HR Mavericks

Eddy’s HR Mavericks Encyclopedia

Minimum Qualifications

Does the never-ending flood of non-qualified candidates make your head swim? Is there no light at the end of the tunnel for your recruiting pipeline that’s miles long? Maybe it’s time to adjust your minimum qualifications! Read on to learn what minimum qualifications are and how to utilize them in your organization.

What are Minimum Qualifications?

If you consider the basic requirements for a role (not the “would be nice” or “preferred” items), those are your minimum qualifications. These include the minimum experience, education, knowledge, skills, abilities, and licenses or certifications needed to complete the role you’re hiring for.

Why are Minimum Qualifications Important for a Company that’s Hiring?

Minimum qualifications should be in the forefront of every organization if they are hiring. They should be on every job description. Let’s take a look at why these qualifications are so important and should be utilized at your organization.
  • Creates baseline. Without minimum qualifications, applications won’t have a baseline as they apply. Typically, candidates will scroll right down to the minimum qualifications required to see if they fit the mold before even applying.
  • Ensures compensation is fair. Minimum qualifications help establish a set compensation. You’ll compare the requirements for the job with the internal employees and market pay for similar minimum qualifications. This will help establish fair compensation for all employees.
  • Narrows down candidates. Having minimum qualifications can rule out candidates if they don’t meet the basic requirements. There’s no need to waste the candidate’s time or yours if they don't meet that baseline, thus narrowing your candidate pool to qualified candidates.

Types of Minimum Qualifications

As mentioned above, there are specific types of minimum qualifications that are usually specified when you’re hiring. Let’s go into a bit more detail on these below:

Work Experience

Work experience should be laid out specifically in the minimum qualifications section of a role. After all, without the experience your organization deems necessary, the candidate may not be able to complete the role. Minimum qualifications for work experience might look something like: “one to two years experience in a similar field or with similar duties.” Be sure to clearly define it as plainly as possible for the candidate to avoid misunderstanding.

Skills and Knowledge

Here you’ll want to list any desirable skills or on-the-job knowledge if it’s important to the role and your organization. You can focus on hard and soft skills or specific job related knowledge, just be sure to be detailed. An example for hard and soft skills might be: “Ability to communicate effectively.” For on-the-job knowledge, you could say: “Basic knowledge of OSHA regulations.” You’re qualifying skills and knowledge you believe are essential for the duties of the role to protect both the candidate and the organization from getting into something they aren’t able to achieve.


Setting minimum qualifications for education can make or break a role you’re hiring for. If you require a bachelor’s degree or higher for your entry-level position, you will eliminate some candidates right away, so take the time to specify the requirements clearly. An example of minimum educational qualifications would be: “High school diploma or equivalent.” Candidates should review these requirements and apply excitedly if they meet the minimum qualifications. If not, it’s a simple way to move on to the next applicant without much resume combing.

Licenses, Certifications, and Courses Completed

Your role may require specific licenses or certifications, so the minimum qualifications would be the place to specify this. An example of this may be: “Proof of Traffic Law and Substance Abuse Education (TLSAE) course completion.” Perhaps over the development of the role, this specific course has proven imperative, which is a great reason to list it as a minimum qualification. Just be sure those currently in the role possess the same minimum qualifications to avoid any issues.


If your organization needs a bi-lingual employee for an open role, that should be listed in your minimum qualifications. You could state it clearly by saying, “Employees must be fluent in both Spanish and English.” There’s no confusion there! If you have language requirements, qualify them and you’ll be surprised how specific it makes your candidate pool!

How to Determine Minimum Qualifications for a Position

Now that you are familiar with a few minimum qualifications that should be on every job description, let’s look at how you determine them for each position:

Step 1: Evaluate the Demands of the Job

Take a look at the job description or the information from the hiring manager and pay close attention to the job requirements. Use those requirements to craft minimum qualifications effectively. If this role requires work with computers, a requirement could be, “Working knowledge of both Microsoft and Mac platforms.” Start with what the job will demand of the employee and craft the minimum qualifications accordingly.

Step 2: Evaluate the Current Employees

After you’ve reviewed the demands of the role, it’s time to evaluate the current employees performing this job day in and day out. At this stage, your organization may have you coordinate with the hiring manager, or maybe you will reach out to the employees themselves and see what makes them successful. You’ll want to understand the day-to-day functions of these employees in order to articulate it accordingly on the minimum qualifications.

Step 3: Add in Culture Requirements

It can be commonly overlooked when you’re listing minimum requirements because it doesn’t fall under one of the traditional requirements, but culture is a big deal at any organization. Be sure you let the candidate know that your organization would like someone who can, for example, “Easily work as a member of a remote team.” Perhaps your culture was remote before it was cool and that will be important to specify for candidates. Don’t overlook the culture when you’re caught up in the logistics; it’s just as important.

Best Practices for Setting Minimum Qualifications

It’s always safe to know the best practices and follow them for your organization. Let’s review what those may look like for setting minimum qualifications:

Be Clear

This has been articulated on a number of occasions, but it needs to be said again: be clear in your expectations. Take the time to define your minimum qualifications clearly so there is no misunderstanding to avoid future issues with employees.

Only List What is Necessary

It may be tempting to think, ‘maybe this position really needs X certification,’ or ‘it would be super helpful if we had someone in here with a master’s degree.’ If it’s not necessary to perform the duties of the role based on your evaluation, it’s best to leave it off the list of minimum qualifications. You can add those things in the “preferred” section, but avoid muddying up the minimum qualifications.

Ensure Qualifications are Relevant

To some degree, each role may have similar minimum qualifications, but be sure it makes sense. It would be silly to have a minimum qualification of ‘proficient in Microsoft Excel’ for a delivery driver. While this may be a requirement for most jobs in your organization, it wouldn’t for this role, so don’t add it. Ensure each qualification you’re detailing is relevant to the role and supports the organization overall.

Ensure All Employees Meet the Requirements

This one can be tricky as your organization sees growth. You may have employees that have been with the organization for years and do not have a bachelor’s degree, but moving forward, your organization has decided to make this a minimum qualification. You’re going to run into some issues here. It’s best practice to only require from candidates what those currently in the role have to avoid discrimination issues. If your organization is moving toward requiring specific things from applicants, the same should be required from the current employees as well, so consider that as you progress.
Shalie Reich

Shalie Reich

Shalie has over 4 years of experience working in a variety of HR positions and organizations including: working as an HR department "of one", working with a start-up based in Europe, to working in a fully established robust USA based HR department. Shalie has experience in multiple states and countries with all aspects of the HR spectrum. She has a passion to share her knowledge and experience to benefit the HR profession!
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