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How important/essential are the requirements on most job ads?

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    Scanning through a list of 100 or so job ads in my local area, following them to the word then I am not qualified for ANY of them. They all say that some certain experience that I don't have is "essential".

    In reality, is this often overlooked? A lot of these are 15-20k things that basically look like entry level jobs but they all want experience that can't be obtained any other way than actually doing that job.

    This is a common issue, I realise, but specifically I'm asking if often recruiters are flexible with these requirements and will look at applicants who don't tick those boxes?
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    (Original post by NB_ide)
    Scanning through a list of 100 or so job ads in my local area, following them to the word then I am not qualified for ANY of them. They all say that some certain experience that I don't have is "essential".

    In reality, is this often overlooked? A lot of these are 15-20k things that basically look like entry level jobs but they all want experience that can't be obtained any other way than actually doing that job.

    This is a common issue, I realise, but specifically I'm asking if often recruiters are flexible with these requirements and will look at applicants who don't tick those boxes?

    About 90% of employers are sitting with that exact same list in front of them (all major companies that recruit in large numbers and have a central HR service) when they read the applications and scoring each applicant, along the lines of 0= no evidence, 1 = insufficient evidence, 2= enough evidence, 3= strong evidence. They add up the scores and the top 6 people get to interview. That is why tailoring your CV to each application, even down to the same language is so important.


    A few years ago it was said that if you could give enough evidence of 80% of the skills you were a strong applicant, but even if it was 60% it was worth submitting an application. Based on what I've seen in recent years, you can up that by 20%, ie strong applicants have 100% of the experience being asked for, but it is worth making an application if you have 80% of what they are asking for, and can prove it in a CV.
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    (Original post by NB_ide)
    Scanning through a list of 100 or so job ads in my local area, following them to the word then I am not qualified for ANY of them. They all say that some certain experience that I don't have is "essential".

    In reality, is this often overlooked? A lot of these are 15-20k things that basically look like entry level jobs but they all want experience that can't be obtained any other way than actually doing that job.

    This is a common issue, I realise, but specifically I'm asking if often recruiters are flexible with these requirements and will look at applicants who don't tick those boxes?
    It really depends on where you are finding the ads and who put them there. A lot of recruitment agents, for example, will just spam job sites with generic templates and crudely cut and pasted job descriptions. In that type of scenario, essential requirements aren't always essential.

    I mean, my friend who works in IT was laughing at the fact that jobs were being advertised that said things like '5 years experience in Windows Server 2010 essential'.

    Obviously, big companies with internal recruitment processes might not be so flexible (although many can be surprisingly so depending on how you approach them although that is a different subject...) but if you are looking on job sites - I would take every job ad with a pinch of salt thrown over each shoulder. A lot of the jobs probably never even existed. On the other hand, smaller companies often won't have such stringent criteria for entry level(ish) jobs and will react to anyone they like the look of. Also, recruitment agents will put any old cack on a website and worry about sorting through it later.

    So if you feel like you tick a lot of boxes for some of these jobs then I would advise that you go for it.
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    (Original post by Jake22)
    It really depends on where you are finding the ads and who put them there. A lot of recruitment agents, for example, will just spam job sites with generic templates and crudely cut and pasted job descriptions. In that type of scenario, essential requirements aren't always essential.
    That's because there isn't a specific job available. Recruiters survive by introducing the client employer to a number of candidates, in the hope that the suitable one gets the job, so that they can claim their fee. In order to seem efficient and responsive to the client - which is the employer, not the employee, they keep lists of people currently looking for work. Put up a random, generic sounding 'job advert' and you receive a whole load of applications, which can then sit on your database, so that when a job does come up, you've got a database to search through. The problem is that the people who responded to the generic advert have sent in generic CVs. You'll get the best candidates from the specific advert.

    (Original post by Jake22)
    On the other hand, smaller companies often won't have such stringent criteria for entry level(ish) jobs and will react to anyone they like the look of.
    I disagree; a really small corner shop or a local, family-run type businesses might not have stringent criteria, but usually, the smaller the business, the more critical it is that you get the right people in post. If you only have 4 shop floor staff on one of them is a complete waste of space, then your business is at risk 25% of the time, with them annoying customers, losing stock, mis-filing paperwork, screwing up the till etc. Much of the current problem in the jobs market is that employers have become massively risk-averse, they won't take a chance on anyone as an employee, while the margins on any business are under such pressure. That's why they are putting such a premium on experience.
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    (Original post by threeportdrift)
    That's because there isn't a specific job available.
    I know - I said that in the next paragraph.

    (Original post by threeportdrift)
    Recruiters survive by introducing the client employer to a number of candidates, in the hope that the suitable one gets the job, so that they can claim their fee. In order to seem efficient and responsive to the client - which is the employer, not the employee, they keep lists of people currently looking for work. Put up a random, generic sounding 'job advert' and you receive a whole load of applications, which can then sit on your database, so that when a job does come up, you've got a database to search through. The problem is that the people who responded to the generic advert have sent in generic CVs. You'll get the best candidates from the specific advert.
    I know. But let's face it - most recruitment people are barely professionals and don't care too much about refining their approach even when they risk pissing off the client by sending them severely innappropriate candidates.

