CIOIT Staff & Team Building

Can Better Job Descriptions Close the IT Skills Gap?

Are you looking for a job, but cannot seem to find one? Or are you attempting to add a new professional to your team but cannot seem to find the right qualified candidate? There exists in today’s job market a prominent skills gap. But who is to blame: the IT leaders with their exaggerated requirements, or the IT professionals lacking the proper skills? Sharon Florentine explores this dilemma for and poses an interesting solution—write better job descriptions.

Problems on Both Sides

Both sides of the spectrum are pointing their fingers at the other side, but both agree that the job hiring process is arduous and frustrating. Eighty-one percent of IT leaders express how it is extremely or moderately difficult to find the quality candidates they desire, while 73 percent of IT professionals say it is extremely or moderately difficult to find a quality position in which they are qualified. Another 63 percent of IT professionals believe that there are unrealistic expectations in their skills.

Jason Hayman, TEKsystems Research Manager, presents his idea that a simple alteration to the approach for “sourcing, screening, hiring and onboarding” would address the skills gap. He believes that the most pertinent root to the skills gap starts with the job description.

Defining the Job

In order to write a successful job description, it is important to separate the “must-haves” from the “nice-to-haves.” Yes, it would be ideal for a candidate to have all of the qualities desired, but that is simply unfeasible. Sarah Nahm, CEO of Lever, says that her company has completely removed requirements from the job description. She believes that focusing on the opportunities the candidate can experience is far more efficient and will produce qualified candidates adamant about their long-term career with the firm. She explains:

“We’ve heard a lot that people saw our jobs page and they weren’t even looking for another job, they weren’t even seriously considering applying, but because of the way we presented the opportunity, it made them want to apply.”

Rather than becoming fixated that the candidate may or may not have all of the qualifications for the position, the focus should be placed on their intangible qualities: ambition, dedication, and willingness to learn. An approach like this works exceptionally well for entry-level positions and helps to avoid limiting the hiring pool.

Shifting to a long-term mindset can illustrate that the end payoffs are worth it. A candidate’s qualifications can be developed over time.

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