News And Advice

Insights, tips and news for job seekers and employers.

Overqualified Employees – Flight Risk or “Best of the Best”?

HR recruiters have long been wary of the overqualified job candidate—that is, a person with more experience and education than the position requires.  There are plenty of war stories about the great candidate a company took the risk of hiring and who, barely weeks or months later, took off when a better opportunity came along.  In these cases, the recruiter chose to overlook the obvious conclusion that a desperate job seeker will apply anywhere for any job he can find, and paid the price. 

There are more reasons to be suspicious of a candidate who clearly has more experience or education than the position calls for.  Such a person is likely to want more money, for one thing, and if she doesn’t get it, it’s logical to assume she’ll be unhappy from the outset.  That’s enough to put anyone on their guard.

The same goes for motivation.  If you hire a seasoned IT professional to install basic software in everyone’s laptop, don’t be surprised when he grows bored with the position and starts looking elsewhere.  These things happen.

On the other hand, many of the old reasons to avoid overqualified candidates are falling away as the economy sputters along and jobs continue to be hard to find.  There are untold numbers of qualified, experienced individuals who realize they may never find their “dream job”.  If this person applies for a position at your company, consider these reasons for choosing to hire the “best of the best”:

A bargain at the price.  These days, job seekers are willing to entertain a much wider range of possibilities than they might have a year or even six months ago.  Employing an overqualified candidate at the salary range you’re offering can turn out to be a real deal.

Inspiring the team.  A skilled, experienced candidate with the right attitude can quickly make her mark at the company, and inspire others to work harder and do the same.  This candidate’s experience may well prove valuable in a difficult situation, or when a challenge arises that your less experienced employees don’t know how to handle.  And—contrary to conventional wisdom—overqualified employees do not always insist on “doing things their own way”.  Instead, they may well have outstanding suggestions that make achieving a corporate objective that much easier.

Making everyone look good.  Good results reflect well on everyone.  The right overqualified worker is stable, dependable and willing to help out.  This attitude is infectious and can spur others to “reach for greatness” as well.  It’s win-win all the way around!

A learning environment.  The experienced candidate brings a new range of skills and talents to the job, as well as a willingness to learn new things.  In today’s workplace, he will likely follow accepted procedures but may also have ideas for how to improve the process.  The next thing you know, your long-term employees are picking up fresh ideas and insights from “the new guy”.  Suddenly, there’s a new excitement in the air.

The best of the best are highly self-motivated and determined to succeed.  They frequently take less time to train and develop than their less experienced counterparts.  Bottom line—isn’t it better to hire someone with more skills and experience than someone who may not be qualified at all?
High Profile Staffing recognizes the value of experience and attitude for any position.  To learn more about how we can help you find the right person for your position, check us out at