I just came across a job which require the following:

  • Degree in IT related discipline;
  • 2 - 6 years application development experience in COBOL/VSAM, CICS
  • IBM Main frame, Database
  • Knowledge of DB2 is a plus
  • Good commuication skill

As for myself, I have 2 years experience in plain COBOL (without VSAM, CICS). We don't use IBM main frame, we use another brand (VAX). Of course we use Oracle so I don't know DB2.

Are there situations in which an employer would accept a candidate who fits all of their descriptions, or would the employer consider hiring someone who knows something and decide to let the senior teach him/her?

  • 6
    Impossible to answer what that employer's strategy is. Apply and find out! Be very clear about what you already know, how that enables you to quickly absorb and learn the other things and why that makes you an ideal candidate.
    – pap
    Jun 14, 2012 at 9:27
  • I don't think the question is just about this position. "Would a employer seek a candidate who fits all of his description?" is pretty general.
    – user8365
    Jun 14, 2012 at 14:25

5 Answers 5


Are there situations in which an employer would accept a candidate who fits all of their descriptions, or would the employer consider hiring someone who knows something and decide to let the senior teach him/her?

Yes to both.

Often, jobs get posted in response to someone leaving, and that person had accumulated a variety of duties and expertise in her tenure at the company.

Ideally, the company would like to replace that person with someone with the exact skill set.

Then, reality sets in, in that there aren't people available with that set of skills whose salary requirements are at the desired level. So they lower their standards.

So, to answer the implicit question of whether not meeting this requirements should stop you from applying, the answer is no. When reality sets in, and the company relaxes the requirements, you want to be the first person they see when they look down the bench. You get there by applying now, not waiting to see if they will lower their standards. You also give yourself an opportunity to blow them away in other dimensions not captured by the requirements.

Also have to note the irony of "Good communication skill"


When there is a choice and with all other things being equal, yes employers want to hire the most competent candidate.

However there are a HUGE number of other factors that are, or can be considered, including: salary, attitude, education, experience in other areas, etc., etc. So in some cases (and generally) yes the most experienced candidate but not always. A fresh young face can be good.... especially if they are half the price... and the organization has good mentors... so just a lot of factors.


I had someone explain to me once that job announcements were more like wish lists than requirements lists. In a perfect world, there would be candidates who have all of the criteria listed, but in actuality, the real people who are available rarely have experience in all of the areas listed. Don't take the list TOO literally, but consider that you will likely need to fit SOME to MOST of the criteria in order to be considered seriously.

I remember seeing announcements for positions that listed 10 years of .NET experience when .NET had only been released 3 years before. Obviously noone was going to fit this "requirement". This job announcement probably should have been written differently to say "senior level experience", and "long term .NET project work".

Read critically, and consider if the announcement has a lot of REQUIRED items. The more REQUIRED items, likely the less flexible the employer is going to be.

For example, if it states that a certain Military Security Clearance level is REQUIRED and you don't have the clearance, it's probably not worth applying, since that clearance process is expensive, and the announcement is worded to suggest that the employer is not going to want to pay for that process for any new hire. The same thing with Visa requirements.

  • Plus security clearances take a long time to get and most employers don't want you doing nothing for 6 months or more while you wait.
    – HLGEM
    Jun 29, 2012 at 18:23

In answer to your exact question:

Many employers prefer less-competent candidates. Sometimes this is done deliberately in an attempt to reduce turnover; past experience tells them that stronger candidates may accept the position but are unlikely to stay. There is a famous court case, Jordan vs. New London, where a candidate sued after being rejected for police work because he scored too highly on the aptitude test.

Sometimes this happens because the hiring manager is insecure and doesn't want any internal competition from a new employee.


Does the job posting use the word "require". In many organizations, those listed as requires are inflexible. There may be customer who will not pay the rates unless those requirements are met.

If they are expecting significant numbers of applications, they may be using those requirements as a gate keeper.

They will be unable to accept a candidate that doesn't meet or exceed those requirements, because they will be rejecting others who do meet them. Some who meet those requirements, but don't get asked to interview, would not be happy to find out that somebody without the required skills was hired.

In a large organization, external and internal candidates are screened by HR. This can be done electronically, or by hand, but the result is that the hiring manger will never know you exist. They are using a checklist of requirements, and filter out anybody that doesn't meet the requirements.

I have also seen the opposite where HR is trolling resume sites,, and will contact anybody even remotely close to meeting the requirements. Unfortunately it doesn't guarantee anything more than a phone interview.

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