The Good and the Bad About Hiring an Overqualified Candidate
Over the years of reading countless LinkedIn posts, which normally make no sense, there are always a few that group together and stand out.
The group usually starts with a recruiter complaining that they gave a Hiring Manager the resume of someone that was “fully” but really an overqualified candidate for the job, and they can’t even begin to comprehend why the Hiring Manger said “NO!”
A common sense approach may tell you that someone having MORE experience than what was even needed would be a good thing, right?
Does having more experience than needed really matter?
In a perfect world and under certain circumstances, this may be true. For example, if I was looking for someone to cut my hair (and not me specifically, because I am bald, but this seems like a good example), my criteria is that someone who had been cutting hair professionally for two years (an overqualified candidate) would do this job for $20.
But, what if I found someone that had been cutting hair professionally for 15 years and would still do it for $20? Sounds perfect, right? I get more bang for my buck and a more experienced person for the same price!
A few questions still remain in this scenario, however.
- This over-qualified person could probably charge $25 based on experience. Are they only doing it this one time for $20 because they happen to have availability at the moment?
- Is this a sustainable price for this service down the road?
- Or, will they want more money because they can get a higher price elsewhere based on experience?
Here’s where the real problem sets in: This scenario could very well be a great “band-aid” for your temporary problem, but maybe not the best long term choice. I’m not saying these reasons will not also be applicable to a haircut, but I am thinking of this more in a corporate setting.
Here are a few reasons why an overqualified candidate may not always be the best option:
Level of job ownership
Generally, as you gain experience and move up the corporate ladder, you are also required to take more ownership over responsibilities.
If the role you need filled requires a “mid-level” project manager, it could be because this person will not have full ownership over that particular project which would be suitable for a person with only “mid-level” experience.
Within any project, there are multiple verticals that require someone to oversee. A very senior Project Manager is probably used to have full ownership over the entire scope of the project, including project assessment, estimations, solution planning, and execution. But if this role is only responsible for the estimation portion of the project, that senior candidate will quickly feel underutilised and not challenged in the role.
Sure, you may be able to make the compensation work for the moment, but what is the long term effect? After the honeymoon phase of a new role wears off, not having a challenging project or the level of difficulty the managet expects, only headaches can develop.
Moving up the Ladder
This article first appeared on Recruiting Daily on the 4th of January, 2018
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