She insisted on seeing me in person.

Taniyas voice sounded very small on the phone. I expected her to have failed an exam, but not that she needed advice on job requirements.

I didn’t know this type of voice yet.

So the two of us met very early on Tuesday morning in front of the ice cream parlor. (There’s no wrong time for ice cream in Germany but it’s also a great place for a coffee.)

We had a few sessions on how to find a job in Germany a few months back and she was so so full of positive energy. By now, she has she has her master’s degree as an electrical engineer in her pocket.

No, the one question that was lying heavy on her: Can I only apply if I fulfill the Job requirements 100%? I will never find a job that fits my skills!

Oh, my, we hadn’t talked about that. What happend was, that Taniya had gone through the job portals on a regular basis, without finding vacancies she was confident about.

Let’s dive in.

Job requirements need confidence

Heaven knows why my friends Lisa, Adnan and Peter got a job.
Well, I really like them all. They’re highly qualified and have the skills to do a good job. But unfortunately none of them is perfect. I can even come up spontaneously with other people I know who might be much better qualified for these jobs.

If you’re wondering how they did it, I can’t really tell you.
What I do know is that the filling of positions is never objective and many, sometimes diffuse, factors play a role when deciding for an applicant.

So never put your heart too much on a specific job posting. There‘ s always a big portion of luck involved.

But now let’s take a look further.

How job requirements are composed

The human resources department is the responsible body when it comes to coordinating and publishing job offers.

The structure of a job posting is always the same, some sections are always the same, such as a company statement, a picture or a footer with data on the application process and contact persons for further inquiries.

The content of the job ad comprises the description of the work area and the list of required qualifications, technical skills, the scope of professional experience and personal requirements.

In an ideal world, a job advertisement would be a precise and reliable description of the vacant area of work. It would be a truthful and objective description of the reality of the job and its responsibilities.

But this is not the case.

Job descriptions are compromises

Anyone who has already had the task of finding precise wording to describe a job posting in a team knows the tricky part.

On the one hand, it’s all about wording. Finding the right phrases to express the core of the work in a few lines or key points.

It is incredible demanding to find a description of what attitude or personality the ideal candidate should have. Even within a team, there can be very different notions of the requirements of the assignment.

But the manager and his team do not determine the requirements for the position alone, they discuss them with the HR department.
Modifications will always be necessary.

In the next step, the HR has to follow all the rules and principles of the company, like HR strategies, corporate branding rules or corporate strategy.

In the end, the details of the job requirements stated are the result of a compromise.

We always have to be aware, that a job advertisement represents a form of corporate marketing.

Job requirements are wish lists

The functional department would love to bake its desired candidate. They imagine the new colleague in the brightest colours.

In German the expression „eierlegende Wollmilchsau“ (egg-laying wool-milk sow – if you really want to impress your German friends, try to get them talking! By this we mean someone who can offer all kinds of things in one (perhaps strangely shaped) package.

In the job advertisement, you see that the job requirements are overflowing with detail-oriented demands and the wording is restrictive in nature, with the result that a suitable candidate often cannot be found.

If the strategy works out and the company finds someone: Fair play to you, right?

But if the ideal candidate doesn’t come along, then the company needs to decide if they want to hire someone or not.

Or accept that they may have to train a candidate longer than planned.

Or they allow a candidate who is completely different – and so appears to be a good choice – to convince them.

The training period may differ

The more preliminary experience a candidate brings with him/her, the sooner he/she is capable of handling tasks independently – and the more productive and valuable this individual is for the company.

In reality, though, the new employer may not have much time for training or explanation in the workplace.

It could be that the company faces a queue of orders and is battling with a high workload. No matter how much the team longs for help, it‘ s hard to find the time to explain the main issues to a new colleague without any stress. Or there is no time for the new collegue to walk alongside to a senior for a while before getting a project of his own.

The more stressful the job is, the more desperate the team leader will be to get a new member on board who can do it all. Or at least somebody who has similar experience in a comparable project or industry or has already worked with a certain tool.

The job advertisement rarely states how long the training period is expected to take. It‘ s a great question for the interview, and the candidate can address it to the hiring committee.

Courage to (Not) mind the gap

From the outside you don’t know the current situation of the company or department and neither how much time is actually available for on-the-job training.

It could be much more than you imagine.

That’s why it’s a good idea to be ready for a longer training period and to apply without hesitation for a job that you meet up to 60-70% .

If they send you a rejection, you know most likely what it’s all about: a large number of your competitors met the job requirements more than you did. But you just cannot know before you’ve tried.
So, if you don’t get your heart set on this job, it’s worth the risk.

Go for it!

Your next step

If you want to boost your chances of getting a job and submit an irresistibly persuasive application, then talk to me for free and register for a Mini-Coachguidance.


Taniya has found a job she loves.