Would you hire an overqualified candidate?
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Q. Hi, I was at a job fair recently where I had the opportunity to meet some really good, but overqualified candidates. I am considering approaching one of them for an interview, but before that I would like to know your opinion on hiring overqualified candidates? — Jola C., Department Manager
A. Hi Jola, with the abundance of talent in the current job market it is a great opportunity for employers to go about picking the best candidates out there. Results from the Bayt.com Job Index Survey, August 2013, indicate that 31% of the region’s companies will be ‘definitely hiring’, and 37% will be ‘probably hiring’ during the first half of 2014. Job fairs are indeed great opportunities for managers to scout for the talent available in the job market.
It does appear that your interaction with the candidate was fruitful, but you share some reservations that are traditionally held by most managers regarding hiring overqualified candidate.
There are certain myths surrounding hiring overqualified candidates and due to these biases most recruiters are missing out on hiring great talent. Below, the HR experts at Bayt.com dispel some of these myths:
Myth #1: Overqualified candidates are less motivated on the job
Most HR professionals believe that an overqualified candidate will find the job less interesting and will thus get bored easily – this will lead to low motivation and ultimately resignation. However the fact that employees leave because they are less motivated may be more of a perception than reality. 26.6% of polled professionals in the Bayt.com ‘Employee Retention in the MENA Workplace’ poll, February 2013, agree that the most important factor affecting employee retention is competitive salary and benefits package, followed by performance recognition and good employee-manager relations (17.7% and 17.6%, respectively). Additionally, results from the same poll show that 45.2% of professionals left their last job because of less pay.
Myth #2: Overqualified candidates are likely to stay for a short period of time and will leave when they find a job that pays better
In a crowded job market with greater job seekers competing for fewer jobs, you may be tempted to hire an overqualified candidate for less pay. However, keep in mind that you would not want to be exploitative and would want to give a remuneration that equates the value which the candidate is willing to add to the job. Make the job requirements and the salary terms clear to the candidate. Also, let them know about their career growth prospects in the company and, if possible, include this in clear terms in their offer letter. The clearer you are, the better you can set their expectation and the less likely they will be dissatisfied in the future. Read about how to convince a great candidate to join for less pay.
Myth #3: An over-experienced candidate will be less interested in the job
Most time managers may judge a candidate as over-qualified or over-experienced based on a quick screening of the CV. However, it’s important to get to know the candidates credentials a little better before passing them over. For example, a candidate may hold a dual-degree in literature and art which may be overqualified and unrelated, or have a decade of experience in an industry different from your company. In this case, try to understand why he or she is interested in the position you are offering. They may be interested in achieving better work-life balance or an industry change through your job. Also, these candidates are likely to bring on board their unique job experience, skills, and industry perspective which you can benefit from.
Myth #4: Overqualified candidates are difficult to supervise In many situations, the reluctance to hire overqualified candidates may be born out of the manager’s insecurities. This is especially the case if the candidate has more experience or is more educated than the supervisor. The manager may be concerned that the new hire may be better at the job than them and thus jeopardize their own position. In this case, it is best for the manager to recognize this fact and understand that achieving the goals of the organization is above anything else.
All-in-all, when it comes to hiring overqualified candidates hiring managers should see beyond the conventional wisdom of hiring just for the job at hand; they need to also have the organization’s future hiring needs in mind, as these will be the needs that veteran candidates will be uniquely qualified to fulfill.
Do you have any experiences to share about hiring overqualified candidates in your organization? What challenges did you have to deal with? Let us know in the comments section below.