In our world of Executive Search, the word ‘overqualified’ gets thrown around a lot.   The common and recognised opinion seems to be that hiring a worker with ‘too much’ experience will not be beneficial to the company.   Many people believe that the more experienced employees are the ones who become miserable in their jobs and more likely to quit.   Although this is significant, it seems that this opinion could be wrong.


With the ever evolving career market, more and more companies are learning to embrace those candidates who may, at first glance, appear overqualified for a role.   A recent study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology found that ‘overqualified’ employees in IT companies outperformed their colleagues in performance, enthusiasm and loyalty.


Here are our 5 reasons to reconsider an ‘overqualified’ candidate…


  1. Only overqualified on paper

Ambition is a desired attribute in any employee however it’s not unheard of for someone to be promoted above their capabilities.   Anyone can find themselves in a job that makes them feel a bit ‘out of their depth’ and therefore would not be opposed to moving into a position that puts them back into their comfort zone.   This is no reflection on their drive to succeed and progress.


  1. Achievable career development

Feeling comfortable in your job is a luxury and having extra experience when starting a job means you have that luxury from the very first day.   A new employee is more likely to become capable and responsible in their role from earlier on because they are much quicker at getting up to speed with company culture and feel less pressure in the beginning.   If your company can offer genuine career development then the overqualified candidate will be able to grow into a more senior role with real success under their belt.


  1. Contagious enthusiasm

When two or more overqualified employees are teamed up together, they generally become the most engaged and dynamic employees, according to Fortune Magazine.   Their enthusiasm has an effect on the entire team which creates a more productive synergy and optimism in the work environment.


  1. Extra responsibilities

An employee who is experienced enough to cope with their responsibilities is able to spread themselves further and get involved with other parts of the company.   This could be a variety of things such as joining committees and helping to improve the corporate productivity.   This will not only benefit the company, but also help the employee to feel valued and used to their full potential.   Making a difference to the company for the long term is very satisfying.


  1. Changes with time

No matter what sector or market you work in, it’s inevitable that there will be vast changes over time that you and your company will have to adapt to.   It could be that your overqualified employee becomes one of your greatest assets and their knowledge could be very valuable.   Hiring any employee comes with a level of risk, but that risk is minimised when you hire the candidate with the more extensive background.


Don’t just judge a candidate based on their resume, their attitude and approach is equally important.   Rather than dismissing candidates for their experience, celebrate it and encourage other team members to collaborate with them because it’s likely they will have a positive influence on everyone around them and bring additional awareness and knowledge to the role.