What to Expect in a Fire Recruitment


What to Expect in a Fire Recruitment

One fire recruitment tip we have for firefighter candidates who want to gain traction in a Canadian fire service recruitment is to understand the fire rescue services recruitment process.

Most fire and rescue services host in-person or online recruitment information seminars. Cities also post recruitment guides and valuable information related to their fire recruitment processes on their websites. Be sure to take part in a city’s fire recruitment information seminar to introduce yourself to the members of the fire department that you are applying to and to get the information you need to move forward in the fire recruitment process.

Generally, after submitting an application and a subsequent application screening, fire recruits are asked to write a firefighter aptitude test or written firefighter exam. Fire recruits might also be asked to complete a personal characteristics assessment before moving on in the city’s fire recruitment process.

Firefighter Aptitude Tests

The specific firefighter aptitude test and personal characteristic assessment a fire-candidate writes depends on the recruiting city, so the name(s) of the test(s) that the city is using is important information to know.

Here is a list of the most common Firefighter Aptitude Tests and Personal Characteristics Assessments written in Canada:

  • Firefighter Aptitude and Character Test (FACT test, OFAI test) – This test is currently used by Ontario Fire Administration Inc. (OFAI)
  • National Fire Select Test (NFST test)
  • Cooperative Personnel Services Test (CPS test, CPS Aptitude Examination) – This test is part of the four core tests used by Firefighter Services of Ontario Ltd. (Ontario Fire)
  • Occupational Specific Firefighter Test (OSFF test, OS test, Gledhill Shaw test)
  • Emotional Stability and Resiliency Assessment (ESR)

The CPS test, FACT test, and the NFST test all have Reading Ability questions, Mathematical Ability questions, Map Reading questions, and Human Relations questions. Get acquainted with answering these types of firefighter test questions first.

Then, study the other testing components that are specific to the firefighter test for which you are preparing:

  • Understanding Oral Information – CPS test
  • Writing Ability – FACT test, NFST test
  • Spatial Reasoning – CPS test, NFST test
  • Mechanical Aptitude – CPS test


The fire recruitment process and the test itself can change from recruitment to recruitment. Firefighter aptitude tests can also be customized by the city. For example, the CPS test could exclude the Human Relations questions if the firefighter candidate is also asked to write the OS test.

When to Start Preparing for a Firefighter Aptitude Test

Your time is valuable, particularly when cities move quickly through their recruitment processes. A firefighter candidate might only have a few weeks to prepare for a written aptitude test after submitting a firefighter application. Popular times for Canadian firefighter recruitments are in the spring and fall months.

The majority of fire-candidates we see are capable of passing firefighter aptitude tests, but they do not give themselves enough time to adequately prepare for them. Two weeks is not enough. Knowing this, don’t wait for an open recruitment to prepare for a firefighter aptitude test. Study continuously throughout the year to develop your academic skills and practice answering firefighter aptitude test questions. Contact us today to learn more now.


“Proper preparation and planning prevents poor performance” (British Army adage).

If you are looking for more information on the Canadian firefighter recruitment process, or if you are looking for reputable services that will assist you in the firefighter recruitment process after passing your aptitude test, check out our Firefighter Recruitment Services Network. Our recruitment services network is made up of fire service businesses that are owned and operated by professional firefighters. Start networking now.

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