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Readers Respond: Reasons To Hire Or Not Hire Overqualified Workers

Responses: 24


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.

I want the best!

I supervise a large group of entry to mid-entry level employees for my company. I love overqualified candidates. If I bring them into the company I know there is a very good chance for growth, which makes me look great. They also tend to bring a lot of energy and fresh ideas which help me improve my operation. Either way I win. The key is to be a great mentor for these candidates. Give them challenges and projects that help them keep those normally unused qualifications fresh. You can't pretend that their talents and abilities aren't there nor should you. Acknowledge the extras they bring to your organization, find ways to keep them engaged and reap the rewards.
—Guest Hiring Supervisor

Not a great idea

My company just hired someone who was overqualified for her position. Yes, she really knows her stuff, but she also has this flip, cavalier, know-it-all attitude that is annoying to the rest of us. I think if we had it to do over again, I'd recommend hiring someone with less experience who was a little more humble. Since we're "giving them a chance", they might spend more time working and less time complaining about how "unprofessional" we are when she drops her ball.
—Guest Nerodia

Great Input

I like a lot of what I am reading here. It's comforting and positive. I have recently left a career because I had more ethics and better organizational skills than the management in my last job and most jobs I had in that career. It seems that there is a general incompetence that comes when companies are hiring employees. A square peg fits a square hole, but some of us are skilled enough where we can be different shaped pegs. Maybe that threatens the management. I am probably overqualified now with my degrees and such, bot not really, because I understand that for long-term success you agree to a lower wage, less challenging work, because you know you can work your way up. It comes with being confident and knowing your strengths and having the experience to really help a company improve.
—Guest Are You Serious!?


I think people are cofensud about the role of a resume. It is not your personal biography. It is a sales tool. A brochure to arouse the interest of your sales prospect: the employer. Employers are looking to put a square peg in a square hole. If you want to buy an SUV and the auto sales person shows you a sports car instead, you'd think he was inept, right? So if you're looking to take a job that only requires a high school diploma, you're going to have to take your bachelor's degree off your resume. Yes, yes, I know it took you 6 years and $60,000 to earn it. Get over it. It's making you UN-employable in an economy where 80% of the jobs we create are in minimum wage retail, hospitality and restaurants. Here's a tip: read the job description thoroughly and customize your resume to parrot back the key words in their job description exactly. Contrary to popular myth, most employers are not looking for ambitious people. They're just looking for a square peg.
—Guest WgLVzocvNOxn

Scared Management

Being overqualified simply means being educated. Managers in charge of hiring don't like the idea of adding competition into the company because it threatens their own job. Coming up with excuses that the candidate will become bored or a disgruntled employee only displays this insecurity. Overqualified employees are going to excel in their jobs, and start pushing into higher positions, positions with upper management or supervision--and they will most likely get them. Business owners should do their own hiring whenever possible, or they will miss out on a quality workforce. Is it not the intention for a good company to grow? Is it not a blessing to have an employee who can push it up? If a company is stagnant to where any employee gets bored, it's time for a new lineup anyway.
—Guest AtomicUs5000


Anyone who is in business wants their business to succeed, and in order for it to succeed your staff must be successful. So hire those who not only can do what you expect but that in which your wildest dreams can aspire and watch your business soar. Afterall, you may run it, make the decisions, but they are doing the work.
—Guest princessgirlygirl@aol.com

Caught in Limbo

It is understandable why choosing whether or not to hire over-qualified is a hot topic. Some feel that hiring an overqualified person will leave them seeking anothe candidate to fill the position in 6-12 months. Using this as a reason to not hire an over qualified person is a disservice to the company. It is a lazy decision. The paradox of hiring overqualified person is that the simply "qualified" individuals are forced in to jobs they may be over-qualified for for the simple reason of trying to make ends meet. The idea that over-qualified individuals get restless and develop an attitude of entitlement seems begrudging. It is natural for anyone, whether they are at the bottom of the pay scale or the top to seek some kind of incentive or validation when they are doing their best at a job and constantly improving. My own personal experience can be described as constantly being stuck in a state of limbo. Current financial and economic problems within the local, public and private sector
—Guest Connie

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

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