Why the “Overqualified” Candidate May be Your Best Candidate


If you are an employer and, in the course of your recruiting, you come across applicants who seem to have more education and experience than are required for the job, don’t reject them out of hand.  As a matter of fact, give them serious consideration.

As much as this seems to intuitively go against the grain, new research is revealing that workers considered to be overqualified usually outperform other workers – and they don’t leave any earlier than any other workers.

The bias of hiring managers against employees who 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.  A recent study of more than 150 call-center workers showed just that – there was a strong connection between workers who were overqualified and dissatisfaction at work.

And rejecting someone because he or she is 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.

But even before the recession hit, having too many overqualified workers was a problem around the world, especially in emerging countries where education levels are rising and the job market cannot keep pace.

However, 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.

If you have a need for qualified and reliable workers for your Washington Metro company, contact RealStreet Staffing. We can source and vet hard-working individuals for your temporary, temp-to-hire and direct-hire assignments. We look forward to hearing from you.

RealStreet saved us more than once with temporary help on some of our most demanding construction projects, particularly when we needed experienced, responsible and professional individuals on such short notice. We were particularly grateful for the Quality Control Manager (QCM) you were able to provide while our full-time QCM was on short-term disability, at the Read More…

Michael S. Shevitz, LEED Green Associate, Vice President

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