It’s clear both recruiters and candidates have certain feelings toward software engineering position requirements. After a post on LinkedIn directed toward hiring managers and recruiters that generated almost 5,000 reactions and 200 comments, you know I was itching to give my two cents:

Dear Hiring Managers,

If you are looking for:

– Golang, Python, NodeJS
– React, Vue, Angular, React Native
– PostgreSQL, Redis, MongoDB
– Python, C++, Rust
– ES6, SASS, or Webpack
– Git and CI with TDD, BDD, DDD
– Docker, Kubernetes

That’s not a full stack dev… That’s a whole engineering team #softwareengineering

While it’s easy to point the finger at the recruiter, hiring manager, or program manager, in the defense hiring process, you should really be writing about your grievances to the government entity that wrote that Request for Proposal (RFP).

Although frustrating to candidates, it’s pretty much incredibly frustrating to recruiters as well. Our weekends ache when we hear those requirements, too, or when our hiring manager asks for someone who works in both Waterfall and Agile methodologies (why though?).

But really: why do the requirements gods do this to us? So many recruiting memes come to mind.


The reason recruiters send broadcast messages to a ton of candidates is to cast a wide net. Clients do the same when they are creating position descriptions.

In web development, the front-end is the part that users interact with. Basically, everything you see when you’re navigating websites, from colors to menus and sliders. Tools could include HTML, CSS, or JavaScript.

The back-end consists of the server, an application, and a database, and the back-end developer builds and maintains the technology that powers those pieces. Back-end techies use server languages like Ruby, Python, PHP, Java, or .Net to build things and use tools like MySQL and Oracle to change data and send back to the user in front-end code.

Now, the ideal candidate is a full-stack developer: one who can work on the full stack of technology offering the full package. With this comes with potential consequences. Someone who is just average at everything.

Now when you have a job listing with all the skills needed for front-end, back-end and full-stack development, the hiring company will be casting a wide net, most likely be receiving resumes for all three of the above developers.

This casting of a wide net to candidates sometimes can come from non-developers creating position requirements for engineering teams.


Of course, you’d prefer to hire one candidate that can do three jobs instead of filling three separate billets. A full stack developer in one person as opposed to a front-end developer, UI/UX designer, back-end developer and a full stack to supplement. The government likes to save where it can, so this reason is a no brainer.


It’s easy to throw out buzzwords from each piece of the development team structure instead of finding a front-end developer who has some good back end skillset but is willing to learn.

Now the hiring process always has two sides to every coin. Recruiters on this post complained that if they saw a resume with all of these tools, they would assume the candidate was trying to cast a wide net in term of applications being moved on to the next step in the recruiting process.

It’s important to remember in the talent acquisition process that both candidates and recruiters have motivating factors: a recruiter might care more about their commission bonus while the next recruiter has invested time in the client they’re supporting. One candidate may care more about the salary of their next role, while another candidate cares more about the languages they’re working in.

I’s important to remember that the recruiter is merely the messenger.

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Katie Helbling is a marketing fanatic that enjoys anything digital, communications, promotions & events. She has 10+ years in the DoD supporting multiple contractors with recruitment strategy, staffing augmentation, marketing, & communications. Favorite type of beer: IPA. Fave hike: the Grouse Grind, Vancouver, BC. Fave social platform: ClearanceJobs! 🇺🇸