BY: Joanna Samuels, B.Ed (Adult Education), M.Ed, CMF, CTDP, RRP
The job descriptions that I have been applying to for a Business Analyst position in IT are so confusing to me. The list of qualifications, skills, requirements and “must-haves” for some of seems like these jobs are impossible for any human being to fulfill or perhaps the recruiters have someone in mind already?
Can you explain to me how the recruiters write these job descriptions?
Signed: Confused BA (CBA)
The process of crafting a job posting is best described by expert ‘diversity and inclusion’ and recruitment leader, Anita Sampson Binder, who is Vice President of Recruitment Strategy and Delivery at ARES Staffing Solutions, a leading IT and technical recruitment firm. She applies four steps in the process when working with the hiring manager (her “client”) to develop the content of the position:
1. Follow the business perspective:
Staffing agencies such as ARES Staffing Solutions facilitate a standardized intake session with the hiring manager. Together they determine the role requirements, the deliverables (outcomes) and what is “exciting and dynamic” about the position. They make sure that the position’s title reflects the role.
2. Prepare a “snapshot of the role”:
Successful job postings often include the “must haves” (the required behavioural skills and technical competencies), the “nice to haves”, and the skills and qualifications that can be taught.
3. Litmus Test:
The job opening reflects the labour market of talent available and in demand. If applicants in the job markets do not have all of these skills, staffing experts will revisit the intake session. If the job posting doesn’t attract the right candidates, the hiring manager may have to change the details.
4. Applicant Tracking System Alert (ATS):
Agencies such as ARES Staffing have a standardized online application process. Every applicant answers the same questions to comply with human resources and legislative requirements. The key words used to search resumes in the ATS are designed to detect a “fit” which is defined as a combination of behavioural and technical competencies. For example, does the candidate complete projects, or are they action-oriented and excellent communicators? The fit needs to be measurable and be “must have” for the role.
Sampson-Binder also offers the following advice to the Business Analyst job seeker: The Business Analyst job posting could be seen as more complicated because the job does demand multiple skill sets and experience as well as a deep understanding of both the technology and business challenges. Candidates must be able to address issues and create solutions. When you go into the interview and feel that the qualifications are massive, ask about the needs of the business. Once you know this, you can respond effectively to them. If you feel you have the ability to tackle the skills, qualifications and demands of the role, express interest and enthusiasm for the position – show the interviewer what you can do for them in the role. Don’t pretend to have all the requirements. Be honest and give examples.
To submit your questions for this column in confidence, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Joanna Samuels B.Ed. (Adult Education), M.Ed., CMF, CTDP, RRP is a certified Life Skills Coach, and certified Personality Dimensions Facilitator who works at JVS Toronto as a Job Developer/Job Coach/Workshop Facilitator. Also, Joanna is a part-time instructor of employment counselling with people with disabilities at George Brown College.