August 13, 2022

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Professionals who can't get a job because they're 'too qualified' |  work and job

Professionals who can’t get a job because they’re ‘too qualified’ | work and job

When Emily wanted to adopt the career of her dreams, she thought the best option was to apply for an entry-level management job and work her way up to promotion.

There was a vacancy in a major entertainment company in London, and her five years’ work in other multinational companies meant she met all the requirements.

The strategy appears to be working. The company’s HR department contacted Emily within days. But there was good news and bad news.

“They said my resume was great and that I was an exceptional candidate,” she says. “But in the interview, they told me that I was highly qualified – and that I would quickly get bored in a job less than my experience.”

In return, the company promised Emily a new position. But in the end, that didn’t work. After that, Emily got stuck in a job she wanted out of and still ended up in a dead end: she was too qualified for an entry-level position in the profession she wanted, and she didn’t have enough experience to apply for a position in it. A position equivalent to her position. your.

Emily – identified only by her first name to protect her job security – was frustrated with this whole process.

At first glance, being qualified for a redundant job may seem like a good thing. It makes sense that the candidate with more experience would be placed at the top of the resume pile. And for the employer, hiring an employee who exceeds the requirements of the job seems like a stroke of luck.

But that’s not how it usually works. In fact, sometimes excessive eligibility can be a reason for companies to be rejected. Perhaps contrary to their intuition, employers often reject candidates on the basis of too much knowledge and experience – even with the difficulty of finding available talent in the market.

“Good is not necessarily good”

As workers advance in their careers, they usually occupy more important positions, gradually making their way to managerial or executive positions. But the more employees travel, the fewer work alternatives they have.

“They’re heading towards the top of the pyramid,” explains Terry Greer King, Vice President EMEA at London-based cybersecurity firm SonicWall. “The more experience they gain, the less range of opportunities they have. Trying something different requires going back to the bottom of the pyramid.”

Employers should want to hire the most qualified and experienced candidates – but this is not always the case – Image: GETTY IMAGES via BBC

Sometimes employees want to take a step back to move forward. It may be for a career change, as in the case of Emily, or because an experienced worker, struggling to climb the next rung of the ladder, decides to move sideways or down, anticipating future gains.

Personal circumstances can also affect this problem. Transferring or returning to work after a job interruption can result in a worker accepting a lower job.

But while these circumstances may seem like valid reasons for applicants, finding workers applying for positions that appear to be “lower” than their current job level can be a red flag for recruiters.

For Greer-King, an overly qualified candidate’s resume may indicate that he frequently changes jobs or remains stagnant, causing suspicion.

“To hire someone, you have to be paranoid,” he says. “If someone is going down a level or two and may have already reached what the position offers, you have to ask what their motivations are.”

There are candidates who can successfully explain their motivations and convince companies that they really want to take that step back, but others can attract recruiters’ fears that a lower position will make them unhappy.

The concern is that a qualified employee will soon feel unchallenged, become bored and anxious about the next change.

“When someone joins a company, it can take anywhere from three months to a year to become fully productive,” Greer King explains. “Even someone who is very qualified for this position can’t come in and do the work. You have to understand the culture, the processes and the technology. So investing all that time in someone, only to have them leave after six months, isn’t the most intelligent when hiring.”

Senior employees in industries where the corporate ladder is well established, such as management consulting, can be especially vulnerable to the risks of overskill.

“Someone can have deep experience in one area, apply for a job in another, and only end up hearing from the hiring team that they should apply for a higher position,” says Davis Nguyen, founder of My Consulting Offer Training School. in the United States of America. “But if the company does not have an open position [naquele nível]The candidate ends up being rejected.

To reject these workers, employers can claim that they have significant experience on the job. Or, sometimes, they state that they are simply not the right fit for the company.

“Employers want to hire the right person, at the right time, who can grow in the role, develop and mature,” Greer King says. “Employees often want challenges. As a result, they tend to be happier and stay longer.”

The issue of agility and flexibility

“Someone ‘very good’ at the job will only benefit the company in the short term,” says Shelley Crane – Image: GETTY IMAGES via BBC

Of course, some smart employers are able to take advantage of these highly skilled workers.

Greer King argues that small businesses in particular, who are less constrained by corporate hierarchies and structures, are better able to hire highly qualified employees. Startups [empresas de tecnologia iniciantes] “They are flexible and flexible,” he says. “They can hire an overqualified candidate and justify that appointment with a job title and salary appropriate to their experience.”

Agile employers can also hire and promote skilled workers quickly, anticipating any boredom, according to Shelley Crane, director of UK-based HR firm Robert Half. In this way, companies benefit from the employee’s experience, maintaining their motivation and long-term commitment.

“Someone who is ‘very good’ for the job will only benefit the company in the short term, unless there are excellent opportunities for internal growth,” she says.

Firms may also be more willing to absorb younger, more skilled workers. Greer King claims that his impulses to turn downward can be more easily justified.

“The older you get, the more expensive a junior position is — and the more likely your immediate need will be financial. Hiring an older candidate also means that he is headed not only by someone less experienced, but also younger than he is — which can create structural issues,” he explains.

Currently, the employment crisis in some parts of the world means that employers can no longer be selective about over-skilled workers. Greer-King understands that eliminating overexperienced candidates is even more difficult when the battle for talent is at its height.

But Crane says companies are focusing more on retaining existing employees, and more qualified candidates are still being laid off. “In today’s market, finding a new one can be expensive and time consuming,” she says. “When qualified employees leave the company, the company usually goes back to where it started.”

Workers who are eager to change may be tempted to deliberately reduce their knowledge or omit experiences from their resumes, but Shelley Crane does not recommend this practice. Since the candidate’s work history will likely be discussed in the job interview, any deception may be discovered later in the process.

“It’s never a good idea to dry out your resume,” she says. Crane also advises professionals in general not to apply for positions with over-qualifications: “Someone who applies for multiple positions below their experience level and is rejected can have a disastrous effect on their confidence.”

“They took my choice away’

Patience and persistently looking for work can pay off, but the fact is that there are experienced candidates who may not succeed – and it is not their fault. This can happen to high-ranking employees, especially those who have worked in the same company for a long time.

“Maybe they’ve become ingrained in another work environment culture,” says Terry Greer-King. “It makes them less flexible.”

But the inconvenience of being too qualified can hurt anyone, as happened to Emily. Although she never reached her ideal position, she eventually headed toward the career she wanted, finding a job at a smaller entertainment company that turned out to be an upgrade over her previous job.

But the experience of being considered so qualified for her dream job made her wonder why she would prefer a good working insulation company like her, who was happy to start from the bottom and would like to add value to that company.

“I applied for this position because I really thought I could do so much for that company,” she says. “It was my choice. Saying I was too qualified took that choice away from me.”

Read the original version of this report (in English) on the BBC Worklife website.

– The text was originally published in https://www.bbc.com/portuguese/vert-cap-62127190