Overqualified For Life

RealClear Staff


LinkedIn featured Maurice Ewing’s article, “Why Smart People Don’t Get Hired.” Ewing elaborated on how said people tend to have “cognitive biases” that cause a “blind spot.” He also touched on above-average-intelligent people’s resumes. The writing blurs actual skills and/or prevents them from getting a job because recruiters and HR people struggle to place the cognitively sophisticated—the resumes are too complex for computers to locate “key words” that aid in categorization. While it has been heavily practiced in the professional world, this method alludes to a honing of overall societal division.

Though overlooked among the masses—maybe too much “Candy Crush” or “Bejeweled”—some people, like Veronica Roth and Neil Burger, have made an effort to bring attention to the possible, foreshadowed future. Set in post-apocalyptic Chicago, “Divergent,” Burger’s theatrical adaptation of Roth’s YA novel that splices Orwellian dystopia with a Rande-like class-based society, depicts a world comprised of five factions. However, there are people who don’t necessarily fall into any of those classifications—they are called Divergent. This (feared) sub-faction is not inept, rather they possess the mental aptitude and physical ability to function within multiple parameters.

In the real world, society has recruiters, who dismiss those who are deemed “too senior” for entry-level-yet-relevant roles, which could—would—lead to a desired position. In this economy, such practices are counterproductive, as many brilliant, willing and hard-working minds would leap at the opportunity for an “in” at places like W.W. Norton & Co. 

More, thought process plays a large role in the hiring process—i.e., many recruiters and employers assume Masters-degree-toting folks couldn’t possibly want a position that might be beneath them, as they’d have unrealistic, salary requirements. (Consider the salary of U.S. educators; most have one or more Masters degrees.) Additionally, and because the professional world is still a buyer’s market, some would simply be grateful for the chance to prove themselves. 

Ultimately, unless society starts putting stock into higher intelligence (as opposed to sports, reality television and sing-song shows), which might actually solve a lot of other issues (e.g., the economy), find the means to send out gift baskets, forge strong relationships with big-decision makers and always look out for number one!



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