Subject Material

Making Job Enquiries

Published: 27.01.2010, Updated: 21.11.2012
Dame søke jobb i telefonkatalog

Pre-reading: What is important when making a job enquiry in English by telephone? Note down what you should think about before making the call.


Make sure you understand these words before you read the text. Use the dictionary in the Tools menu on the right to look up new words:

ability, advertisement, applicant, benefits(subst), branches, employee, employ, enquiry, entail, equipment, experience, heavy goods vehicle, prefer, site (subst), wage


Study the Job Advertisement


We are looking for a young person to join us for general training in all branches of our expanding international company. We buy and sell all kinds of electronic equipment and need an applicant with the following qualifications:

  • prepared to travel abroad
  • willing to start at the bottom and ambitious
  • likes meeting new people and gets on well with people
  • pleasant and hard working

There are excellent opportunities for the right person in the long term. Academic qualifications are less important than the right attitudes and the ability to be flexible and get on with other people.


Apply in writing or by email as soon as possible to the Personnel Manager, Intermac Ltd, Industrial Way, Woolbourne, Oxfordshire, Intermac[at] .

Telephone Conversation

Jim is making a telephone call to find out more about the job. Notice how he starts off by introducing himself. Also make a note of phrases you think might be useful if you were making a similar enquiry.

Intermac: Good morning. Intermac. Can I help you?
Jim: Good morning. I'm phoning about your advertisement for a young trainee.
Intermac: Just a moment. I'll put you through to personnel.
Jim: Thank you
Intermac: Hold the line, please.
Personnel: Personnel. Good morning, can I help you?
Jim: Good morning. My name's Jim Smith, and I'm phoning about that job you advertised.
Personnel: Oh, yes! What did you want to know?
Jim: Well, I just wanted to ask a couple of questions.
Personnel: Go ahead, please.
Jim: Well, first of all, I wondered if I'd need to speak any other languages.
Personnel: Well, we'd prefer someone who knows some French.
Jim: Oh, that's fine. And then I wondered if I'd need any knowledge of electronics.
Personnel: No, you wouldn't. We'd give you all the necessary training.
Jim: Oh, right. Thanks very much. I'll send in an application then. Goodbye.
Personnel: Not at all. Goodbye.

  1. Answer these questions about the dialogue.
    • Why is Jim phoning the company?
    • What does the woman at the information desk say?
    • Which department is he put through to?
    • How many questions did Jim have?
    • What were the questions Jim wanted to ask?
    • What answers did he get to his questions?
  2. Act out your own telephone dialogue with a partner using the following information:
    Example: how many - 36 workers

    How many are employed at your Woolbourne branch?
    There are 36 employees at this branch.
    • travel - about once a month
    • how long each journey - about a week
    • sort of equipment - computers mainly
    • need German - yes/no
    • need Spanish - yes/no
    • need Russian - yes/no
    • pay - about £12000 a year
    • pension scheme - yes/no
  3. Decide on two additional questions you would like to ask Intermac. Act out the dialogue.


Work in pairs. Take it in turns to make enquiries about one of the jobs advertised below. One of you is the person making the enquiry, the other is someone from the personnel department of the firm. Use some of the useful phrases from the conversation Jim had with Intermac.

Job: Heavy Goods Vehicle Driver Read more
  • Wage: Approx. £250 per week for a 55 hr/wk
  • Hours: Various shifts, incl. weekends
  • Details: Heavy Goods Vehicle licence is essential.
  • Must be aged 25+.
  • Job entails delivering various goods throughout Oxfordshire.
  • Ask for John on 543 5809.


Job: Waiter Read more
  • Wage: £275 per week + bonus
  • Hours: Irregular hours
  • Details: Counter staff required for newly opened fast food restaurant in city centre. Friendly and busy atmosphere.
  • Some experience is desirable, but training is provided.
  • Good working conditions, pay and a system of staff benefits.
  • Ask for Andy on 226 5436.


Job: Carpenters & Joiners Read more
  • Wage: Good rates of pay
  • Hours: 8 a.m. — 5 p.m. Mon — Fri
  • Details: Self-employed carpenter & joiner required for work on site.
  • Applicants must have at least 2 years previous experience.
  • Immediate start.
  • Ask for Laura on 669 4228.
Job: Painter & Decorator Read more
  • Wage: £250 per week + bonus
  • Hours:To be arranged
  • Details: Must be experienced.
  • Will be driving employer's van.
  • Exterior and interior work.
  • Ask for Ann on 9404601.