By Ruth Umoh
CNBC Make It, December 12, 2018 —
Think you need to meet every requirement on a job ad? Think again. A new survey suggests you might only need to meet half of them.
TalentWorks, a job search site, analyzed more than 6,000 applications across 118 industries across its database of users to better understand how many job requirements are actually required to snag an interview. TalentWorks helps job hunters by optimizing their resumes, matching them with potential jobs and automating applications.
The survey found that while it’s important to meet a listing’s requirements, you’re just as likely to get an interview when you match 50 percent of the skills listed as you might at 90 percent or more.
Though the sample sizes were too low to draw definitive conclusions at a 100 percent match, the data suggests that matching 50 percent of an ad’s requirements would be just as good as matching all of them, TalentWorks said in an emailed statement.
Users who matched 40 to 50 percent of a job’s requirements were 85 percent more likely to get an interview than applicants who matched fewer, according to the data. Those who met 50 to 60 percent of requirements were twice as likely to get an interview than applicants with a 40 to 50 percent match.
Returns diminished from there. Candidates who applied to jobs where they met more than 60 percent of job requirements didn’t see a bump in interview rates.
These findings have particularly strong implications for women, given that they’re more likely than men to pass up job opportunities if they don’t meet all listed skills.
To be sure, job requirements are not all weighed the same. Typically, “knowledge-based, hard skills are a must-have,” says interview coach Carol Martin. If a job listing, for instance, requires a specific programming language or some sort of skill that’s essential to the role, it’s unlikely that you’ll be called in for an interview without this knowledge.
Still, employers do realize that job requirements are inflated and hiring is subjective. In a tight labor market, employers are more flexible on transferable soft skills, experience level and educational attainment, such as a college degree.
In addition, competition for a role largely dictates how closely applicants must match an employer’s demands. “If you have a surplus of [potential] employees, you can be more demanding and go down to the hair,” Martin tells CNBC Make It.
Understanding which requirements are a must for an employer is as simple as asking yourself, “What’s this employer really looking for?” she says. If you can meet the company’s core needs based on your current skill set, then you should stop doubting yourself and apply — even if you don’t match all the requirements.