How to Ask for a Job Interview

Two Parts:Asking for an InterviewPreparing for the Interview

You've fine-tuned your resume. Your cover letter is spot on. Yet still you have no bites. Conventional wisdom dictates that job-seekers submit their materials for review to faceless hiring managers and wait dutifully for an interview invitation. But what savvy career professionals understand is that sometimes you should ask for a job interview or "close the sale."

Part 1
Asking for an Interview

  1. Image titled Ask for a Job Interview Step 1
    Request an informational interview. Before you apply for a specific job, you can ask for an informational interview. During this type of interview, you present questions. It's a research-type interview through which you can learn more about the company. You might contact the HR person and ask for a phone interview. Alternatively, you could connect with someone you know who works at the firm.
    • Use professional social networks like LinkedIn or university alumni networks to find contacts within an organization. When asking these people for an interview, state that you are interested in learning more about the company and their particular role. Do not ask for a reference or job.
    • Make a list of questions beforehand. If possible, research the person's role as well so you do not need to ask basic questions. For example, "What do you do?" shows you have not done your research. Rather, ask "what do you find most challenging in your analyst role?"
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    Use your cover letter. In your cover letter, you can be polite and direct about wanting to ask for an interview. In your last paragraph, mention wanting an interview. Be appreciative rather than demanding. Do not name a particular date, though. You also might mention that you will call the recruiter in one week to enquire further.[1]
    • For example, you might write, "I am very interested in speaking with you as soon as possible. I would be available for an interview during the next two weeks."
    • You also might try saying: "I look forward to learning more about [insert organization's name] needs and how I could contribute to your team. Please contact me at your earliest convenience to set up an interview."
    • Thank the hiring manager for taking the time to review your materials. Close with a statement such as, "I look forward to hearing from you soon."
    • HR workers can receive tens to hundreds of job applications for a single job. Make sure that your letter is tailored to the job at hand and shows your knowledge of the firm and how you can mutually benefit each other. See Write a Cover Letter for additional tips.
    • List your contact information clearly on your cover letter and resume. Include your telephone number, Skype address, times available, and email address. You want to make the HR person's job as easy as possible.
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    Follow up via phone. If you have not heard from a recruiter after seven to ten days, take matters into your own hands. Call the listed recruiter. Ask whether she has seen your materials. If the person has been busy, it is possible she has not had time to review your materials. Be very polite and ask for a potential timeline. If she has reviewed your materials, ask whether you could have an interview. She might not be able to give you an answer yet but at least you will know what your current status is.
    • If there is not a listed recruiter, call the company's main office and ask for a transfer to the HR department.
    • Open the conversation by thanking the hiring manager for taking your call. Ask if he has time for a quick question or two. Acknowledging that the hiring manager's time is valuable will convey respect.
    • You might call and say, "Hello, my name is Martha Owens. I submitted an application for the program manager position last week. I was wondering whether it would be possible to arrange an interview in the coming two weeks."
    • Do not make a follow-up call is if the job posting explicitly states that applicants should not call.
    • You also can follow up via email.
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    Visit the workplace. In many cases, this is not possible. But in some situations, like small, family-run businesses (e.g. ice cream shop, car lot, etc.), you might do well by visiting in person. Introduce yourself, say that you have sent in your materials, and ask whether they would have time to chat. People are busy and especially in smaller businesses, they don't always have time to process materials quickly.
    • Although entering a new setting can be overwhelming, stay calm. Aim to be confident and relaxed and consider saying something like, "Hello, Mr. Smithie. My name is John Collins. I submitted an application to be an ice cream scooper last week. Have you had time to look at it?"

Part 2
Preparing for the Interview

  1. Image titled Ask for a Job Interview Step 5
    Research the company. Peruse its website. See what its mission and structure are. If it's a larger company, read its annual financial report. Also, research industry-specific information. Are their trade journals or professional associations related to what this company does?[2]
    • At this point, you should have submitted your application. Be sure to submit your application and all the necessary materials before asking for an interview. It is also wise to wait at least one week before expecting a response or following up.
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    Research your potential interviewers. What are their backgrounds? What were their career paths? See if you can find their LinkedIn profiles. Look for any similarities between you and them. For example, you might share an alma mater or a major hobby. While these topics might come up, if they are relevant, mention them.[3]
    • Do social media searches anonymously if possible. For example, if you are not logged into LinkedIn, you can perform a public search.
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    Use your research to define your goals. While doing research on the company or its employees, see how their values and projects connect to you. How can you demonstrate that their company fits into your career trajectory? How will this job help you achieve your goals. While it is important to emphasize how you can benefit them, think about how they can benefit you too.[4]

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Categories: Interview Skills