Recruiting overqualified applicants

I hear a lot of people being turned down at interviews because they are overqualified. I also hear a lot of recruiters saying that they had an excellent candidate but they had to turn him down because he was overqualified. This has to be by far the worst reason you can give someone.

Every single company should want the best people they can find for every open position they have. A person with better skills, knowledge and experience will perform better than some less qualified. Better performance means better quality and faster working time, plus lower costs in training and development.

On the other hand a better qualified person might ask for a higher salary and thus be over the budget the recruiter has, but if you consider the productivity, it might turn out to be more profitable to recruit such a person.

Another reason for turning down someone overqualified might be because he already has an organizational culture not compatible with your own and you would want someone that can fit in better and faster. The truth is that it’s very hard, if not impossible to tell how well a person will adapt to the company and the team. This can be best seen after the probation period.

The supreme reason, though, is that being overqualified will lead to the person getting bored and leave faster than others. One has nothing to do with the other. People leave because they don’t like the work, are not motivated, hate the team and the work¬†environment. All of these have nothing to do with how qualified the person is.

The truth is that recruiters seem to be stuck in their search for the exact match, not someone a bit under or over the level, for the position they have. Also when having such a candidate they have to spend more energy to find the candidate’s motivation, if he can fit the team, if the salary he wants is not over the budget and if it is worth taking into account the higher productivity.

An overqualified candidate might be an excellent resource for a company if only the recruiters put in the work. But if he isn’t the perfect match recruiters should forget the overqualified stereotype¬†and offer a real feedback.

Catalin Costea

If I had to describe myself in one word it would be polymath; Renaissance man if I had two. I strongly believe that everything you know will come of use sooner or later and that constantly challenging yourself and continuous learning are the key to success.