Ask these clever questions before you apply for your next role

by K B , updated on May 23, 2016

4112168_sI’ve said it before on this blog, and no doubt I’ll say it again –  most advertisements I read are TERRIBLE.

I see many clients struggle to know how to respond to what’s required, or end up responding to the wrong jobs.

So if you’re looking for a role, and finding it difficult to understand what the role is really about, here are my favourite questions to put to the recruiter.

  • Can you tell me what the challenges are within this role/company and environment?

Often it’s not the tasks you’ll be performing everyday, it’s the environment you’ll be working in that makes the critical difference as to whether you’ll enjoy the role.

Knowing the challenges of a role also gives you an idea about which achievements you need to highlight on your resume or within your interview.

  • Can you paint me a picture of a typical day/week/month?

I like this question because you get a completely different perspective on what the role is actually about. It’s like taking a verbal walk through the office.

I find once you can visualise the role, you are far better positioned to respond with appropriate examples.

  • Why has the vacancy come about?

This can give you perspective on whether the company is in growth stage, going through transformation or restructure, whether someone’s just left, or even if the vacancy is competitive.

Again the answers give you an idea about which skills/achievements/examples to highlight in your application.

  • What skills are the priority skills in this role?

Often you’ll find that organisations list everything they need in a role, including your ability to peel bananas blindfolded.

So this question helps you focus your preparation on the most relevant skills and prioritise achievements and skills on your CV.

  • What’s their preferred application style/format?

This can give you a guide to length of your resume, selection criteria and other documents.

There’s a caveat on this guide to these questions.

Unfortunately it’s often difficult to get answers, as recruiters can be hard to reach.

Sometimes even if you do, you might find the quality of answers you receive, depends on the quality of the consultant or recruiter you contact, or their relationship with their internal or external clients.

All this should not prevent you from trying.

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