Your experience as a hiring manager – or your gut feeling – may warn you to steer clear of overqualified candidates. And you may be right. However, don’t automatically eliminate this talent either. Carefully consider the pros and cons before making a final decision.
What to Look For
In a recent study of sales associates, as reported by the Harvard Business Review, a group of candidates perceived as “overqualified” turned out to be better performers than those considered “qualified.” And if you’re worried about a person being a flight risk due to their high level of experience, remember people rarely resign from jobs because they feel they’re too talented for the role. Employees stay or leave because of their management, culture and environment, or working conditions.
Get to know each candidate and their motivations. Look for:
- The “need” factor: Is the candidate hungry for the position? Their significant experience combined with this “need” factor can be a big plus for your company.
- The Peter Principle: This is based on the premise that every employee rises to their own level of incompetence. In other words, if an overqualified candidate has room to grow and a sincere interest in joining your team, they can become a great addition.
- Maturity: If you hire a mature person whose intent is to contribute to a greater good, taking on an overqualified candidate will prove to be the right decision.
There are a number of presumed risks that may lead to hesitation in hiring overqualified individuals. For instance, you may assume they will quickly become bored and as a result, will underperform or leave. It’s important to determine whether these risks are perceived or real.
- Think broadly about your company and its overall talent needs. This means looking to the future, as well as filling your immediate opening. Is there room to expand and make use of the unique skills that a person brings to the table? You may want to find or create a role for them in the future, to ensure that long-term business goals are achieved.
- Consider ways to keep overqualified employees engaged. They may be able to mentor others or contribute to the creation of new systems or processes. A word of caution: Be sure current team members understand and are not threatened by your decision. If they perceive a new hire as diminishing their own opportunities for advancement at your company, they might leave.
Like every hiring decision, it’s critically important to correctly assess overqualified talent. As you design and implement your successful recruitment strategy, consider a partnership with PrideStaff Modesto to help ensure ongoing success. Read our related posts or contact us today to learn more.