The ADF recruitment process is designed to ensure you have the qualities we need, while helping you identify the ideal role in the Navy, Army or Air Force.
01. Apply online
You will be asked to provide your:
- Personal details
- Academic achievements
- Job preference(s) (if you have them)
Until recently, you would have been invited to attend a Your Opportunities Unlimited (YOU) Session at one of our local Defence Force Recruiting Centres. Due to the unfolding COVID-19 situation, we are now running this process online and over the phone.
What happens next?
After completing your application, you will receive access to your Candidate Hub. In the Hub, you will need to complete your Supplementary Application Form which provides additional information relating to your education, work experience, hobbies, and other relevant experience to support your application.
You will need to upload your important documents such as your driver’s licence, citizenship documents (including birth certificate and passport), and education documents.
You will also receive an email with a link to complete an online aptitude test which needs to be completed to ensure your application can be progressed.
Before your YOU Session you should download and read:
02. Attend virtual YOU Session
Until recently, you would have been invited to attend a Your Opportunities Unlimited (YOU) Session day at one of our local Defence Force Recruiting Centres. Due to the unfolding COVID-19 situation, we are now running this process virtually.
As part of the virtual YOU Session, you will:
- Complete any outstanding forms from the Candidate Hub
- Take an online aptitude test
- Talk to a Careers Coach (via phone) about the service and role(s) you are considering
Please note, these activities may be run over a number of days whereas previously they would have all been done on a single day.
What to prepare for your YOU Session
In preparation for your YOU Session, log into your Candidate Hub and ensure you've completed the digital forms and uploaded copies of your relevant documentation.
You should upload the following documents into your Candidate Hub prior to your YOU Session:
- Original or certified copy of your birth certificate or passport
- Proof of citizenship or permanent residency
- Proof of secondary and tertiary education records and results
- If relevant, details of employment history and any trade qualifications
What to expect
Your virtual YOU Session will consist of:
1. Aptitude Evaluation
This online test will be sent to you via email and you will need to complete it before you can progress further with your application.
- Consists of a multiple choice general ability or reasoning test, and mathematical ability test
- Helps determine which service and position(s) you are most likely to be suited to
2. Interview with a Careers Coach (via phone)
- Includes questions about your education, fitness level and sporting history and any relevant leadership experience you have
- Helps provide career advice on roles most suited to your background, eligibility and interests
After you complete the online aptitude test, a Careers Coach will contact you to arrange a time for a discussion about your career options. At your Careers Coaching session, you will have the opportunity to discuss the job roles you may be eligible for (subject to satisfying eligibility requirements), based on your aptitude test results. Depending on your suitability and level of interest, you may be invited to undertake further evaluation at a later date for some of these positions.
After you have completed your Career Coaching session, you will need to log back into your Candidate Hub to complete the Medical History Questionnaire. Once you have submitted this form, along with any supporting medical documentation for existing medical conditions, you may be contacted for a Medical Interview with a nurse to discuss your history.
03. Attend Assessment Session
Once you have attended a YOU Session and have submitted your eligibility documents, you may be invited to an Assessment Session for:
- A medical assessment
- A psychological interview
- An ADF interview
Booking your Assessment Session
Following your YOU Session, your Case Manager will guide you through the application process up until your Assessment Session. This includes assisting you with submitting your eligibility documents in order to attend an Assessment Session, or arranging extra tests beforehand, which may be necessary for some roles. Your Case Manager will also assist you with getting in touch with your Careers Coach for mentoring at any stage of the process.
It's important that you are proactive about your application, keep in touch with your Case Manager and return all missed calls from them. Assessment spots can be very competitive, and are assigned based on both role and candidate merit. Your Case Manager cannot progress you toward an Assessment Session until they have received all the requested paperwork.
Once you have booked to the Assessment Session, be sure to follow the prompts in the Assessment Session confirmation email. Please ensure you print and sign the Informed Consent form for conducting a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check and bring it with you to your session.
What to expect
Your Assessment Session will consist of three components:
1. Medical Assessment
- Head-to-toe examination requiring you to dress down to your underwear
- Assesses your physical fitness and suitability to perform specific duties
- Identifies any pre-existing medical conditions that may affect your ability to serve
- Includes tests for flexibility and may include exercises such as sit-ups and push-ups
2. Psychological Interview
- Asks about various aspects of your life including your educational and employment histories, family circumstances, social and sporting activities, and interest in joining the ADF
- Determines how you are likely to cope living within a military environment
- Checks whether your values and life outlook are compatible with the ADF
- Assesses whether you will be effective in your chosen role
3. Defence Interview
- Provides an opportunity for you to articulate why you want to join the ADF and demonstrate what you know about the job or jobs you have applied for
- Assesses your suitability for the position(s) applied for and your ability to withstand the demanding requirements of ADF service
Preparing for interviews
The ADF Assessment Session is much like any other job interview:
- Present yourself well and dress appropriately
- Speak clearly, as this shows confidence
- Know your resume and be able to expand on it if asked to
- Show interest and enthusiasm, as we want to know you want the job
- Don't hesitate to ask for clarification if unsure of anything, as this shows that your interest is genuine
- Be really familiar with all the details of the role you're applying for studying the job description on this website
- Prepare answers for some of the questions you might be asked such as 'why do you want this job?' and 'have you considered how it will impact your family?'
As well as researching this website and those of the Navy, Army and Air Force, it's a good idea to speak to a serving member of the ADF and preferably one who is doing the job you're applying for. Your Case Manager can arrange this for you, please call 13 19 02.
