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Why smart people don't get hired

A very intuitive article written by Maurice Ewing, PhD. Do you agree with his central thesis and ancillary assumptions? Are you re-thinking your profile? Do you think the world is tilted a little more than 23.5 degrees off center?


Topic Expert
Cindy Kraft
Title: CFO Coach
Company: Executive Essentials
(CFO Coach, Executive Essentials) |

"At the end of the day, smart people looking for a job need to get smarter about how to present themselves!"

Not just smart people, but yes - they do.

Chris Shumate
Title: Accounting Manager
Company: Dominion Development Group, LLC
LinkedIn Profile
(Accounting Manager, Dominion Development Group, LLC) |

I read that article yesterday too. I am not sure I can agree with it completely. Of course, it is a post about someone's opinions. I find a couple of the points to not work together too well. For instance, how can a smart person be too humble, while at the same time preferring to expressing their accomplishments in terms of results. It is tough to be humble, in my opinion, if you are telling others about the results and things you have accomplished. Isn't there at least some level of boasting someone needs to do to get others to see their value?

While I see validity to some of what the author is saying, I am not buying all of it, or even the majority of it. There again, this is my opinion.

I think about my profile often, but I am not sure what needs to be done with it. The only thing I know to do would be to contact a coach to review it and go through it with me to see how to best position myself. Although I am happy with my place of employment, it never hurts to be positioned in such a way that others see potential value. Anyone's perceived value can be ascertained from LinkedIn. After all, more people have seen my LinkedIn profile than have seen my resume.

Topic Expert
Regis Quirin
Title: Director of Finance
Company: Gibney Anthony & Flaherty LLP
LinkedIn Profile
(Director of Finance, Gibney Anthony & Flaherty LLP) |

Let me preface my comments by saying, it was a great piece. Thanks for sharing Wayne. But my comments on the five areas are as follows –

1. Use of standard titles – I agree that standardization helps recruiters. But - in the past year I have interviewed multiple individuals that use standard titles, leading me to believe they are qualified to do all tasks under that generic job umbrella. During the interview I found they only had 50% to 75% of the required experience. Just because you were called AP Coordinator at your old job, may not mean you are truly an AP Coordinator.

2. Profiles too lengthy – I disagree - To get by the key word search used by recruiters, you better add details of past positions, and include key words.

3. Look too narrowly at their experience – Several parts of a job are confidential and should not be discussed in a profile, i.e. coordinated the termination of 800 individuals ensuring no disruption to the core business.

4. Expressing in terms of results – Difficult point – HR wants to know that you have experience; but hiring managers want to know how successful you have been, i.e. “Can he/she do that for me?”

5. Humble – Agree completely. But a CV/Resume is a Marketing piece. What can the purchaser expect to receive if they bought you? If John Deere, P&G, IBM, and Disney are not humble, why should I be?

Again – I think the piece is well written and thought provoking.

Ken Stumder
Title: Finance Director / Controller
Company: Ken Stumder, CPA
(Finance Director / Controller, Ken Stumder, CPA) |

The article was so laden with contradictory statements that I couldn't take it seriously at all.

Topic Expert
Randy Miller
Title: Partner
Company: CFO Edge
(Partner, CFO Edge) |

Truly "smart" people avoid those mistakes. Others make them. :)

Mark Matheny
Title: VP - FInancial Planning and Analysis
Company: Novolex (formerly Hilex Poly)
(VP - FInancial Planning and Analysis, Novolex (formerly Hilex Poly)) |

I think number 3 and 5 in the article are definitely true.

Richard Shelton
Title: Auditor, CPA
Company: City of Baltimore
LinkedIn Profile
(Auditor, CPA, City of Baltimore) |

Great article. The theme is knowing how to market oneself. That's all there is to it. Not sure we need all the commentary about "smart people." Some people don't interview very well. Some people don't present their employment-relevant skills concisely in a resume. Get some coaching and read up on how to self-improve in these areas. Best wishes to all!

Topic Expert
Mike Caruana
Title: Director of Financial Services
Company: Diamond Resorts International
(Director of Financial Services, Diamond Resorts International) |

An overall good article. I don't consider anything that gets my mental juices flowing a total waste of time, but I have to agree with many of the other reviewers that there were issues with it - or said another way, things are more complex than what Dr. Ewing was summarizing in his piece. It was a very short article, so I grant him that. He may have been limited to its length and unable to present the full articulation of how he arrived at his conclusions.

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, |

As someone who used to write a 600 word weekly magazine article I can say with some expertise that it is impossible to make every major argument with supportive facts; needless to say minor arguments or even to mention the flip side is impossible in short articles.


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