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I contacted someone at a company that I was interested in applying for. He then contacted me back and told me that they would be looking to hire someone at the end of summer and that I should apply then. So, I patiently waited and after some time they reached out to me and told me about their job posting. It seemed like an invitation to apply and I took the wording by them to mean that I had a high probability of landing an interview.

I saw that they viewed my LinkedIn profile and saw the amount of experience I had. But, when I viewed their official job posting, I didn't meet the requirements to even apply for the job. I would need 1 more year of experience working in a specific technology and I'm missing 2 years of experience working in their front-end framework.

Should I take this to mean anything? Should I make note that I don't really qualify for the position that they invited me to apply for? Or are they attempting to gather some potentially more well-suited candidates before interviewing me?

I was feeling really hopeful but now I'm feeling a little deflated by the job posting.

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    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Jane S Jun 18 '18 at 23:12
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    @Pharap We can move comments to chat only once. Further off-topic discussions will most likely get deleted. If a chat room is already created, it might be a good idea to post further comments there instead of on the main post. – Masked Man Jun 20 '18 at 10:16

11 Answers 11

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Job orders are often written up by people who have little to do with the actual job. Even when they are, they are often written up with an overly optimistic "Wish list" rather than actual requirements.

It is safe to assume that, having read your linkedin profile, they know your qualifications and they are satisfied with them to at least bringing you in for an interview. Most employers aren't going to look at a resume and say "gosh, this person looks great, but we wanted 10 years of experience with xyz, but he's only got 9, we can't use him"

When I look at someone, I look at the whole picture. If this person has some "nice to have" items in their profile that demonstrate that this individual is clearly competent and a fast learner, I'm not going to be concerned about any areas where he needs more experience.

You might get offered a bit less if you're lacking a bit, or perceived as such, but by all means, go ahead. Apply and get that interview, just be honest on the interview.

Well, I don't have quite as much exposure to XYZ as your job description requires, but I'm confident in my skill in it.

or

I may be a bit weak in XYZ, would there be an opportunity for me to train-up if need be?

But don't get discouraged.

As I said, many job orders are either overly optimistic or inaccurate, sometimes, even wildly so. Don't take the requirements as written in stone.

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    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Jane S Jun 18 '18 at 23:10
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    There was this one guy on reddit, that was appearantly the only applicant for a job. When he got to the interview and during it, the company people figured that their HR posted the job requirment as 8 years experience in technology X, while technology X has been out for 2 years ... (he got the job) – Иво Недев Jun 19 '18 at 6:48
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    I know from experience on the other side of the table: Many people apply to jobs without fulfilling all requirements - depending on the current market they still have good chances of landing a job. – Falco Jun 19 '18 at 12:41
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    @ИвоНедев, It's a pretty common things. Each time a new tech is out (android/ docker/ Js framework). HR will use Total experience requierment as experience in every field. Hr don't have to know if the last hyped js Framework was out for 8 mounth or 12 years. We need 8 years senior with those skill, is translate to 8 years in those skill. – Drag and Drop Jun 19 '18 at 13:40
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    workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/4034/… Job requirements describe an "ideal candidate". While they have to rather hire someone they could actually get within a reasonable timeframe. – ivan_pozdeev Jun 20 '18 at 17:19
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When it comes to "X years of experience", those numbers are just rough guidelines and should not be taken literally. Brush up on the technologies in question before the interview and you should be fine.

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    "they're more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules" – simon_smiley Jun 20 '18 at 1:36
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Being personally invited to apply > All other considerations

You were invited to apply. So they want you to apply. They are not bound to follow the requirements they listed and companies often end up hiring a candidate who doesn't meet every single requirement.

Don't make a note that you technically aren't qualified. That is their job to determine, and if they overlook some detail it's because they didn't actually care about it. You are not being dishonest or sneaky by submitting an app that doesn't meet every single mark. It's expected that under qualified people will apply and there is no expectation that they will make note of it. The burden is on the people doing the hiring to check the apps.

The posting online is probably supposed to be bringing in candidates with similar qualifications to you. It is common for a posting that asks for ten requirements to get dozens of applicants who have eight or nine, and maybe one or two that meet all ten. Those who meet all ten usually want more pay and don't take the position.

You are probably as qualified as most of the people they will end up interviewing from that posting, and as an added bonus, they know you through email, have looked at your Linkedin, and invited you to apply. You might have an advantage over the rest of the field. Apply away.

