Posts Tagged ‘trust’

“I’m overqualified” – Oh Really?

May 20, 2010

I was approached by a young man this week after a presentation.  His question was – “What do you do when you’re over-qualified for any job available?” He proceeded to tell me he had a Master’s degree in Public Health and had been told in multiple interviews he was “over-qualified.”

Now think about the reality here – In what setting would being “over-qualified” eliminate you from consideration?  If my mechanic gets an additional certification will I tell him “I don’t want you working on my car anymore – I’m afraid you’re too smart.”  If you show up for a simple physical exam and find out the doctor is a cardiologist will you back off because he’s over-qualified?  If you are choosing a massage therapist and discover that one contender has a PhD in anatomy will you eliminate that person?  If you need a receptionist with a great personality would you reject the candidate you liked the most if you discovered at the last minute that she had a Masters in English Literature?

As in any of these situations the only justification for telling a person they are “over-qualified” is likely found in this list:

  • You are not the ideal candidate we’re looking for
  • We don’t think you’d be a team player here
  • We don’t like you
  • We don’t trust you
  • You want too much money
  • We think you’re too arrogant and condescending
  • We suspect you’ll leave as soon as you find something better

Please hear my gentle counsel – being told you are “too experienced” or “over-qualified” is simply a politically correct way of telling you they aren’t convinced they want you on their team.   This statement is a disguise – and a safe way to make it sound like the person is complimenting you.  But it doesn’t realistically have anything to do with your qualifications, knowledge, or talent.  It’s a meaningless term that protects the company from being candid about the real reason they don’t see you as a good choice.  Forget about your degrees — work on interview skills that make people like you, trust you and want to be around you.

Incidentally, the young man who initiated this blog was very defensive that it was purely his brilliance, qualifications and superior ability that made people feel inferior around him and he was helpless to change that reality.  I rest my case.

Of Course We Trust You…..But

August 4, 2008

Remember the obnoxious manager who used to sneak up behind you in your cubicle to try to catch you checking your email or putting in that last minute bid on eBay?  Then you elected to take the company option to work from home.  Thank goodness, no longer do you have to worry about Mister Nosey watching your every move at your desk.  Guess what – he’s back!  Electronic monitoring of home workers is an exploding trend. 

Latest figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that America has 28.7 million telecommuters, or “distributed workers”-those people who work for traditional companies but aren’t confined to traditional offices. That number is up from 10.9 million in 2000. Thirty percent of managers and professionals now work at home at least part of the time.  At IBM, 40 percent of the workforce has no official office; at AT&T, a third of managers can work from anywhere they choose. Sun Microsystems calculates that it’s saved $400 million over six years in real estate costs by allowing nearly half of all employees to work anywhere they want.

But at oDesk.com, the system for linking 90,000 freelance programmers, network administrators, graphic designers and writers with 10,000 client companies includes taking random snapshots of workers’ computer screens six times an hour, recording keystrokes and mouse clicks and taking Web cam photos at any time.  Home office phone calls are monitored to instantaneously detect anger, raised voices or children or pets making noise in the background.  At call center Arise.com, they keep their 8,000 home agents so tightly scheduled to their phones that the agents have to scheduled unpaid time off to go to the bathroom.  (And just a sidenote:  Arise.com’s trademarked company slogan is:  Work. Freedom. Trust. Results.®

Now let me ask you this:  When do you do your best work?  When someone obviously trusts you and has given you the responsibility for completing an important job – or when you are being watched like a first-grader who gets his hand slapped if he colors outside the line?   It’s been shown clearly that “distributed workers” are more productive, not less.  They save the company real estate and utility expenses; less gasoline is burned and food and wardrobe costs drop.  Everyone wins! 

But without trust, the whole system breaks down.  If you don’t trust your workers, then keep them in cubicles, watch their every move, give them limited time to get up and move around, ration their food and water and decide when they can leave the premises.  But wait – doesn’t that sound remarkably like prison?


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