Firefighters 650 x 333The Firefighter hiring process can be long and complex. There are several phases to the hiring process and unfortunately many aspiring candidates have no idea where to begin or how to improve their chances for success. If you are serious about a career in the fire service, you need to meticulously plan for each phase of the hiring process.

In the Fire Service, we try to leave as little to chance as possible. We train, we drill, we continually check our equipment and we plan ahead. We “preplan” for fires and incidents by visiting sites of potentially large or complex incidents, so we can map the facility and plan for the potential hazards we’ll encounter, resources we’ll need and the actions we will take. We call this a “PreFire Plan” or “PreIncident Plan.” In essence, we are “PrePlanning” for success. You should do the same.

If you are committed to a career in the fire service, there is a very high probability you will go through some or all of the various phases of the hiring process. If you want to be a career firefighter, why not start thinking and acting like one now? Take control of the variables that are within your reach and “PrePlan” for success. The firefighter hiring process can be broken down into several chronological steps or phases. The following is the most typical order of the phases; however, some departments my reorder the phases or omit some all together.

  1. Apply for the position.
  2. Take the written exam.
  3. Take the physical agility test.
  4. Participate in the initial personnel interview.
  5. At this point the ranked hiring list should be established with the candidates who have passed the previous phases. If you pass the previous phases with a high enough score, you will now: Complete your background investigation packet.
  6. Participate in the background interview and possibly a polygraph, depending on the department.
  7. Participate in the Chiefs’ interview.
  8. Obtain your preliminary job offer and Academy instructions.
  9. Go in for a pre-employment physical.
  10. Start your Academy.

In most cases, you must successfully pass the previous phase before moving on in the hiring process. If you fail to pass or fail to score high enough in any phase, you will be dropped or bumped over in the hiring list. Fortunately, the phases of the hiring process are fairly universal and with a little “PrePlanning,” your odds of success will greatly increase. We have broken down each phase of the firefighter hiring process to give you a better understanding of each one, what to expect from them and how to prepare for them.