Inquiring about a job prior to pursuing it gives you the opportunity to understand the job specifics and the company environment. The answers to the questions you ask can help you determine if applying to the job would be beneficial to your career. Most human resources departments and workplace managers will be happy to answer many types of questions.
Each company mandates different schedules. Ask the employer how many hours are required, if overtime is required and which days you’re required to work. Avoid conveying your own expectations; the employer will likely not change the scheduling requirements based on what you expect to work.
Workplace conditions vary for each company and can consist of an environment that caters to employees or one that’s hostile to the workforce. Topics you should touch on include culture, attitude, honesty, communication and general behavior in the workplace. Your questions should not sound accusatory. For example, saying “Is the workplace attitude negative, positive or a mix of both?” is more appropriate than “Is the workplace attitude negative?” When asking about the workplace conditions, talk to a friend or family member that’s employed by the company, if possible. Company managers and human resources may leave out the negative parts of the workplace when answering your questions.
A large company likely has multiple locations. Before you take the time and effort to send your resume to the company, ask which location the open position is for and if the company will ever require you to relocate. Some companies offer relocation packages to employees, while others require employees to relocate due to business decisions, such as the closing of an office.
Inquiring about the daily tasks you’re expected to complete arms you with knowledge of the position, which you can use to make your decision of pursuing the job. When asking about the requirements of the position, make sure the company covers the requirements in full. Some companies will only acknowledge the position’s general requirements and leave out the day-to-day tasks you must complete. When probing about the requirements, say something along the lines of “What are the requirements for this position? I’d like to know the daily tasks I’m expected to complete and the general duties that encompass the position.”
A company’s financial health is integral to your decision to pursue the company’s open position. Public companies report their financial information each quarter, but private companies do not have to disclose their financial situation. Always ask private companies about their profit versus loss, total revenue, expected financial future and total cash. A company that has little to no available cash and experiences large losses may collapse in the future.
Each company has a different hiring process. Some companies require candidates to go through three interviews, while others only require one interview. Some companies may require you to take a variety of tests, such as personality and assessment tests. Inquire about the hiring process so that you know what to expect.
Located in Pittsburgh, Chris Miksen has been writing instructional articles on a wide range of topics for online publications since 2007. He currently owns and operates a vending business. Miksen has written a variety of technical and business articles throughout his writing career. He studied journalism at the Community College of Allegheny County.