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Inquiring about a job over the telephone is a straightforward task but may require persistence. Many employers specify in job listings that they do not accept phone calls about openings. Some hiring managers allow most calls to feed directly into voice mail, and others instruct assistants to screen their calls. That makes it difficult to get through to decision makers, making inquiring about a job sometimes as challenging as making cold calls to sell products. However, all job seekers must have an ability to sell themselves, and the process often starts with a simple inquiry to a hiring manager, human resources official or switchboard operator.
Identify a job you wish to inquire about. Get leads on jobs from free online classified sites such as Craigslist or job boards such as CareerBuilder. Obtain additional leads from friends and colleagues and through networking on social and professional networking sites.
Get contact information for a position if there is an advertised opening. Some job listings include the name of a person who is likely the hiring manager or a human resources employee. Check the company website for a possible listing of HR contacts, hiring managers or supervisors. Obtain the main telephone number for the company, at a minimum.
Call the main telephone number for the company if that's all you have. Get right to the point at the start of the conversation. Greet the person by saying hello and stating your name. Then ask to speak to the person in charge of hiring. Be as specific as possible. For example, ask to speak with the person in charge of hiring for the shipping and receiving department, or ask to speak with the manager for the accounting department. Ask for a specific person if you have a name following your research or ask who the supervisor is for a currently advertised position.
Tell the contact why you're calling after the general receptionist transfers your call. Tell the person you are calling to inquire about a job the company is currently advertising. If there is not an advertised opening, say that you are looking for job opportunities within the company. Keep talking before the person has time to object. Ask the contact if this is a good time to chat for just a few minutes, or ask when should you call back for a five-minute conversation.
Ask a few important questions if the contact agrees to continue the conversation for a few minutes. Take a minute to describe yourself by talking about your education, professional experience or something else relevant. Then ask if a certain job is still available and how you can apply. For a general inquiry about jobs, ask if the company has any positions for certain jobs that fit your background or if the company plans to do any hiring soon.
Finish the conversation by thanking the person for the time.
One phone call may not be enough. If the main receptionist is not helpful, call back at another time and simply ask for the department you hope to work in. Tell the person answering the phone that you're looking for a job in the department and would like some basic help. The person answering might give you all the key information that you need, including the hiring manager's name and some scuttlebutt about the hiring process.
Robert Lee has been an entrepreneur and writer with a background in starting small businesses since 1974. He has written for various websites and for several daily and community newspapers on a wide variety of topics, including business, the Internet economy and more. He studied English in college and earned a Bachelor of Arts in liberal arts from Governor's State University.