Why You Should Hire Overqualified Employees
Lately, I’ve been asking myself if in this kind of economy are professionals focusing on their career or are they focusing on keeping or getting a job? I ask this question because I hear so many stories about American workers struggling to get by.
When I came out of school (seven years ago) I was able to secure a job right away, in fact I was still in school when I received my first job offer and that offer wasn’t my only one. Before starting my first real job, I would have two other offers in my hand, and then I had to choose which one would put me on the right path for my career. Today, it doesn’t work like that (at least that’s the impression I’m getting based on what I’ve seen and heard), it seems as though those searching for new opportunities are looking for jobs and jobs that are not necessarily on their career pathes. Securing a job on your career path is a plus, but it seems as though securing a job that’s even in your industry is “a nice to have”, while securing any job regardless of the field is what people are looking for.
And thus it brings us to the topic of the overqualified candidate.
Many HR professionals shy away from giving the overqualified candidate a shot; because they’re afraid that the candidate will find something else they’re more suited for and leave them high and dry. And while this is an understandable concern as it is costly to hire new talent, there are some benefits to hiring the overqualified.
1. It’s a great way to help a candidate get their foot in the door. While the position they’re currently being hired for is not their ideal fit, their advanced skills and knowledge will benefit the rest of the team, as well as possibly lead to a better position within the organization down the road for your fancy new hire.
2. Get more bang for your buck. Now I’m not saying you should lowball your overqualified candidates when it comes to salary, but if they accept a position that is below their skill level, they should expect to earn an appropriate salary for that kind of job.
3. Save on training expenses and time. There may be less of cost to train a more skilled worker. While you should always expect that there will be a learning curve, with an overqualified employee, that learning curve may be cut in half—saving your organization time and money.
4. Instant mentorship. Junior staffers look to experienced workers to set an example and they’ll feel even more at ease with an experienced colleague on their same level.
5. Keeps the rest of their staff on their toes. Hiring a candidate that is overqualified might be the morale boost you’ve been looking for. Because an experienced staff member is more likely to take their job seriously—their work effort might encourage those around them to kick it up a notch as well.
While the overqualified worker is not as prevalent in healthy economies, we unfortunately are coming across numerous candidates that are underemployed or taking survival jobs just to get by. So the next time an overqualified resume comes across your desk, don’t immediately move it to the rejected pile because you’re scared they’ll leave you, read it with the benefits above in mind—you never know who you might meet.
Author: Julie Shenkman