Some recruiters avoid hiring the “over-qualified” employee in fear they will lose interest in the position they are given, demand high wages or leave the company soon after being hired. Usually these common recruitment fears don’t prove true.. In fact, A-players can make or break a company and talent acquisition and management are fast becoming the true harbingers of organizational change.
Many professionals advise recruiters to take the leap and hire those over-qualified candidates. There are four distinct reasons why it’s a great idea to hire overqualified candidates:
Contrary to popular belief, the Harvard Business Review notes that overqualified candidates are typically very highly motivated. Not only does this allow them to complete outstanding work, they’re also able to encourage other team members to perform at their full potential.
While doing anything out of your comfort zone can feel like a risk, hiring a new candidate out of your regular talent pool doesn’t have to be.
Here are the common myths [busted], training methods and additional tips on what to expect with your newly hired, highly-qualified candidate:
Spotting The Candidate
Hiring the overqualified could result in onboarding a “Mr. Know It All” onto the team. If this situation occurs after hiring this new candidate, consider the following:
- Think before you speak: sometimes working with a “Know it All” can be frustrating. Before speaking, think about what you’re going to say and say it with confidence and kindness.
- Gain a sense of understanding: Step aside with the employee and fully communicate what you’d like to be heard and completed. Maintain your managerial demeanor and be firm and polite.
- Don’t allow any abuse of other workers. While the overqualified might feel they took a position beneath them, do your best to focus on what they are bringing to the table and help them to see others’ contributions just as clearly.
- Offer solutions: When a problem presents itself with the new hire, define the issue and offer solutions instead of stepping away. For example: Other employees are becoming frustrated and feeling belittled. Explain to all workers involved that work needs to come first and to avoid air opinions that have little to do with the project at hand.
- During onboarding, focus on cultural norms and company specific information. In this way, you give the over qualified employee a great start to understanding the culture around them and the opportunity to avoid awkward work situations.
Placing The Overqualified
Not all overqualified employees are going to be “Know it All’s”. Whether they are or not, properly placing them in the appropriate position post hire is important to consider. The following are top tips in handling this process:
- Place them as trainers once they’ve gone through company onboarding: A higher level of knowledge can be used to enlighten other employees to processes outside of the company while also allowing the overqualified employee a chance to contribute almost immediately.
- Provide a variety of options: Some overqualified employees may have aimed for jobs below their skill level in attempt to slow down their workflow. Just because they were a manager at their last company, doesn’t mean they were good at it or even wanted to be in management. Shoot for quick, easily trackable assignments while you assess their strengths and goals.
- Empower: In the case the overqualified wants to excel in your corporation, allow them higher positions and stretch assignments that can fluctuate in responsibility. The fear of hiring overqualified employees is often that they will become bored, and what isn’t commonly considered is potentially burning the employee out by giving them too many responsibilities. Assigning flex duties will give them the authority they need while not being fully pressured into higher-up positions at all times.
- Train: So they are overqualified in one department, what about others? Many companies are facing a skills gap that can create frustrations in the upper echelons. Smart organizations are recognizing where transferable skills can be used to fill those gaps and training smart and capable workers from one place to another.
Common fears about hiring the overqualified can easily be busted by fully communicating with your candidates/new hires and applying their needs and goals accordingly. Once you gain an understanding of what the candidate wants from you, work through managing and training them properly; maintain a balance between keeping them on their toes without burning them out.
While it’s currently a candidate-driven market, there are still many overqualified workers looking for a place to land. Cultural acceptance has become even more important to the emerging generation and building a strong and talented workforce with qualified workers is nothing to turn your nose at.
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