You see a job posting for a role that you would love to have, but you don’t have all of the qualifications the employer is looking for. It’s not a lost cause. It turns out that you don’t actually need to have every credential in the bullet-pointed list of requirements.
Wanted: 15-years experience in software development, a proven track record of exceeding sales quotas, MBA, CPR certified, must speak English, French, Mandarin, and Portuguese, and provide a portfolio of published scholarly works.
Okay. Nobody has all of that. Sometimes what employers ask for in a job description is a wish list. They shoot for the moon, asking for more than they actually expect candidates to have. This helps discourage less-qualified candidates from applying, giving them fewer resumes to sift through.
So, how much do you actually need?
The team at TalentWorks was curious to find out exactly. They analyzed job postings and resumes for over 6,000 applications across 118 industries. Their research found that while matching requirements is important to land an interview, you don’t actually have to match all of them.
Candidates with fewer than 40 per cent of the qualifications requested had less of a chance of getting called in. When candidates applied to jobs where they matched 40 – 50 per cent of job requirements, they were 85% more likely to get an interview than when they matched less.
Applicants with 50 – 60 per cent of matching qualifications were an extra 192 per cent more likely to get an interview over the 40 – 50 per cent matches.
Interestingly, dream candidates with just about every qualification and credential the employer was requesting were not any more likely to be interviewed than those who have half of them. Candidates with 90 per cent of the requirements were interviewed at the same rate as those who had 50 per cent.
When they broke down the data along gender lines, the researchers found that women landed interviews at higher rates with only 30 per cent of the qualifications – and they were as likely to be interviewed with 40 per cent as with 90 per cent of matching requirements.
There is an important lesson here – particularly for female candidates. Studies have shown that women are far less likely to apply for jobs where they don’t match all of the qualifications listed in the job posting. Second guessing yourself and holding back could be costing you valuable opportunities.
Stop filtering yourself out of contention. Both men and women should feel confident applying for jobs where they match 50 per cent of the requirements. Any more than that isn’t increasing your chances of being interviewed anyway.
For more details and to see the methodology used in this study, you can see the full report from TalentWorks.