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Readers Respond: Reasons To Hire Or Not Hire Overqualified Workers

Responses: 17


The hiring decision is very personal for both the manager and the candidate. In the referenced article I lay out my conditions for when it makes sense to hire overqualified workers and when it doesn't. Whether you are the manager or the candidate, tell us below your top reason a manager should hire or not hire an overqualified worker.

Think Twice!

Sure overqualified people to do a task is a bonus for the company, but let's be realistic how long before that person sees that he/she is overqualified for the job? As soon as they are settled in the job they will forget all about past hardships of not working. Then they decide that they entitled to something better and these are the ones that become disgruntled employees under the false impression that you owe them a better position or better pay, while doing the same job as their less qualified but more productive collegues. Personally I will think twice before hiring and overqualified person
—Guest Conrad

Burn Out

I have been overqualified in my last three jobs. I master the job quickly and then become bored, irritable, and negative. Then I lose interest and my production levels suffer immensely. Just have to tough take what I can get and ride it out until I find the right job.
—Guest Jake the Flake

Overqualified But Qualified

Some companies are reluctant in hiring overqualified people to handle jobs. Many companies just didn't realize that these overqualified people have the knack in accomplishing more tasks. There is NO harm in hiring overqualified people. Remember, we seldom see a real match for the job. The important thing is these people though OVERqualified but QUALIFIED and its worth taking the risk. Make use of their potentials to attain organizational goals. Its a matter of character and attitude. It's the better thing to do than considering underQUALIFIED or those not qualified at all.
—Guest Ramelo D. Morales


It has been my experience HR should not be doing any pre screening, some of the best hires I made has come from HR trash can. Most have no idea what the job they are screening for requires nor do they have the knowledge of what transferable skills will apply. I can also judge by my own recent experience of trying to get an interview. I just concluded a 7 month process of a battery of testing, at the end of many tests I was blessed with what passed in their minds as a interview. It amounted to 3 people asking 3 dozen what if questions they wanted answered in a form of a story. One that sticks out for me was tell us when you had to learn something new. Well my god in manufacturing you learn something new every day. Let me tell you what this job was for. A maintenance position that I was qualified for some 20 years ago before receiving a degree in mechanical engineering spending close to 15 years performing maintenance duties, manufacturing engineering duties. Over qualified I should say.

Dwarfs or Giants

a colleague of mine always looks to hire better qualified or smarter people than him and suggests they in turn do they same; that way the company is more likely to be staffed by giants, not dwarfs. The giants are always better in a crisis he says. I agree, but add the caveat that giants need room to grow and in modern non hierarchical enterprises, this needs to be adressed.
—Guest Dave

Maintaining Lifestyles

I have been both the candidate and the hiring manager in this scenario. One possible pitfall to be aware of and experience has proven, if you choose to hire an overqualified candidate who accepts a compensation package less than what they are used to in previous positions, you should plan to resume your job search in 9 – 12 months to replace this candidate. Hiring a candidate who expects to maintain a certain lifestyle, but cannot maintain this lifestyle in this new position will find another employer that will support their lifestyle. Just an item to consider.
—Guest Jay

Hiring the Overqualified

It's my practice to hire candidates that are better qualified than required for the position as well as better skilled than I am in at least one area of responsibility. This process is repeated each time a position comes available. This allows staff to learn from one another and improves the overall company performance and knowledge base.
—Guest Barry

The "Over Qualified" code.

