When Is It Okay to Contact Employers About Advertised Jobs?

When Is It Okay to Contact Employers About Advertised Jobs?

In my last post, I shared some checklist items to note when applying to advertised job openings.

When a job advertisement is published, employers typically get many phone calls, both from individuals trying to make an impression and from agencies proposing candidates. Neither are usually welcome.

However, there are times when you might contact an organization before you send in a written application. Here are a few potential scenarios where this might be appropriate.

If there is something important you need to research.

This research needs to involve an important detail which is unclear. For example, there’s no point calling and asking about a total compensation package or asking about something which is perfectly obvious from the published posting. You might, however, call to ask about features of the job which are important but not listed. It’s also reasonable to ask if an employer will consider alternative qualifications or experiences which have relevance. This gives a favorable impression that you are trying to not waste their (or your) time by applying with the wrong background.

If there is explicit permission to make further queries.

Some job postings give the name and number of someone who is charged with answering telephone inquiries about the job, and this is often a senior person with substantial knowledge of the organization. Don’t use this call to have that person read you the job description again. It’s a wasted call. Analyze the job posting documentation in depth, and then use the call to flesh out a more in-depth picture. You can subtly bring up your own background and experience here, but don’t sell yourself hard. That will often be perceived as pushiness, rather than inquisitiveness and thoroughness.

If you know someone in the organization.

Once again, focus this call on fact-finding rather than thrusting for positioning. A good contact in the organization can help you get to the heart of published job advertisements or recruitment statements. For example, if the job appears to be all about disruptive change leadership and management, you can find out how serious the organization is about that idea, and how much the leadership actually supports new initiatives.

In my next post, I’ll share some of the more common hoops to jump through, as well as some specific questions to ask.

I always love to hear from you! Please comment below.

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