Should I Hire an Over-Qualified Worker?

Due to our continuing economic situation, there continues to be more over-qualified people seeking employment than ever before. I also believe we’re seeing the result of a shift in priorities from the “live to work” approach of the past to the “work to live” philosophy that’s more about work/life balance.

Regardless, there are still many people seeking positions for which they are over-qualifed. Should you hire them?

That depends. Don’t automatically put their resume on the reject pile. Take the time to interview them. Perhaps they are very interested in your particular company. Perhaps they are interested in a different industry. Perhaps they’re moving to a new location. Perhaps they want more balance between their work and their life.

The pros of hiring an over-qualified person can be quite beneficial. They could require much less training. They could be more productive. They could serve as a mentor to less-experienced staff. They could help you grow your company by introducing new ideas and new approaches.

But there are cons as well. The biggest concern of course is, “are they using me as a place-holder?” Maybe. But you can’t find that out if you don’t bother to talk to them.

Try to think past the actual position you’re trying to fill. Are there areas of growth, promotion, or more responsibility that could be offered? Perhaps things you hadn’t considered could be put on the table. Think about the future of your company and how this candidate could fit into that future.

Don’t try to buy them cheap. Pay them what they’re worth. If you can’t afford them, then don’t offer them the position.

Could you “try them on before you buy”? It’s too bad there’s not some business model out there whereby you could temporarily hire a worker for say…six months or a specific project…and see if you like them and they like you. I wonder…

But again, do they seem passionate about your company? You have to interview them to find out. Try the direct approach, “I see you might be over-qualified for this particular position. Might I ask why you’re interested?”

How do they respond? If they hem and haw, or don’t seem excited, then you have your answer. But if they share their goals and thinking with you, it might result in a valuable and long-term partnership.

Take a chance!

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