Mechanical reasoning - measures your ability to understand basic functioning of mechanical devices
To be selected to progress to the next stage of the selection process candidates must achieve a pass at the VST.
The following information is provided to assist in preparing for the above tests and should be used as a guide only.
As all of the tests are timed, it is important to allocate sufficient time to each question to ensure that the maximum number of questions are answered.
The skills assessed by the vocational selection tests are learned over time through different types of experiences; the best preparation is to read widely and think critically. It may also be beneficial to refresh your knowledge of arithmetic principles and practice calculations, without using a calculator.
In addition, there are a number of websites and books relating to career selection tests, which provide practice items and hints on how to better prepare and improve your exam technique.
Practice material can help candidates become more familiar with the multiple-choice format of the questions on the vocational selection tests - please refer to the Vocational Selection Test (VST) Candidate Information Booklet.
The group assessment component of the firefighter recruitment process is designed to assess those competencies that are seen as important for recruit firefighters. The competencies that will be assessed are detailed below:
- Verbal communication
- Written communication
- Problem Solving
The group assessment consists of a series of short activities that provide candidates with the chance to display the above competencies in a variety of situations. These activities include:
- Personal introduction
- Group discussion
- Individual presentation
- Problem solving activities
- Written Incident Brief
Each candidate is assessed on the relevant competencies in each of the exercises and are assessed by the selection panel. Panel members are looking at your ability to talk and engage with your peers, how you interact with others, and your ability to interpret information received.
There is no requirement for prior knowledge regarding the activities undertaken, as full instructions will be provided on the day. However, applicants can prepare for these activities by practicing the following:
- Communication skills (both written and oral)
- Presentation skills
- Team work skills
- Writing skills
Prior to undertaking the physical fitness stages of the selection process, you are required to consult with your own medical practitioner in order to complete a medical clearance form.
This form confirms that you are physically fit and able to undertake the physical fitness elements (physical fitness shuttle run and physical aptitude test) of the selection process.
This medical clearance is not a pre-employment medical; candidates will be required to undertake a pre-employment medical prior to being offered employment.
Any candidate who deliberately supplies false, incomplete or misleading information in an attempt to gain employment will be automatically disqualified from further consideration for employment.
Voluntary Physical aptitude test - practice session
Candidates are offered the opportunity to attend a Physical Aptitude Test (PAT) practice session.
The PAT practice session is designed to raise awareness of the physical requirements and techniques necessary to successfully complete the PAT.
If you choose to attend, operational training personnel will guide you through the PAT course, demonstrating each activity and provide tips on technique to assist in completing the task. You will also have the opportunity to practice specific tasks as well as ask questions.
The PAT practice session is conducted at Victorian Emergency Management Training Centre (VEMTC) – Craigieburn and attendance is voluntary.
Shuttle run (beep test)
Firefighters are required to maintain a high level of cardiovascular fitness to ensure they have the physical and mental capacity to perform firefighting tasks for long periods. As part of the application process, candidates are required to undertake a physical fitness (shuttle run) test designed to measure their level of cardiovascular fitness.
The shuttle run test involves running continuously between two points that are 20 metres apart. These runs are synchronised with a recording, which beeps at set intervals. As the test proceeds, the interval between each successive beep decreases, requiring the candidate to increase their speed over the course of the test until level 9.6 is achieved. The test will take approximately nine minutes to complete and comprises of 78 single shuttles.
Guidelines for the physical fitness and firefighting aptitude tests have been created to assist candidates to physically prepare for the fitness tests, however, candidates can use their own fitness programs can also be used.
In addition to undertaking running training, in preparation for this stage, we recommend candidates specifically practice the shuttle run. Copies of the ‘multi-stage shuttle run’ (beep test) test can be found on the internet.
Candidates who use any of the exercise training programs in this guide should obtain a medical clearance from a doctor before commencing.
Personality profile (CPI)
All candidates are required to undertake a psychological questionnaire, which takes just over one hour and consists of a series of true/false questions. This is scheduled on the same day as one of the other assessments.
As the results are processed by an external provider, you will be asked to provide your consent for your test information to be passed on.
