How your job description is scaring away top IT talent

If you’re an IT manager, writing a job description is the least of your many worries. You’re busy putting out fires, managing staff, taming your inbox. And you need to backfill a critical developer role yesterday.

So you let HR handle the job posting. Recruiting candidates is their job, right? And since you need candidates right away, you certainly don’t want to delay posting.

But then … weeks pass. You have two resumes for a critical role, and neither of them passes muster. It must be the IT skills gap at work again.

Or is it?

Consider this crazy disconnect that may give you new perspective on the IT skills gap:

  • 81 percent of IT leaders say it’s difficult to find quality candidates (you knew that already)
  • But 73 percent of IT professionals say it’s hard to find IT opportunities they qualify for

And close to half of these pros blame unrealistic technical requirements in the job description, while many others chose similar issues, like overly specific requirements or vague soft skills. What they mean is this: Your job ad is full of so many unnecessary requirements that it’s scaring away—or just annoying—the candidates reading it.

Worse, you’re not taking advantage of the opportunity to express why the position is desirable: Is it the interesting problems to solve, a great team dynamic, the latest and greatest tech? Traditional job descriptions focus on what the company needs and ignores what the candidate wants—not a great strategy in a highly competitive labor market.

What do IT workers think about your job ad?

IT professionals feel strongly about this topic. Here are a few of their biggest job description turnoffs:

My biggest turnoff in a job description is a requirement for a long list of technologies that almost nobody would reasonably have unless they worked for that specific company already! 

–Bob Schuch, programmer/analyst

I also believe that a salary range should be listed. I don’t care who you are, what you make at a job is a major contributor to why you do it. If you don’t know what the salary range is you may be wasting your time and the time of the business by researching the opportunity.

–David I., sales consultant