RECRUITMENT / MAR. 07, 2015
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Why Are Incompetent Candidates Always Picked in Unfair Job Interviews?

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Don’t we just hate the fact that many incompetent and undeserving people end up getting those lucrative jobs? It’s like the honest and hardworking people are not recognized or appreciated anymore. Meanwhile, the cheeky sophistication of some incompetent characters seems to make them slip through any job interview with such relative ease. And the problem with that is…

See Also: How to Silence Your Inner Voice Before an Interview

We See This Growing Trend All the Time...

A recent graduate is chosen instead of a master’s degree holder with years of experience because, apparently, the master’s degree holder happens to be ‘overqualified’. Or better still, three equally competent candidates are shortlisted in a job interview and through some strange miraculous intervention, one ends up being picked as the most suitable candidate for the job. Now, is it me or…

Did the Term ‘Competence’ Recently Develop a New Meaning?

We get confused a lot about the unfairness in job interviews these days and I recently addressed that – you do everything right and you ace the whole damn thing, but for some strange reason, it happens that you’re not the right candidate for the job. So, it means two things – either your competence skills are pointless or competence recently gained a new meaning in the eyes of recruiters. And since we know that your competence is not the problem here, then I guess…

It’s About Time We Reassess Competence in Unfair Job Interviews

Lord knows how hard you’ve worked on your academic papers. Oh! And we can’t forget to mention the years of hard work you’ve put in your career to decorate that CV. Then, out of the blue, some strange simpleton always happens to be the most suitable candidate in every job interview you attend. It’s so unfair, and I really sympathize with you on that. Of course, we’re used to backdoor tactics such as sexual advances, family connections, bribery, and what not. But is there something else other than backdoor tactics we’re unaware of? In any case, what if no backdoor tactics were used and yet the job interview seemed unfair?

So, I took it upon myself to do some digging before I came across something quite intriguing that might explain the whole unfairness mix-up…

Have You Ever Heard of the Dunning-Kruger Effect?

The Dunning-Kruger effect was conceived back in 1999 and is actually described as a cognitive bias of sorts. For instance, you might be the most competent candidate, and yet the recruiters just don’t like you. But it doesn’t end there. The Dunning-Kruger effect may happen in the following circumstances…

#1 A Recruiter Might Perceive You as Competition!

Recruiters are assumed to be the ‘most competent’ in the sense of being ‘the Most High’. This is something that is generally acknowledged:

  • But have you ever heard of candidates choosing the best recruiters to interview them? This not only sounds absurd, but it’s also practically impossible since the recruiter might as well be the main supervisor or the owner of the business.
  • Thus, if this recruiter happens to be unskilled at something you’re really good at, then they might not be so pleased after all, because it means that you are more competent than they are.
  • Therefore, if the recruiter perceives you as a threat to their status symbol as ‘the Most High’ within the company, then this ‘jealousy’ will blind them from seeing your genuine skills.
  • So, if you’re this super-competent person, then you need to put your ego aside and present yourself as someone vulnerable.
  • Yes, it’s obvious that you’re very competent, but if you keep rubbing these skills in your recruiter’s face, then I can guarantee you that they won’t take it lying down. In fact, they’ll reject you and choose an undeserving candidate just to prove their point.

#2 You Might Actually Be Underestimating Yourself After All!

People do have self-esteem issues and, unfortunately, this low self-esteem tends to manifest when one is vulnerable. Now, I’m not talking about lacking confidence in job interviews, because that’s just the tip of the iceberg:

  • You might have years of experience in a certain skill to a point where you’re used to it. And as we all know, when we’re used to something, we tend to undermine it.
  • Thus, you find yourself undermining your skills and, in the process, you underestimate yourself.
  • So funny enough, you might actually be the most competent among all the candidates and yet you perceive them as major competition.
  • Therefore, when you’re being grilled by the recruiter, you find yourself betraying your competence.
  • Your lack of confidence makes you sound insecure and unsure of your credentials, which raises red flags in the eyes of the recruiters.
  • Remember, recruiters are dealing with a job market flooded with plenty of cooked-up academic papers and work experience credentials.
  • Meanwhile, the incompetent ‘prick’ that cooked up some of their stuff sounds more confident and sure of themselves and, in the process, the recruiters are so impressed that they pick them for the job. I know it’s sad and disheartening, but, unfortunately, this happens all the time…

See Also: How to Strategize on Job Interviews Worth Attending

I think unfairness in job interviews these days largely stems from the stiff competition and high levels of unemployment we’re witnessing today. People are so desperate for jobs these days that they’re willing to fight tooth and nail even for the jobs that they do not deserve. This shouldn’t come as a surprise in a world plagued by material obsession and tough ambition. As the saying goes, “Competition brings out the best in products and the worst in people”.

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