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, at 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)

What happens next?

We'll respond to your application with an information pack and an invitation to attend a Your Opportunities Unlimited (YOU) Session at your local Defence Force Recruiting Centre. Make sure you read and understand all the documents we send you.

In preparation for attending the YOU Session you need to:

  • Complete and sign the Application Form. If you are under 18, both parents or legal guardian(s) will have to sign the Consent to Test Form contained within it.
  • Complete and sign the Medical History Questionnaire.
  • Complete and sign the National Police Checking Service Application / Consent Form.

If any of these documents are missing from your information pack 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 at your local Defence Force Recruiting Centre you will:

  • Complete a medical questionnaire and tests
  • 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

Well before attending, pull all your documents together making sure you've completed and signed the forms (and obtained your parent or guardian's consent if under 18). Also, re-familiarise yourself with the details of the role(s) you're applying for.

The minimum you should bring with you is:

  • Photo ID
  • Completed Application Form
  • Completed Medical History Questionnaire
  • Completed National Police Checking Service Application / Consent Form
  • Original or certified copy of your birth certificate or passport
  • Proof of secondary and tertiary education records and results
  • If relevant, details of employment history and any trade qualifications
  • Proof of citizenship or permanent residency
  • Supporting medical documentation that you may already have related to medical conditions.
  • List of references (including address and contact details) of people who have known you for at least 10 years and / or longer (for security clearance purposes).

If any documents are missing from your information pack please call 13 19 02. If in doubt about how to have documents certified, download our Certification Guidelines.

What to expect on the day

Your YOU Session will consist of three components:

1. Aptitude Evaluation

  • Consists of a 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. Medical Interview with a nurse

3. Interview with a Careers Coach

  • Includes questions about your education, fitness level and sporting history and any relevant leadership experience you have
  • Also determines your level of interest in pursuing a career with the ADF

Towards the end of 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, it's very important to let us know as soon as possible so that a YOU Session can be re-scheduled. Failure to attend a scheduled session without advising us beforehand will be recorded against your profile.

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03. Attend Assessment Session

Once through your YOU Session and having submitted your application documents, you will be invited to an Assessment Session for:

  • A medical assessment
  • A psychological interview
  • An ADF interview

Booking your Assessment Session

Following your YOU Session you'll be assigned a Case Manager who will guide you through the rest of the application process. This includes booking your Assessment Session, or arranging extra tests beforehand, which may be necessary for some roles. Your Case Manager will also help you prepare for the session by running you through a practice interview over the phone, and talking about areas you need to review.

It's important that you are proactive about your application, keep in touch with your Case Manager, return all missed calls from them, and do not expect them to chase you for any missing documents. Your Case Manager cannot book your Assessment Session until they have received all the paperwork requested.

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 and fluently, 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 be frightened 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 by reading and re-reading the job description
  • 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.

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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.

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 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?

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