    (Original post by threeportdrift)
    I disagree; a really small corner shop or a local, family-run type businesses might not have stringent criteria, but usually, the smaller the business, the more critical it is that you get the right people in post. If you only have 4 shop floor staff on one of them is a complete waste of space, then your business is at risk 25% of the time, with them annoying customers, losing stock, mis-filing paperwork, screwing up the till etc.
    I agree but my point was that such people, in general, don't know specifically what they are looking for (in terms of exact sources of experience and qualifications) but are able to make a decision about a person once they have met them. So, they may advertise a job and ask for things that sound good in principle (e.g. "we want someone with a degree in XYZ") but then someone turns up with a different bag of tricks and they can see that the person would be a good fit and would be capable.

    (Original post by threeportdrift)
    Much of the current problem in the jobs market is that employers have become massively risk-averse, they won't take a chance on anyone as an employee, while the margins on any business are under such pressure. That's why they are putting such a premium on experience.
    But employers in practice are often less rigid about categorising precise types of experience i.e. the job ad says they want someone with management experience in their industry but they realise that when it comes down to it - the job isn't technical and what they really need is management experience at a similar level and that is more important to them etc. etc.

    My comments are mostly based on the experience of both myself and friends and family - both from the point of view of being employers and employees.
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    (Original post by Jake22)

    ...my point was that such people, in general, don't know specifically what they are looking for (in terms of exact sources of experience and qualifications) but are able to make a decision about a person once they have met them. So, they may advertise a job and ask for things that sound good in principle (e.g. "we want someone with a degree in XYZ") but then someone turns up with a different bag of tricks and they can see that the person would be a good fit and would be capable.
    The problem is that nowadays it is perfectly standard to get 100+ people applying for a job, I've heard of entry level jobs getting 500 applicants. As I've already written on TSR once today, the process the majority of recruitment companies (if used) or employers (if advertising directly) is to take the list of skills they've put in the job advert and score applicants 0= no evidence, 1= not enough evidence, 2= some evidence, 3= strong evidence. The just sit there and score CV/application against advertised skills. Then they take the top 6 people (one person/panel can interview 6 people in one day, multiply up for the number of days/staff a business is prepared to spend on recruitment).

    So out of 100 applicants you have to find 6. What you actually do is get rid of 94. To do that efficiently, the only practical thing to do is use a quantitative process, and the process employers use is strongest/closest skills fit. What you are talking about - the gut feeling, the personal fit etc is what governs the decision making process at interview. That is the qualitative part of the process, when you've met the person, heard them talk, seen them under pressure etc.

    It costs a fortune to advertise for jobs, and recruiters usually take a large chunk of the first year salary of anyone the place (ie it costs the employer 110%-125%). Employers absolutely know what skills they need for a job when they put out a job advert, the only flexibility they have on that spec is when they get to interview and the candidate pool is reduced to a number where qualitative decisions are made.
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    (Original post by threeportdrift)
    The problem is that nowadays it is perfectly standard to get 100+ people applying for a job, I've heard of entry level jobs getting 500 applicants. As I've already written on TSR once today, the process the majority of recruitment companies (if used) or employers (if advertising directly) is to take the list of skills they've put in the job advert and score applicants 0= no evidence, 1= not enough evidence, 2= some evidence, 3= strong evidence. The just sit there and score CV/application against advertised skills. Then they take the top 6 people (one person/panel can interview 6 people in one day, multiply up for the number of days/staff a business is prepared to spend on recruitment).
    That is the theory but it doesn't happen like that in practice with a lot of smaller firms and smaller recruitment agencies (or even within bigger recruitment agencies). People still do things like skim read as many as they are prepared to and make keep and discard files.

    (Original post by threeportdrift)
    So out of 100 applicants you have to find 6. What you actually do is get rid of 94. To do that efficiently, the only practical thing to do is use a quantitative process, and the process employers use is strongest/closest skills fit. What you are talking about - the gut feeling, the personal fit etc is what governs the decision making process at interview. That is the qualitative part of the process, when you've met the person, heard them talk, seen them under pressure etc.
    In practice, it is often more of an amateur approach. The client knows what they want but don't articulate it and the agent puts some generic bull**** that they think sounds good and doesn't worry too much about dotting all of the i's and crossing all of the t's

    (Original post by threeportdrift)
    Employers absolutely know what skills they need for a job when they put out a job advert
    Not always. A lot of situations are done more methodically e.g. graduate schemes and larger companies but there are also the situations where agents collect a bunch of candidates and convince companies to hire them. A lot of busy agents just work with whatever is in view in their inbox. In practice it isn't always so precise and methodical.

    The last full time job I got before uni was a classic example. It was a large company running a grad scheme with very specific requirements but the headhunter I was using called up the branch and spoke to a guy he knew there and convinced them that I was worth interviewing.
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    I have to agree with Jake22. I work for a relatively small business, and management are always saying that they don't necessarily know what they're looking for until they see it. A lot of it is therefore based on the person.

    My job, for instance, required experience of Sage (er, no!) and at least 2 years logistics background (definitely not!).

    If you compare a smaller, growing company to a larger, established business, they're less likely to be looking for someone to come in and do xyz functions as they are for someone who will be valuable to the business in the long run.

    As with everything though, it depends on the individual company. Who knows what goes on behind closed doors!
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    (Original post by Duck and Cover)
    Who knows what goes on behind closed doors!
    Well, what I am saying is based on experience of precisely that i.e. my personal experience, not only with finding jobs but also with dealing with a lot of headhunters in my particular area - some of whom I got to know pretty well.

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