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    "companies often end up hiring a candidate who doesn't meet every single requirement" s/often/always/ – Tero Lahtinen Jun 19 '18 at 5:50
  • @TeroLahtinen "All the time" rather than "always". Candidates who meet all of the utopic requirements exist and they sometimes even apply for these jobs, but obviously most people won't fill out the entire wishlist. – Cubic Jun 19 '18 at 12:49
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    The last two paragraphs here, are "probably this" and "probably that" and don't add anything to the answer. But +1 for the rest of it (especially the headline) – SpoonMeiser Jun 19 '18 at 13:19
  • although if it were a drastic mismatch, it'd be worth checking to make sure there wasn't a mixup somewhere. probably not the case here. – Philip Schiff Jun 20 '18 at 18:33
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    Furthermore, I know of situations when a company wants to hire you, but is required (legally or otherwise) to advertise the job. Then they overstate the requirements in order to discourage other applicants. I've been there myself, and when I checked the requirements (after getting the job!) I freaked out. I would never have applied if I just came across it. – Zeus Jun 21 '18 at 1:18
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IMHO, Experience time requirement for job postings have a tendency to be exaggerated. The difference between 3 and 5 years in specific framework is negligible in my opinion. You can have person working in high paced development team for 2 years and be more professional with specific stuff more than person working 20 years on one specific piece of software

I think, you should scale yourself, if you can do the job, and if yes, apply.

Maximum, you will get rejected or the silent-treatment (same :) ).

In order to increase your chances for feedback, send your resume through your contact

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    It's not completely unheard of for jobs to require n years of experience in a technology that hasn't yet been around for n years. – James_pic Jun 18 '18 at 15:50
  • @James_pic, this reminds me of some ReactJS/React Native related jobs ads. Totally true – Alberto Schiabel Jun 18 '18 at 16:54
  • HR don't have to keep an update list of every tech ordered by creation date. – Drag and Drop Jun 19 '18 at 13:49
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    A lot of this. I once had a recruiter contact me with a job where they wanted something like "8 years experience with the Microsoft HoloLens" and I told the recruiter, "You will never find this person, the device hasn't even been available for 12 months yet." (I also get recruiters asking me if I have "6 years of experience with API" and I have to explain to them that's like asking if you have experience using paper products). – Draco18s Jun 20 '18 at 23:55
  • @James_pic that was very common in the early days of Java! – GrandmasterB Jun 21 '18 at 4:49
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You are taking the requirements too literally. They are at best a 'wish list'. Missing some years is of little relevance, so you should definitely apply.

From experience, when I look for someone with 5-8 years 'experience in X', I get applications from maybe 3 people (if I am lucky) with 2 - 3 years of 'experience in X', and about 20 that know how to spell 'X' (and a hundred or more who don't know what X is).

Also, experience is different for different people - a good developer with two years experience is often better that a mediocre developer with ten years of experience. At least in my hiring book; ymmv.

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    I've heard a wishlist described as "looking for a rockstar, will settle for best that applies" – Criggie Jun 19 '18 at 2:06
  • On the other hand, the HR droids may insist that if something is listed as required they will often filter that application out. Which is why you'll often see "minimum requirements for consideration" and "ideal requirements" or similar... "this will get you in the door, but this is what we are really looking for" – ivanivan Jun 19 '18 at 12:28
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First of all, requirements in a job posting are a wish list. Companies usually describe their perfect candidate in them. They might be fully aware that they won't find such a person, at least not for the price they are willing to pay. They might be willing to settle for someone who does not 100% match their expectations. So not completely fulfilling all the requirements in a job posting does not necessarily mean you are wasting your time if you apply.

Then, "X years of experience in Y" is a futile attempt to somehow quantify "We are looking for someone with a skill level of X in Y". But there is no objective way to accurately measure skill. So HR people usually use an indirect but very easily measurable secondary indicator: years of experience. Everyone knows that the usefulness of this indicator is very limited. There are some talentless people who worked in a technology for 10 years, yet get outperformed by people who only have 1 year of experience. The latter people usually make up for it with ambition, intelligence, soft-skills and transferable skills in similar technologies.

But in the end, people are not interested in your formal qualifications, they are interested in what you are actually capable of.

So when you lack 1 year of experience, but think that you can measure up to the average person who has that one additional year, then feel free to apply.

