Career Survival Skills: Until Something Better Comes Along
by Michael Mayher

During the last few decades there are some silly questions and comments, based on not much more than assumption, which always seem to come up. I’ve always been amazed when company representatives encounter a well-qualified and, okay yeah, occasionally over-qualified applicant interested in their job opportunities. Most often they reflexively reject or at the very least instantly view them with suspicion.

More Pavlovian than a logical response, it is sometimes legitimate, but making a snap judgment without any due consideration is nuts and, frankly, pretty stupid in my less-than humble opinion. I am referring to some, not all, managers in this blog and a dereliction of their responsibilities to their company - as I see it.

If a manager happens upon an exceptionally qualified person who’s sincerely interested in the job - even after emphasizing they may be overqualified for the job position in question and yet they are still eager and interested - then why not drive on and continue with the process and, if they are your best choice, hire that person and be thankful for the blessing that walked through your door. That is, of course, if you are, in fact, seeking to hire the best available talent.

I’ve seen too many environments staffed by less than impressive people who just go along to get along – and apparently, management is just fine with it judging by their inaction. Then, when an opportunity avails itself and someone who is clearly a notch above seeks an opportunity, many hiring managers will make short-sighted and weak excuses like, “Well you know, Michael, we think they might not fit our team here and could be disruptive to the team (status quo).” For expediency and their own sake, they’re just fine with the bar lowered and would rather hire in comparison with the strongest of the weak among their employees. Perhaps, and this is just a wild thought on my part, a potential disrupter is exactly what they need. However, more managers than ever lack any imagination, because if something doesn’t go right, they might actually have to explain themselves – clearly leadership and innovation is no longer encouraged in companies based on this obvious trend.

When I introduce a candidate and know in my own heart of hearts, as well as my 23 years of professional experience, they should be happy to find someone better than what they seek who is, regardless, willing to consider the job, they say, “But Michael, within a few months they will want more money…” or, here is the dumbest excuse of them all, “They’ll only stay until something better comes along.”

Hey, News Flash!!! – Everyone leaves when something better comes along, hello! - including managers uttering that nonsense with a straight face. Indeed, people do attach some loyalty to good managers and employers so long as they see a reason to stay, but everyone with any measure of ambition will move on to a new opportunity – eventually.

For those managers who possess real leadership abilities, who are forward thinking and don’t lack self-confidence, hiring someone who may be viewed as over-qualified can be quite a catch, especially if they are managed well. Indeed, bring on someone of a higher caliber than some other current employees and team members; yeah, a few of the underwhelming who feel the heat of standing near someone who provides contrast might leave as a result. Then celebrate, because they’ve affected change for the better. It’s the bi-product of Top-Grading, you know that nearly forgotten term downplayed by those who don’t measure up themselves.

About the Author: Michael Mayher has been an international direct search recruiter on two continents for over 22 years. A consultant, published author, lecturer and blogger, he re-introduces professionals to critical Soft Skills lost in our digital age and necessary to effectively navigate their careers. You can find more information by visiting his blog and website.

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