Are You Too Talented?

Anyone seeking to find a job, in just about every segment of the workplace, has probably heard the phrase, “you are too experienced for the role.”  In an effort to find a perfect fit for the check list of qualifications and experience, too talented is a simple way to weed out applicants that will no doubt have high salary expectations.

The application process has front line recruiters eliminating very qualified people from the applicant pool, in favor of almost qualified people.  Somehow experience and skills have lost out to the lowest cost applicant.

We all know how wrong it is to assume anything, and yet recruiters are assuming that salary is always non-negotiable.  Yet maybe the applicant has applied with your company because they are no longer challenged at their current company.  Maybe they are working in a hostile work environment and need to find a better place to work.  Maybe they just want to spend less time driving to and from work, and given the cost of gasoline and car repairs with a long commute, a lower salary is a wash.

But somehow, we take little time to find out why they are applying with us, and assume it must be for more money.  The best reason for dismissing applicants before we talk with them seems to be one that spares feelings.  How could they be upset and losing out on this opportunity if it is because they are too talented?

I once was told I was too qualified for the job to my face.  I responded that in all my  years hiring people, I have never once tried to hire someone below my needs.  Knowing it is next to impossible to find a perfect fit, you are left with hiring people too qualified, or under qualified.  Who in their right mind wants someone who cannot yet do the job you need done today?

But in this last paragraph I have signaled the truth to preventing the right people from being disqualified.  You see, I personally made the decision of who I would meet and interview with, and never allowed applicants to be screened before reaching my desk.  That has irritated a lot of recruiters, but when I explain that hiring is not just about what is on paper, it is about what the potential is, I usually gain ground on my methods.

I want people who can step into the current role and perform well.  But I also want them to grow with the department and the company, and too talented today is what allows this to happen tomorrow!


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