Should You Be Afraid of Overqualified Candidates?

When times are tough, hiring managers are often flooded with resumes…sometimes hundreds for a single job posting. And inevitably, hiring managers are increasingly facing a litany of candidates who are overqualified for the positions posted.

Traditionally, overqualified candidates have been overlooked due to perceived risks, like:

  • The employee using the employer as a temporary stop-gap in their career.
  • The employee becoming bored and decreasing employee morale.
  • The employee will leave when something “better” becomes available.

Are these real risks, or assumptions based on little or no fact? Should you be afraid of overqualified candidates?

Overlooking a candidate who seems overqualified could prove a costly mistake for your business. Here are a few questions to help you determine whether an overqualified candidate is the right hire for your business:

  • Is the candidate overqualified or over-experienced? A quick read of someone’s resume is not enough to fully understand a candidate’s credentials. Qualification for a positions should pertain to meeting the specific requirements of a job. So, common items that lend themselves to an “overqualified” stamp, such as education, or more job experience, may not be true indicators of a hiring risk. Are all the previous positions directly related to the job posting? Maybe the candidate is switching gears in his or her career? Or maybe there’s another unique challenge in the position that is particularly interesting to the candidate. The lesson here: don’t just scan the resume, get to know the candidate.
  • Can I still use this candidate? Who wrote the job description for your job posting? HR? Management? Perhaps a combination of the two. Take a look at your job description and requirements, and ask yourself, “Is there room to expand this position?”  Maybe there is a way to expand the original role to meet the additional experience offered by the overqualified candidate. Then, you can provide additional challenges, while ensuring you’re truly bringing the best candidate for the job onto your team.
  • Can I afford this employee? In tough economic times, you may be tempted to low-ball a salary offer to an overqualified candidate, in an attempt to get a “deal.” This is not a good idea. Pay candidate’s what they’re worth, with due notice to the requirements of the job. If you can afford to pay an overqualified candidate slightly more, try to make it work. If you go above and beyond to welcome an employee to your team now, that employee is much more likely to make a long-term commitment to your organization.

Searching for your next superstar?
Contact SelecSource! We work with top talent across Greater Atlanta, and we’ll find you precisely the professional your organization needs to get to the next level.