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pico1180

Is there such thing as being too qualified for a job?

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I’m sitting at work reflecting on some applicants who our management as recently considered for employment. Something dawned on me. There is such thing as too qualified.

I don’t mean something simple like, associates required but they have a bachelors. Or even say, you did the job for many ears and the job your applying for is an entry level position. Or maybe you’re applying for a job that only requires A+ certification, but you have numerous certifications in various IT functions. There is a HUGE fundamental difference in someone who has book smarts and a ton of “theoretical†knowledge on a subject and someone who has actually “been there, done that.†No, the over qualification I’m talking about is much more then that. Check this out.

So I work at a place that has about 550 some-odd employees. My particular service has 10. A chief, a “second in command,†and 6 minions. A new minion has been hired, but hasn’t started yet and they are currently trying to fill the 8th minion position.

To make a long story short many of the applicants have qualifications to run the service, not be a minion. And I mean that literally. One guy who applied could have easily been the service chief.

So what’s the problem you may ask? The problem is they are coming from being in charge to being told what to do. Not only does my boss not want to hire someone who could have the potential to challenge him on everything but I don’t want to work with someone who (thinks he) already knows everything about the job. And I’m not talking about pointing out to your boss how things may not be running according to policy. I’m talking about someone who is telling you your policy is wrong. And that kind of arrogance, I think, can only come from someone who is “over qualified.â€

If you want to run the shop, find a supervisor position and go for it. Otherwise stay away from rank and file positions.

I would rather take someone fresh out of school and mold him into what I want, then to have someone who is already molded try to fit into our environment.

I think over qualification comes from too much work experience. Not too much training. If your applying for a position in floor mopping, I don’t want to hear how you ran a crew of floor moppers. I want to hear how well YOU mop floors and how long you have been doing it. If you lead a team of elite IT nerds and you’re applying for a position for LAN Field Cable Diagnostic I want to hear about how well you handle networking hardware. Not how you are the head of IT in your section.

So yes. I think you can be over qualified.

/discuss

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I’m sitting at work reflecting on some applicants who our management as recently considered for employment. Something dawned on me. There is such thing as too qualified.

Well yes, that seems obvious to me too. Another issue that you did not raise is that people usually apply for jobs below them when they HAVE to, not when they want to. This leads to them usually having a bad attitude about the job, which can be infectious to other workers.

Even if they legitimately WANT the job (say they took it as a means to change fields), then there remains the likely issue that they took a cut in pay to take it, and will move on as soon as their qualifications can get them a better paying job - which could be 6 years, 6 months, or 6 weeks. You just never really know.

However, I DO believe we will be seeing more of this as the economy worsens, and if you know how to manage the risks inherent in such situations, SOME managers will be lucky enough to pick up some very experienced people, and some of them WILL have good attitudes. That has happened to me before, during the last downturn in 2001. You just have to know how to evaluate them as people and their goals. But the majority of them will be risky hires...

Future Shock

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So what’s the problem you may ask? The problem is they are coming from being in charge to being told what to do. Not only does my boss not want to hire someone who could have the potential to challenge him on everything but I don’t want to work with someone who (thinks he) already knows everything about the job. And I’m not talking about pointing out to your boss how things may not be running according to policy. I’m talking about someone who is telling you your policy is wrong. And that kind of arrogance, I think, can only come from someone who is “over qualified.â€

I think you've got a serious attitude problem there. If you hire the right people and tell them what they can expect, all the good and the bad, you may find very experienced people who are motivated, even if they're doing a job for which they're overqualified. A good interview with the applicant should sort this out. If your boss doesn't want to hire someone who may could challenge him (= know more?) then he's the wrong guy for the job and should be replaced. If someone tells you your policy is wrong it's not necessarily a sign of arrogance (with some people it clearly is of course) but maybe your policy IS wrong. If you're not open to criticism then your company should find someone to replace you. I sure wouldn't want to work for your type.

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