Recruitment Process

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.

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01. Apply online, visit a Defence Force Recruiting Centre or call 131901

You will be asked to provide your:

  • Personal details
  • Academic achievements
  • Job preference(s) (if you have them)

If sessions are available, you will be able to book a Your opportunities Unlimited (YOU) session at the end of your application. The YOU session is designed to provide a less formal opportunity to find out more about the ADF. You will be able to talk to current serving Defence members about your interests and your eligibility for the many opportunities the ADF has to offer. Importantly you will not need to conduct the Fitness Test at the YOU session, this will not be conducted until after the Assessment Day later in the process.

    What happens next?

    Your Case manager will contact you with regard to your application and invite you to attend a Your Opportunities Unlimited (YOU) Session at your local Defence Force Recruiting Centre. Make sure you read and understand the information we send you via your booking confirmation email.

    In preparation for attending the YOU Session you need to log into your Candidate Hub to:

    • Complete the Application Form. If you are under 18, make sure you have a discussion with both parents or legal guardian(s) in order to provide you with consent for testing.
    • Complete the online Medical History Questionnaire.

    If any of these documents are missing from your Candidate Hub, or you would prefer these forms emailed/posted to you please call 13 19 02.

    Further reading

    Before your YOU Session you should download and read:

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    02. Attend YOU Session

    At the Your Opportunities Unlimited (YOU) Session hosted at your local Defence Force Recruiting Centre you will:

    • Complete any outstanding forms from the Candidate Hub
    • Take an aptitude test
    • Talk to a Careers Coach about the service and role(s) you are considering

    What to bring to your YOU Session

    Before attending, log into your Candidate Hub and ensure you've completed the digital forms (obtained your parent or guardian's consent if under 18) and uploaded copies of your relevant documentation.

    The minimum you should bring with you is:

    • Photo ID

    In addition to this, you should consider compiling the following documents to bring to the 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
    • Supporting medical documentation that you may already have related to medical conditions.

    If you are unsure of what to bring to your YOU Session, please call 13 19 02. If in doubt about how to have documents certified, download our Certification Guidelines.

    Prior to your YOU session, you may receive a phone call from a member of our medical team to discuss the information submitted within the Medical History Questionnaire.

    What to expect on the day

    Your YOU Session will consist of three components:

    1. Aptitude Evaluation

    • 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. If applicable; Medical Interview with a nurse

    • A short interview with a nurse may be arranged on the day, if your Medical History Questionnaire requires further review and discussion

    3. Interview with a Careers Coach

    • 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

    Before you attend the Careers Coach session, you'll be given a Job Opportunity Report listing all the roles you may be eligible to apply 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.

    Can't attend?

    If for any reason you can't attend, we encourage you to contact your Case Manager on 13 19 02 as soon as possible; so that your YOU Session can be re-scheduled.

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    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 on the day

    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.

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    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 day
    • 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 on the day

    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

    Potential outcomes

    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.

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    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'll need to take and pass this Pre-entry Fitness Assessment (PFA) in the four weeks leading up to your scheduled enlistment.

    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 on the day

    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.

    • Navy
      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)
    • Army
      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.

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    06. Attend Enlistment / Appointment Day

    If successful, at your local Defence Force Recruiting Centre 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 on the day

    • 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.

    Need some advice?

    We're here to help – just get in touch.

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