The Overqualified Job Candidate

It is a fairly common lament among job seekers – they were not considered for a job because the employer felt they were overqualified. They had too much experience and education.

Employers distrust these candidates because they believe the person will not stay in the position very long, or won’t be challenged enough by the job to give it the full effort needed. But employers need to rethink their views about overqualified people, because research is showing that what they believe just isn’t true.

New research is revealing that workers considered to be overqualified usually outperform other workers – and they don’t leave any earlier than other workers. 

The bias of hiring managers against employees that are considered to be overqualified is common throughout the business world.  Businesses usually look for candidates who match the job requirements as closely as possible, as opposed to someone who has more education or experience than is required.  At first glance, this seems to be a good policy, because studies have shown that employees who believe themselves to be overqualified tend to be more dissatisfied at work.  

And rejecting someone because they are considered to be overqualified conforms to all legal guidelines, unlike other discrimination cases based on age or gender.  Moreover, the refusal to consider people thought to be overqualified has cast them into the pool of those who have been unemployed for more than year, labeled as the long-term unemployed, a group that now makes up about half of all those who are out of work. 

By not looking at these workers, businesses are passing up a tremendous opportunity.  One study  looked at people with above average intelligence who washed cars and collected garbage.  Not only did these people perform better than others on the job, they generally stayed on the job longer than other employees.  Money was not the key consideration.  For some, it was the lifestyle that the job offered, such as the working hours, or the values of the company. 

The studies also showed that companies can lessen the feelings of job dissatisfaction of so-called overqualified employees by giving them more decision-making authority on the job.  By empowering them like this, it makes them more engaged and happier in their jobs.

When your company needs temporary, temporary-to-hire or direct-hire workers in the Anchorage area, send a message to the Opti Staffing Group. We would love to discuss how we can help your company with its contingent staffing needs.

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