The Biggest Lie HR Tells Candidates

No one ever wants to admit this but it can be really intimidating working with someone who is way smarter and more talented than you.  This is the basis for the biggest lie HR tells candidates.

You are Overqualified!

Truth be told, no one is ever ‘overqualified’ for a position.  You might have more qualifications than the organization needs for the position you are interviewing for, but that really isn’t the issue.  The issue is the person interviewing is scared that you are better than they are.

Back in the day, HR pros and hiring managers were trained to give the excuse to overqualified people that we won’t hire you because you’re overqualified and we are scared that you won’t stay in this position, and you won’t be satisfied.  Yeah, right! It’s not that we don’t want you! You won’t want us, because you’re so talented that you’ll get bored with this position and leave.

It’s such a lie, and yet, for decades we just accepted it as truth.

Being overqualified isn’t a negative, it’s a blessing! Companies should be bending over backwards to get overqualified hires.  We no longer live in a culture where people are going to stay in the job for 40 years. If you can get a good 3 to 4 years out of hire, you’re doing great.

Take the best most qualified person you can get for every position you have in your organization and let them do great things. Being worried the person will won’t be ‘engaged’ long term is silly.  That’s not for you to worry. Hire great talent and get out of their way.

The bigger reality we face in most organizations is we aren’t hiring ‘overqualified’ people because your hiring managers are intimidated to hire someone who is better, or who could become better than they are.  This is the mentality we must change in our organizations.  You can’t get better if you don’t hire better.  Hiring under the level of talent you have now is a slow slide to becoming an organization no one wants to work for.

2 thoughts on “The Biggest Lie HR Tells Candidates

  1. Tim, you are absolutely right when you say hiring better talent even if that talent is better than management is a great thing for companies! And, nothing is more true then ‘You can’t get better if you don’t hire better.’ Many people forget that when people surround themselves with smarter, better people, they themselves often become better, too.

  2. Tim – I am generally in agreement with you on a lot of topics. And your generalizations on this one may be true sometimes.

    But I’ve seen a lot of people over my years get bored very quickly when they are not challenged and eject from a job in months, not 3-4 years. I’d much rather hire someone super smart, but maybe a tad underqualified for most jobs and let them dive into the role.

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