Saw this interesting  article showing that if you only hit about 50% of job requirements on your resume, you’re just as likely to get an interview as someone who hits 90%. Curious to hear if hiring managers agree.



mrreliable's picture

It depends on the job.

If you're hiring someone to be a managing editor of a law journal, they're going to need to be an experienced lawyer and have a certain amount of experience as an editor. If you're hiring someone as a proofer or other support role in an editorial department, personal characteristics or traits might be just as important as listed academics and experience.

I wouldn't argue with the general premise of the article, that in many cases stated requirements might be flexible for the right candidate, but I don't necessarily buy in that the statistics are valid for the conclusions presented. They're so generalized I wouldn't rely on them too much. Then again, I have a pet peeve about statistics being thrown around like seasoning that resembles evidence to support a theory.

The best advice I've had for writing job descriptions when recruiting was to do your best to explain exactly what you're looking for. I would suggest if a large percentage of a company's employees didn't meet the standards stated in the job description, it's a failure in writing the job descriptions.

That doesn't mean I'd hesitate to apply for a job if I had a couple of holes in my resume, for the reasons the article suggested.


GlennR's picture

  1. Do not assume the job description accurately reflects the position 100%. A harried hiring manager may have copied and pasted it from a similar position that is slightly different, the hiring manager may be forced to use a job description by  HR that he or she doesn't fully support, or the hiring manager may have slight different ideas about the position.
  2. There are companies that 'hire for attitude; train for skills." If you are missing one or two qualifications, you may be alright if you can show that you have a desireable attitude and a willingness to learn.

Bottom line (at the bottom): Nothing ventured; nothing gained.


mainer's picture

The replies posted above are both great and reflect industry practice (the replies reflect what so many industries do).

Unless one is applying to a very specific, high-stakes role, one doesn't have to meet all the requirements. However, there is no way to say how much is enough, although it is nonetheless possible to determine whether or not a candidate is under- or overqualified.

Moreover, hiring managers value temperament and compatibility also. For entry- or mid-level positions, there are probation periods, too. That is, one is given six months or a year to pick up the necessary skills. On the other hand, if one meets all the requirements, one is likely to be overqualified. In these cases, the candidate must spend some time re-crafting their resume to indicate this. That you were able to make that call might or might not be taken in your favor, but you may just end up interviewing for a higher position than advertised. (Of course, an organization has to have vacancies for this to happen).