Overqualified Candidate?

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“Hiring overqualified candidates can help you achieve much higher productivity, grow, and achieve opportunities that you may not even be thinking about pursuing right now.” There are other less obvious benefits too: these employees can mentor others, challenge peers to exceed current expectations, and bring in areas of expertise that are not represented at the company.

As policymakers and economists ponder America’s rebound in unemployment, managers who will begin hiring again face a problem : how to deal with all the overqualified candidates coming through their doors. The prevailing view was to avoid such candidates. But the unexpected availability of the top talent created by this recession and new research on the success of all these candidates could change that.

Think bigger than the job in question...

When considering a candidate who is, in fact, overqualified for the job opening, ask yourself if there is room to expand the role and make use of the skills he brings. While the old paradigm for hiring was to determine that a job was vacant and look for the right candidate, in today’s world one should also consider the talent opportunities at hand, and try to find the jobs that may be created or open in the near future for them, in the larger organization.

Overqualified candidates are often easier to manage because of their experience in the workforce, which means they are more self-sufficient and can hold themselves accountable for their work and time management.

With overqualified candidates, you not only get more educational experience, but you are also more likely to get more workforce experience too. This creates an employee that has already seen the frontlines and is more than ready to step up to the most challenging roles. 

Hiring a very experienced person is worth it no matter how long you need them. They may have deep industry or technical knowledge that would benefit your company even if they only have a short tenure.

Your company may offer quality of life that the overqualified job applicant cannot get from a larger company or a more demanding position. They may value a more laid-back work environment or a life/work balance that isn’t available elsewhere. As a result, you can turn the overqualified applicant into a valuable, long-term member of your team.

Overqualification does not automatically lead to lower job satisfaction or higher turnover. In a study from the US, sales associates who were thought to be overqualified actually performed better than their peers, and the more empowered they were in their role, the more likely they were to stay put. Indeed, nearly half of graduates are now considered overqualified for their first role.

There are some less obvious benefits to hiring an overqualified candidate that some employers would not immediately consider.  For example, it can be good for morale overall, as a more experienced employee will be able to pick up the work more quickly, relieving the rest of the team from having to cover the responsibilities.  This is particularly important during this period of belt-tightening, when many employees are already having to take on extra tasks.

Overqualified candidates often have other skills in areas that are not required for a particular role but may be useful for the organization as a whole.  This gives them greater flexibility for the future and could allow them to accomplish things in the future that you have not considered part of that role.  Rather than just fulfilling an immediate need, they could help your organization grow and achieve even more.

Rather than rejecting them out of hand, it’s always worth at least considering an overqualified candidate.  After all, they would certainly be able to handle the role advertised  Often it can be difficult to fully judge a candidate’s motivations and dedication to a role without at least offering them an opportunity to discuss the opportunity to explore if you’re a good fit for one another…

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About Me

I am hands-on senior-level business professional with twenty years of experience- the bulk of that experience being within the marketing and advertising side of business, I follow that with over ten years of operational experience, in addition to a very extensive technical background which combined with these three areas make me a force to be reckoned with. 

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