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This article seems to contradict itself. One paragraph says folks always act in their own self interest and the next bemoans them as 'entitled' for wanting more when their market value increases.

"It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it."

-Upton Sinclair

The separate statements stand on their own merits, Edward. Check the full phrases for context. Both recruiters and their targets can be expected to choose what each see as best for themselves. And "some perceive" that their personal entitlement expectations are mandates which the company must gratify or be declared "unfair." In some cases, subjective expectations are objectively true and sometimes they are not. But we all have them and act upon them, don't we?

Likewise, what managers might view as betrayals, departing workers may see as simply pursuing equity elsewhere for the welfare of their families. Thanks for bringing up a very important point of contrast. Good eye ...

Does it really make sense to not hire a highly talented person because they don't 'fit' in some sort of pre-ordained concept of what an 'open work slot' requires? If we believe that talent matters to organizational performance does it not make sense to hire the best people and make the 'administrative systems' match the potential the individual brings to the table?

Now I clearly am not informed about all the 'best performing organizations' and how they view talent but in the hundreds of interviews we did a couple of years ago with CEOs of some of the top organizations in the US preparing for the series of articles we published in "WorldatWork Journal" the leaders said that talent matters most and that they will adapt to get the best possible people.

About the only organizations that were not able to offer reward solutions for the best talent from outside were the government agencies.

Again, paying for skill and competency is the best solution for encouraging talent growth and making your organization attractive to as many 'overqualified' people as you can get. When was the last time that your CEO told you to 'go out and recruit 20 people from the VA or Post Office:? Bet you a buck they never say that sort of nonsense.

No, this standard traditional CYA practice does NOT make sense, Jay, absent the conditions I outlined. Underlings tend to be more concerned about avoiding making a decision that can be criticized (a "mistake") than in selecting the best candidate. In my experience, they simply sort out the dangerous outliers and go with the safest choice who can garner unanimous approval. CEOs are paid to take chances, but not their minions, I fear. Hope I'm wrong, though.

There is nothing wrong with people leaving one organization and joining another. True professionals do this all the time.

So an organization hires someone they view as 'overqualified' and they add value while they are there and move on. Or the organization recognizes their value and 'makes room' for them. Is not the real issue the 'qualified' person who is an under performer and the organization fails to 'cull' them out in order that they can find a talent 'fit' elsewhere?

In many instances 'loyalty' to an organization or a long-service employee is a 'death trap' for both the organization and the professional worker.

This is a good topic with many 'paths to follow' and you deserve credit for bring it up.

Not a good situation for me in the 3 jobs that I was hired into for which I was overqualified. I was perceived as a threat to the supervisor, the status quo, or the plan specialists, and saw my work sabotaged and ignored. The company may say they look for the most talented person, but in reality the organization is sometimes not supportive. Cannot recommend the practice, based on my experience.

Honestly sorry to hear that, Ross. Having it happen three times in three different companies is perhaps a record? Hope you were able to get on the right course after these experiences.

Since I also have had many bad experiences both hiring and being the "overqualified" person, I would ask for a success story or two to balance this discussion. While I fully agree with Jay and others that smart organizational leaders sincerely believe that top talent SHOULD be hired and developed, where is the proof that their underlings actually follow those lofty ideals? Who has seen a clearly overqualified new employee stick around and prosper after being brought on board to perform a role far beneath their abilities?

Theory is nice but reality can bite.

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