You don’t seem to have the specific knowledge required for this position, how do your related skills meet our needs?

This question is more apt to come from a Hiring Manager than a recruiter, however if a recruiter has previously referred a candidate only to learn that the Hiring Manager has added this requirement, a recruiter would also ask.  Please note that if you are not qualified for the position, no honest response will help you get the job. And dishonest responses will soon be uncovered if you land the job and then can’t produce.


Assuming that the “missing” qualification was not one posted, the recruiter could be testing your reaction to the unexpected.  If you do not exactly meet the posted qualification and are not prepared to answer this objection, than the interview should end soon and you will be able to go elsewhere.


If you are being asked this question, you may want to assume that the interviewer is interested in you, but wants to have a comfortable feeling that without the missing qualification you can still meet their needs. If you have researched the position and realize that you are familiar with similar programs, issues, etc. then you should identify the common denominators between skills that you have and those that are part of the “knowledge/skills” that are missing.  Identify how the common denominator skills help you meet the requirements. Before answering the question get specific issues by asking for clarification.  Be prepared for objections and don’t hesitate to ask the interviewer if he/she still feels that your skill set is not acceptable.  If for example, the company uses a software system that is not the same as the one you are experienced with, you can ask the interviewer if he or she has is aware that both systems perform the same functions and that the main differences are screen designs, etc.

Your response should be brief and on target.  If you introduce too much, the interviewer may see more shortcomings than he/she had considered before asking the question.  Again asking for clarification to determine what specific areas are of concern can help limit the response.

Once the initial objection has been addressed, the response should also include your most importanat value that you bring to the job.

Possible Response:

“You know that is correct that I do not currently have direct experience with that Accounting System, but I have used the two other top name systems and helped develop a beta system with a consulting firm.  I think that the exposure to other systems will help me be a quick start and can also bring some new ideas that may not have been considered currently.  Is there any specific concern that you have about my background that you would like for me to clarify.”