Any candidate who has previously been notified by the MFB that their application did not progress to interview as a result of their psychological profile will now be eligible to reapply for future recruit firefighter processes.
The selection interview seeks to gather further information regarding a candidate’s suitability for the role of a firefighter. Questions asked at interview are designed to assess your understanding of the role, the qualities and skills you possess.
As part of your research you are welcome to contact a fire station/s for information gathering purposes, however candidates are kindly asked to limit the number of station visits.
The interview will comprise of both general and behavioural-based questions. The behavioural questions allow you to demonstrate your knowledge, skills and attributes, through examples of past behaviour.
This technique is based on the assumption that past behaviour predicts future behaviour. For example, you may be asked to demonstrate how you have dealt with a challenging or complex situation, what the outcomes were and what you have learnt.
It is recommended that you provide your response in the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) format.
Situation: Briefly describe the background, situation or issue.
Task: Explain what needed to be done to address the problem or complete the task and what was required of you.
Action: Explain the action undertaken and why you took that course of action. Include information on any difficulties or problems faced.
Result: What was the result of the actions? What was learnt as a result of the situation?
Suggestions for preparing for the selection interview include:
- Think critically about the role and what skills, abilities and qualities you would think would be necessary to perform the role.
- Draw on past experiences that demonstrate strengths applicable to the position
- Brainstorm a number of examples that you can draw on from both your personal and professional life that demonstrate your strengths, abilities and skills.
- Practice structuring responses to possible questions based on the above elements
- Perform mock interviews and role play scenarios with family and friends.
Pre-employment medical assessment
Prior to an offer of employment being made, candidates will be required to undertake a comprehensive pre-employment medical examination with the Brigade Medical Officer.
Candidates are required to meet standards of medical fitness for firefighters and complete a drug screen in accordance with the drug policy.
Conditions, including but not limited to asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, hearing or eyesight disorders (including colour blindness) may result in you being deemed unfit to undertake firefighting duties.
If you believe you have a particular condition that may prevent you from being granted medical clearance and you wish to clarify this prior to submitting your application, please contact:
Public Health Management
St Kilda Road Medical Centre
Level 1, 391 St Kilda Road
During this stage, applicants that are recommended at the selection interview will undergo reference checks, driving history checks, police checks, a pre-employment medical check and lastly be fitted for their uniforms.
Offer of employment
A candidate selected for employment will be made a formal offer of employment in writing, including details on when and where to commence training as a recruit firefighter.
Successful candidates will be expected to attend an induction evening prior to the commencement of the recruit course.
Upon acceptance of the offer of employment candidates who do not possess a heavy rigid (HR) driving licence will be required to obtain one prior to commencing employment.
Candidates will be contacted regarding arrangements to undertake heavy rigid driver’s licence test at a recommended VicRoads accredited driving school.
Victorian Career Firefighters Course
Candidates who accept an offer of employment will be required to undertake a 20-week recruit training course at the Victorian Emergency Management Training Centre (VEMTC) in Craigieburn.
The hours of work during training will be a rotating shift of four days on and four days off over an eight-day cycle, between the hours of 07:00 and 17:00, including weekends (unless otherwise advised).
CFA recruits will be offered accommodation whilst attending VEMTC training facility. MFB recruits may be offered accommodation subject to meeting eligibility criteria. The course is not a live-in program and recruits may be required to arrange their own accommodation where necessary.
The recruit course is an intensive training program that can be both physically and mentally demanding. Successful completion of all components of the course is mandatory in order to achieve the level of competence required to operate safely and effectively as an on shift firefighter.
The Victorian Recruit Firefighting recruit course is comprised of endorsed industry standards and is based on units from PUA20601 Certificate II in Public Safety (Firefighting & Emergency Operations) and PUA30601Certificate III in Public Safety (Firefighting & Emergency Operations) including enterprise specific training.
|Applications open||12th February 2018|
|Written selections testing||March 2018|
|Group assessment||March 2018|
|Practice PAT||March/April 2018|
|Shuttle run||April 2018|
|Physical aptitude test||April/May 2018|
|Selection interview||May/June 2018|
|Offer of employment||July 2018|
|Course commencement||July/August 2018|