Too often job seekers wonder if they are being passed over for jobs because they are overqualified. A recent article in the Harvard Business Review offered advice to managers and leaders on how not to prematurely pass over a candidate based on the assumption they are overqualified.
I read the article twice. Once with my Career Consultant hat on and once with my HR Management Consultant hat on. There are points I agreed with and others I didn’t.
I agree that there can be a general misunderstanding about what defines “overqualified”. And I agree that too often assumptions can be made that a candidate is overqualified based on their resume alone. The article recommends getting to know the candidate better before making the assumption they are overqualified. Though I agree that is ideal, however in the current job market where hundreds of resumes can be received for a single opening, it is easier and more time efficient for recruiters to select perfectly qualified candidates vs taking the time to get to know a potentially overqualified candidate. It is not that they aren’t interested, it is just an issue of time.
I agree with the article’s suggestion to hiring managers to consider hiring an overqualified candidate as an opportunity for them mentor and challenge others and exceed expectations. The article goes on to suggest paying the candidate what they are worth. I agree if the job can be reshaped and reclassified into a higher pay grade. If it can not, overpaying a candidate may cause internal equity issues and is not recommended from an HR perspective. That is why “overqualified” is sometimes code for too expensive.
Lastly as a Career Consultant, I really challenge my clients to consider how their next job fits into their overall career plans, regardless of the level.