I've come across several job descriptions in vacancy advertisements relevant to my field that are vague and unclear to say the least. What's a good approach to ask what exactly the job is before going through the interview process?
Most of the times, the best approach is just being straightforward.
Follow whichever is applicable in the below order:
- If you have a contact number provided in the job listing, call them up and ask about the job description.
- If you have don't have a contact number, but a point-of-contact email ID, drop an email showing your interest and asking about the clarification for the role.
- If you don't have any specific contact information, find out the corresponding company communication channel (generic ID, phone number), and ask them to get you in touch with the people responsible for recruitment to talk about the job post.
The other answers are good for the literal question, but I'll take a different perspective and posit that a job description being so vague that you can't even confidently start the interview process is such a red flag that you should probably just skip over such jobs entirely.
Usually, it means the truthful answer to
So, what's the job? is
We don't really know. Outside of a few particular situations such as the job being exploratory in nature, or at an early stage startup, this is probably not a good thing.
But even in the case your eventual manager does have a clear idea of what they need, the fact the job description ended up being vague anyway suggests they don't have much control over their own recruitment pipeline. Why? What other aspects of work might be similar? On the surface, this doesn't reflect well on the culture at this organisation.