Job Requirements: The How, Why and What

Anja Zojceska | 6/19/2018 | Tutorials

In this blog post, you will learn everything you need to know about the job requirements. What is the definition of the job requirements? Why are they so important? How to write them? A complete tutorial plus good and bad examples

Job Requirements: The How, Why and What

What are job requirements?

Job requirements are job qualifications and skills necessary for a certain position.

Job requirements are usually written in form of a list that contains most important job qualifications, skills and qualities that a candidate must possess in order to be able to perform certain job duties.

Job requirements are a crucial part of both job descriptions and job postings (job ads).

Job-posting-vs-job-description

In short… 
Job requirements are “must haves” that an employer is looking for in a candidate for a certain job position.  

Check out our free Checklist with the Most Important Hiring Metrics (tips for improving included)!

Why are job requirements important?

Job requirements are equally important for both employers and job seekers.

Their main goal is to let candidates know what is required of them before they apply.

For employers

For an employer, job requirements are a way of preselecting potential candidates.

They are used to communicate employer’s expectations from job seekers.

By laying out clearly defined job requirements, employers can attract the right type of candidates.
Over or under qualified candidates will be turned away from applying, thus saving employers a lot of time and money in the long run.

Download our free Guide for Finding High-Quality Job Candidate

For job seekers

For job seekers, job requirements are the crucial part of job postings (job ads).

Job requirements section of the job ads should clearly state what an employer is looking for.
That way, potential candidates can know what is required of them before applying.

If they match all the job requirements criteria, it means they are a good fit for a job and they have a chance of actually getting it.

On the other hand, if they don’t match the job requirements criteria, they probably shouldn’t waste their time applying, because they have a little chance of getting the job.

How to write job requirements?

Contrary to popular practice, writing great job requirements is more than just copy-pasting the “Job qualifications and skills” part of your job description templates.

Job-description-job-requirements

Job requirements should be carefully crafted to encompass all the most important attributes, skills and knowledge of your candidate persona.

Thus, to write efficient job requirements, you should combine your job description with your candidate persona and choose the most important, key job qualifications and skills desired in your perfect candidate.

In the following text, we will show you exactly how to write great job requirements.

We’ll start with the content, explain the best format for presenting job requirements, optimal length and introduce possible job requirements sections.

Content

The golden rule for writing the content of your job requirements is very simple - it’s KISS (Keep It Short and Simple).

Here are the 8 most important job requirements types:

  • Work experience - types and amounts (years) of work experience
  • Skills (soft skills and/or technical skills)
  • Specific knowledge 
  • Education level and type
  • Professional licenses, accreditations and certifications
  • Personal qualities and attributes
  • Languages 
  • Physical abilities.

How-to-write-job-requirements

Pick those types that are relevant for a specific job position you are looking to fill.

Remember to be as specific as you can - avoid vague descriptions and stick with plain and simple wording. 

Format

Avoid writing job requirements in a form of whole sentences to avoid overwhelming and scaring off potential candidates.

The best practice is to write job requirements in a form of short, bullet-point listing. 

Length

Your job requirements should be shortest possible.

Avoid writing the entire wishlist of all your preferred skills and qualifications.

Stick to basics and list only the absolute must-haves for this specific position.

The best practice is to list no more than 7 bullet points.

If you absolutely need to list more than 7 bullet points, then you should divide your job requirements paragraph into 2 separate sections.

Sections

If you absolutely must list more than 7 bullet points, the best practice is to split your job requirements paragraph into 2 separate sections.

In first you should list the absolute “must haves” for this job position, and in the second you can list your “nice to haves”.

You “must haves” should entail essential qualification to be considered for the job.

However, if you also have the additional “nice to haves”, you will have an even better chance of getting it.

Make sure you use the appropriate language and tone depending on your company culture and Employer Brand.

For example, instead of “Must haves” and “Nice to haves” you can use the following phrases:

Job-requirements-sections

To indicate your “nice to haves”, you can also use phrases such as:

  • Bonus points if you have…
  • ...is a plus

Examples of good job requirements

Here are 3 examples of truly great job requirements:

Example #1

Here is the example of a job posting that we absolutely love! 😍

Shout out to B12! 👏 Great work guys - if we weren’t so happy here at TalentLyft, we would definitely apply to work with you! 🙂

Take a look at their job requirements:

You’d be a good fit if:  

  • You are a rising star who has ambitious plans for their career and the determination to see them through.
  • You are a lifelong student with an unquenchable thirst for knowledge.
  • You have a proven track record of executional excellence.
  • You have 1-5 years of inside sales experience.
  • You have a BA/BS in communications or a related fit.

➡️ What we like:

First 2 job requirements are actually about the candidates.    
The focus is on candidates’ aspirations and ambitions which they can live out at this company.
This is a great example of how even your job requirements can be used for effective Employer Branding.

➡️ Key takeaway:

Focus on your candidates!

