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‘Overqualified’ applicants: 3 hiring myths to overcome

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resumeErroneous assumptions about overqualified candidates may cause you to miss out on a great employee and lead to a discrimination claim, so it is important that you change your mindset.

Maribeth Kuzmeski, author and founder of Red Zone Marketing, LLC, a strategic marketing and business growth consultancy, advises hiring managers to “take the time to connect with these candidates. Invite them in and learn what motivates them.”

Here are three myths concerning "overqualified" job candidates:

Myth #1: They are desperate for work

Says Kuzmeski: “Most candidates are not applying for jobs they seem more than qualified for because they are desperate for work.” Some want a career change, some want to work fewer hours, and others want less responsibility and less stress.

Express your concerns about them wanting a job for which they are obviously overqualified and ask why they want the job. “You’ll be able to tell when she is explaining her reasoning and her motivations whether or not she truly has a passion for the job in question or whether she is simply willing to take the first job that is offered to her,” says Kuzmeski.

Additional questions to gauge their commitment to the position: How does this job fit into your career path? Where do you see yourself in five years? Remember, absent a contract, no new hire is guaranteed to stay long-term.

Myth #2: Their salary requirement is too high

Don’t make assumptions. Simply offer the job at the normal starting salary for the position.

Most applicants are well aware that the more entry level a position is, the lower the salary is, and are willing to take a pay cut.

Myth #3: They will be dissatisfied with the job

During the interview, acknowledge their achievements. “Ask the candidate how he plans to use the skills that led him to his past achievements in the position you’re offering, but don’t focus too much on the past. In­­stead, find out about his current motivations and the goals he has for the position,” says Kuzmeski.

Once on the job, it is important to empower them. Give them some degree of decision-making power, even in the most basic of positions.

“By giving these employees autonomy, you show them that you have confidence in their abilities and respect the skills and qualifications they bring to the table,” says Kuzmeski.

She concluded: “Think about it: These people became highly qualified for a reason—for the most part, they make fantastic employees. You want to hire the right person for the job, not the person you assume, sight unseen, is less likely to leave. By taking the time to connect with candidates and discuss their motivations and goals, you’ll be able to make that judgment yourself.”

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Lester @ Broshegroup June 25, 2012 at 1:19 pm

These are great tips when hiring an over qualified applicants. You’re right, ask first why such an applicant are interested in lower position before you jump into different conclusions. These people might be a key for business success.


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