We have decided to move forward with somebody more junior

Have you ever been rejected for a job application because you were overqualified? 

Initially, it feels like a compliment. But it’s actually code for something else. 

As someone who has been rejected thousands of times for this very reason, allow me to translate this justification for you. 

Overqualified is code for, we are not confident in our ability to retain you as an employee because you will jump ship the minute a better job shows up. 

Overqualified is code for, we need somebody who will be grateful enough to have this job that they won’t complain when we treat them like shit. 

Overqualified is code for, we want to hire somebody hungry and naive who will slave away and work for way less money than they really deserve in a desperate bid to advance their career. 

Overqualified is code for, we don’t have the time or patience to try and break you all of the habits and methods you developed in your past experience. 

Overqualified is code for, we don’t know what to do with you and we would rather bring in a mindless executor who can keep quiet and follow directions. 

Overqualified is code for, you probably have some ideas of your own, and our organization is already on a predetermined course. 

Each of these translations is saying the same thing. 

Overqualified equals difficult to control. We can’t have every deadbeat on the payroll pestering us with their idiotic brain waves. Next candidate, please. 

The irony here thicker than molasses. Because initially, all signs point to big. We are told to show up and do everything we possibly can with the gifts we have been given. And to seek out opportunities that will enhance our potential and help us operate at their highest point of contribution. 

But once we march into the room, fully equipped to create a holy shit moment and blow the hiring manager away, suddenly, all signs point to small. 

Our power threatens people. It works to our disadvantage. It’s the reason we receive autoresponder emails like:

Unfortunately, we have decided not to proceed with your candidacy and hire someone more junior. Thanks for your interest we wish you the best of luck on your search. 

Who knew being so powerful would be such a problem? 


Are you a victim of your own greatness?

* * * *

Scott Ginsberg

That Guy with the Nametag

Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.  



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