Should you hire overqualified applicants?

Published on Nov 24, 2017

As an HR manager, your duty is to quickly fill positions with quality applicants. However, this has become an increasingly complex task to accomplish because of a widening gap in talent and the dire need to recruit or move expert employees. Besides, when options dwindle, you end up recruiting applicants irrespective of their educational background and most commonly their work experiences. 

Overqualified candidates are those who are known for displaying exceptional talent and excelling in almost every task assigned. These candidates are usually experienced and highly educated and are recruited for managerial roles. Nevertheless, these candidates unlike others, have a difficult time seeking jobs suiting their requirement. 

Hiring an overqualified candidate comes with its own pros and cons


Pros of recruiting an overqualified candidate

The Return on Investment (ROI) is high 

If you work in the retail or IT industry, recruiting overqualified candidates will most likely be worth your effort. For instance, if the demand for a product/service is high, the demand should exhaust while that candidate is employed. Recruiting overqualified candidates would be highly beneficial to any company as they possess good knowledge about critical skills and have a better understanding of the company. They are likely to bring value to your organisation, irrespective of their tenure.

Better employees

Most overqualified candidates are known professionals, it is likely that they will be better employees than their lesser experienced colleagues. They have a strong understanding of the market, hence making them experts in whatever they pursue. Overqualified applicants also bring fresh and an exclusive perspective to your organisation, and have the ability to take over as managers to other employees.

Cuts down training costs

Hiring an overqualified candidate will significantly lower your training costs. Unlike other employees, overqualified candidates are experts and require less or no training on the job. Since experienced candidates have already achieved basic skills at work, they should be both easier to train and manage.


Cons of recruiting an overqualified candidate

Higher Remuneration

The relative work experience these candidates possess can always be a cause of concern for most HR managers. High remuneration is one of the main demands that these candidates seek from companies.

Job satisfaction

When hiring experienced candidates, an HR manager must bear in mind the repercussions to follow. If the candidate hired is not satisfied with the job, they might not perform well and can likely be the cause of conflict within the organisation. 

Lack of guarantee

Hiring overqualified candidates is a risk in investment for an organisation. Since they are experts in the job you hired them for, there are chances that they might be seeking opportunities elsewhere. Their stay is temporary as they hop jobs frequently in search of greener pastures. Thus, before making choices, it’s advisable to seek professional guidance in terms of recruitment. 

Are you in a hiring dilemma? Our talent consultants can help you with your recruitment by using specialised talent mapping tools. We can help you track and source experienced candidates who will prove fruitful to your organisation in the long-run. For more information about our services, you can write to us at