Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Are You Qualified?

According to business owners who are loving this buyers' market the reasons range from lazy work force to uncertainty about the future.

These phony excuses are being used to keep the numbers in the workforce low, the level of work per worker high and the owners' profits higher.

But one excuse an interviewer may use as a reason not to hire a prospective worker is partially true and used over and over again.
"You’re overqualified."
What a delightful term and one I am tired of hearing.

Businesses have the luxury of choosing to hire, or not from the most diverse worker pool since the 1930s.  But just like a child in a well-stocked candy store they are overwhelmed by the abundance of choice and unable to act.  That is a terrible tragedy for those of us quite qualified for so many different jobs especially on Long Island.

As for the overqualified label what business would hire someone who's under-qualified?  It would seem that the position being filled by that type of worker would have no future or room  tgrow.  So why do so many interviews end with the old, ‘don’t call us, we’ll call you’ blow off?

After so many nibbles without a bite I feel like a teenager dialing the number of someone I met at a singles bar only to hear a recorded weather report from Akron, Ohio.  Hey, if you really didn’t want to hurt my feelings then why did you give me the number in the first place?

When an unemployed person visits a job fair or goes on an interview they are not doing so to boost their morale.  They are hopeful of gaining gainful employment.  They are seeking positions with challenges and growth potential that will benefit both themselves and their employer.  And given the current economic climate these workers will be among the most loyal ever hired.

Unless the gap between the talent and skill of the interviewee and the job for which they are applying is the size of that between a brain surgeon and a supermarket cashier then telling them they are overqualified is foolish.  If I owned a business I would hire people who were more qualified than what the available job needed in the hopes they would lift those around them and help the company in other areas.

For my first job years ago I was in fact overqualified.  As a result I finished my daily required work by early afternoon.  Some co-workers were upset as my abilities seemed to reflect poorly on them.  But rather than flaunt my free time I used it to help them become more efficient.  As a result we all finished our days with less stress and felt better about ourselves.  In the end I rose through the organization and was in a small but key way responsible for its growth.

My fellow unemployed Americans and I are looking for just that type of opportunity once again.  We do not want to hear that we are overqualified just that our skills are needed and welcome.  Put us to work and let us make your companies better.

Being told you’re overqualified is troublesome.  How or why should we become less so?  
If being overqualified means:
You can do the job;
The business secured a quality worker;
The company got more than it bargained for!
Then it's a win-win for all involved.

What we in America need to start hearing is, “Gee, you’re overqualified. When can you start?”


train buddy said...

I so wish business all over America (well at least Manhattan and L.I.) could read this. I agree with you 100%. Personally I know my husband who has been told time and time again he is overqualified would even take a pay cut to do work beneath him just to earn a salary. I don't get it. Don't think I ever will.

Cousin Bruce said...

I appreciate the thought. Perhaps you could help get the word out for others to read this as well.
It may not help me or even your husband but certainly it will open some eyes and maybe, just maybe someone will start a trend of hiring competent able and incredibly qualified people in America once again!!!
Funny thing is many of those out of work are far more qualified to do the jobs of the managers who laid them off. And being better than those above them turned out to be their downfall.

train buddy said...

And that is exactly why none of you are being hired. They are afraid of losing their jobs. How ironic is that.

Cousin Bruce said...

Most workers, myself included are fiercely loyal about the company they work for especially when and if a competitor says something bad about it. And I believe that a leopard does not change its spots so these same workers who are currently unemployed would be very loyal to their new place when hired.
If an interviewer is so insecure about hiring someone who may prove to be better than expected they should seek help!
But the real reason for high unemployment is the owners are milking the system and draining every ounce of productivity out of their current workforce in order to retain even more wealth.
It's sad but unless some outside force forces change it will not change any time soon.