Do you want to apply for a Wholetime Firefighter position but don’t quite know where to start? Our step by step guide to the Greater Manchester FRS Firefighter Recruitment Process is here to help you through the process!
Step 1 – Registering Interest
Greater Manchester are slightly different from other FRSs as they stipulate that you MUST complete a ‘Taster Day’ as part of your application.
These days let you get hands-on experience of the equipment a firefighter works with on a daily basis, and drills covering some of the most challenging areas of the role. They’re a great way to find out if you’re as suited to the job as you think.
You’ll have to register your interest for the taster session online, and answer a few basic screening questions to prove that you’re eligible for the role and that you understand the basic requirements. If your details fit, you’ll be sent an invitation to attend the taster day.
Register as soon as possible as spaces are limited, and it’s a first come, first served basis!
Step 2 – The Taster Day
The taster day will run for the whole day, from 9.00 – 16.30. You must attend at your given time and date, and it’s important to be punctual!
You’ll be told what you need to bring along with you document wise, and protective clothing (PPE) will be suppled.
After registering you’ll be split into groups and take part in the following activities:
- Physical Taster Session (Including the ‘bleep test’ and practice NFSP Physical tasks like a dummy drag, or casualty evacuation)
- Functional Skills Practice Test in Maths and English skills
- Recruitment Talk
- Question and Answer Session
You’ll receive feedback on your performance and on successful completion of the day be eligible to apply for a wholetime firefighter position.
Step 3 – The Application Form
If you’ve successfully completed the taster day you’ll receive and email confirming this which you’ll need when you come to apply online. You’ll be emailed a link to the application form directly from the recruitment team so make sure you keep an eye on your spam folder just in case it slips through!
The application form contains the following sections:
- Personal details
- Education and Training
- Employment History
- FRS Employment History (if you’ve been a Firefighter, or applied previously)
- Support Requirements/Disability Declaration
- References (One must be from your current employer, if you have one)
- Declaration of any offences
- FRS Core Values
- Personal Statement – How you meet the PQAs
Applications will be shortlisted ‘blind’, which means the recruitment team will remove any information related to age, sex, gender or ethnicity, and your application will be considered based only on your skills, character and experiences.
Step 4 – The Assessment Centre
If your application is shortlisted you’ll be invited to take part in the first testing stage, fitness and functional abilities.
This is the ‘real’ version of what you experienced on the Taster Day!
The 20 metre ‘bleep test’ will on this occasion be run under assessment conditions, with a minimum pass mark of level 8.8.
Those successful in the bleep will sit both and Maths and English functional assessment. These assessments will be sat by everyone regardless of previous qualifications, and are designed to help the recruiters understand your current learning level.
Step 5 – Physical tests
If you’re successful in the fitness and functional tests there are also various physical tests you’ll have to pass – fitness is a crucial part of the Firefighter role!
These are made up of activities designed to assess your fitness, strength, stamina and coordination, as well as seeing how you cope with tricky situations you might encounter on the job such as heights and enclosed spaces.
You’ll receive an email with the time, date and location.
The physical tests include:
- Enclosed Space Test
- Ladder Climb
- Casualty Evacuation
- Ladder Lift
- Ladder Extension
- Equipment Carry
- Equipment Assembly
You’ll be supplied with the appropriate protective clothing.
Step 6 – The Interviews
If you make it through the physical assessment tests you’ll be invited back to the assessment centre for the final stage, a series of group and individual interviews and assessments.
The individual interviews are completed ‘pod style’. Each ‘pod’ will have a minimum of two assessors, and you will answer a different question in each pod. You will have 10 minutes to answer, and will continue to move round each pod until you have completed all questions.
In these types of interview you’ll be asked questions relating toy our behaviour on certain occasions or in specific circumstances, which you’ll then need to provide evidence for by using concrete examples from your past work and life experience.
This is your best chance to convince the panel that you are the candidate that they want to employ.
Again, it’s really important that you prepare adequately for the day – forewarned is forearmed!
Spend a bit of time thinking about what you might be asked, and write down your responses so that they’re fresh in your mind before the interview.
For the group tasks you can expect to be assessed by role play, group discussion or presentation exercises. Don’t worry – if it’s something you have to prepare for (like a presentation) you’ll be told beforehand!
You generally won’t have long to wait before the FRS informs you if you’ve got the job! They will let you know either way, but even if you haven’t made it on this attempt you’ve done amazingly well to get so far.
If you’re successful at the interview day and have been offered the job, there are some final checks that the FRS will need to run.
You’ll be asked to attend a medical assessment with the Occupational Health department.
The medical is a general assessment to check that you’re fit for firefighter duties, and includes looking at your:
- Lung function
- Grip strength
- Blood pressure
The final pre-employment checks will involve checking the information on your application form, contacting your references, and performing a standard criminal record check.