Overqualified Is Still Qualified! It Doesn’t Have To Be Disqualified.

I have been putting my hat in the ring for positions that are of interest to me. My skill set meets and often exceeds the requirements, and there are opportunities for me to expand with the company in the long run. This is a good fit, for me.

You Are Overqualified

Too often, I am hearing that I am overqualified for these positions that attract me. It is frustrating. If I am offering you more than you asked for, I am offering you a deal! Not only can I meet the needs and serve your current requirements, but I can bring more to the game. Even if that more only adds impact to what I do in my lane, it is still icing on the cake.

Yes, I have experience. Yes, I have a more-than-ample skill set. Yes, I have interest in the position. Yes, I am willing to step into this role and get things done. So, what’s the problem with being overqualified?

Overqualified Preconceptions

Again and again, employers choose not to hire contenders considered overqualified because of personal opinions or prejudice. There is concern that the candidate will be bored, they won’t be motivated, or that they will be easily lured away. Overqualified might even be code for “old.” Regardless, this perspective works to a disadvantage all around.

Dismissing an applicant for being overqualified is an unfortunate recruitment decision — and it is an absurd way to evaluate talent. The overqualified candidate can do the job with tremendous experience. A candidate who is underqualified doesn’t fit the job criteria and would cost the company in time and training to onboard.

Whether underqualified, qualified, or overqualified, many employees would leave for a better offer. A better offer is a changing dynamic for everyone at various times in their life, not a factor to contemplate in the hiring process.

More important is to consider what the interviewee brings to the position. Consider how well they will get along with the team — important for anyone at any level of talent.

Seek A Fit That Works

Consider all indicators for success. Who the person is and how they will interact with the team is as important as the excess ability they bring to the game. Take into account the intangibles. Does the overqualified candidate exhibit more excitement for your role than other candidates? Since they are bringing an abundance to the table, they are interested in working for you because of passion. Notice if you sense real excitement about the job. Especially if they are the kind of person you would like to have on your team. Employee motivation, enthusiasm, and cultural fit are as important to factor as experience.

Future goals may also make this position more suited to the overqualified applicant. Ask what success looks like to them. Assess how your company offers them a good path to them for achieving their goals. A superior candidate can also be an A-player on your team when their goals align with what the position provides in experience, compensation, lifestyle, and growth opportunities.

Wondering if you can offer a strong enough compensation package? Take a look at all the ways you can bridge the gap between an overqualified experience level and a role that demands less. Salary is only one factor. For some companies, a title can be revised to reflect talent while keeping the role and wages intact. Extra vacation time is a perk that can make a difference. Having an environment that is supportive and friendly is also a benefit.

Still on the fence? Consider offering a consulting or temporary engagement to your candidate. This trial period will let you know for sure that you have the right person for the job.

The Uniform Guidelines of the Employment Selection Process (UGESP ) clearly defines what is considered qualified for a role. Overqualified doesn’t play into it. One who is overqualified in experience is a person who can more than fill the role, meet the needs of the company, and has a greater set of skills than required. Set criteria for competency and role requirements. Seek your ideal player who can do the job and is a good addition to the team.

As David Ogilvy once said: “If each of us hires people who are smaller than we are, we shall become a company of dwarfs. But if each of us hires people who are bigger than we are, we shall become a company of giants.” Surround yourself with people more talented than you (or talented in different ways than you). Build a team with experience and management skills to lead by example and into growth.

Overqualified candidates bring the necessary skill set and a lot more into play. Take advantage of the gift. Grow from the experience they bring to getting the job done!