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Homepage / Personal / We're Sorry, You're Over Qualified

We’re Sorry, You’re Over Qualified

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In conversation, I’ve heard people express how upset they are about a CEO being ‘paid off’ some exuberant amount of money in order to resign following scandal and it got me thinking. Why would someone at that level need that much money?

Once the wheels in my head spun to motion I realized that we each work so hard to achieve a certain level of earning potential and I reflected on a time when a medical doctor applied for a job with me at Panera Bread. I was the general manager hiring for a new barista and an opener for the cafe, when in walked a fellow, who was a gynecologist, and he applied for a job to work for me. Red flags went off in my head when I read his application, mainly because he was grossly over-qualified and also because I doubted that he would be willing to stay and work with me for an extended amount of time. I feel horrible admitting it, but I didn’t hire him at that time because I had so many fears.

Now, I am able to review moments in my life like this with a bit more perspective and I think I understand why higher profile positions settle in these ways. When we build ourselves up with experience and education we gamble a great deal and the stakes become greater and greater. By this I mean, when you a running a high profile organization you are running the risk of loosing your earning potential for life. One misstep and everything you are will be destroyed and this is insanely risky work. Should you fall under public scrutiny, the company thinks only about how much money they could make without you, and this leaves you out on the street. This is when contracts, torts, or compacts – which protect self interests – are vitally important.

When you apply at Best Buy for an entry level sales position and you are the former CEO of Verizon or Amazon you will never get the job because the hiring manager will experience fears much like I did. Being over qualified for a job cuts you off from potential employment no matter how small the position may seem. So, when you roll the dice and lose in a corporate setting it may very well be the end of your ability to earn a living for the rest of your life. In essence, you are black-balled from being able to earn a living. No company will hire you to work lower-level positions for fear of you being a stable asset; conversely, organizations will not desire for you to lead their organization because of the blemish on your record. Thus, you are left empty and virtually unemployable.

Facing employment interviews that you are knowingly over qualified for is almost more nerve wracking than if you were to be applying for a position which matches your caliber. When all is said and done, at the end of the day, everyone needs some sort of steady income. In my opinion, when you have an applicant who presents themselves to be over qualified, I would implore you to sit down with them and genuinely listen to why they are applying to work with you. There are so many variables which require considering before ‘no’ is reached or before you fall into the mind-set that the applicant should be disqualified because they are ‘over qualified’. Granted, there are a lot of people that comprise this work force but that doesn’t mean any one of them is less human or in less need than another. Human resource department employees have become so robotically mechanical in their operations that candidates are endlessly run through automated conveyor belt driven applications and the ‘human’ in Human Resources has been reduced to an algorithm.

We each have our story and all of us deserve the opportunity to contribute to our community in a worth while way. When you have the ability or power to assist a mother or father in providing for their family, please give all circumstances careful consideration before you send them home unemployed.

 

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