This article was originally posted on my brand new blog The Developer's Dungeon
From time to time, as a matter to keep my eye on the market, I look at job postings to check what is out there. To figure out if my skills are still relevant and check what technology is booming in the job market. I often find myself disappointed that everything still remains the same, the same stupid "REQUIREMENTS":
- Master degree in computer science and 7 years of experience.
- Only Software Engineers with ten years of experience to work on a basic web app.
- Seven years of experience in React(it was released in 2013).
- Knowledge of web, mobile, embedded systems.
- Expert .NET developer with knowledge of Java 7, Spring.
- Speaks English, Dutch, French, German is a plus (I live in Belgium, so I guess they consider speaking these 4 languages as something "Normal").
- Under 30 years old, 10+ years experience.
You would think I am making this up but no, this is all real requirements I found on Linkedin the past week. Would anyone of you consider these requirements realistic?, are these even REQUIREMENTS? The reality is that they are not.
In the sausage factory of job postings, a lot of things could happen. They could be built by someone who has no real information or feedback from the tech team, they just gather some of the technologies used, ask for a random number of years of experience, and that is it. In some cases, the tech team actually reviews the postings, but they want what I like to call "The perfect candidate", sure we would all want a guy with 10 years experience that knows our stack perfectly and wants to work for 10 bucks an hour, it is just unrealistic to expect that someone like that will arrive at our door (or that even exists).
The reality is that most of the time you don't need all those requirements to be hired, you just need to have some knowledge to take on the tasks that they give you and make the company some money, at the end that is all that the company is looking for. You also have to consider that even if those are the requirements there are some big chance that no one likes that will answer the search, they will have to pick someone from the bunch of applicants they received and deal with it. Is at that moment when recruiters and the company realizes that the expectations where unrealistic, once those CV start coming in you just do the best you can with what you have.
I am not saying that you should apply for a senior position if you just started (although the worst thing that can happen is that they don't call you back, that is not so bad right?), but you should apply to every single job you think you can do even you don't meet all the requirements. Maybe you have less experience than what they are looking for, or you just speak English, or you worked with a different stack for many years and you want to make a switch. Just apply, nothing can or will go wrong, again the worst thing that can happen is that they don't answer back, on the other hand, you could end up being hired for a sweet job you would not dream to get in a million years.
Let's say they call you, you get the interview, everything is in your hands now, be straight up honest. Talk about the things you liked from the company and their product, what are you missing according to the job posting but why you think you can still do the job, don't forget to emphasize what can you bring to the table that it could be beneficial for them. I always talk about technology-agnostic knowledge, stuff that is not specific to the stack you are working on, like software architecture, now is time to mention everything that will make you take that new job and be productive in the shortest amount of time possible.
As someone who had been on the other side of the interview process (as an interviewer), I give more value to the willingness to learn and passion than to practical experience with certain tech or a college degree. I want to get to know you and see if we could work together to achieve a specific goal, if you can prove that to me, I will be more than happy to work with you no matter which requirements did you met and which ones you didn't from this "Perfect candidate" that unfortunately most of the companies ask for.
Top comments (25)
As someone switching careers midlife, this helps to hear.
I'm in the same boat. It definitely helps to read this kind of post.
I feel you there, I also switched careers (although I was young) and I wish I knew this when looking for my first developer job.
I think we all feel we are imposters when we are applying for a job we are not able to meet the requirements for the job
Definitely, imposter syndrome plays a big part here. We need to fight against our own thoughts.
This is good advice if you are desperate for work.
But if you are looking for a fulfilling role, you should narrow the search down to the companies/roles that you like and want to work for.
Spamming resumes and applications to places you're not even that interested in, is just adding to the noise hiring places have to deal with and is simply wasting everyone's time...
Yeah I guess I should have been more clear, I didn't mean apply to all jobs in the market place, I wanted to say that you should apply to all jobs you like even if you don't meet the requirements. I completely agree with you that it makes no sense to spam resumes
Totally ridiculous that companies advertise like that and go about it in this manner when trying to hire someone, just utter drivel ... and most puzzling is that it happens in a very tight market where demand for devs exceeds supply, go figure.
But yes, I agree 100% with your advice, ignore the ridiculous laundry list of requirements and don't be afraid to apply if you think that a position would be right for you.
Yes indeed is increible that this things happens, worst is that we as developers don't see the whole picture of why this happens so sometimes both companies and developers miss out on an opportunity due to failed expectations.
