Why contacting the jobholder can boost your chance of success!

by Jo Wood
Published: Monday, 23 October, 2023

Why contacting the jobholder can boost your chance of success!

When preparing for an interview, do you always reach out to the jobholder? If not, you may be missing a trick! If you’re going for your dream job you will want to feel confident, informed and practiced. The best way to do this is to prepare well and find out as much as you can about the job you are applying for. 

The job holder is likely expecting you to contact them to ask additional questions about the role, so let's explore how you can make the most of this connection.

1. Making sure the role is a good fit for you

Your number one goal in an interview is describe your fitness for the role – so make sure you do your due diligence and make sure it really is a good fit before going any further. Use this opportunity to find out everything you can about what you will actually be doing because, let's be honest, do you even recognise the role you are currently doing on paper? Having a conversation with the jobholder can help you get a feel for the culture of the team and/or the organisation and you can ascertain if it aligns with your values and what's important to you. Finding out more about the day-to-day responsibilities of the role will help you decide if it plays to your strengths and will help you decide if this role will move your career in the direction you want to go. 

2. Prepare some relevant questions

Prepare a list of thoughtful questions that focus on the specifics of the job, organisational and team goals, dynamics, and culture. Try to avoid asking questions that are readily available in the job description. Questions to consider:

  • what are the biggest challenges facing the team/division over the next year?
  • what are your main immediate and longer-term objectives for this role/team?
  • what is the make-up of the team?
  • has the business faced recent changes or has there been a period of stability this year so far?
  • how is wellbeing/burnout/mental health managed on the team?


This type of insight gives you the opportunity to better imagine yourself in the role and, in turn, helps you to think about your unique approach to the role. Sharing your own vision for how you will positively make a difference will show that you are informed, have a passion for the work and help you demonstrate that you are a really good fit. But do acknowledge that the person you're contacting is likely busy with the hiring process, so be respectful of their time and availability, and be flexible in scheduling any discussions or calls and most importantly during your conversation make sure you listen and learn.

3. Create a connection before the interview 

If possible, try to create an opportunity to either meet or speak to the people recruiting on a more informal basis to help you to create a connection even before the interview. It’s a chance to put your best foot forward without the pressure of sitting in front of the recruitment board. After your communication express your appreciation for their time and insights. This not only shows courtesy but also helps maintain a positive impression.

Reaching out to the person responsible for advertising the job allows you to gather valuable information and demonstrate your enthusiasm. During the interview, incorporate the insights you gained into your responses. This demonstrates your proactive approach and genuine interest in the position, and it can help you stand out as a well-prepared and committed candidate during the interview process. Try it next time you apply for a job and let us know how it goes. Taking these steps can truly set you apart in a job interview. Best of luck with your future applications, and remember, you've got this!

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