Unemployment Effects on Hiring
If your area has a high unemployment rate, you’ll get better acting performances from prospective employees. People who desperately need steady work and a steady paycheck will take almost any kind of job. They will also more adroit in selling the interviewer on why they should have the job.
With high unemployment, you’ll also run into overqualified applicants. No doubt, you can empathize with these people in their current dilemma. But you should also realize that once other opportunities open up that make it possible for them to cash in on their full qualifications, you will lose these employees.
- First, if people are working below their capacity, they are not challenged in the job.
- Second, they will soon be looking for a better job.
Knowing the unwillingness of most managers to hire overqualified workers, some desperate applicants will shade their qualifications on the application, so that their greater education or experience is hidden. If you are hiring overqualified people, be prepared to lose them unless you will be able to advance them to a position more aligned with their qualifications.
Get a Second or Third Opinion when Hiring
Never hesitate to ask colleagues you respect to interview a candidate you consider hiring. Once you have narrowed the field of candidates down to a few, more input is always helpful. A second or third perspective during the hiring process can often provide you with observations or insights you missed.
The more important a position, the more important it is that you make the right decision. Additional opinions will increase the chances that you hire the right individual.
Hiring an Underachiever
A comfort zone underachiever (CZU) is a person who is highly qualified but doesn’t like being challenged. There are many of them around, but very few admit to it. One of the main problems for CZUs is convincing you they genuinely
want to work at a position that seems far below their capacity. They often get burned, in that they’re not hired for jobs they want because they’re overqualified. They soon discover that the way to handle this is not to list all their qualifications on the job application.
The registered nurse who doesn’t want to practice nursing may not indicate her training in that field. She may trim her list of qualifications to fit the clerical job she wants.
Likewise, the schoolteacher who really can’t stand young children in a classroom environment may not list all his credentials.
Hiding previous work experience on the job application gets more difficult because the trained interviewer will zero in on any gaps during the hiring process.
So, if our teacher really wants the job of maintaining the facilities grounds and gardens, his application might show him as a member of the school’s “maintenance crew” rather than of its teaching staff.
Since you’re interested in getting ahead and managing other people, you may have difficulty understanding applicants with this kind of personality. Don’t underestimate them. They certainly aren’t stupid. They see work
from a different perspective than you do. It isn’t a matter of who’s right and who’s wrong. Each attitude is right for the person involved.
Consider the forty-five-year-old CZU dentist who regrets the decision to spend the rest of his life looking into people’s mouths and filling teeth.
There are many unhappy people working at unsuitable jobs and we should respect CZUs for having the courage to change their situation.
People resist change, and the combination of resisting change and knowing change is necessary leads to inner emotional conflict. That’s what psychologists call avoidance:
You’re trapped by having to choose between two unpleasant alternatives because by doing nothing you’re eating yourself alive.
The comfort-zone underachiever is trying to find ‘ ‘what’s right for me.’ The jobs CZUs take may be temporary; they’re at a crossroads in a period of reassessment. Often, they’re looking for a job that won’t divert them from their search. They are seeking a job requiring a minimum of attention, freeing them to think, to sort things out.
Often, they’ll go after a job that’s highly repetitive in nature that can be done accurately without effort, thus enabling them to have their thoughts elsewhere. Certain jobs in your own company would doubtless drive you bananas in two hours, but there are people who enjoy doing those jobs; it’s a matter of hiring the proper candidate.