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Your Mandatory Requirements Are Too Strict!

Do your job descriptions outline mandatory requirements that tell candidates “If you don’t meet these, don’t bother applying?” While being up-front with job seekers saves them time from customizing a resume for a job they have no chance at getting, and saves you from having to screen through unqualified candidates, you may also miss out on some star candidates.

Confused job seeker

Is it possible that you’ve gone a little overboard on those mandatory requirements and you’re asking for way too much out of a professional? Take another look at the job posting that isn’t performing well.  Do you have a long list of mandatory requirements? Are you asking for years of experience on certain skills that may only get used a few times per year?  Do those years of experience match the job title? A junior resource shouldn’t need 7 years of experience.

Having excessive mandatory requirements can have terrible effects on your recruiting efforts.  As we alluded to above, it can turn off some great candidates who self-screen and deem themselves unqualified.  If you’re a repeat offender, it can also have the opposite effect, where candidates assume you don’t know what you’re talking about so apply to everything.  In the end, you’ve either missed out on great candidates or have too many unqualified resumes — neither scenario is beneficial for you.

So, what steps can you take to make the job posting a little more lax but still screen out the unqualified?

  1. Re-read the job description and confirm that everything makes sense. As mentioned earlier, are the experience requirements consistent with the job title?  Is it even possible to gain that much experience? We heard from one IT professional who remembers seeing a requirement for 3 years of experience with Windows 2000 Administration in 2001 – and this happens more often that you would think!  Also consider soft skills and whether or not they are really necessary to include.  It is unlikely that a candidate will self-screen out based on a soft skill.
  2. Work with the hiring manager to review the job opening and compare it to the description. Ask if each of those mandatories are absolutely necessary for this role.  Could a few lines be moved to the “nice-to-have” section? Can the experience be gained while working for you?
  3. If you’ve concluded that every single one of those skills must be met, and you’re still not having luck finding the right person, you may want to work with a niche agency. Staffing agencies have wide networks and build relationships across vast geographic areas. If your person is out there, they’ll find them.
  4. Finally, if the description makes sense, every single skill has to be mandatory, and no agency can find the person you want, it’s time to ask yourself if this person even exists. You may be looking for a skillset that just isn’t possible to find, or it’s one in a million.  Consider breaking it up into two jobs. Or, decide which mandatories can stay, and hire a temporary contractor to consult on the other skills.

Mandatory requirements are great for encouraging job applicants to self-screen, ensuring you put less time into screening resumes.  They can also have negative effects on your job postings.  Have you put much thought into your mandatory requirements?  Is it possible you’re losing talent because of it?

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