Here's How to Ask if Someone is Hiring

Before you walk in, use these three expert tips to get prepared and wow the hiring manager.

Katy Boyles |
Katy is our Social Media Manager at Snagajob, where she loves talking to hourly workers and employers all day long. Her first hourly job was as a hostess.
Categories: Finding a job

A lot of people don’t consider pounding the pavement as a viable way to search for a job. However, don’t count out dipping into your favorite spot in person to see if they’ve got any job openings. Despite that many companies use online applications these days, sometimes you just can’t beat a face-to-face first impression. How do you inquire about a job in person? Read on to find out!

First impressions are key

First impressions are sometimes hard to shake. That’s why making a good one is so important. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has some great tips for making a good first impression in an interview that totally work if you’re walking in to apply for a job.

  • Shake hands and smile genuinely when you greet someone.

  • Give great eye contact.

  • Be mindful of your posture; stand tall and keep your shoulders down and back.

  • Don’t give one-word answers, they can make you seem curt or disinterested.

  • Silence your phone and keep your eyes off it.

  • No gum!

Surefire tips on how to inquire about a job

While asking about a job in person might be a little different at every business, there are some basics that are applicable pretty much across the board.

Do some research ahead of time

Use the internet to look up some basic facts about the business, like the hours they’re open, what the company culture is like and what kind of products they sell. You can use several resources to find information, including:

  • The company’s website

  • Their social media accounts

  • Search engine results to see any news stories about the company

  • People you know who work or have worked there

It can also help to do a little research on the industry in general, as well as the company’s direct competitors. This will head off any confusion surrounding industry-based questions and may give you a leg up during a casual interaction or interview.

This applies whether you’re asking for a job in person or putting in applications online. Not only will you be able to get an idea of whether a certain company is really a place you want to work, you’ll also find yourself more prepared to interview.

Think of it like an interview

This means that you should dress and prepare accordingly.

Many interview gurus say that you should dress for the position that you’re seeking. However, at many places where applying in person is common practice, you may find that the employee’s day-to-day wardrobe is a little too casual. In that case, you can opt for a look that’s casual but still professional. That means no tennis shoes or flip flops, no cut-off jeans or shirts and clothes that are clean and wrinkle free. Also, make sure you’re well-groomed.

Seriously, though. Sometimes you may be offered an on-the-spot interview and you don’t want to feel ill-prepared. Everyone does better in interviews when they are prepared to give their best. Speaking of…

Be prepared

Here are some things you can do to make sure you’re prepared:

  • Fill out a sample job application with your work and education history, contact information for your references, and other commonly requested information so that you have all the pertinent details with you.

  • Bring your calendar so you can let them know when you’re available for an interview or to work.

  • Make sure you’ve thought through why you’re qualified for the job you’re applying for.

  • Think about why you want to work there. If you prepare a little blurb on the subject ahead of time, you won’t feel so put on the spot if you’re asked to interview and they ask this common question.

  • If you don’t feel particularly confident, it can help to practice the things you want to say until you feel more comfortable and self-assured. You can use a mirror or bounce ideas for your “script” off a friend or family member.

Anything you can do ahead of time to make sure you put your best foot forward is a step in the right direction.

Time it just right

It’s bad form to bother someone when they’re busy at work. Do your best to pop in when the business isn’t swamped. If the company is listed on Google, you can often find when their most popular times are and when they tend to be less busy.

This is important because employees and managers you speak with will be less likely to be stressed out. If you walk into a stressful work environment, it could paint you in a bad light even if you were actually just in the right place at the wrong time.

You may also find that the staff have a little more time to get to know you if they’re not busy. 

Keep a resume handy

While you might file this one under the “Be prepared” heading, it deserves attention all on its own. Do you really need a resume when you’re walking in to fill out a job application? The answer is that it never hurts to have one ready. At more casual places of employment, the manager may not necessarily need a resume and may not even want one. However, you can always ask to leave your resume with the application.

An attractive resume can go a long way to showing that you’re responsible and prepared. Don’t have one? No problem, we’ve got you covered. You can create a resume free on Snagajob, and we’ll do all the formatting for you. 

Relax. Breathe.

People rarely make the best impression when they’re stressed, anxious or just plain wound up. If you’re really worried about what to say when you walk in to apply for a job, it’s likely you won’t sound confident and capable.

Obviously, if you’re taking the time to walk in for an application, it’s important to you. Try to stay calm about it. If calm is a struggle, you can try some deep breathing exercises. Create a mantra to help you feel more confident. Something like, “I’m prepared, I’m qualified, and success will find me,” might do the trick.

When is it a good idea to ask about a job in person?

Asking about a position in person might offer a little more oomph in certain situations. Some companies even expect or require you to apply in person. If the business is a bar, restaurant or retail shop, they’re more likely to allow or require applying in person. You might benefit from inquiring in person if you’re a regular at the place where you’re applying.

Here’s how to inquire about a job, the right way, step by step

1. Nail the introduction

When you walk in, find an employee who seems available to talk and introduce yourself. Make sure they aren’t busy first! Be sure to smile and offer an appropriate greeting to everyone you meet through the whole encounter. Tell them you’re there to inquire about a job.

2. Ask for the manager

Once you’ve politely introduced yourself to an employee, ask them if a manager is available to chat about job opportunities. It’s super important that you make it clear to the employee that you are there to talk about a job. Otherwise, they may be wondering if they’ve done something wrong or if you’re unhappy about a product or service you’ve received.

This will give you the opportunity to make a great impression where it really counts. Sometimes the hiring manager isn’t always on site, but don’t be discouraged! Just go ahead and leave your application.

3. Get right to the point

If you’re able to get an audience with a manager, be sure to tell them as soon as it seems polite that you’re inquiring about a job or that you’d like an application. Chat them up about the business and your personal situation. It’s likely that they’ll want to get to know you a little, especially if you’ve made a great first impression.

Once again, be prepared to interview immediately.

5. Follow up

Make sure that you get contact information for the manager before you leave (if you haven’t already been offered a job, that is). Send a little thank you note or a follow up email to say how grateful you are for their time and consideration. This can help remind them how great you were to deal with and maybe even land you the job.


Now that you’ve learned how to ask someone for a job opportunity, you’re ready to hit the streets and start searching!