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|At the very least, you don’t know where it is, you don’t know the package, you run the risk of being either over- or under-qualified and you don’t even know who the employer is.
You’d be surprised how many people leave it until the final interview or even after a job offer, before asking for missing information that’s important for their final decision. It’s almost as though we’re embarrassed to imply the job advert was less than perfect. Or maybe we think the questions will jeopardise our chances?
Let’s just take a step back for a moment and consider how much time and effort goes into a single job application, once you’ve found an advert that appeals:
|(that’s 3+ days you need to get past your current boss, without them noticing)|
|Imagine getting the job offer, only to find the salary is 20% lower than you’re prepared to accept.
Or maybe getting to the first round interview and finding the job won’t be based at head office, but at a location where you’re not prepared to work.
Or perhaps making it to the assessment centre, only to realise you won’t be managing a team of people after all, so you don’t really want the job. A real waste of time, effort and your hopes and dreams.
So it makes sense to find out as much as you can about the position and the employer before you even send off your CV. After all, the later you leave it in the process to ask the “embarrassing, stupid questions”, the more difficult it gets and the more time you have wasted.
The easiest way to get the answers you need is to pick up the phone.
It’s perfectly acceptable to phone the recruiter or future employer, before applying for a job or going for an interview.
If you’re applying through a recruitment agency, they may well have good insight into the recruiting company. However, if you can, it’s often better to talk directly to the prospective employer.
If you call the recruiter rather than the employer, be clear about what it is you want to know and why. Be reasonable and use your best influencing skills. Usually they will do their best to answer your questions. If not, you could consider sending in your CV anyway, but must decide at which point you would back out, if you’re still waiting for information.
Before you pick up the phone, take a step back and do some quick preparation.
You can either call the contact mentioned in the advert (typically someone in the company’s Human Resources department or a recruitment agency contact), or try to get through to the manager of the position advertised.
This second option has both pros and cons. Your potential future manager may admire your initiative and remember you when your CV arrives, but they may be difficult and time-consuming to track down and might not appreciate the interruption.
Many companies prefer their Human Resources team or appointed recruitment agency to screen applicants before giving short-listed CVs to the recruiting manager. It’s up to you who you decide to contact. You could always start with the recruitment agency / HR contact and then go to the recruiting manager, if you still need to know more.
|If you get through to someone involved in the recruiting process, it’s your chance to make a great first impression. And you only get one shot at that, so it pays to make the most of it.
Typical objectives for the call include:
Remember that recruiters are busy and speak to many applicants each day, so thank them for their time and tell them you will be sending your application by, say, the end of the week. Make sure you do. They’ll then be expecting your CV and you can refer to the phone conversation in your cover letter.
In fact, it’s useful to have this to hand at any time after applying.
These days, recruiters often phone applicants for informal pre-screening interviews. These may not be a formal interview and can be an unprompted phone call, say, to “check your availability for interview”. Yet they may slip in questions about your current & desired package or your suitability for the role.
If you have prepared, you’re likely to make a good impression and are less likely to hesitate, if asked unexpected questions.
|This exercise gives you a chance to prepare, before making the call.|