Employers, its time to start hiring the overqualified candidates
Employers often lament about the lack of suitable candidates for their job vacancies because they lacked the necessary experience or qualification, yet the first candidates they would overlook tend to be those whom they perceive to be overly qualified for their job opening. It is about time that mindset is changed.
When hiring employees, employers need to consider what it is in the best interests for the organization. They would already have a clearly defined role for the employee that they seek, as well as what it is they want to achieve as a company. However, the decision to hire a new employee should also take into account whether they are interested in an employee that brings with them new ideas, or whether they want someone who is going to conform to the status quo.
In particular, if the candidate is overly qualified or overly skilled then they company should also weigh the benefits and the costs they may incur by employing them.
What Are The Benefits Of An Overqualified Employee?
One of the benefits of considering an overqualified candidate is that the training program that would be required may be shortened, as the candidate may not need the additional training, or may be a quick learner. This could work in the company's favour, and would save the company some time and money. On the other hand, this candidate would also likely ask for a much higher renumeration.
The employer would have to weigh the two and make a decision on what is most beneficial for the organization.
A company should not avoid employing over skilled employees, as they can bring a fresh perspective to the organization. A new study revealed that hiring such employees in moderation could be an advantage to employers.
These individuals may bring an element of creativity that it may be lacking. The study by Bilian Lin and Kenneth S. Law believed that over qualified individuals if managed properly these new hires could possibly bring ‘organizational citizenship behavior to the organization’.
According to the report, these individuals find themselves "underemployed on the job", which is the result of their overqualification for their role.
The authors of the study looked at this and believed that the underemployed have underused capabilities and have more time at work because they are capable of finishing tasks that have been assigned to them more quickly than perhaps other employees would, that is those who are not underemployed.
This shows that these individuals could be very useful to organizations that hire them for their skills and see the value in hiring these individuals. They may find themselves enjoying a variety of challenges sent their way and this may lead to work being done faster.
Incidentally, the individuals who are most likely to be creative and in their work are those who consider themselves moderately overqualified, more so than those who think they are mildly overqualified and severely overqualified.
Granted, widespread underemployment may be a poor reflection of an industry's prospects. If aeronautical engineers find themselves teaching English for instance, that may indicate that there are limited job opportunities within the aeronautical engineering sector, which would in turn keep other job seekers away.
There is a widespread belief that the underemployed staff may become bored and unmotivated, and result in them leaving their jobs, according to Berrin Erdogan, Professor of management at Portland State University.
What should employers do?
Erdogan thinks employers need to redefine what it means for a candidate to be overqualified, because it does not necessary equate to having higher education credentials. “We define it as meeting and exceeding the skill requirements of the job. So having a lot of education doesn’t over-qualify you,” she said.
The employer should also consider why this candidate is interested in working with the organization, and how it benefits them, because Erdogan noted that that it is rare for employees to consider quitting their job purely because they feel that they are too qualified.