Should you Hire an Overqualified Candidate?

Should you Hire an Overqualified Candidate?

Your candidate selection process is almost complete, and you’ve narrowed your final contenders down to a short list of three. Two of these candidates hold all of the credentials required for the job…and nothing more. You requested a bachelor’s degree, and both hold degrees from respected institutions. You requested four specific software proficiencies, and both hold all four. You need three years of experience, and both have been in the field for exactly three years.

But your remaining candidate has a very different story to tell. Instead of a bachelor’s degree, she holds a masters and a professional certification. Instead of basic software proficiency, she holds true expertise with the software platforms you depend on. Instead of three years of experience, she has seven. And unlike the other candidates, she’s spent two of those years in a management role. So she’s your obvious choice, right?

Maybe. Before you hire this candidate, ask a few questions to make sure these common problems won’t stand in your way (and in her way) if she’s hired.

1. Make sure your candidate is affordable.

Overqualified candidates can break your hiring budget, and even if you pay more than you can afford, you still may not be providing the compensation they need and deserve. If you manage to talk your great candidate down to an affordable salary, you haven’t necessarily scored a win; if she can’t adjust to this low figure over the long term, she’ll have to leave, which means you’ll have to start your expensive hiring process over from scratch. Just ask her for a salary range before you commit, and encourage her to be honest.

2. Make sure your candidate’s plans align with your own.

Overqualified candidates may become restless if they aren’t given room to grow and an opportunity to exercise their skills and talents. And if they become restless, they’ll leave. Again, encourage her to explain her one, three, and five year career plans in honest detail.

3. Make sure your candidate can accept the status quo.

Your candidate may not be used to taking instructions and direction from someone younger, less qualified, or less experienced than she is. And she may identify opportunities for improvement and solutions to organizational problems that you just aren’t ready to implement. Can she accept this? Find out how she feels about taking a back seat or a lower rung on the ladder than she may be used to.

For more on how to look past the “best” candidate in order to find the best match, contact the staffing and hiring experts at Accent.

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