How Do You Harness The Abilities of Candidates Whose Skills Are AMP’lified?

Interviewing is a peculiar process.  Most organizations want to find, get blown away by, and select the best candidates available to them. Unfortunately, most of the time, they don’t necessarily look for the best candidate for them and their culture. Instead, they’re hypnotized by amazing credentials, impressive polish, and unfettered poise, thinking those attributes are enough to make that hire a success.  But this is far from the truth.

This is because organizations might see the person with the best attributes as the best for them; they consider the credentials fit, but not the character fit when making hiring decisions.  But what’s the use in finding oil or gold if you don’t know how to tap into its true value?

Hiring parties might err by thinking to themselves, “This person has all these points of education, skill, experience, and accolades on their resume, so they’re qualified.” Organizations should not only consider positives captured in documentation to determine if that candidate is sufficient for the job opening, but also the positives in professional character and how it reconciles to or fits into the position opening and work culture. Too much of a good thing might not necessarily translate to a good thing for the organization.

An entity has to get the right match when it comes to hiring. The organization needs the best candidate and the candidate needs the best organization for both of these stakeholders to improve, grow and evolve day-by-day.

The responsibility and impressions made need to go both ways across the table.  If one side of this equation fails, the formula fails. Candidates and openings need to be reconciled by getting those seeking job opportunities into the right job.


Well-qualified doesn’t necessarily mean right for your organization and this can be for myriad reasons.  Organizations might worry about the over-qualification of candidates as a means to measure whether someone would fit the job in the right fashion. Companies can deal with over-qualification differently, but let’s leave that for another post.  Let’s discuss another concept of which organizations should be cautious, which is the concept of Over-AMP’lification—the candidate is too Ambitious, Motivated, and Proactive.

  • Ambitious meaning they have a desire and/or plan for their future and career…
  • Motivated meaning they are self-driven and are ready to take the steps necessary to feed off their ambition…
  • Proactive meaning they will take, or actively seek out, the steps necessary to build off of their ambition and motivation…

And here we should distinguish between those who might come across as expecting too much and those who truly understand the charge regarding the value that they have to build for themselves and their organization. The latter is AMP’lified while the former may come across as arrogant or entitled.

Resume qualities might lead to the organization believing that this is the best investment for the going concern, but that’s only the case if those attributes are going to be fostered, encouraged, and utilized. It makes no sense to bring someone on with so much fire in their fight to merely be sat down, left to languish in a cubicle, talents untapped.  Organizational policies and hiring managers need to be honest with themselves and everyone on their side of the table as well as with the candidate sitting across the table from the questions.  They need to ask themselves, “Are we really the best environment for this ambitious, motivated, and proactive candidate to make the most impact?”

For instance, if there is a pause after the candidate makes these types of comments and questions and no one in the room knows what to make of them, there is a problem:

  • How does your organization go about fostering culture and measuring the climate?
  • My main goal is to add value to any organization I support.
  • What kind of training and development do you provide in order to ensure your employees continue growing?

Also, don’t describe to the candidate the organization in a manner which misrepresents the everyday attitudes and operations of the organization. Don’t say, “It’s ok to fail…” and “Communication is everything…” if these approaches are not truly representative of the organizational culture and attitude.  Remember, a smart candidate is looking for the right atmosphere in which to focus their dedication, growth, and commitment. Misrepresentation in this instance does a disservice to both sides of the table.


To improve going forward, consider these basic steps in order to redirect the process to find you the best candidate:

  1. Don’t Misrepresent the Culture – Reflect what the culture is. There is no point in answering the candidate’s answers with the candidate’s ideal responses if they are not true. That’s the first and biggest mistake.
  1. Reconsider Organizational Approach – This article isn’t written to mean that an entity can’t hire someone that is over-AMP’lified, but the organization has to be ready to make an honest and earnest effort to make sure it is ready to harness the “AMP’s” brought to that table.  ONLY if the interviewing group can be honest and think, “We’ve never considered these questions they’ve posed in this interview or the example this person has set; maybe it can start with this person and we’re open to evolving,” then stronger consideration is warranted with the hire.

If the approach is not refined and refocused, both sides will most likely lose. The hiring entity will have to go through the hiring process and costs again when that new hire leaves because they weren’t allowed to put their best AMP’s forward. And the Interviewee realizes the opportunity cost of time lost working for an entity which wouldn’t consider them an investment to grow, but merely a crutch upon which to continue hobbling along.

So…What About You?

  • Have there been situations where candidates you were considering shifted your mindset in your workplace?
  • Have you had situations where you utilized a candidate’s skill which was not requested in the job description posting?
  • Have you been in situations where there wasn’t the best reconciliation between workplace and eventual hire?

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