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Make the Call: Five Great Questions to Ask Before Applying for a Job

Written by Karin Lee Published: Oct. 20 2020

Have you ever called the ‘contact person’ listed on a job posting?

Many people would answer no to that question.

Why is that?

Many people would answer that they just wouldn’t know what to ask that person.

Why you should do it anyway

There are five questions below you can ask this person the next time you see a job you might want to apply for…

…or should ask because

a) talking with this person will give you a better idea if you and the job are a good match, and/or

b) talking with this person will give you the chance to write their name in your cover letter should you end up applying for the job, either by addressing them directly (avoiding the anonymous ‘Dear Sir/Madam’) or mentioning their name in your first paragraph (‘…after seeing the job posted on your company website, I had an informative phone call with Jane Smith on 13.10.2020…’).

So calling and then mentioning the conversation in your cover letter shows interest, which makes a good impression (never a bad thing in the job search world).

No clue?

But what kinds of questions should you ask?

Use the same ones you’d ask during an interview.

Here are five examples taken from career coach Liz Ryan, my go-to guru on all things job-related:

  1. What would you say is the overall purpose of the job?
  2. How does this position help your department achieve its goals?
  3. What are the items you'd most like to see your new employee take care of and check off your list right away?
  4. How will the arrival of your new employee make your lives easier?
  5. What would you say is the most fun or creative part of the job?

Calling’s a win-win

Maybe you’ll get all five questions answered during your phone call.

Maybe you’ll never get past question one.

But no matter what, you’ll have shown this person/your prospective employer that you cared enough to call and find out more about the job they’re offering someone.  

And you’ll also have gotten a lot more information about that job than you ever would’ve gotten by just reading an ad about it.

A win-win situation, right?

So what are you waiting for? The next time you’re wondering if you should apply for a job or not…make the call. You’ll be happy you did.

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