Even It Up!

Shifting the balance for jobseekers

Posts Tagged ‘qualifications

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

The good ole jobseeking days

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My, how times have changed!  Jobseeking used to be way simpler in ‘the good ole days’.  We at Even It Up! are feeling a bit nostalgic, and here are a few things we wish were still around:

Bring back the CES!

Before job network providers, recruitment companies and Centrelink, we  had the Commonwealth Employment Service.   The CES was an Australian Government department that was there specifically for jobseekers. What we miss are the job boards, where cardboard cards  that listed all available jobs were pinned on partitions.  Thes jobs included temp jobs, and both state and government departments as well as private industry listed vacancies. No dealing with middlemen – you just called the organisation direct expressing an interest in the role.  In fact, the CES had a specialist department dealing specifically with temp government roles: Templine.  There were some agencies, but these were few and far between and seemed to be relatively easy to deal with (What ever to Kelly?).

Bring back aptitude testing!

 We know you are probably recoiling in horror and calling us politically incorrect, but given the subjective and arbitrary recruitment decisions that many employers make, we think it’s a good idea.  When so many employers talk about wanting to employ the best and brightest – and the don’t – then surely aptitude testing is a way of actually levelling the playing field.   Employers then have a pool of jobseekers they can call on for vacancies.  In the old days, often there wouldn’t even be an interview! You’d get a phone call telling you to start work!

Qualifications actually meant something!

Qualifications now seem to act as a screening device where “where in order to secure a job which is itself unchanged, a person must secure higher educational credentials than were required earlier” (source:  Tom Morris, 1992 Joint Conference of the AARE and NZARE at Deakin Uni).

What we are finding is that qualifications, because they are not used as an indication of the jobseekers ability, tenacity and smarts, are now not valued by employers.  They are not seen by employers as really adding anything  to the jobseeker’s repertoire; they merely indicate that the jobseeker has reached the benchmark of what is deemed necessary to even be considered for a role.  So much for best and brightest!

A fried of ours, who has more degrees than a thermometer,  is often pipped at the jobs post by people who don’t have his qualifications (and this is in middle management).  How does he know?  Because when the employer contacts him to tell him he is unsuccessful, he always asks: “Do they have my qualifications?”.  The answer is invariably no.  (We acknowledge that there may be other factors at play!)

So one has to ask the question: who is benefiting from credentials inflation – we don’t think it’s the jobseeker!

We’d love your thoughts!  Do you agree? What do you miss about the good ole jobseeking days?


Written by evenitup

December 12, 2008 at 8:16 am