The Hiring Process

The conservation warden hiring process takes approximately 6 months. The hiring process includes an initial application and exam, fitness testing, background investigation, and a final interview. Frequently monitoring this website is one way to get the most current information about our hiring process.

The Application

Begin by filling out the application at http://wisc.jobs/public/index.asp. If you have never applied for a job on Wisc.jobs you will need to create an account before you begin the application.

To apply, you must upload your resume and cover letter and answer the questions in the “exam”. The exam is really an explanation of minimum requirements and expectations, but you must accept them to be considered. TIP: Be sure to follow the exact instructions in the job announcement about resume and cover letter length and content. We will literally tell you what we want to see in your resume and cover letter. We will also tell you how long they can be. DO NOT deviate from those directions.

The resume and cover letter are designed to take inventory of those things you have done to prepare yourself for this career.

A team of conservation wardens will make up a rating panel and will read each and every resume and cover letter and give it a score based on a defined benchmark scoring structure. That team then sends their scores to human resources. HR uploads the scores into wisc.jobs and you get an email indicating if you are eligible or not and if you are, the email will contain a score. The more you’ve done the better you score, but remember honesty is vital in any law enforcement career.

Written Assessment

A written assessment is used to gauge candidates’ ability to read, comprehend, recall and write.

Physical Fitness Testing

This step consists of pre-employment fitness testing and a swim test. This is an all day event with no opportunity for the assessments to be taken at a different location.

Pre-Employment fitness testing - Wisconsin law requires that all law enforcement officers must be in excellent health, free from any physical condition, which might adversely affect their performance as a law enforcement officer. As a result the WI DNR administers the physical fitness assessments as part of the pre-employment screening. Candidates need to pass all of the pre-employment fitness standards in order to move on in the hiring process. The standards are as follows:

Pre-Employment Fitness Testing
Vertical Jump Agility Run Sit ups Push ups 300m Run 1.5 mile run
11.5  inches 23.4 sec 24 in one minute 18 untimed 82 seconds 20:20 minutes

Learn more about the DOJ Fitness Testing Standards

Swim Test – Conservation Wardens regularly work near and on the water, and are therefore expected to be able to swim and perform some water-related tasks. Candidates need to pass the following swim tests in order to pass the academy.

  • 300 yard swim-Candidate must swim 300 yards without aid using any stroke in a swimming pool wearing swim suits. This event is untimed.
  • Treading Water –Candidates will disassociate from the pool edge and will tread in water at least seven (7) feet deep, for a minimum of five (5) minutes. Treading water is defined as pumping your arms and/or legs, maintaining an upright position, and keeping your head above water. Floating is not permitted. The participant may NOT use the edges of the pool.
  • Head First Surface Dive – Candidates will disassociate themselves from the pool edge, tread water and perform a head first surface dive in at least seven (7) feet of water and no deeper than twelve (12) feet of water and retrieve an un-weighted object.

The Background Investigation

Successful candidates who pass all of the fitness testing and rank highest in the exam are selected to enter the background phase of the hiring process. The background investigation phase takes several months, and is very extensive. Background investigators review past employment, past residences, relationships, school records, criminal records, traffic history, military records, financial history and former background investigations done by other agencies. Investigators are trained to look for omissions and inconsistencies. The most important part of the background investigation is honesty. No one is perfect, but lying about even a small mistake can remove you from consideration.

The Interview

All candidates who pass the background investigation will be asked to participate in the final step in the hiring process – the interview. The majority of the interview questions will pertain to the job and will be the same for every candidate.

The Conditional Offer

The top candidates from the interview will be given conditional offers! Before this conditional offer becomes official, a candidate must pass a medical and psychological exam. The medical exam includes a drug screening, physical exam, hearing and vision tests. The psychological screening includes a questionnaire, written assessment and an interview with a psychologist. A conditional offer may be rescinded if any of the medical or psychological screenings are not passed.

Candidates with conditional offers also need to be eligible to drive state-owned vehicles. A candidate must have had no OWIs within the past year and less than three moving violations or at fault accidents within the past two years. Candidates also need to have boating, ATV and snowmobile safety certificates.


For more information contact the Conservation Warden Recruiter: Jeffrey King
Preparing to become a Conservation Warden | Hiring Process | The First Year of Training - What to Expect | A Day in the Life of a Warden | Benefits