"You're overqualified" is a crappy way of telling someone "You're too old"

I know of a particular IT recruiting agency where they'll tell people they're overqualified when what they really mean to say is "You're too old." Despite the legacy of Dr. King (imagine how bad it would be in recruiting had it not been for him, LBJ and the CRA and subsequent legislation) and the now President Obama, there are still far too many associated with recruiting (and this includes hiring managers) for whom to call neanderthal would mean insulting real neanderthals.

What matters is the skill not the age...gender...race...etc.

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I really should spill the beans on this agency...we don't need them in our profession.


Views: 156

Comment by Jim Durbin on January 23, 2009 at 1:12pm
I once applied for a job in a call center in Tampa, Florida. I was 22 years old, with a degree from an excellent university, and I blew away their aptitude tests. In fact, I took it as a personal challenge when they told me the math section was not designed to be finished in the time allotted. I finished.

I didn't get the job. Years later, I met the woman in charge of the testing - she went back and looked through my file and told me there was no point in hiring me. I wouldn't have stayed in the position very long.

What they looked for was people with no, little, or a bad college education were excited about a 9-5 job paying $24,000 a year with good benefits. While that beat my salary waiting tables, it wasn't close to what I would make just one year later.

Sometimes - you're overqualified is correct. And sometimes, you're overqualified means you make too much money and I can find someone cheaper who won't jump ship for a better offer in six months.

I don't know the specifics of this firm - but sometimes overqualified does mean overqualified.
Comment by Martin H.Snyder on January 23, 2009 at 1:49pm
Age and especially class discrimination are rampant, period. But there is a sad truth out there: men especially seem to lose their edge at a younger age than many wish to expect or accept. I'm 41 and my brain is hardening like a sponge in the sun by the day. I can feel it, and by the time I am 50-55 (if Im fortunate enough to make it) I know I am going to be a lot slower on the uptake than I am today.

Life starts too late for many of us: over the skies of Germany in 1944 you had any number of 21 and 22 year-olds as pilots in command- responsible for 10 lives and a half-million dollar machine. These days I would barely let the average 21 year old that I encounter wash my car unsupervised. Yea, that's age discrimination too, but that's the fact jack.
Comment by Steve Levy on January 23, 2009 at 5:34pm
Jim, in this case, overqualified really did mean "too old" - had a face to face with the person who biz dev'ed the customer.

However, you're helping me make a point by writing, "What they looked for was people with no, little, or a bad college education were excited about a 9-5 job paying $24,000 a year with good benefits." Here's one of my biggest bones to pick with both sides of the recruiting fence: Companies who don't provide detailed descriptions of the real job and needs and recruiters who think they are so intuitive they don't need to know the details (I'll know one when I see one).

But age bias is still one of the dirty little tricks played by companies, the same way they place the race card, the fat card, gender card, the entire deck. For all the hot air used to blow up the rusing balloon, relatively little air goes towards age discrimination.

Perhaps I'm an exception - I don't look 50 (well, up close I do) and my definition of having a six pack is different from yours - but it is all about performance. Period. Yes, Marty, I also feel it in the morning and taking my shoes off at night is practically orgasmic some days but I pity the fool who challenges me. True, there are always special cases but if so, let's be upfront as possible.

Come to think of it, the CRA has been successful at pushing the idiots underground. Time to dig them up and let the world know who they are...
Comment by Jerry Albright on January 23, 2009 at 5:43pm

I am slowly moving toward communicating exlusively via Obamicons. Who needs 140 characters when 8 or 9 will do the trick?


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