Buffer

Job tips – 10 Things You Should Find Out BEFORE You Apply

Elvis Elvis

Adverts are marketing. Job adverts are no exception. They want to sell you the job.

They’re designed to get the good candidates hooked, motivating them to take action and apply for the position.

They’re also usually very expensive, with magazines charging thousands of pounds for an advert. So space is limited. The ad’s unlikely to tell you everything you need to know about the job, when deciding whether or not to apply.

Job tips   10 Things You Should Find Out BEFORE You Apply

There’s a lot you need to know about a job, before applying. Yet there are plenty of things that are routinely omitted from job descriptions, such as:

1. Basic salary
Does it meet your expectations?
“£ competitive” really doesn’t tell you much. Of course the company believes its salary is competitive – but will you?
We regularly see strong candidates make their way through the entire recruitment process, get the job offer and then be told there’s no way the company can match even their current salary, yet alone their hopes for a pay rise.
And remember that changing company is the most effective way of getting a pay rise – so don’t miss out.
2. Benefits package
This includes everything from pensions and company car to flexitime and bonuses. Are any of these important or essential for you?
It’s crucial not to make assumptions.
Sometimes a lower salary can be compensated for by a higher bonus or overtime payments – but you need to find this out, if it’s one of your key criteria.
3. The potential employer
Many adverts don’t mention who the employing company will be. This is usually the case when the position is being handled by a recruitment agency, because the employer wants to guarantee applications go through the agency, not their HR team.
Are you really prepared to spend time and effort on an application when you don’t even know who your future employer might be, until further into the recruitment process?
If there are companies that you wouldn’t want to work for, then do your best to find out who the employer is, before you apply.
4. Exact location of the company
“South East” / “North West”. They’re big regions. Yet many job ads give little more information than that, before receiving your CV.
Even narrowing it down to a county, say, “Yorkshire” could still mean you might have to relocate or face a long commute.
If the geographic location of your next employer is important to you, you should use this as a screening criteria before applying.
5. How many people in the team
Do you want to be part of a big team, or play a key role in a smaller group?
Unless you know who the employer is and know a bit about their structure, you’re unlikely to be able check the role meets your needs. But it’s ok to ask, before applying.
6. How many people you’ll be managing
Is it important to you to have direct responsibility for others?
Many job adverts neglect to mention this. Without knowing, it can be difficult for you to correctly tailor your CV
For example, colleagues of ours came across a woman whose CV was excellent, but didn’t mention any man-management skills, so she didn’t get an interview. It turns out she was an excellent manager, already with a team of 5. However, because she didn’t realise the job had direct reports, she had glossed over those skills in her CV.
7. Company structure
Where will the role fit within the company? Is it based at head office? Will you be on the road and working more independently? Is there a big support structure or will you be in a smaller, district office?
For example, take the marketing teams of major brands. Some brands are so big, you might think their teams would be huge, yet they’re relatively small. Other brands who you think might have a marketing team that’s relatively small, in fact have a department with over 150 people.
If it’s important to you, you should check out the facts.
8. Company culture
If the company’s culture and attitude towards its employees is a significant factor for you, you should find this out before applying.
Don’t believe the advertising hype.
9. What the job description really means
Job adverts rarely give an accurate description of what the day-to-day aspects of the position will involve.
Sometimes it’s because the HR team or recruitment agency doesn’t have that level of detail. Sometimes it’s because no one would apply if they knew, say, how much desk-bound admin is involved.
It’s acceptable to ask about the duties and responsibilities of a position before applying.
Absolute worst case, you should find out before a job interview, so you can prepare yourself for the types of questions you might be asked and make sure you provide evidence of the skills and characteristics required.
10. How much of your life this job will take up
Is work-life balance critical for you? Or would you be happy jetting off across the world and taking your laptop home at weekends?
Whatever your preference, if you get an offer for a job that doesn’t meet your needs, you’re unlikely to be happy.