  • Someone told me when I was younger to apply for the job if you meet even 50% of the requirements. That might be the most they get. – GrandmasterB Jun 21 '18 at 4:53
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I've seen people with 20 years experience and it was actually "1-year experience" just repeated 20 times. So, your interviewer(s) is the only "jury service" you have to think about, not a "job description" memo.

Being hired successfully, don't afraid to fail then - just keep your colleagues in the loop so they're properly informed you're having a trouble with "X" for now. Then your manager could arrange a resource re-allocation so someone can help you, or do the task re-prioritization, or whatever. You just have to be eager to sharpen your skills on daily basis, anything else is not worth a penny.

Happy team-play!

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I was helping (as technical expert, actually working on the job and leading the team "by example", not "by position" as I had way more experience in that field and was most skilled in it, and I was also way older than the rest of team) to write requirements to recruit new programmers to the our team.

I came up with a list of what was really needed, what were good signs as a secondary criterion, and what would be nice to have.

Along other requirements there was a must have: 1 year experience with X technology, preferably: has written some application in it, even simple.

HR translated it to "must have at least 3 years experience with X professionally."

I had objections to this "translation" but was told "you should not care, this is not your problem anymore". OK, I was paid for IT work, not HR work and I had expressed my objections, so I went back to the project.

A couple of weeks after the hiring ad was published, I was called for an interview with a candidate for that position.

Guess what: he did not work with X, had not played with it for longer than a week or two, but he thought that X could be interesting for him. It was his second round (first was with HR). We talked about what he had done so far, what he would like to do, how he would try to solve this and that problem (he said that he would try to google it, look on SE and would try to find some similar example in documentation . . .)

Basically he did not meet ANY criteria from the HR paper and barely touched some criteria from my original list. But he looked flexible, eager to learn and also able to learn. He looked honest and a good person and he wanted to learn to work in a good team.

I was called to two other second round interviews during the next week and we finally hired the first candidate, even if his "score with HR list" was a little less than the other two had. But he was honest, he showed enthusiasm and potential.

And in the end it turned out that he was good part of the team, his lack of experience was not such a problem, as he also did not have to fix bad practices (usual in that field) and so his learning curve to meet all our other criteria was really fast as he had nearly nothing to "unlearn" first.

He was a nice person to work with and when I left some time later, he was as good as anybody else in the team.

So much for MUST HAVE YEARS of practice in HR speak . . .


On the other hand I have read hiring ads which required AT LEAST 10 YEARS experience in Y technology. Good luck with that, as the Y technology was just 3 years old . . . nobody on Earth, even the original developer, could have 10 years experience with Y. Not even 4 years.


So yes, if they asked you to apply, then apply. If you find the interview, the company, and the payment to be right for you, then take the job. If you find that there are too many red flags, do not take the job, there will be another one, and better, somewhere for sure.

Remember -- the interview is a two-sided negotiation: they evaluate you and you evaluate them. If both parts fit, then good. If you do not pass their judgement, they will not hire you. If they do not pass your judgement, then they failed the interview and you will not work for them. It is the basic premise of job interviews.

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    @Law29 Thanks for your time. English is my fourth language and my writing skill is bad. You improved my answer a lot :) – gilhad Jun 21 '18 at 0:12
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As famous hockey player Wayne Gretzky once said: You miss all the shots you don't take.

What's the worst that can possibly happen? You apply, they say no, and you move on with your life? That doesn't seem so bad. Are you really doing anything better with the 5 minutes of your time it will take to send in an application?

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    I sent it off already. I felt really encouraged after posting this question. – arjabbar Jun 20 '18 at 17:12
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Job ads are frequently written by HR people, who have never had anything to do with software development. They sit down with the IT manager who says, "I need someone who knows X. If they happen to know something about Y and Z, that'd be nice, but X is critical". The HR person goes off, writes down a list of every techno-buzzword they've seen used elsewhere lately without understanding what it means, and then post the ad. Just apply. Apply for every job you think you're interested in, whether you're "qualified" or not. Emphasize that you're a quick study. Emphasize that you're excited about the opportunity. Emphasize that you can hit the ground running. Be positive. Smile.

Good luck.

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Yes, you should apply if you're comfortable with the position.

The actual qualification check happens at the other end of the line. There are many factors that affect the recruiter's decision. It appears you comply to the most of them.

It would be right to warn the recruiter about the difference in your skills and the ones that are anticipated according to the job posting. Although it is likely that it was already considered, it is beneficial for you and your prospective employer to have this clarified.

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