The firefighter application form provides the fire and rescue service you are applying for with your personal details such as work history or qualifications. The application questionnaire asks you questions about your suitability for the role of a firefighter e.g. team working etc.

You will also be asked at the application stage to complete a declaration of any criminal convictions that you have that are unspent (under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974). Any unspent convictions will be considered on an individual basis, taking into account the circumstances surrounding the offence. If you have a conviction which is now considered spent, this does not have to be declared. There are, however, certain convictions and jail terms which remain unspent for life. If you are unsure if you can apply due to a conviction, you will need to discuss this with the relevant fire and rescue service.

The fire and rescue service is guided by the Disability and Equality Act 2010, meaning that anyone who considers themselves to have a disability can apply. Part of the application form will ask if you have any disabilities and these will be looked into by the fire and rescue occupational health on an individual basis. A decision will then be made as to whether you would be able to perform the duties of a firefighter and if any reasonable adjustments are required.

Filling in your application form is probably the most important part of the recruitment process, as this is the first time the fire and rescue service you are applying for receives any information about who or what you are. However up to 90% of applicants fail at the first hurdle by not following simple instructions given in the actual form.

Application forms are designed to screen you out rather than to get you in. Because of this you need to put a lot of thought and effort into answering each question, to be competitive in your application.

Many fire and rescue services now conduct the application stage online, however the principles of filling the form in correctly are the same. The only advantage is that some fire and rescues allow you to save the form, therefore allowing you to return and continue filling it in until final submission.

Remember this is the only chance you have of getting to the next stage, so take your time and do the best you can.

The following tips will make it easier:

  • Make photocopies of the application form to practice on. Keep the original form for your final submission
  • Read through the application or form carefully making sure you understand all the instructions and all the questions
  • Draft your answers in rough first. Think carefully about how you are going to convey your skills and abilities through the questions asked, and bear in mind the research you have done on the fire and rescue service you are applying to
  • Write using capital letters only if required. The form will include instructions on how to fill in the form: Block capitals, handwriting, ink colour, etc. People often write or type without the use of capital letters in the correct places. Website forums are testament to this, just look at our own to see how many people type in modern day text speech.
  • Do not leave any blank spaces, many fire and rescue services will fail you for forgetting to put in a postcode in the right box, especially if they have asked you to supply it
  • Check spelling and punctuation, then get a friend or colleague to double check it for you, then you can complete the original form neatly in the required ink colour. The importance of correct ink colour cannot be emphasised enough. Many applications are sifted out at a glance, if completed in blue ink when black ink was specified, your asking to fail
  • With the introduction of the National Firefighter Tests, candidates are now required to provide examples of where they feel they meet the essential requirements of the role, as outlined in the trainee firefighter Person Qualities and Attributes (PQAs). Candidates who meet the essential requirements are short listed and invited to the next stage of the selection process.

The most important thing is, do not lie, you will be uncovered. If it is ever found out you have lied or even over-exaggerated, you may be dismissed. Make a copy of your completed application before submitting, it is invaluable to have a record of exactly what you said on the form for when you get called for an interview. Also make sure you get it sent before the closing date and allow extra time for slow postage and delays.

The application form must impress, if you don’t make the effort to fill it in correctly, don’t expect any fire and rescue service to make the effort to read it or invite you for the next stage.

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