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What Does Required, Preferred, and Desired Skills Mean?


Job postings are necessary for defining the responsibilities and are also necessary for determining the various positions and the pay scale. Many recruiters and employers try to post various job openings based on job descriptions.

For the purpose of outlining the various duties that the candidate is expected to complete, many employers also specify the type of skills and qualifications that they require in a candidate along with the job description.

Required Preferred and Desired Skills

When you go through most of the job postings and classifieds, then you will see that each type of job posting has a certain level of priority depending upon the type of skills and qualification that the candidate has.

Based on the skill the candidate has, they can bag the job effectively. There are various types of weights given to a certain type of job. The weights are proportional to the skills and knowledge that the candidate has.

3 Typical Types of Job Posting:

1. Required skills:

These are skills that the candidates must have, so as to be deemed worthy for applying for the job. These skills are mandatory and every candidate who has applied should have the prescribed required skills.

Without these skills the candidates are not expected to apply, or else their applications will be rejected instantly. Required skills should be mandatory, measurable and realistic. They are likely to exist in large numbers within the candidate pool.

2. Preferred skills:

These skills include the ability and knowledge that would be favourable for the candidate during the application process. People who have preferred skills in addition with the required skills will be given more advantage than candidates who only have the basic requirement skills.

People who have the preferred skills are more likely to be selected, since the organisation would have to spend less on their training and teaching.

3. Desired skills:

These are referred to the skills that the candidate can have, so as to look pretty on their overall status. These skills make the candidate’s resume look pretty and attractive to many potential employers and recruiting companies.

Many employers consider desired skills as just as an icing on the cake. A candidate does not mandatorily need them, but if they knew the skills, that would be an added advantage for the employee.

What Does Required Skills Mean?

  • These are the minimum amount of skills, experience, qualifications or education that the candidate should have so that the candidate can be even considered for the job. The organisation won’t hire candidates who have not met their criteria of required skills. This is one of the most mandatory list of skills that the candidate is supposed to have so that he can be able to apply for the job. Without required skills, it is no use for the candidate to continue with the job application, as he or she will be eliminated or disqualified from the first round of the selection process itself.
  • Usually the required skills stated are considered at reasonable levels. This is done so as to attract a large pool of candidates that have a basic knowledge of what the job is about and who are willing to work for the company, if given the chance. While stating the required skills, one thing to be noted is that it should not affect the application rate of the job position at a negative pace. Most of the companies make this mistake by posting entry level job positions that require a high skill level.
  • Unless it is a high level job position, then most of the entry level candidates, would not even dare to apply for the job. This means that the required skills of the job position, should not be proportional to the basic functionalities of the job itself. Try not to post required skills that are too high for the candidates. This will discourage the candidate and he/she will not be confident enough to apply for the job. This will create a dissimilar impact between the less represented candidates and the groups who are protected against such discrimination.
  • Required skills and qualifications are the minimum level of abilities that a candidate should have so as to do the most basic task of the job. The required skills include various educational qualifications, certifications, licences and also the required years of experience needed to perform the job. It also includes the criteria of minimum competencies which include skill, knowledge and behaviour that is required for the completion of the job. Try not to exceed or inflate from the level of minimum requirements stated. Also, try not to apply for the job if your requirements is less than the required qualifications.

What Does Preferred Skills Mean?

  • In literal sense, preferred skills means the skills that the employer or the company would prefer you to have for the job. This doesn’t mean that you should have the skills mandatorily, like the required and essential skills. Unlike required skills, even if you do not have the preferred skills you are still entitled and qualified for applying for a job application to the company. Many companies use preferred skills as the right tool for searching the perfect and the right fit as the contender for the job position. Preferred skills acts as a sense of assurance for the company from the candidate side and also a sense of assurance on his abilities.
  • People who have preferred skills are given more edge and preference than the candidates who have only the required skills. The more the preferred qualifications the better. Not having any preferred qualifications will not affect your state of being a candidate and the chances of you getting a job is still the same and safe. Having most of the preferred skills as described in the job description can prove very much advantageous for you and also help you to be a more likely choice for the job position.
  • Some companies use preferred skills as a factor to find their right candidate. Also, candidates having preferred skills means that the company has to spend less on their training and development process. Preferred skills allows the candidate to explore the various abilities and choices that he can have regarding the job and also provides a room for further development.
  • Also, there is a common disbelief that the candidate has to meet all the preferred qualifications so as to be even considered for the job. This is not true. Even if the candidate has some or none of the preferred qualifications, he would still be considered for the job, if applied. The factor which decides on the eligibility of the candidate is only the required skills and qualifications criteria.
  • Preferred skills generally include skills and abilities that are usually preferred to get the job done. They are not necessarily mandatory for the job, but it can enhance the productivity and the output of the job by the employee. Knowledge, skills, abilities and behaviour are also factors that comes under the preferred job skills and qualifications criteria. Preferred skills can also affect the pool of candidates who have applied for the job depending on the type of preferable qualification that each candidate has. It is normally taken as the selection criteria.

