Dear Sir, Gis-a-job.
July 14, 2015 6:06 AM   Subscribe

I intend to apply for a software position at a company. Before applying, I'm going to send an email enquiry. What should I ask?

Apologies for asking the hivemind to nanny me but I know there's a lot of software people about and I could use some advice.

The position is Junior Web Developer; a career change for me and the first time I've applied for such a role.

To help get my name to the fore, I thought it would be a good idea to email the company to enquire about the position before I actually applied. (Good idea or not?)

From what I can gather from the advert, the position would involve working on internal projects to support the company's product.

I've drafted an email with a list of questions, asking about the size of the software department, what platforms they use, what the main responsibilities of the role would be.

Are these the sort of questions that are usually/should be asked in a such a letter? What else should I be asking? Any other top-tips would be appreciated!
posted by popcassady to Work & Money (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
No. Just apply. What they will remember about you is that you made them do more work than other candidates.

These are great questions to ask during a phone or in person interview though.
posted by magnetsphere at 6:13 AM on July 14, 2015 [14 favorites]

Apply, email saying that you have applied but you have questions and do they have a half hour to meet?
posted by entropone at 6:20 AM on July 14, 2015

Best answer: Your questions are entirely normal interview questions - and frankly the kind of ultra-basic job facts that any applicant should expect to know early in an interview process. In fact, if I were in your shoes, I'd expect them to be answered by the end of the initial phone interview - either because they offered the information or I asked. I will specifically recommend counter to entropone's suggestion. Asking for time to meet is de facto asking for an interview, which is what your application is. Asking those questions is not going to get your name to the fore except as "that person who's trying to game the system in a weird annoying way."

Source: I interview & make hiring recommendations for technical folks as part of my job.
posted by Tomorrowful at 6:30 AM on July 14, 2015 [17 favorites]

Yeah, don't do this. Tomorrowful said it all, so I'll just +1. (I am an in-house a recruiter at a leading tech company.)

Do make sure your resume lists out your skills and projects in detail so that they can make a good assessment of the likelihood of the match; and do have your list of questions handy if you get a phone screen.
posted by fingersandtoes at 7:20 AM on July 14, 2015

Also: definitely address any letter to a specific person (if listed in the ad) or "Dear Sir or Madam" (if no person is listed). Don't simply say, "Dear Sir"--what if the hiring manager is a woman?

I'm not saying you would have done that, and the title for the post was likely a joke, but I just thought I'd mention it.
posted by Amy NM at 8:50 AM on July 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

Echoing that it's not necessary and may hurt your prospects. I encourage you to read Ask a Manager. She has great career advice (and she has discouraged this behavior several times when asked).
posted by radioamy at 9:41 AM on July 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

I also came here to say "don't send it!" and to recommend Ask a Manager - spend some time going through the relevant topics in her archives. Here's a very typical quote from her:

If you ever find yourself thinking that you’ll try XYZ to help you “stand out” when applying for a job, XYZ had better be one of the following: being highly qualified for the job, writing a great cover letter, having a resume that shows that you’d excel at what the job involves, or being friendly, responsive, thoughtful, and enthusiastic.

(from this post)
posted by insectosaurus at 12:10 PM on July 14, 2015 [2 favorites]

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