EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

I’m sure tonight’s topic will generate a lot of comments. Those of you who would like to join in on this discussion are invited to send your comments to Leads@TheFENG.org.

The short answer to the question of the moment is: I hope so! If you weren’t, I’m not really sure how you were added to our membership. Our entire organization is filled with well qualified individuals who can do just about any job they would like to take. That said the primary focus of tonight’s editorial is for our members who are much older. Let’s say 55-60 plus.

When you are interviewed for a possible work opportunity, please understand that the comments made by the interviewer are often a sincere statement of their belief. The question is if you are viewed so positively with respect to the position in question, why won’t they hire you?

Part of the answer is that when they make a comment like over qualified, they are looking to see how you react. Their concern is that you will be bored. (Aren’t they nice to be so worried about you?) My suggested approach is to take their comments as serious inquiries into how you might feel about the job in question. This is not, however, the time to indicate your lack of ambition or intelligence.

The belief system in the world is that everyone is on the way up. Unfortunately, this just isn’t true for any profession or any individual over their lifetime. It is sort of like the idea raised in The Road Less Traveled where the author explains that “life is difficult.” Once you accept this idea, the whole world makes sense. In much the same way, the idea that EVERY job is a step up just doesn’t square with reality. People move up, down, and sideways over their careers. This is all normal.

What you want to focus on are the aspects of the job that you will find to be of interest. Perhaps you have a long history in the industry. Or, the area of expertise required is one you have spent many years developing. The game is to get the conversation back on track to the work responsibilities. In a sense, the interviewer has given up on you and you have to regain his/her interest in you.

Getting past the initial screeners is the most difficult part of the interviewing process. The reason is that most of these folks ARE young enough to be your children. They see you in a parental framework and are surprised that you have interest in jobs that are in their view beneath your dignity.

For you, the goal is to be working, and working at something that you will find absorbing. We spend far too much time at work to be totally zoned out. The thrill of travel may no longer be of interest to you. Long hours with tremendous responsibility may not make it for you either. You just have to be careful how you explain these issues to someone early in their career.

The paradox which you can use as a springboard to your own answer to these kinds of questions is that while a company only reluctantly hires an over qualified employee, they would absolutely never engage a consultant who WASN’T over qualified. Go figure.

What I have found with the consultants I have had out on assignment through The FECG, LLC, is that most 2 week assignments last several months. The reason is that once a company finds someone who actually knows how to do something, they tend to find more work for them. (Please visit our website: www.TheFECG.com to learn about what we do. Perhaps one of our alumni members needs an over qualified consultant. We can find them quite a few!)

Let’s all also keep in mind that there are jobs where you could do the work, but the company’s goal is to train someone for the next level. If they don’t bring along a few young folks and train them, they will not be serving their best interests. It may not work for you, but it does work for them.

I will also share with you the idea of “the excuse you can’t cure.” As an example: If only you were taller. If only you were a CPA. If only you had an MBA. If you don’t, this is something you can’t cure by tomorrow. It is one of the best “no” answers anyone can use.

One last item to keep in mind is that people don’t buy ¼ inch drill bits. They buy something to make ¼ inch holes. If you can lay out chapter and verse about how you are going to solve the problem represented by the job in question, it will be yours for the taking.

Regards, Matt

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