Following the successful outcome of your Assessment Session, your application will be allocated to an Enlistment Coordinator to guide you through the remaining stages of the recruitment progress.
A Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check will be performed following the successful outcome of your Assessment Session.
4. Attend Officer Selection
If you've chosen an officer role you will have your leadership, teamwork and other areas of potential assessed:
- Attend an Officer Selection Board
- Be interviewed by a panel of officers and a psychologist
- Participate in group and individual activities
Who attends an Officer Selection Board?
This stage of the application process is for those candidates who have applied for entry as an officer. The Officer Selection Board determines leadership and management potential, the ability to influence and motivate others, and the capability to learn all that is required to become an officer in the Navy, Army or Air Force.
What to expect
Officer Selection Boards vary slightly between services but all are likely to include a combination of:
- A written exercise
- An oral presentation
- A group exercise
- A practical exercise
- An interview with a panel
Army candidates will also be required to take a fitness test.
ADFA candidates spend a number of days in Canberra giving them the opportunity to explore the campus and meet potential classmates.
Preparing for the Board
You'll already have carried out plenty of research in preparation for your Assessment Session but it’s well worth doing even more for Officer Selection.
- Learn as much as you can about the service you have chosen by visiting air shows, base open days or ship open days; by researching online and by talking to relevant personnel
- Familiarise yourself with base locations, ships, vehicles, aircraft and weapons
- Read and re-read the job description, memorising your duties and the qualities we demand of our officers
If successful you will receive a national order of merit, ranking you against all other candidates in a specific intake.
If unsuccessful we will give you detailed feedback. Then, given your commitment to address the concerns raised, you may be offered another opportunity to attend Officer Selection Board.
05. Take a fitness test
During the Pre-entry Fitness Assessment (PFA) you will need to show us you can:
- Do push ups (Navy: 6 for females 15 for males, Army: 8 for females 15 for males, Air Force: 4 for females 10 for males)
- Do sit ups (Navy: 20, Army: 45, Air Force: 20)
- Complete a shuttle run (Navy: Level 6.1, Army: Level 7.5, Air Force: Level 6.5)
Why take a fitness test?
To operate at peak capability, the ADF needs you to be physically prepared. You must have a base level of fitness to cope with the physical demands of initial military training and to guard against injury. Then throughout your military career, high standards of physical fitness will be necessary for you to effectively carry out operational tasks.
You will need to take and pass this Pre-entry Fitness Assessment (PFA) 6 weeks prior to your Enlistment or Appointment Day. We’ve created a personalised guide for women to help you to get started on your fitness journey, including practising correct techniques for your PFA.
If you are not confident about your fitness levels, you may discuss this with your Enlistment Coordinator who can arrange practice fitness sessions and/or mentoring to assist with confidence building.
What to expect
This is the least challenging fitness test you are ever likely to experience in the ADF. It constitutes our minimum standard for entry so you must be able to achieve the following in order to enlist.
6 push ups for females and 15 push ups for males, 20 sit ups and shuttle runs to level 6.1.
(Clearance Divers and Navy Reserve Divers must achieve 6 heaves (chin ups), 30 push ups, 25 sit ups and shuttle runs to level 10.1)
- Air Force
4 push ups for females and 10 push ups for males, 20 sit ups and shuttle runs to level 6.5.
(Ground Defence Officers must achieve 15 push ups, 45 sit ups and shuttle runs to level 7.5)
8 push ups for females and 15 push ups for males, 45 sit ups and shuttle runs to level 7.5.
(Special Forces must achieve 30 push ups, 60 sit ups and shuttle runs to level 10.1)
What's a shuttle run?
Shuttle runs (also known as beep tests) are composed of a number of 20 metre sprints. As the test progresses, the time allowed for each shuttle reduces, so you have to increase your running speed to complete the shuttle in the time allowed. The test begins at a speed just above a quick walking pace and increases to a full running speed by the time level 7.5 is reached. The test to level 7.5 involves 56 shuttles (1120 metres), and takes approximately 6 minutes and 30 seconds to complete.
Find out how to prepare for a shuttle run and adopt the correct techniques for sit ups and push ups by downloading the ADF Active app.
06. Attend Enlistment / Appointment Day
If successful, you will:
- Have a final medical check
- Join family and friends for the ceremony
- Head straight to Initial Military Training as an official member of the ADF
If you've reached this part of the application process you'll soon receive your official ADF job offer along with your joining instructions.
Your Enlistment Coordinator will organise your Enlistment / Appointment Day. The ceremony is a very proud moment as you become an official member of the Australian Defence Force, so we encourage you to invite friends and family along to watch you undertake the official oath or affirmation, to find out more about what lies ahead for you, and to say a proper goodbye.
Before the day you must ensure that:
- Results from any requested blood tests have been received by Defence Force Recruiting
- If relevant to your position and included with your Letter of Offer, the Security Pack has been completed and returned
Has anything changed?
It's very important to notify us if, since your interviews and fitness test:
- You have suffered any illness or injury, or
- There have been any additions or changes to prescribed medication, or
- You have been involved in an incident with the police, or
- You have an outstanding court action, or
- You have received a conviction or penalty.
A second Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check will be performed before the day of your enlistment or appointment.
What to expect
- A final medical check
- The completion of final administrative procedures
- The Enlistment or Appointment Ceremony
At the conclusion of the ceremony you will head straight to Initial Military Training to start your fulfilling new life with the Australian Defence Force.