But that’s not all! Check out the sequence of this amazing job post:

Don’t fear:
We’re flexible on the number of years of previous experience for this role. We highly favor talent and interest.
Some candidates may see this list and feel discouraged because they don’t match all the items.
Please apply anyway: there’s a good chance you’re more wonderful than you think you are. 
B12 is a safe place for human beings.
We particularly encourage you to apply if you identify as a woman, are a person of color or other underrepresented minority, or are a member of the LGBTQ community.

➡️ What we like:

The heartwarming approach to candidates. The way this company presents their supportive company culture.
We also love the simple, authentic way this company showcases and encourages diversity.

➡️ Key takeaway:

Be human and encourage diversity. Don’t be afraid to show that you care!

Example #2

Take a look at the great job requirements in this Hudson Global Inc’s job posting:

We’re looking for that rare mix of UX and Visual Designer.
If you have a design portfolio that makes the Dribbble community drool, and a desire to drive the UX portion of a project with insightful personas, wireframes, sitemaps and other deliverables, we want to talk to you.

We’d like to see:
A critical thinker who can talk endlessly about information architecture and interaction design in the digital space
An advanced user of digital design tools, including Sketch, After Effects, Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign
Your portfolio. Give us an introduction to some of your best work so we can see what drives your creative thinking

You get bonus points if:
You've poked your head outside the creative department, working alongside project managers, business analysts, and technical teams
You have some experience on the front line, gathering intel from user testing and/or usability testing sessions
You're able to knock together functional prototypes, and you're versed in style tiles and pattern libraries

➡️What we like:

The tone and voice in this job posting - it radiates passion and makes a candidate feel special and valued.
The use of conversational, everyday language makes it easier for suitable candidates to imagine themselves in this job position.

➡️ Key takeaway:

Use the simple, everyday language and conversational tone.

Example #3:

Take a look at the job requirements for a Marketing Manager position:

About You:
5+ years of software product marketing experience
BA/BS in business or marketing/communications
Very strong written communication skills
Excellent people and management skills to interact with staff, colleagues, and cross-functional teams

➡️ What we like:

The clever way that this company renamed their “Job requirements” into “About You” section.
A simple, yet very effective way to avoid making it all about the company and putting the candidates in focus.
Instead of listing all their demands as an employer, this company reframed their job requirements to make them all about their candidates!

➡️ Key takeaway:

Make it personal!

Examples of bad job requirements

Unfortunately, there are also many bad examples of job requirements out there.
Let’s take a look at the few and highlight mistakes you should to avoid.

Example #1

Here is the list of the job requirements for a Delivery Manager position:

  • Ensures that all team members have the tools and training required to perform effectively
  • Exhibits outstanding skills in analytical thinking, problem-solving and have a strong sense of business enterprise knowledge
  • Demonstrates a solid understanding of project management
  • Has a deep appreciation for user experience projects
  • Drafts contracts and Service Level Agreements
  • Manages RFIs/RFPs for evaluation
  • Provides proven experience in people management, strategic planning and risk management
  • Demonstrates an ability to work in a highly collaborative, cross-functional team environment
  • Possesses excellent oral and written communication and presentation skills
  • Has proven client-facing experience within a digital agency
  • Has earned PMP or equivalent experience
  • Strong business acumen
  • Track record of initiative and outstanding performance
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and a strong 'Customer Focus'
  • Manages customer expectations effectively
  • Ability to quickly build relationships
  • Good written and verbal communication skills
  • Passion for learning
  • Strong time management skills
  • Manager/Group Manager
  • University degree required
  • Prior consulting and or Agency experience (internal or external) preferred
  • Experience working with User Experience teams, Sitecore is a plus
  • Experience with at least one software development methodology preferred (ex. Waterfall, Agile, SCRUM, etc.)
  • Experience estimating cost, productivity hours and team structure for project execution.
  • Willingness to travel (+80%) to client sites

➡️ What we don’t like:

26 job requirements...T-w-e-n-t-y s-i-x! 😲

➡️Key takeaway:

Avoid overwhelming you candidates - stick to essentials.
Name the 6-7 key qualifications and list them in bullet points.

Example #2:

Here is an example of job requirements for an HR assistant:

HR or equivalent experience; as well as solid grounding in the functional areas(s) for which services are required; Demonstrated ability to analyze technical issues and situations and respond accordingly; Demonstrated ability to work independently in the performance of assigned duties: Knowledge of and skills in applying principles, practices, laws and regulations of Hr management. Associates degree or equivalent, minimum of 5 years related experience.

➡️ What we don’t like:

First, his job requirements section scores very low on the readability.
Second, it uses really vague and nonspecific phrases and descriptions.

➡️ Key takeaway:

Use bullet points. Be as specific as you can.

Job requirements: Key takeaways

Job requirements are “must haves” that an employer is looking for in a candidate for a certain job position.

Contrary to popular beliefs, job requirements aren’t just a list of specific job qualifications, education, knowledge and skills needed for a particular position.

Job requirements are a great opportunity to showcase your Employer Brand and company culture and attract the best candidates!

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