Is Hiring an Overqualified Candidate Good For Your Company?

Recruiting is a goldilocks endeavor. You can’t hire someone who doesn’t have enough qualifications. They won’t provide the skills you need. But, often, you can’t submit a job offer to someone who’s overqualified either.

But wait…what’s wrong with someone who has more skills than you need? It’s common wisdom that you should show caution in hiring overqualified candidates. Is that skepticism justified?

It depends on the situation. Here, we’ll detail some of the pros and cons of hiring an overqualified candidate.

Benefits of Hiring an Overqualified Candidate

The term “overqualified” means that your candidate will have more skills than they need for the position at hand. On the surface, that’s just what you’re looking for.

Yes, that can come with challenges. We’ll get into some of those in a bit. But, on a very basic level, you have the best available talent joining your organization. The benefits of that speak for themselves.

That said, there are a few other less obvious advantages:

Faster Training

Most candidates come in facing a learning curve. They don’t have significant experience, so you have to teach them…well, everything. It can significantly delay the point where they can work profitably on their own.

An overqualified candidate often can skip some of the training steps. They have a richer background, meaning they can accelerate through many of the basic lessons.

High Growth Potential

You can often fast-track overqualified hires. Yes, they might have more skills than necessary for an entry-level role. But you don’t have to keep them in that position. Keep an eye on their performance and think about other ways you can use their best qualities.

Increased Leadership/Mentorship Possibilities

An overqualified candidate can lift your entire team. Your other workers can learn from their deep experience. At the same time, they often slot easily into leadership assignments. (However, you have to look out for jealousy issues.)

Drawbacks of an Overqualified Candidate

Those benefits seem great. Given those advantages, shouldn’t you exclusively look for “overqualified” candidates? Don’t you want the most experienced, most skilled candidate available for every position?

Not always. There are downsides to hiring a candidate who significantly exceeds the requirements for a particular position. Here are a few things to look out for:

Hidden Weaknesses

Why is such a qualified person available? Why are they willing to take this position? The answers might be simple, such as rejoining the workforce after a career break or wanting to live near their family.

But there might be other issues as well. They might have personality issues or other less-obvious weaknesses. Well-crafted interview questions and conversations with references can often shine more light on these situations.

Tension within Your Team

A highly qualified team member can boost your current staff. However, an aggressive know-it-all can undermine team spirit and create tensions. It’s important to consider team dynamics as you integrate an overqualified candidate.

Turnover Risk

An overqualified candidate may take an entry-level role to secure a paycheck. However, they won’t necessarily stop looking for a better position. You might be hiring them just to see them walk away in the near future.

Failure to Adjust to the Current Role

Even if your candidate doesn’t head for the exit, they might not be satisfied in their new job. This might express itself through lackluster effort or constant positioning for advancement. You can usually manage these risks, but you should keep an eye out as your new hire gets started.

Finding that goldilocks candidate can prove difficult. It helps to have a strong support system. A top recruiter, like SmartTalent, will bring you the perfect candidates each time.

Contact SmartTalent today to learn more.


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