From personal experience, when you're told you didn't get the job because your "over qualified" it's code for your too old.
—Guest Hans

OVERQUALIFIED for Ofc Mgr position

I applied for a job as an office manager. I have held program manager positions and have a couple degrees in business. The person who interviewed was very impressed by my repertoire. Finally, I received a letter two weeks later stating the position had been filled. I called the director and asked for a couple suggestions about how I could improve my Resume or she would be willing to give me some feedback on my interviewing skills. When I called I placed her on the spot. She had no reason. She did say that she really wanted someone who could use QuickBooks software. This was the only criteria I did not meet. I've worked with accountants for several years for goodness sake! What is more important to hire someone who knows ACCOUNTING or some who knows Quickbooks? I could have learned that software and mastered in in a week or two. During the interview I mentioned two accounting softwares that I was familiar with that are much more complex than QuickBooks!
—Guest Therese


Thanks: This was already posted yesterday. I found typos and one that really should be changed. Also, can you use only my first name Sylvia without last names.Thanks! As a candiate I seldom get a job offer due to multiple business degrees. Even when I list one degree, my experience alone still makes me look over-qualified. Recently, I have applied for jobs where my immediate supervisor did not want to hore hire someone with more education than themself. Perhaps they feel threatened and don't want someone under them to suggest changes, improvements, etc. Managers need to think outside the box. I recently applied for a job as Salesperson for a nursing home. I have ten years experience working the the elderly, I am certified to be a caregiver as well. My training and knowledge as a caregiver would have been a huge asset when trying to fill the rooms in nursing homes. I could have used this training in my (space) selling techniques because I know first hand what someone's loved one ne
—Guest Sylvia

Hire more overqualified staff

They are produce better results, lead rather than follow and are easier to manage as they grasp the outcomes that are needed. quote Gen. Patton never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity." overqualified staff have more ingenuity.
—Guest Jon

Human Resources:solution or problem?

More and more, hiring is done by human resources rather than by managers that actually have done the work and know the job requirements. To make matters worse, it's easier for HR to hire "safe" people rather than talented, capable, enthusiastic ones. Bottom line: business loses, mediocrity reigns supreme. It's survival of the fittest in reverse. And we wonder why American business is losing it's edge?
—Guest Ray

Surround Yourself with the Best

Your article is particularly timely and important, both for managers and employees. And, while more apparent in this type of market, it actually applies across all economic cycles. Managers should always be looking for and hiring "over-qualified" employees. Best of breed always want the best and the brightest surrounding them. It helps create immediate success for their areas, raises the bar on other employees’ performance and affords greater probability of promotion in the future. After all, if you’re a manager and your area is consistently exceeding its goals, all you’ll look is good. Managers need to actively and proactively work with their HR Departments. HR Departments often are the unwitting blocks to corporate innovation and success. Doing their job, as they see it, means dotting i’s and crossing t’s, but usually no more. They are fitting a person into a description rather than ensuring that the talent the company needs is available in as many ways as possible.
—Guest Leslie L. Kossoff

General Manager

My overqualified Managers work harder to see profit increase and give reason for a raise. and take pride in the company. We have improved customer satisfaction. Which is the key to our bussness. I agree with you completely. Thanks Don GM Campus RV Park
—Guest Don Winship

Overqualified Applicants are the Best

Except for teaching, in every job I have ever had, when I left it took two people to replace me, so I saved the employer an entire extra salary benefits. During the Vietnam war, my sister and I applied for a job at an ammunitions plant. I was overqualified: I had two years of college. My drug-addicted, high school dropout with an illegitimate child was offered a job, but she couldn't accept it because she couldn't get there without me and my car. That was one of the silliest decisions I have ever seen. Sure I would have quit when the war was over and my husband came home. But, uh, after that not so much ammo would have been needed. If we are personnel directors, we don't think of things like that.
—Guest annewing2@aol.com

HR is the Biggest Obstacle

Too frequently the manager who will have the responsibility for supervising the potential employee and insuring the work gets done is relegated to a role in the hiring process. In more than 30 years as a supervior I have found that ATTITUDE is the most important characteristic in a good hire. BS, MS,& Phd are way overrated but to often the foremost criteria used by HR or higher management to select new staff.
—Guest Mid Level Supervisor

Hiring the "Overqualified"

When the bills are due and there is no money, there is no such thing as being overqualified.
—Guest Jody

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