Recruiting overqualified applicants

I hear a lot of people being turned down at interviews because they are overqualified. I also hear a lot of recruiters saying that they had an excellent candidate but they had to turn him down because he was overqualified. This has to be by far the worst reason you can give someone.

Every single company should want the best people they can find for every open position they have. A person with better skills, knowledge and experience will perform better than some less qualified. Better performance means better quality and faster working time, plus lower costs in training and development.

On the other hand a better qualified person might ask for a higher salary and thus be over the budget the recruiter has, but if you consider the productivity, it might turn out to be more profitable to recruit such a person.

Another reason for turning down someone overqualified might be because he already has an organizational culture not compatible with your own and you would want someone that can fit in better and faster. The truth is that it’s very hard, if not impossible to tell how well a person will adapt to the company and the team. This can be best seen after the probation period.

The supreme reason, though, is that being overqualified will lead to the person getting bored and leave faster than others. One has nothing to do with the other. People leave because they don’t like the work, are not motivated, hate the team and the work environment. All of these have nothing to do with how qualified the person is.

The truth is that recruiters seem to be stuck in their search for the exact match, not someone a bit under or over the level, for the position they have. Also when having such a candidate they have to spend more energy to find the candidate’s motivation, if he can fit the team, if the salary he wants is not over the budget and if it is worth taking into account the higher productivity.

An overqualified candidate might be an excellent resource for a company if only the recruiters put in the work. But if he isn’t the perfect match recruiters should forget the overqualified stereotype and offer a real feedback.

Bucket list

The idea behind bucket lists is to write the things you would like to do before you die and start doing them. These are the things you dream of doing, at least once, before you die, just for the fun of it, personal enjoyment, soul healing. It’s the personal equivalent of a work to-do list.

While I believe that everyone should have such a list and get to tick off everything on it, I don’t agree with the idea behind the bucket lists “to do before you die”. Even if it’s about things done for personal enjoyment people tend to postpone them because they are too busy with day to day tasks, their job, kids, making money. Because of this the things on the list will still be there year after year while death always seems so distant in the future and people believe that there will always be time.

What I think would be a much better idea is to have a Bucket list for the year. Create your big bucket list and then divide it by years. Divide them so that you can do everything on the list as soon as possible because you will always find something new to add to your big bucket list. No matter what you do, by the end of the year you have to tick off everything on it. Start each year with a new bucket list and end it with an empty one.

While my to-do lists are always a priority, my bucket lists are at the top.

How to start things

The society we live in is a constantly changing, fast moving environment where everyone is bombarded by information and people who want attention. This means that you have a very small amount of time to obtain someone’s attention and that the first impression is the one making the difference between being ignored and receiving the attention wanted.

While most people acknowledge this, they do very little to start things in the best possible way. You will see below a few examples on how you can improve your first impression and make a better start.

When introducing yourself to someone new forget about your normal introduction where you say your name, what position you occupy, and where you work. Change it to a story, it be it about something you do, are doing or want to do. Stories relate to people on an emotional basis and since we tend to make rational choices based on our feelings your chance of getting attention this way will increase.

Imagine that you are in an elevator going from the 10th floor down with a person you would really want to make and have a connection with, a person you admire, a client you would like to have, a girl you like. Now imagine what you would say if that were the only interaction you had. This is what you should start with next time.

The audience at any conference or public speaking event will decide in the first 10-20 seconds if they are going to pay attention to the rest of the speech or just ignore it. This is why, if you want to have people pay attention and follow you during all your talk, you have to start with something impressing, interesting, out of the ordinary but at the same time something that people can emotionally relate to.

Twitter allows only 140 characters per message. Think how you would communicate if you had this limit in every conversation you have. Consider what the keywords you would use would be to get your message across and get noticed.

Keep it short, simple, to the point but don’t forget about emotional engagement.

Return of investment

Most of times ROI is used when talking about money. It’s really simple to see it since all you need to do is make the difference between how much you invested and how much you gained; but there is one factor I consider more important than money and in which ROI is not so easy to see – time.

Time is always both a short and long term investment because each second passed you can never get back and how you decide to spend it is a final decision. You can always get your money and invest them in something else, but the time you invested in your work, family, friends, relationships, acquiring new skills, enjoying, traveling is there for ever.

You can see your time’s ROI as the things you own, but that’s only seeing time as a money investment. While some may consider it like that, the most important are the skills, connections, knowledge and memories you have gained. These are the really important indicators of the ROI of time.

Someone once told me: “Curiosity is one of the things with the highest ROI I ever know”.

How to make meetings productive

Modern organizations and a lot of people have a culture for meetings. There are monthly, weekly and even daily meetings happening in a lot of companies. Even if the motives of meeting are valid, the way they are organized and what happens there is just a waste of time and resources.

Here are some things to consider doing in order to make meetings more productive:

  • If it’s an internal meeting consisting of a product or idea presentation, send the presentation upfront by email, and make the meeting a Q&A where you can focus on questions and your arguments and not the slides
  • Make sure that only the people who are vital to the meeting are invited. If some people should be there just to assist at the conversation get someone to make a meeting minutes file and send it to everyone involved
  • Make sure everything is set up for the meeting, the projector and the presentation are working, the materials are printed
  • Start on time, not a second later. If someone is late don’t allow them to enter
  • If it’s not meant to be a long meeting don’t bring chairs into the room. People love comfort, so, if not seated, people will tend to finish as fast as possible.
  • Finish as soon as possible, if you need to have a conversation with a smaller group or just one person invite the people who don’t have to be there to leave and see to their work
  • If you have people from outside the company coming to the meeting make sure that they are directed to their places and the materials for the meeting are already available
  • If someone arrives early ask if they would like internet access to do some work before it starts

All these things will make sure that the meeting will be more efficient, but these are just some examples of how you can improve your meetings. You can find a lot more depending on your company and meeting specific.

This will make you think twice before setting a meeting and thus only having important, productive meetings.