Enquiry Calls re a Job Opportunity - Why and When to make them? Tips and Traps

Making a call to a contact person listed for enquiries in a Job Advertisement can be hard – but it is worth it if you manage it well! It can be particularly beneficial if the person is likely to be a decision maker in determining suitable applicants for the role; for these reasons:

So you can pre sell yourself, prior to them receiving your application. It turns a ‘cold’ call (receiving your application with no previous information or knowledge of the applicant) into a ‘warm’ call - perhaps promoting thoughts such as “ah, so-and-so’s application has come through. Good, we had a great chat on the phone the other day, he/she sounds like they’ve got the skills and experience we need!” Hence, inviting of a thorough look at your CV and cover letter.

- It gives both parties an opportunity to explore areas not otherwise known about each party e.g. aspects regarding the job and company that are not in the job ad or on their website, such as key priorities or challenges for the role, reason for vacancy, whether essential to have, for example, industry experience? The contact person can also ask questions that may lead to a good hearty discussion and in part an early interview - so you need to be prepared and have your key selling points in mind and ‘at the ready’! And responses to “we are wanting someone with industry experience” then you can put forward reasons you can make a smooth transition, examples of learning quickly new business contexts, similarities between your industry experience and their industry, value you bring through different industry experience etc

It shows genuine interest in the role and sets you apart from all those who don’t make contact / enquiry. This is a feature of a strong leader / manager - someone who explores issues more deeply, shows initiative, makes the ‘hard call’, takes extra time to learn more. Probably 85% of people applying for senior roles don’t do it, and the % is higher for lower level roles - why? My guess is – Attitudes of: Can't be bothered, she’ll be right, will take my chances, have to step outside my comfort zone, they will never return my call anyway, and it will be hard to connect so why waste my time, not enough interest in the role?? Do they sound like things that apply to you?

It may result in another opportunity at some stage as you have expanded your network. Even if you or they decide you and the role / company are not quite the right fit at that moment, and you do not proceed to apply, at least you have connected with another HR person, recruitment firm, recruiting manager etc. And, if you have left a good impression you may be suitable for another role at another time, so no harm done, just some time and effort!

But caller beware! Some tips include:

You need to prepare well for the call to make a real difference (questions to ask - only a couple - your main selling points in mind, strategies to offset any short falls in meeting their essential criteria). If not prepared you may actually thwart your chances by leaving a poor impression. 

Be courteous and understanding if it takes a few goes at connecting. Remember everyone is busy, and returning your call may not be his or her first priority, although you are waiting on it! Persist while you have time, but don’t be a ‘stalker’ or have them defensive because it’s taken a while to get back to you!

Try to engage them to share a bit of personality e.g. ability to connect personally with others through your bright engaged manner and interpersonal skills (e.g. small talk - but keep brief - remember they are busy, comment about their company and its history or reputation, mention something topical and try to have a bit of a laugh, if suitable / possible. But, if you are not sure of your ability to pull it off well, or the other person is obviously in a hurry, just stick to the nitty gritty re you and the opportunity!


Michelle Bentley
General Manager, Hender Careers



About the Author – 


   Michelle Bentley – has a wealth of experience in career management, transition and coaching, business leadership and management. With a specialist team she and her team deliver superior services that assist companies and individuals reconfigure scenarios to maximise professional outcomes.

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