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Overcoming the "Overqualified" / "Lack of Canadian Experience" Comments

This article is a summary of a presentation to the Executive Advancement Resource Network, Toronto, delivered on Monday, June 2

What is the problem?
An example of cultural differences
What do employers mean when they say that you are "overqualified"?
What is "lack of Canadian experience"
What can you do?

What is the problem?
There are 50,000 unemployed/underemployed New Canadian engineers in the GTA. Difficulties in getting and keeping a job are typical for the group.

A CFIB (Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses) survey shows that:

An example of cultural differences
In the Canadian culture, employees prefer to work for a manager who gives them freedom to take decisions and determine their way of doing a job. Managers prefer employees who can work with little direction and supervision.

In other countries (Example: Korea), employees prefer to be given a lot of clear directions, and managers are used to giving such directions.

When a Canadian manager has a Korean (for example) employee, the employee will expect - and ask for - detailed directions, the manager will be unwilling to provide them. Both employee and manager will suspect each other in incompetence.

What do employers mean when they say that you are "overqualified"?

What is "lack of Canadian experience"
Implies that something did not match the interviewer's expectations. This objection means that the interviewer things you are not the right person to do the job, but does not want, or cannot explain why. This objection is used so often because it is indisputable.
The perception of "lack of Canadian experience" may be caused by:

What can you do?
To avoid the "overqualified" comment:

To avoid the "Lack of Canadian Experience" comment:

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