Essential vs. Non-essential Duties

Essential vs. Non-essential Duties.

Essential vs. Non-essential Duties

Need to figure out your absolute must-haves and would-be-nice-to-haves for job descriptions? It’s important to get this right, as job descriptions often include many non-essential requirements for a role that could inadvertently screen out suitable candidates. For example, did you know when determining whether to apply for a job, men will apply when they meet only 60 percent of the qualifications, whereas women will only apply if they meet 100 percent1?

When considering immigrant candidates, remain open to any additional skills and experiences that they may offer. Experience with international markets, additional language fluency, and connections to growing segments of the local market are all value-added qualities.

This worksheet will help you to define essential versus non-essential job duties. Developed by the Human Resources Management Association (now Chartered Professionals in Human Resources of British Columbia & Yukon), this tool can help you create a more precise job description and rank each candidate’s skills and experience based on their résumé. This will allow you to screen résumés objectively — without bias — and identify the best candidates to interview.

This printable template scorecard may be of use.


1A Hewlett Packard internal report as cited in “Why Women Don’t Apply for Jobs Unless They’re 100% Qualified,” Harvard Business Review, August 2014.


“When hiring individuals with no direct experience, I always look to their personal traits and any other transferable experience. It always begins with a candidate that is at least willing to learn and try new things. Being great at non-essential skills can often set them apart from candidates who may have the essential skills, but lack in the non-essentials. Candidates that are open in communication, can adapt, and are self-driven are often the type we pursue. Those skills set them up for success and often open up doors of opportunity.”

— Bruce Lutes, Recruitment Assistant, Shannex