Having to list the various preferred skills and qualifications has their own fair share of benefits. Always having a preferred criteria can be both a blessing and a boon to you and also to the other candidates.

i. It communicates the success of the candidate’s abilities that is very much important for the long lasting relationship between the potential candidate and the employer or the company.

ii. Having preferred qualifications can help the company in having a flexible hiring. All the companies look for the perfect candidate for the job. Having preferred qualifications helps the potential candidate to fill that criteria. Sometimes the perfect candidate has most of the preferred qualifications but not all of them.

iii. Having a minimum number of the required qualification along with a large number of preferred skills, helps more job opportunities and also helps to represent the underappreciated and the less represent group of candidates. Having the threshold number of the required skills is necessary to be even qualified for applying for the job. It also helps to expand and enlarge the candidate pool by adding a large number of less noticed groups of candidates.

iv. Having the preferred skills as a reference helps to guide, many recruiters and interviewers in selecting the right candidate, based on his preferred skills and qualifications. It can also help them to decide what all factors that they should give more importance to while they apply for the job position. If it is a high paying job, naturally there will be a lot of candidates having the nearly similar required skills. Having a sufficient amount of preferred skills is necessary to help you get an added advantage when comparing with the rest of the candidates profiles.

What Does Desired Skills Mean?

  • As mentioned before, the required skills are the basic qualification that allows that candidate to apply for a job, desired qualifications are the skills that the employer and the company really wants from the candidate. Most of the companies post desirable qualifications on their job listings so that these skills can be beneficial for them in achieving the company goals and targets and also to get complete various corporate objectives.
  • If you have a sufficient amount of desirable skills, then you are entitled to be considered for further consideration not only to the job that you have presently applied for, but also to various other jobs on the future that require similar skills and qualifications.
  • A candidate when applying for the job, need not have the desired qualifications, but if they do have any employee who is currently working there, then try to know about the various aspects of the job. These aspects include, the work culture, the work ethic and the skills acquired during the job.
  • By knowing these aspects, you can study and learn most of the desirable skills in course of time. Having desirable skills are an added advantage to the candidate and he or she will be given a slight upper hand, especially if he or she is working in a project or any kind of work from the office. Desirable skills are benefice for the candidate in the future when he or she starts working for the applied company. Having a strong number of desired qualification, will also prevent the candidate’s application from being rejected in the future.
  • Most of the desirable skills are the skills that are acquired by the candidate doing the job and comes as an extra bonus to the skillset of the candidate. For example: there are a large number of desirable skills the candidates can have. If the job of the candidate requires a lot of travelling, then the ability to speak in more than one languages is an added and a desirable factor for the employee from the employer’s point of view

Posting a job description along with the job qualifications can prove to be quite a hardship for many potential jobseekers and candidates. Sometimes you have to do a large amount of research to get to know what the employer wants from the applicants and what his idea of an ideal employee is for the company.

Understanding the importance of the required, preferred and desirable skills in a job allows you to know the valid importance of the skills while doing the job. It also shows the importance of these skills while doing various tasks for the job.

There is a reason why many employers post job qualifications for every job posting that they issue. A main purpose of job qualifications is to selectively retain employees that have the preferable mix of all the types of job qualifications. This is necessary for the candidates to survive in this aggressively competitive and tightly knotted industry. The more the competition, the more advantageous for you to have a large number of required, preferred and desirable skills.