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Recruitment FAQ

1.   When will the San José Fire Department begin accepting applications for Firefighter-Recruit

 The San José Fire Department is no longer accepting applications for the position of Fire Fighter Recruit.  If you are   interested in being notified when future application or testing processes occur for this position, please click here to join the "SJFD Recruitment" News Flash email list.

The last Fighter Recruitment application process closed on May 14, 2018.

2.   If I am in the recruitment process, how will I be notified of my status/progress?

All correspondence concerning the recruitment process while it is in progress will be via email. Please ensure that you have added to your address book; the Department will not be responsible for messages missed due to spam filters.

3.   Will SJFD be accepting laterals?

No, the San José Fire Department will only be accepting applications for Firefighter-Recruit for the upcoming recruitment process.

4.   What information will be asked during the online application?

Applicants are required to provide a complete work history, and respond to the City’s standard candidate questions. In addition, candidates will be asked questions regarding how they meet the minimum requirements. Candidates must complete the entire application and respond to all questions.

5.   Should I apply for another currently open position to understand what to expect?

Each fire department has its own hiring process. For a general outline of the San José Fire Department’s hiring process, please refer to the PowerPoint presentation on our City webpage, or visit and follow the links for Recruitment > Selection Process.

6.   Does SJFD award extra hire points for persons who live in Santa Clara County?


7.   How does military experience play into the hiring process?

The City of San José has a Veteran’s Preference Policy that applies to this recruitment. To claim veteran’s preference, you must provide a copy of your honorable military discharge, Form DD214, when appearing for the written/practical examination for this recruitment.

8.   I cannot afford the testing fees. Is there any way I can get my test paid for?

If you are low-income, you may qualify for assistance with the cost of Fire-related testing. For assistance with the cost of the NTN written exam, visit and complete the Fee Waiver Application. For assistance with the Candidate Physical Agility Test (CPAT), visit to complete an application.

9.   What are the main qualities that SJFD looks for in a candidate? Personality, skills, or both?

There are several qualities that make up a highly competitive candidate. While there are many ways to measure these qualities, using certain skill-based tests during the beginning of the hiring process as well as the background investigation and written/oral psychological exams help aid the SJFD in selecting only the best candidates for the positions. Please read additional information on the qualifications.

10.   What type of experience will you be looking for in your candidates in order to be highly qualified candidates?

Review the qualifications featured on the SJFD website for information on the minimum and desirable qualifications.

11. Will letters of recommendation be considered during the hiring process? If so, when should we submit these?

You may submit letters of recommendation to the background investigator, should you reach that stage in the process.

12. What questions (PHQ) need to be date/time specific? (i.e. employment)

You will answer these questions based on your personal history from age eighteen (18) and up. Driving questions are based on your personal history from age sixteen (16), or the time that you received your driver’s license, until the present.

13. On the background investigation, what kind of crime would disqualify me?

Each individual’s situation is based on its own merits. Please review the information under Selection Process.

14. What is the process for EMTs who are certified in another county or out of state in order to work for SJFD?

If you receive a job offer from the San José Fire Department you will be required to get accreditation in the County of Santa Clara. For information please visit and select ‘EMT Certification & Paramedic Accreditation’ under the Quick Links section.


15. Do we get paid during the academy?

Yes. While in the Academy, Firefighter Recruits receive wages and are eligible to enroll in various medical benefits.

16. Do we have to relocate?

You are not required to live in the City of San José in order to work for the San José Fire Department. However, during the Fire Academy you will be required to attend every weekday from 8:30AM to 5:30PM for the 18 week duration; this is not a “live-in” academy, and Firefighter Recruits will be responsible for their own daily transportation.

17. How much time in advance do we need to schedule a ride-along?

Scheduling a ride-along is a great way to learn more about the San José Fire Department, as well as the duties and professional life of a Firefighter. Provided that the station is able to accommodate your request, you may schedule a ride-along at your convenience. Please call to schedule a ride-along before going to the station. You may contact the Fire Administration, at (408)794-7000, if you are unsure which station you would like to visit.

18. How many ride-alongs can I go on?

You may not request a ride-along within sixty (60) days of a prior one. However, it’s a good idea to visit as many stations as your schedule permits in order to give you an overview of the Fire Department’s 33 stations. Please call first.