A TikToker dedicated to “career & smallbiz tips” is pulling back the curtain on why she says many companies don’t actually hire the most qualified candidate for a job.

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Runa’s page (@rulewithruna) is filled with suggestions to help workers and companies alike find the right fit. In a two-part video series titled “What Interviews Are Really About,” she explains that hiring managers don’t have any financial incentive to hire truly outstanding candidates, but they do have incentive to make sure they choose candidates who don’t stir the pot.

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“They do get penalized if their candidates keep on quitting early or disobey authority,” she says. “And what kind of candidates quit early and disobey authority? Usually the ones that are the smartest or the most qualified — qualified in terms of experience, intelligence.”

According to Runa, this explains why interviewers often ask why a potential hire left a previous company or what their weakness are. It’s to measure risk.


Of course, this isn’t a hard and fast rule, but the TikToker suggests big companies in particular tend to function this way.

“[Their] reward and performance systems do not motivate this kind of human behaviour,” she wrote in a comment, referring to hiring the most qualified candidates.

Her reasoning makes sense, and viewers hoping to get ahead in their careers tried to take it in.

“I finally understand why you can be ‘over qualified,’” wrote @_seritonin. “It used to baffle me hearing you can fail getting a job for being too qualified.”

“I’ve been told by hiring managers that I’m a ‘flight risk’ because of my qualifications,” @_rebecca.jo_ agreed.

Another read quipped, “I have an interview with Microsoft next week, I’m gonna tell them my biggest weakness is I don’t know how to quit.”

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If it feels like you’re encountering this problem when looking for a job, Runa suggests looking to startups instead.

“In a fast-growth environment, they need high performers to solve problems,” she says in a follow-up video. “Startups would rather you stay for three months and solve a big problem that they have, rather than you stay for three years and do absolutely nothing.”

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*First Published: June 22, 2022, 10:30 am