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I'm a graduating master's student in engineering with 2 years of professional work experience. I find some positions without any information about what level of experience employers are looking for in their candidates, e.g., "X+ years of experience", or "intermediate level". What's HR manager or department manager's intent on such ads? I have hard time imagining them saying, "we want a new staff, but we don't really care he/she is entry-level or senior-level". They list what kind of technical skills they need though.

Why would an employer not post the number of years required in a job ad?

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    I would consider this the perfect opportunity to phone them up and ask - that way you already have a 'foot in the door'. – Jan Doggen Mar 11 '13 at 11:03
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I have hard time imagining them saying, "we want a new staff, but we don't really care he/she is entry-level or senior-level".

Often, that's not precisely what the ads are saying. In my experience, it's not that they "don't really care" if they hire entry or senior level folks, it's that they're going to look at the whole candidate pool and see what shakes out, and move the budget around accordingly.

It might very well be that the company is hiring for multiple positions to fit a range of experience, and they have a certain budget to do so. They might find they can hire 5 solid mid-level people from the responses to that ad, or they might find one gem of a senior person and 1 or 2 entry level people, or some other combination.

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    +1: It might very well be that the company is hiring for multiple positions to fit a range of experience, and they have a certain budget to do so. - Very true. – Jim G. Mar 9 '13 at 22:26
  • I will definitely agree with the multiple positions bit--I just ran into two very similar job ads. It was pretty obvious they were hiring for at least two positions on the same team, one more senior than the other. – Loren Pechtel Mar 12 '13 at 3:53
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Why would an employer not post the number of years required in a job ad?

Because "years of experience" is less relevant in today's knowledge-based economy.

  • Mark Zuckerberg became a programmer at age 12 and founded Facebook at age 21.
  • A devil's advocate might say, "Zuckerberg is an outlier. Most people need years of professional experience before they are accomplished."
  • But even if that's true, "years" of experience is not a reliable way of measuring someone's proficiency in a given area (especially in nascent technical fields).
  • For instance, Steve Sanderson began promoting KnockoutJS in 2011.
    • If you were looking to hire a KnockoutJS programmer, it would be ridiculous to insist on a requisite number of "years of experience" because the metric would have little relevance to a candidate's ability to grok the KnockoutJS MVVM paradigm and develop code.
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    +1. As Morgan Missen puts it: Experience is what you've done, not how long you've done it – Maxim Krizhanovsky Mar 10 '13 at 12:03
  • @Darhazer: Or how well you've done it. – Jim G. Mar 10 '13 at 12:41
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For a multi-skill position, asking for say X years of experience in skill Y is often pretty meaningless.

Just because someone has used skill Y for X years - it doesn't make them any good.

Additionally, there will be candidates who can rightly claim they've used skill Y for the required time but some will have used it much more than others.

It is often better for a company simply to list the skills they're asking for and then choose the candidate based on roles/projects available and then train them on any skills they may be missing or light on.

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If they don't mention how much experience is required it's probably not their top priority. I think the bottom line is that it doesn't matter why they don't specify the amount of experience wanted, but instead just jump on the opportunity and apply for those jobs.

If you meet the posted requirements (or come close to them) and you're interested in the job, then apply. This was the advice given to me by job coaches when I was looking for my job.

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