When considering a new position, it’s important to have a full understanding of what the role entails so you know what’s expected of you upon hire. Asking about a job description and specifically, how to ask, ensures you receive an answer that helps you better understand the position. In this article, we explain what a job description is, explain the reasons for asking for a job description, list important questions to ask about a job description and provide you with the steps for how to ask for a job description.
What is a job description?
A job description is an outline of an job’s main duties and responsibilities. When hiring managers or recruiters write a job post, they include a job description that provides job seekers with the duties they can expect to perform upon hire. A job description also includes the job requirements and the required skills needed to perform the role. A compelling job description can not only inform job seekers about a position, but also entice them to apply.
Related: What Are Job Requirements?
Reasons for asking for a job description
Before you ask for a job description, it’s important to have a reason behind your request. Having a reason for asking shows your genuine interest in the position that you may want to apply for. Here are some reasons to ask for a job description:
You no longer have access to the job post
Typically, hiring managers or recruiters post the job description for their open roles online. However, some of these job descriptions and posts expire or get removed once recruiters start the interview process. If you’re asked to interview for a position and you can no longer find the job description online, asking for it can help refresh your memory and help you better prepare.
Related: How To Write a Great Job Post
To learn more about the role
If you know about the job opening but don’t see the job description online, asking the company for it can help you understand what the role entails. Having access to the job description ultimately provides you with a list of the role’s responsibilities and requirements. Knowing this information can help you determine whether you want to apply and can help you better prepare for a potential interview.
Important questions to ask about a job description
When you speak with a hiring manager, you have the opportunity to ask them questions to gain greater clarity about the job description. Considering what to ask ensures you get the most informative answer. Here are some important questions to ask about a job description:
Can you provide specific details about the role’s day-to-day responsibilities?
What would my first week at work look like?
Are there upcoming projects not mentioned in the job description?
How do the job’s duties or goals change during the year?
What are the biggest organizational priorities?
Have there been any changes in direction or strategy?
How does this position contribute to the company’s success?
Related: Interview Questions To Ask Employers
How to ask for a job description
If you want to learn more about a position but don’t have access to the job description, consider asking for a copy of it. Knowing how to ask can help you do so in a professional and effective manner. Use these steps to ask for a job description:
1. Research similar roles
If you have a vague job description for the position you’re interested in, start by finding job descriptions for similar job titles online. While it’s best to ask for the job description for the specific role you’re interested in, looking up similar roles can provide you with added insight into what you can expect for this type of position. If you have questions about the job description, looking up the description for a similar role can also help you think of what to ask.
2. Ask as soon as possible
When asking questions about the role you’re interested in, it’s best to do so as soon as possible. Ultimately, it’s best to ask well before you’re too deep into the interview process so your question doesn’t seem overly delayed. Aim to ask during the first or second interview. By the time you reach the final rounds of interviews, you’re expected to clearly understand the position. Keep in mind that you can still ask questions late in the process, however, make sure you have a solid understanding of the position once you near the end of the interview process.
3. Speak with the right party
Determine who to ask for the job description. If a colleague or friend told you about the position, consider asking them for a copy of the job description if you don’t have access to it. You can also reach out to the company’s hiring manager or the human resources department. If you opt for this method, you can send them a professional email with your request. You can also wait to ask your interviewer for the job description prior to the interview.
Tips for asking for a job description
Use these tips to help you ask for the job description:
Know what you want to ask ahead of time. If you’re headed to an interview, make sure you know what you want to ask ahead of time. Reminding yourself of your questions ensures you can ask them and get them answered.
Be mindful of the questions you ask. Make sure to ask strategic questions that can give you greater insight into the position. Avoid asking anything too obvious that may indicate you don’t know much about the position at all.
Listen attentively. When you get your questions answered, make sure to pay attention. This ensures you don’t forget anything you learned and risk having to ask again. Paying attention to the answer and actively listening also shows that you’re genuinely interested in the answers to your questions.