questionsdoes anyone else think job descriptions for many…

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Employers will do this to weed out the riffraff and under-qualified applicants before they even apply. With the way the job market is if an employer posts a job that looks easy for the average Joe they will get hundreds maybe even thousands of applications for one position (depending on the area). Even if they post some ridiculous job description they will still get plenty of people to apply. This ensures that the person who is applying, really wants the job, and is not just sending out general applications to hundreds of employers. With all of the laws and regulations regarding every applicant and application being entered in and held in the system for a over a year it saves an overwhelmed HR team some time. Just apply for a job that you think you'd do well at, if you have a strong resume a recruiter will be able to see that. I'm not in H.R. but have had to sit on an interview board a few times and I'm pretty sure this how things are done here.

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I think at this point it is a buyers' market as far as hiring. One of the projects I fund is a job training program for homeless people. Up till the economy tanked, they had an excellent record of placing homeless people into minimum wage jobs and getting them into modest apartments and on their feet. But now they can hardly place them at all, as those minimum wage jobs are going to people with college degrees and tons of mainstream work experience. Instead of those jobs going to help struggling homeless people, they are going to people struggling not to become homeless. And our community has barely been hit by the economic downturn due to several stabilizing factors. But because we still actually have jobs and a very low cost of living, people are coming in from out of town to get them.

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A big part of the problem is the widespread use of software to weed out applicants. An employer needs to fill a position, and they use this software to come up with the job description. They see all these checkboxes for skills they want and click away, then the software weeds out applications that don't include those things. If you don't word your resume and application with the same words and phrases, you don't get through.

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I'm actually struggling with the other side of this right now.

Someone in the department I manage gave me their notice today so I need to write up a job description for our HR team to post an ad with. I'm trying not to ask for too much because it's not a job that requires a PhD, but it's a couple of steps beyond entry-level. And I want a strong candidate that can do the job well. If I ask for someone over-qualified then I may get great candidates that want too much money, and if I ask for realistic qualifications then I may get hundreds of applicants that are each just OK or poor.

It's not easy to balance, but I'm tending to lean towards asking for more than I need. I can always decide to lower my standards if I get too many over-qualified candidates. But it's harder to change the ad to ask for more after it's already out there.

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@eraten: Absolutely right! I DID work in HR (for 33 years - I started at age 6) and just retired a couple of weeks ago. Employers prefer to pre-weedout as many applicants as possible. Who wants to interview 400 applicants for one job?

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sometimes an employer already has someone in mind to hire for the position (possibly hiring from within), and are just fulfilling a pro forma requirement to put it out in a public listing. they list requirements tailored especially for the person they have in mind, to weed out any1 who isn't that person.

no1 no1
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I recently read a job listing for a psychiatrist. One of the job requirements was knowledge of C++ and some other computer tech-ish things. I was puzzled, because that seemed to be some VERY specific criteria in two unrelated skill sets. I'm really curious to know what they expect this job applicant to do once hired.

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I've noticed that as well. Our small business is currently looking for an employee, but our standards aren't quite as high.They are pretty much:

1) Do you have a heartbeat?
2) Can you make it to work on time?
3) Can we trust you with handling cash in the register?

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The company I work for recently had an opening in the communcation dept. They only needed a web content creator/editor but was asking for things that were well beyond what was needed. They missed out on some VERY qualified applicants and now that position might not get filled until next budget year. They wanted to get some work off of each current emps plate by replacing the content person with someone that can do everything. Opps...now they all have to share even MORE work.

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I work as an IT contractor, and yes it gets pretty ridiculous.
Sometimes you have an HR person simply working off a recruiter's script. Sometimes an old one. I applied for a gig that that the interviewer wanted to know my familiarity with Lotus Notes. ?!?! No, nobody she knows has ever used it, and it's never been used in this company; it's just on this list.
We get booked five at a time in the waiting room. At least one person there has no business on the property. They may not have any idea what IT means or what computers do, but if they get this job they promise they'll help keep everyone else busy! "I'm qualified to do any job you're able to train me for!" is another line.
And sometimes the job description is there to fulfill legal requirements, and it describes somebody they have already picked out. Thankyoubye.