Although I've posted a similar question in the past this is slightly different.

A year and a half ago, I learned about a job, which the job post was requiring (minimum) a Bachelor/Master Degree, with a grade above 7 (10 is the highest), at least 2 years hands on experience in a relevant position, and a lot of expertises very difficult for a young developer to have acquire.

At that time I wasn't a graduate, with a 6-12 months work experience.

Despite this fact I decided to apply since I was aware of (from an acquaint of mine) that the recruitment/assessment process was very technical, which from my perspective I was strong enough.

After passing the tests, accepted an offer and start working, I realised that a huge amount of employees are not graduates and most of them (with me included) don't fit in the profile that the advertise was depicting.

Even I had applied for a specific job role, I end up needing irrelevant skills in order to be able to accomplish my tasks.

Why is this happening? I can't think that they just made a mistake and they post extra-requirements stuff in it.

That makes me concern, I see a lot of job posts that interests me asking a lot of things like many years of experience, should I ignore them or apply to them nevertheless?

  • 3
    "Even I had applied for a specific job role, I end up needing irrelevant skills in order to be able to accomplish my tasks." - What do you mean by irrelevant skills? If you need a skill to do your job, then the skill is relevant, I would say.
    – Brandin
    Sep 10, 2015 at 8:37
  • 1
    Do you feel unfit to do the job because of you're unfamiliarity with those tools (Bash, Docker, CVS, etc)? I would think these sorts of tools can reasonably be learned on the job if you're already familiar with something else (e.g. a different shell or different version control tool).
    – Brandin
    Sep 10, 2015 at 8:57
  • 1
    @Brandin I applied for this role cause I want to evolve as a Java developer, which I am not going to, if I'm dealing with other stuff. And my main consideration is why they tested me on Java skills, (polymorphism, classes, threads etc) if it is not needed for the particular job. Sep 10, 2015 at 9:08
  • 2
    Newsflash: actual work as a Java developer involves technologies other than just Java.
    – shoover
    Sep 10, 2015 at 19:25
  • 2
    You'll never find a job that lets you only code Java 100% of the time.
    – user1807
    Sep 13, 2015 at 17:41

5 Answers 5


I can't think that they just made a mistake and they post extra-requirements stuff in it.

There's one thing you should realize when it comes to job postings: most of them suck.

Leaving aside the fact that while they are marketing documents, they often fail to actually sell the position, it's very common for the list of required qualifications to be incomplete, incorrect or overly long. In general this can be attributed to one of two factors, as described by Alison Green:

  1. The person who created the job posting doesn’t know what they’re doing: They’re not clear on what skills and traits they really need, and therefore the posting isn’t either. This often results in postings that require, say, experience in a specific software even though what the employer really needs is someone who can learn that software quickly.
  2. The person who created the job posting did know what they’re doing, but there’s some flexibility to the requirements so they just listed the most important things. There might be 10 things they’d love to find, but only 3 are essential and the necessity of the others will vary depending on the candidate’s overall package.

In your case you can probably assume that the list of qualifications you saw consisted mostly of nice-to-haves instead of absolute requirements. This is very common for positions with low experience requirements. If the requirements are truly outrageous or unrelated then assume Reason 1 is in play and the person who created the posting just screwed up, they're only human after all.

Note that Alison's article approached this from the other side: job postings that don't list all the qualifications they're looking for. That can be due to a third reason, namely that new qualifications are discovered after the job was already posted.

  • Love the job ads that ask for "c/c++/java/objective c/c#", has HR thought of asking the devs what they are actually using ? Sep 17, 2015 at 23:31

I don't know about European/USA practices, but in Russia the most of available vacancies for juniors are like this one. 1-3 years of work experience, long list of requirements.

Personally, I think it's wrong way to find an applicant, but the employers and recruiters think, that this way they can get both experienced and graduates for the same position to choose from. They want to assemble as many of them as they can to select the best.

That doesn't necessarily imply you'll encounter all of it at work. It's common for mid-sized or micro companies and usually means you will be wearing many hats.

Therefore you shouldn't look at requirements at all. Just send your CV.

But, again, it really upsets young job-seekers like you (and me not so long ago).


Employers and recruiters tend to want to employ the best, even if they don't need the best. (Note: Don't confuse paying more for getting more) The only way you can judge how harsh the job is going to be is by the pay. High pay means you have skills they need, low pay (and even with a crazy list of required skills) means they just want the best of whoever can take that pay.

I accepted a role I thought was well above my scope, I asked for the lower end of the bracket when taking the job because I was completely new and it was my first job, the usual.

Brings us to now: I'm resigning from that job because a monkey could do it and I am simply doing nothing. It's not what I want to do. Even though my interview process was gruelling, the job was boring, easy and didn't challenge me one bit. But in the end, my pay reflected this more than the recruitment stage.

  • But most of the job listings don't even give a salary range, so how can you judge anything? There is sometimes a "typical range" based on keyboard but I suspect it's wildly inaccurate as one listing quoted €24k from one source and €72k-€90k from another source!
    – user30748
    Jan 31 at 15:29

The mismatch between what a potential employer wants and what they actually need is thoroughly discussed in Why Good People Can't Get Jobs by Peter Cappelli. It's a short read; you can do it in an evening. The book stems from an article he wrote in the NYT entitled If There’s a Skills Gap, Blame It on the Employer.

The short version is that potential employers have the apparent luxury of looking for "unicorns," or those individuals who are perfectly matched to a given (often unrealistic) job description, but don't exist. This is often reflected in just about every job ad you see: an exhaustive list of requirements and attributes that make little sense and overall have no bearing to the said opening. What's depressing is the sense of power and arrogance attached to these things. A typical job ad is characterized by poor grammar, incoherency, spelling errors, irrelevancy, and even hostility.

So, they know perfectly well what they're doing in listing the extra requirements that you mentioned. The flood of applicants comes in, they filter them by computer (also discussed in the book), and you're never even considered by an actual human being. The author of the book makes an argument as to how this and other factors is sloppy at best and damaging at worst.

  • this post is rather hard to read (wall of text). Would you mind editing it into a better shape?
    – gnat
    Sep 17, 2015 at 17:21

For myself if the job description looks interesting but I am missing some of skills they are asking for I will often send a CV in and let them decide if the missing skills are important.

I will have a covering letter where I will expound on why I think the role would be interesting and a good fit for me, never mentioning the exact technologies or whatever I am missing.

Do not get too invested in these opportunities, it could be they really do need 3 years at skill X and your 2 years 3 months will see you on the discard pile immediately.

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