You know why they do it like this? In fact you hinted at it already ... laziness!
A large part of the problem is that recruitment is often outsourced to external headhunters who write fat paychecks and don't do much more than put out canned job advertisements.
But all of this is to their own detriment ... candidates can nowadays often choose from multiple job offers. So if I see 3 companies and 2 of the 3 have this job ad that just sucks then it reflects negatively on them and chances are that I'll choose the third one.
It's their problem, not your problem ... remember, as of now this is still a "seller's market".
This is the main reason I stopped learning data science and switched to learning front end. I would look at job listings and they wanted you to have a PHD. That’s about the most discouraging thing a self taught Dev can see.
When I read about jobs going infilled a great many are because of bad job listings.
Indeed it's so discouraging to see that, even on developer roles to see college degree as a requirement it sucks
I recently come across a job post with these requirements,
These are copied from the actual post.
5 years experience in web development
Angular JS, React and Ember
Python, Ruby, Java, PHP and .Net
MySQL, Oracle and MongoDB
Sass, Less, and webpack
Database design and management
Server management and deployment
I just can't figure out what to say about this.
Know everything? Ahah this people are so funny
Thank you, this makes me feel so much better. I'm transferring from a non tech role but I'm really excited about working in tech. I now know I have the soft skills and the tech skills to do this.
It's an amazing industry if you are passionate about learning and always improving yourself, you will definitely not get bored. If you ever need some advice or whatever just shout me on Twitter 😀
Thank you, I will do.
What always puts me off is when companies, in a rush to show up in keyword searches, will say something like this: Must know a framework such as Angular, Vue, or React.
Some companies really do use them all, that's fine. I also recognize that some companies just want somebody with experience who is willing to learn. That's also fine. It would just be nice to include which stack you actually use.
What that does is allow both sides to avoid wasting time. Maybe I prefer to concentrate on a specific stack right now. Or, maybe I want to know what I should brush up on.
Interviews go both ways, and both parties would benefit from having as much information as possible.
Indeed, I have read job postings that I can not truly figure out how or with what technologies they work with. Sometimes though they say Angular, Vue or React as a matter of saying "Worked with component frameworks" and that seems fine for me, as long as you specify which one are you currently using.
I came to this article by random read suggestions from Google attracted by the title that seemed to reflect my feelings about the job market, although as designer i am in a different vocation field thus connected with developing. Reading on everything though seem to match in identical analogies. I had been working as a graphic and web designer for around 17 years for the same company that went downhill though and recently had to abandon. Seeing the inevitable coming I have been applying though to countless places since 2015 with no luck so far.... My wish has been that i would for ONCE meet a hirer with your mentality. Learning stuff is extremely motivating and interesting for me, i give it all when it comes to learn and create in a new design related ecosystem, and i know i can offer a lot as i have been offering for the same employer for almost two decades. No one so far though appreciates as hirable my deep and solid sense and perception ability regarding design principles and mentality gained by talent and experience, ready to dive head on in any new or different way / means of applying them onto.
Hey, I am sorry to hear that I really hope you get some luck and find a job real soon. Indeed it seems very strange how the marketplace is setup right now. I would suggest you though going to meetups or interact with other designers and see if there is something you re missing in the current marketplace, since you have been working for the same company for such a long time maybe they can give you insights on how your portfolio should look like or how to properly setup your behance or exactly what recruiters are looking for right now. Maybe even consider not applying for jobs around your city, there is tons of jobs out there for remote designers, my wife is currently working remotely as a designer for a startup in Germany.
This is really great, but do you have any suggestions on how to deal with country requirements...am a Nigerian, and sometimes when I get called for a remote developer position. Once the HR finds out that am a Nigerian he would start having doubts and would just conclude with the words "we would get back to you"
Well it depends why the country requirements are set for. For instance, sometimes they require people strictly from the US, this is not a preference. They re gonna a hire a remote employee by US law so there is no way around this. If the country requirements are because of time zone then you should explain that you re willing to work in the appropriate time zone even being from Nigeria. If the job involves relocation then other stuff comes into play, like VISA and work permit, in that sense there is also no way around it, you should take care of meeting the requirements to work legally in that country if you want to be hired. Is there another type of country requirements?
I believe you, I saw a similar one for react. It's just amazing how ridiculous this things are.