Even It Up!

Shifting the balance for jobseekers

Don’t rely on your qualifications

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A friend of Even It Up! was discussing his workplace, a South Australian government department.  We were comparing horror hiring stories, and the importance of qualifications when considering job applicants.

He recounted this story.  One of his colleagues (not close) has a policy of not hiring anyone with more qualifications than she has.  Apparently, she wants to be the “star” of the show and does not want any of her subordinates to “show her up”.

Even It Up! is appalled at this attitude on so many levels.  

Jobseekers frequently update their qualifications in order to be more attractive to recruiters and to further their careers.   There is an assumption that when candidates present at interview, their qualifications will be viewed favourably.   This is a completely reasonable expectation, and is how the “wheels of recruiting” should turn.

Even It Up! has found, however, that higher degrees are not often well received outside education or very specific industries.   In fact anecdotal evidence suggests that the higher up the corporate ladder one goes, the more “credentials envy” is encountered.    The feeling is (when one applies for jobs with Masters or PhD qualifications):  “This person is confident, smart, educated.  How on earth are we going to manage him or her?”.    Ask Kate expands on this idea in her CareerOne column here.

Getting back to our original premise, the sad thing is that the government of South Australia markets itself as an innovative, flexible workplace, with career opportunities aplenty.   Check the 2 or 3 page spread in Saturday’s Advertiser, and you can see the trouble they are going to.  Clearly, though, no one has told the person who is doing the hiring.  

And that’s the key to building a strong employer brand: make sure that the internal messages match the external ones.  There needs to be constant and consistent reinforcement of communication from the top.  Great behaviour needs to be rewarded, poor behaviour needs to be managed.  Nothing should be left to chance.

Unfortunately, with employer branding, it often is.

Written by evenitup

January 7, 2009 at 7:34 pm

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