Should You Be Afraid of Overqualified Candidates?

Posted January 23, 2015

While the economy continues its slow but steady recovery, one artifact of the Great Recession is the number of highly qualified people who lost their previous jobs and still struggle for gainful employment. A narrative commonly heard from these former workers is being told they are too qualified for the positions for which they apply. On the other hand, some workers considered to be overqualified tend to be job hoppers instead of victims of the economy.

What if one of these highly qualified workers applies for a position with your organization? Should you be afraid of these overqualified candidates? Let’s find out.

Overqualified Employees put in the Extra Effort

You shouldn’t automatically assume that overqualified candidates won’t be a good choice for your company. A research study by Aleksandra Luksyte, Professor at the University of Western Australia, revealed that in many cases these overqualified candidates are ready for additional challenges. Luksyte’s study showed that these employees went the extra mile when given assignments that offered more responsibility.

“When overqualified people are placed into challenging jobs, they seem to be motivated to utilize all their under-realized potential into becoming excellent employees. Our results suggest that by placing overqualified employees in complex jobs, employers may be able to influence the most important work behaviors of their overqualified incumbents,” said Luksyte.

In short, hiring these kinds of candidates can offer your organization a competitive advantage.

Pay Attention to their Goals, as well as your Firm’s Long Term Needs

Some overqualified candidates are known for not staying with a company very long. If you need to quickly close a skills gap at your organization, these kinds of candidates might make a perfect fit. Be sure to engage them in spreading their knowledge to your current employees should they move on to another position.

The bottom line is to not assume that an overqualified candidate won’t be good for your organization. Analyze each situation and person individually before making a final decision.

If your company wants additional strategies for properly building a winning staff, talk to the experts at All Team Staffing. As one of the top staffing agencies in the country, we can help ensure your organization’s ultimate success. Schedule a meeting with us today!