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  1. #31
    Senior Member bighairything's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by InaF3157 View Post
    It is very much an American thing to embellish yourself lots in seeking a job compared to lots of places, e.g. my internship location. I daresay your post did little to address this thesis, which you now claim to have been refuting.
    No, it's not. Americans may do it more, but the English do it too. Hence why I wrote: "I don't think it's either helpful or correct to put this down to cultural differences".

  2. #32
    now! in shell form INA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bighairything View Post
    No, it's not. Americans may do it more, but the English do it too.
    It is traditionally a very American, not a uniquely American thing. I don't think the rep is unearned, though it's a somewhat tired theme by now.

    Others may do it too (playing catch-up?), but I wouldn't say it's typically very British - not from what I've seen living and working in Britain (or West Europe or country C) compared to the US. And certainly not according to the HR people. The experience of resume stripping from US --> West Europe was the reverse of resume embellishing going from Country C ---> the US.

    I think I'll trust that the experience of HR advisors and my own travails were not hallucinations.
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  3. #33
    Away with the fairies Southern Kross's Avatar
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    Hmm, I agree with a lot of the assessment here. I really think it was a mixture of factors.

    Canadians are certainly very different from Americans but they do have a common confidence and enthusiasm, not to mention the accent sound similiar - the negative association would likely carry over. The accent in combination with any degree of confidence could easily have doomed you with a xenophobic interviewer.

    It is hard when common/desirable behaviour in you country is seen as undesirable in another. I have had discussions over this with North American friends. They bewilder and disconcert people here in NZ (which has an even more self-deprecating culture than the UK) with their forwardness, enthusiasm and confidence. My friends are confused by the reactions they get and are get a little upset when I try to explain why. They can see my culture is different but naturally don't want to change themselves.

    You will probably have to tone it down a little, especially in formal occasions such as job interviews. Formal interactions are when cultural norms are scrutinized the most - you have to tread more carefully. Probably what they meant when they said you were 'over qualified' was that you seemed like you had all the answers. You meant to demonstrate your suitability for the job, but to them you sounded like you have nothing to learn or gain from the job - like you're too good for their job really. Sometimes they just really want to hear about what a valuable experience it would be to work for them and what you would get out of it. Its definitely difficult to maintain the balance of selling yourself and yet seeming humble and grateful - especially when the rules are different too. Be careful of the language you use. Instead of saying, for example, "I'm extremely skilled at...", say, "I have learned/developed skills in..." - it means you can sell yourself yet come at it from a position of humility.

    I wish you luck. Its tough out there

  4. #34
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Southern Kross View Post
    Probably what they meant when they said you were 'over qualified' was that you seemed like you had all the answers. You meant to demonstrate your suitability for the job, but to them you sounded like you have nothing to learn or gain from the job - like you're too good for their job really.
    Yeah, I think this is a distinct possibility actually. The job I just finished had "manager" in the title and the one I interviewed for had "assistant." (even though they were quite similar jobs). So it could also be that if I did sound like I had "all the answers," they thought I'd be wanting a bigger salary than they wanted to pay, or something (publishing salaries suck, incidentally.) It really seems like right now employers want people who are EXACTLY qualified - not the least bit over-, or under-qualified.

    I just think it would be weird to go to an interview and feel like I had to downplay my very relevant experience. believe me, I've had interviews in the past where I was distinctly under-qualified (but still thought I had a shot for whatever reason) - so it seemed normal to act confident where I was really well qualified! I also put something in my application letter about what a privilege it would be to work for their company. Frankly, after I sent the letter, I wondered if I was sucking up too much...

    I'm not going to worry about it too much, honestly, but maybe try to throw in more about "learning" and "team player" in future interviews. Or something like that.
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  5. #35
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by runvardh View Post
    Come on back home then, they're all crazy over there anyway.

    I do miss Canada.
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  6. #36
    Away with the fairies Southern Kross's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SilkRoad View Post
    Yeah, I think this is a distinct possibility actually. The job I just finished had "manager" in the title and the one I interviewed for had "assistant." (even though they were quite similar jobs). So it could also be that if I did sound like I had "all the answers," they thought I'd be wanting a bigger salary than they wanted to pay, or something (publishing salaries suck, incidentally.) It really seems like right now employers want people who are EXACTLY qualified - not the least bit over-, or under-qualified.

    I just think it would be weird to go to an interview and feel like I had to downplay my very relevant experience. believe me, I've had interviews in the past where I was distinctly under-qualified (but still thought I had a shot for whatever reason) - so it seemed normal to act confident where I was really well qualified! I also put something in my application letter about what a privilege it would be to work for their company. Frankly, after I sent the letter, I wondered if I was sucking up too much...

    I'm not going to worry about it too much, honestly, but maybe try to throw in more about "learning" and "team player" in future interviews. Or something like that.
    I meant downplay the confidence and enthusiasm not your experience. You just have to find a different way to get your point across. Its a silly dance really. Here in NZ everyone spends all their time trying their best not to stand out from the crowd. Things like job interviews do our heads in: having to maintain this 'one of the herd' image whilst outshining others Self-deprecating jokes seem to help.

    Anyway, it sounds like you did your best. They were probably just being assholes.

    BTW how much does the job search process suck in general? I feel your pain.

  7. #37
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Southern Kross View Post
    I meant downplay the confidence and enthusiasm not your experience. You just have to find a different way to get your point across. Its a silly dance really. Here in NZ everyone spends all their time trying their best not to stand out from the crowd. Things like job interviews do our heads in: having to maintain this 'one of the herd' image whilst outshining others Self-deprecating jokes seem to help.

    Anyway, it sounds like you did your best. They were probably just being assholes.

    BTW how much does the job search process suck in general? I feel your pain.
    It does really suck. but if they wanted a dogsbody who would accept a crap salary, then it probably wouldn't have been the right job for me anyway. Who knows.

    Change of subject, but a few people have said that to me about New Zealanders. I find the ones I've met in England really hard to get to know. In many cases they seem to be either restrained in the personality dept to the point where they come across as not very interesting (even though I'm sure at least some of them are!), or they're out getting very drunk with the Aussies.
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  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by SilkRoad View Post
    ...and that was one reason why I didn't get the job...well, they also thought I seemed a bit overqualified, which makes me suspect the salary would have been crap. I thought from the job description/interview that I seemed pretty much exactly qualified, not over-qualified.

    But I just could not believe the overconfident thing. Maybe I am a bit overconfident about this but I am not sure I have EVER been told that in any aspect of my life... I mean, what should you do? Say "Well, um, I'm not sure my experience is that great, but I think I could probably do this anyway?" I always worry about not seeming confident enough - maybe I over compensated or turned into an ESTP for the duration of the interview

    I can't help wondering if this is a bit of an English thing (I'm Canadian but live over here.) The English love their self deprecation. I have a hard time imagining a North American interviewer telling me I seemed over confident.

    I am so discouraged by the job search...
    Never understood the logic behind the overqualified argument, seems like a cop out

    You OBVIOUSLY want the job if you are having an interview with them

  9. #39
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Unique View Post
    Never understood the logic behind the overqualified argument, seems like a cop out

    You OBVIOUSLY want the job if you are having an interview with them
    Maybe they think you only want it because you're desperate. Or something.
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  10. #40
    にゃん runvardh's Avatar
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    Most places have problems with overqualification when it comes to compensation and whether or not you could replace more than just one person with your abilities - something unions don't like. My father has had this problem on occasion; apparently they're often blinded by is very real awesomness.
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