If you've been in the job market for some time, you're probably familiar with the following scenario: You spot an open position that sounds interesting and aligns with your career goals. The company seems great and has excellent reviews, and the benefits sound fantastic. There's just one problem: You don't meet several of the requirements involved.

Now your first inclination might be to click out of that job listing and move on. But rather than do that, you might instead consider applying for that role anyway.

You might get hired after all

Employers these days are increasingly willing to hire underqualified candidates and train them to fill in those missing gaps, according to staffing firm Robert Half. In fact, new data shows that 42% of job candidates don't meet the requirements associated with the roles they apply for. Yet 84% of employers are willing to hire and train candidates who lack some of those essential skills, but bring other things to the table. As such, 62% of workers have managed to land a position where they weren't quite as qualified as their employers would've liked. And that's precisely why you shouldn't be too quick to give up on a great job just because your skill set isn't totally up to par.

Two hands type on a laptop sitting on a desk, with a job application on the screen.


That said, there's a difference between being somewhat underqualified for a role and having almost no chance of getting it. If an employer lists five or six key skills or requirements and you can only meet one or two, that job might really be a long shot. But if you have three or four of those items checked off, you might go ahead and apply anyway. If you manage to wow that employer during an interview, your enthusiasm and attitude might compensate for your absent skills.

Still, you'll need to be careful when applying as an underqualified candidate. If you're hired for a position you're really not equipped for, you might struggle tremendously to get up to speed. In a moderate-case scenario, you might grow frustrated and nervous early on once employed. In a worst-case scenario, your employer might wind up regretting the decision to hire you and let you go shortly after the fact.

If you are offered a job that you're not totally qualified for, it's not a bad idea to discuss that fact with your prospective employer before accepting. You can talk up your willingness to learn, but at the same time, ask what training your employer is planning to provide so that you're able to get up to speed. It might be the case that an employer extends an offer and expects you to fill in those knowledge gaps on your own, so you're better off getting that out in the open and knowing what to expect.

Finally, don't despair if you apply for a reach position that you don't ultimately get. Just because some employers are willing to take a chance on underqualified candidates doesn't mean that every single one will, so if you apply and get rejected, use it as a learning experience. See what skills that employer wanted and work on building them so that the next time a similar position comes up, you'll be more likely to have a shot.