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Less Is More

Posted on May 24, 2006

By Dawn Penfold, The Meeting Candidate Network, Inc.

What does it mean to be overqualified for a position, have too much experience for a position and can a candidate really step back from a management role to a planner role?  I have had candidates who have held very senior roles in meeting management.  They oversaw departments, managed multiple people, managed the budget process, hired, fired and had a high income, yet they were miserable in their work.  They were happiest planning the meeting or the event, seeing a project come to fruition and then start anew.  They missed traveling and being an active participant in the success of a meeting.  When they try to step back though, hiring officials are hesitant about hiring them because they feel that no one can truly step back for less money and be happy.  And then, I have also seen professionals take this step back and forget what it is like to do the manual work of meeting management - pack boxes, check breakouts, count chairs, work registration...is it possible to step back and be happy and how do you sell this to a potential hiring official?


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Gael Sandoval

When I interviewed for my current job, the fact that I was significantly overqualified was definitely a concern. I knew that it would be an issue and was prepared to address it. In each of several interviews I reiterated why I wanted to be a part of the organization -regardless of the level of responsibility or compensation. It took a lot of convincing, but I landed the position and it has been a positive experience for all.

It's interesting to note that my direct supervisor specifically asked that I refer to her as my colleague rather than my boss since at times it was obvious that I was more experienced. She was an excellent manager with strong self-confidence, otherwise the situation could have created some tension.

This position has a defined end - which is rapidly approaching - and so I was just recently back out on the interview circuit. I again focused my search on what makes me tick... not on job title or compensation. When you enjoy what you're doing, it doesn't seem like work!

Gael Sandoval
Sr. Manager, Housing & Events
Detroit Super Bowl XL Host Committee

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