Work is the refuge of people who have nothing better to do. : Oscar Wilde

Saturday, July 24, 2010

You're Over-Qualified ... Too Old ... Too Small ... Too ...

I suspect that most salespeople would agree that, if you can induce an employer to tell you why they are reluctant to hire you then you have a fighting chance at getting them to do that. If you still want or need the job by the time you start hearing the objections then here is one strategy for dealing with them.

You might well have heard of the concept on which the strategy is based. It has been heavily used by marketers and advertisers for many years. It's called cognitive dissonance. Here's a sample use.

The first mother is experiencing cognitive dissonance because, on the one hand, the food substitutes in the beverage constitute a health risk and, on the other, the beverage is about to be served at the party, presumably to her own children. The second mother makes a swift coup that radically reduces the first mother's cognitive dissonance by pointing out that the beverage has some good properties particularly when compared to sugar. (Of course, if there were any 350-pound teenagers in the neighbourhood they would be kept well away from the cameras.)

You see how this would work in a job interview. The employer states their objection. In advance you would have thought of a way of reducing the employer's cognitive dissonance.

  • "You're over-qualified.": "I've done some checking and I have found that I'm not over-qualified in comparison to most of the people on your staff. There is lots for me to learn here."
  • "You're too old.": "On LinkedIn I take a special interest in answering questions to do with office software and career advice. I cycle 25 km twice a week."
  • "You're too small.": "In my last job part of my work was to unload shipments of 33-kilogram bags of cat litter and pet food on the early morning shift; also to help customers to their cars with their purchases."
Sometimes you'll have to guess what the objections are. Nobody is actually going to say you're too old.

Help me out! What kinds of questions have you had, or can you think of? What are some better answers than mine?