My colleague Ardith of Ardith Rademacher & Associates sent me a really great article this morning that she said I could share with you! If you are in an interview and the position is attractive to you but your skills are more robust than what is required – these are VERY valuable tips for you to know so you can help your interviewers make good, balanced decisions.  🙂

Making a Case for the Overqualified

The overqualified pool is filled with variety of individuals.  The large majority consist of those who have been laid-off.  These candidate may or may not be older, but nonetheless wiser and more experienced than their competition.  There is also a large percentage of people who are reentering the workforce.  This group consists of well-educated folks who have taken time off to raise families, care for ill family members or needed a leave of absence for their own personal reasons.  The smallest percentage of this group are people who are simply looking for a change.  This could be a change of scenery, industry, work/life balance, etc.

There are pros and cons to weigh when considering an overqualified candidate.

Let’s start with the cons:

  • They may be harder to train – Training in terms of software used or company basics will be the same as any new employee.  However, bad habits and attitudes picked up at previous positions are hard to break.
  • They may be intimidating to management – This can create uncomfortable management scenarios that will need to be addressed early and often.
  • They may get really bored, really fast – Hiring and on boarding a new team member is expensive.  It is even more expensive when that new hire either finds their dream job or gets really bored three to six months later.

With cons like that, why even consider an over-qualified candidate?  Here are some pros to consider:

  • They tend to be eager to put their skills to work – Whether it is relief that the job search is over or excitement for a position that offers better work/life balance, overqualified candidates tend to hit the ground running.
  • They bring years of wisdom to the team – With all that experience, they can share best practices from previous positions that may benefit their new team.  They can also become great mentors to their colleagues.
  • They can become a long-term contributor – Overqualified candidates are great for stubborn vacancies.  As both the company and employee get a feel for each other, this team member can take on a greater role or progress to higher levels as positions open.  This is the ultimate win-win.  The candidate has secured a position and the company has time to determine how they fit into their business.

As with all candidates, it is important to determine if they are a good fit during the interview process.  Asking an overqualified candidate about their goals and why they applied for the position will be a large key in deciding if there are more pros than cons.