Do you need to meet all of the requirements in a job posting?
That’s an excellent question, and a point of pretty extensive debate among tech pros and recruiters. According to a new TalentWorks study, though, job candidates who meet at least 50 percent of the job requirements are as likely to land the interview as ones who meet 90 percent.
That’s a pretty stunning conclusion, drawn from an analysis of 6,000+ job applications across 118 industries. Thanks to that massive dataset, TalentWorks determined that the candidate’s chances of an interview callback start to rise once they meet 40 percent of the requirements—and plateau at roughly the 50-60 percent mark.
“But after that point, you’re in diminishing returns,” read the blog post accompanying the data. “Applying to jobs where they matched 60 percent or more of job requirements didn’t provide any additional boost in interview rate.”
This trend applies to both men and women. “Actually, for women, the chances of getting an interview start increasing as soon as you meet 30 percent of requirements,” the blog added. Moreover, women tend to be more discerning about the jobs they accept, with 64 percent rejecting at least one job where they matched at least 50-60 percent of the requirements, versus 37 percent of men.
When it comes to posted job requirements, many tech pros believe that companies ask for too much. Overwritten “specs” might demand knowledge of dozens of programming languages and platforms, along with an extensive portfolio of skills. Fortunately, even a super-stuffed job description often includes the most vital skills at the very beginning; you can safely concentrate on those “core” ones and ignore the ones that the employer likely considers “nice to haves.”
As hiring experts have emphasized repeatedly over the years, and the TalentWorks data just reinforces, nobody is the “perfect” fit for a job; if you meet most of the skills and requirements, you have a chance at landing the initial interview. That being said, make sure your résumé and other materials mention the skills and technologies detailed in the job description; in this age of increasingly automated résumé-scanning, it’d be unfortunate if you were rejected for a position just because you forgot to include something.