Other Side of the Mirror: The myth of being overqualified.
Here is one scenario you should take very seriously.
You don't want to give someone a job, tell him straight out. Say, you are sorry but no go. Don't tell him he is overqualified. That must rank as the most hypocritical thing you can say to an aspirant.
We would love to have you but your bio-data is so impressive we won't know where to fit you in.
What a complete load of rubbish. No one is overqualified per se and if you are getting what you want and more for free you should be grateful enough to grab it. Certainly, there is such a thing as being uncomfortably overqualified. You won't take a Ph.D in Physics and make him a counter clerk but most people use this excuse because they believe they are breaking the bad news of rejection gently.
We think it is better than saying the applicant fell short or was not of the calibre needed for the post. But what we end up being is downright cruel. Imagine the trauma of saying you are too good for us. It is so steeped in insincerity that you have to be pretty thick-skinned and insensitive just to consider it as a valid copout. The person who has come to try for a vacancy knows straight off he is being snowed. Yet so many of us are thoughtless enough to go this route in the misguided assumption that we are being "nice." It is bad enough that the guy sitting in front of your desk knows he has been rejected for someone who is already ear-marked for the post and all the advertising of the post is so much folderol but it is sheer insult to injury when you shuffle his resume then push it back at him with an admiring whistle and say, what are you doing trying for a dump like ours, a guy like you should be reaching for the stars. Thanks a lot but no thanks.
However, for every clever riposte based on the rejection of excellence as a gentle letdown there are ten who are genuinely afraid to allow the best to filter into their professional percolator and they eliminate all potential threats like acid does stains. Out damn spot ... sorry, but we don't have the right slot for you. There is a lot of jargon created specially for the corporate cowards. You don't have the right profile. We are looking for an A type personality. Our candidate should be able to co-ordinate intra personnel relations. Bow wow, it's all fluff for we don't like your intrusion because you may be good and you may be unique, and while good is tolerable unique is not, besides which, you may be just the tonic our company needs and that, my friend, the rest of us can ill afford. This is not clever stuff, this is real, upfront how it happens stuff. We throw out the best because the best is scary and it might rock the mediocrity of our little shop.
You don't believe it? Think of all the people with get up and go who had to get up and go because you couldn't or didn't want to accommodate them. So, next time you find yourself being told you can't get in through the door because you are overqualified, take heart and laugh a happy laugh. The person telling you that has good reason. He is underqualified.
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