Having to consider an overqualified applicant may not seem like much of a problem for employers; however, when you hire someone who is overqualified, you risk hiring someone who doesn’t feel challenged and becomes disengaged, possibly leaving as soon as a better offer comes along.

Therefore, considering overqualified applicants is a tricky thing to do. The following factors should be mulled over when assessing these types of candidates.

Applicant motivation

If you think a particular candidate is overqualified, there’s a good chance that person also knows it and it’s important to find out why they applied in the first place. Use an initial phone interview to find out what’s driving an applicant to seek this job. There may be a perfectly good reason, like wanting to get back on their career path after taking a break to raise a family.

Obviously, applicants who want jobs for short-term financial gain are most likely to leave when a better opportunity appears.

Risk of negative culture effects

As a company leader, you may be excited by the possibility of hiring an overqualified worker. The idea is you get more experience and expertise for less salary. However, you ought to think about the downstream influence of making that hire, like creating inequities within a team or department. Other staff members may see this hire as decreasing their opportunities for growth, possibly causing them to leave for greener pastures.

Possibility for growth

Hiring managers might hesitate to hire overqualified applicants for fear of not offering adequate pay or growth opportunities. If the individual can rapidly grow in your company, take on bigger responsibilities and grow their pay accordingly, you should seriously think about hiring the overqualified candidate.

Cultural fit

For some organizations, overqualified means a track record of well-paying jobs. However, past salary is not the best benchmark of whether or not someone is overqualified. This is especially true in industries that have gone through substantial contraction, where job seekers can no longer command top dollar as they once did.

Rather than looking at employment history, consider cultural fit and motivation. An overqualified applicant may suddenly seem less risky once these factors are considered.

Dedication to onboarding

While an underqualified candidate being hired is a bit of a “reach” on their end, hiring an overqualified candidate is a reach on the company’s end. Both situations require significant onboarding in order to succeed.

A good onboarding process starts before a candidate is even hired, and overqualified applicants should know as soon as possible what the job entails. This candidate should also be made aware of growth potential within the company.

It’s also important to consider the experience and skill set of the supervisor and training staff. Hiring an overqualified candidate who is more skilled than the supervisor and training staff is a recipe for disaster.

At Action Group Staffing, we help our clients find the best-fit talent for their open positions. If you’re currently looking for staffing assistance, please contact us today.

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