When you’re applying for jobs, you may have found that job adverts can be pretty inconsistent. Some are very detailed, where others give very little away. Some tell you all about the company you will be working for, while others can be cryptic about who the company even is. The clearest job adverts give you details about the company that are hiring, the main duties and responsibilities, what is required in a candidate and information about hours and salary. Anything less can leave you with questions.
If you’re looking to change jobs, rather than spending time applying for a role that you may find out isn’t for you, it might be necessary to contact the recruiter to request more details about the job advert, or to ask for some clarification of certain points.
Reasons to ask for more information
If you’re applying for a job, you need to know exactly what it entails and whether you have the necessary skills and experience to be considered. If this isn’t clear, it’s perfectly fine to ask for further information. Below are some examples of incidences when you may need to find out more:
1. Qualifications are missing
It might be that there are no requirements in this area, but more often than not, employers are looking for some level of education, so if you are not educated to degree level at least, it’s good to check this to be sure your application will be considered.
2. Your qualifications are from abroad
If the role asks for a specific qualification and you have an equivalent level qualification from abroad, it is worth getting in touch to see if this will be accepted.
3. Hours are not clear
You need to know whether a job is full or part time, at the very least, to know whether it is right for you. You may also be looking for very specific hours and need to know whether these will be considered. If hours are missing from the advert, or are quite ambiguous, get in touch.
4. You don’t know who the company is
Often, recruitment companies advertise a role but don’t say who the company is. This can be frustrating, as it means you can’t research the company to see if your values are aligned with theirs.
5. Salary details are missing
It isn’t uncommon for salaries to be omitted from a job advert, which is frustrating, because salary plays a big part in whether you want to apply for a role. Even if an exact figure isn’t stated, it’s helpful to have a salary range in order to decide whether it is something you can work with.
6. Job description is weak
Knowing what you’re going to be doing in a role is of high importance, so a job advert with a weak description of the role is not helpful. If this is the case, then it’s more than acceptable to contact the recruiter for more information on the role, as without it, you could end up wasting both your time and theirs.
7. Person specification is not clear
To apply for a role, you need to evidence that you have all the required skills and experience. This is where the person specification comes in. If this is minimal or unclear, it’s very difficult to effectively evidence whether you can do the job. This is more than enough of a reason to contact the recruiter to ask for more details about the kind of person they’re looking for.
Questions to ask
If your job search has left you wanting, due to the examples above, consider asking recruiters the following questions:
- Are there any qualifications or certifications that are essential to the role?
- Whilst living abroad, I studied for a [name of qualification] which is the equivalent to a [name of equivalent qualification] in the US/UK. Will you accept this qualification?
- Please can you clarify the hours the chosen candidate will be working and whether you offer a flexible working policy?
- Are you able to tell me the name of the company the role is being advertised for so I can research the company and find out a little more about them?
- Are you able to tell me the salary range related to this role?
- I’d like to find out a little more about what the role entails. Do you have a job description I can take a look at? Or is it possible to discuss the role further?
- I’d like to find out a bit more about what you are looking for in an ideal candidate. Do you have any essential criteria that must be demonstrated by an applicant?
How to ask for more information
You may know what you want to ask, but knowing how to ask for it might be a stumbling block. Here are some top tips:
1. Know what you want to ask
Know exactly what you want to ask before opening up any dialog. You don’t want to have to keep adding new questions when you think of something, resulting in lots of back and forth. Have everything you want to ask written down, so you know where you are.
2. Find a contact
If there’s a ‘contact for more information’ email address or phone number, this is the way to go. However, if this is unclear, see what else you can find to give you an idea of the best person to ask. If the advert is on LinkedIn, who shared it? You might be able to find out the name of the person you need to speak to this way so you can address your query properly.
3. Connect on LinkedIn
If the person posting the advert is on LinkedIn, connect with them with a note attached to your connection request, saying that you would like to connect because you have some questions about the job role advertised. Once they accept your connection request, you can message with your query.
4. Introduce yourself
Once you have a contact, message with your questions, but don’t just launch straight into it. Introduce yourself, express your interest in the role, and then ask what you need to know.
5. Be positive
Rather than point out what hasn’t been included in the ad, make your interest and enthusiasm clear and make the recruiter feel that the extra information you need is to make your application stand out, not to decide whether you’re really interested.
6. Call if you can
If there is a phone number, call and ask. This is going to get quicker results and talking to the recruiter will give you a better feel for things than with email. Striking up a rapport with the person who might interview you can only be positive.
Use the following example as a template to ask for any additional information that you feel is missing from a job advert. This will give you a good idea of how to approach the subject and ask your questions whilst remaining positive and showing your interest in the role:
You’ll find during your job search that job adverts vary hugely and, as with anything, some are better than others. If a job ad has left you wondering about some important points, it’s important that you get them cleared up before applying, in order to submit the best application you can.
There’s no point trying to guess what a recruiter is looking for in a candidate, or what the company does, if no company name is listed. It’s much better that you ask so you can make an informed decision about whether the role is right for you and so that if it is, your application is solid. Reaching out to the recruiter is the best way. Be polite, clear and enthusiastic about the role.
Join the conversation! Have you ever asked for more information about a job advert? How did it turn out for you? Let us know in the comments below!
This is an updated version of an article originally published on 28 December 2014.