Virtual Events in Firefighter Recruitment

Through the pandemic recruitment in general has been pretty much moved online, and this is true with virtual events in firefighter recruitment too.

Recruitment has been steady through out the pandemic for the Fire Service. But for the safety of candidates, things have been moved to a virtual format where possible! Of course this isn’t suitable for all elements of the recruitment process, like the physical or fitness tests, but it has been the case in interviews and other situations.

Virtual Taster Days

The taster or ‘Have a go day’ has been a part of recruitment for many FRSs for some time now. Some areas make attendance at a taster day a pre-requisite for applying.

However, these have been moved online this year, and participants are invites to listen to presentations over a group video call, and to ask any questions they may have. Usually applicants have to pre-register, and places are on a ‘first come, first served’ basis.

Other FRSs have been holding informal ‘drop-in’ zoom sessions for interested applicants in the run up to and during recruitment processes.

Virtual Interviews

These have soared in popularity during the pandemic. However, they have been on the go for quite a while, and have often been used in companies that recruit internationally or for remote positions.

Many FRSs are still choosing socially distanced and safe face to face interviews, preferring to meet candidates in person. However it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with the ins and outs of video interviews, and some best practices for doing well in them, as it’l possible they may be used more widely in the future.

They’re held on a number of platforms, from Zoom and Microsoft Teams to other providers you may not be as familiar with, and you can usually attend a video interview on any device with a front facing camera. That being said, it’s always advisable to complete a video interview on a laptop or computer where possible.

Some companies have made use of video software (HireVue is a good example here) that allows candidates to record answers to pre-set question in their own time and send them to the recruitment team for consideration. This hasn’t been used in the Fire Service yet, however. Whether it will in the future we don’t know!

Virtual Assessments

Again, these make great use of group video conferencing technology so that you are able to complete the same team tasks (like group discussions and roleplays) that you would normally complete in-person at an assessment event.

Again, these aren’t as yet widely used in the Fire Service. Partly this is because some FRSs like to set physical group tasks. But it could well be a possibility in the future.

Virtual Assessment Centres are exactly what they say on the tin – the virtual version of the real thing! They may involve other technology as well as video conferencing like instant messaging programmes, online questionnaires and web-conferencing services.


What do you think about the shift to virtual events in firefighter recruitment – is this something you prefer or do you think it’s fairer interviewing and assessing candidates in person? Comment below!

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FRS Team

Our team of experts have the many years of Fire Service experience and are up to date with the latest selection news.

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