Job Requirements: What You Need to Know

Find out how to write and select the right job requirements when you're hiring.

Job Requirements

Job requirements are usually defined in a job posting to make candidates aware of the minimum requirements that they need to meet to qualify for a position. These should be defined clearly to avoid confusion.

Before you advertise a job, you should clarify what the requirements are. In other words, what skills, competencies, experiences, etc. do you expect applicants to have? Another way to think about it is, what is absolutely essential for someone to do this job? Knowing this at the outset of the hiring process will help you to avoid interviewing too many unqualified candidates.

Job Requirement Examples:

  • "1-2 years of sales experience."
  • "A background in management, with a minimum of 2 years in a management role."
  • "Proven success as a developer."
  • "Able to work on weekends and evenings as needed."
  • "Legally licensed driver."
  • "University degree in a science-related field."
  • "Ability to analyze and summarize large sets of data."
  • "Willing to travel at least 3-4 times per year to speak at conferences."
  • "Experience directing projects and delegating tasks."

How to Write Job Requirements:

1. Be conversational.

A warm, conversational tone makes you sound more welcoming. If your language sounds distant or cold, prospective employees may not want to work for you. Instead, you should find ways to make the requirements more inviting. For example, "A team player who loves to help others excel," sounds a lot warmer than, "Able to lead and manage others." They both communicate the same thing, but the first example has a much more friendly ring to it.

If it helps, you can list the job requirements in their most basic form first, and then go through and rephrase each one to make it sound better.

2. Be realistic.

It's fine to have high standards, (in fact, it's usually good) but don't be unrealistic in your expectations. You can list requirements that have to do with education, work experience, skills, etc., but you can't demand perfection. A requirement that says, "Never makes mistakes," is totally ridiculous. You can have a high bar, but everyone is human. Writing things like that will only scare applicants away.

3. Explain yourself.

Sometimes candidates will get as far as the interview process without really understanding what the job requirements are. This is a bad sign, but it can be avoided by writing clear, well-explained requirements in your job posting.

The bottom line here is that you should never be vague when you write a job requirement. If you're asking for work experience in a certain area, say how much. If you are looking for someone who can manage others, describe the kind of management that is necessary.

4. Distinguish between requirements and preferences.

You may have noticed that sometimes in a job posting there will be a list of preferences that is separate from the list of job requirements. The reason for this is that employers have requirements, and then they have preferences; traits that they would like to see in a new employee but that are not totally essential for being hired. Make sure that the items you are listing as requirements aren't just preferences. It may be helpful to create a list of preferences so that they don't inadvertently get added to your requirements.

How To Write Job Requirements
How to Write Job Requirements:
  • Be conversational.
  • Be realistic.
  • Explain yourself.
  • Distinguish between requirements and preferences.

Final Thoughts:

You can use these steps to help you as you think through job requirements and work towards hiring new employees for your business. The right job requirements will help you to gather resumes from the kind of people that you would like to hire, so take your time and write them carefully before advertising your next job.