Why Hiring the Overqualified is Good for Business
We all love getting more than what we paid for. Yet a lot of companies shy away from hiring people who are interested but overqualified for the job. Personally, I love hiring overqualified people and think you should strive to always do it if you can. If you can get someone who brings more experience needed to a job, has the interest in doing it and has a passion for what they do, why wouldn't you? Let's look at two recent cases in point, one at the beginning of his career the other closer to the latter stages of hers.
About six months ago, I was looking for some help on my social media team. We had more work than we could handle well, but not enough that I could hire a full time person. A friend of mine suggested I look at someone he knew. This person had a ton of experience. Unfortunately for him, it was a string of contract work and five or so internships.
When we met, I was impressed with his knowledge and passion. At his freelance rate, I would have only been able to use him on and off. But, he suggested I take him on as an intern if it would allow him to work more hours. Now, he was way overqualified to be an intern, but I really liked the idea of having him on premise working most of the week. I immediately agreed.
In the time he worked as an intern, he did some great things for our clients and helped me expand our social media programs. He showed me and the entire agency what an asset he was and how invaluable his skill were. As of last week, we hired him full time. Being an extremely overqualified intern paid off for both him and our agency.
On the other end of the scale, I have a friend who has a very accomplished career as a project manager, traffic manager, creative business manager and finally a marketing manager on the client side. Suddenly, she found herself without a job, as hers was outsourced. She's a person who has a passion for work and has applied to a number of positions where the company didn't hire her because she's overqualified.
Here's a person who has always made her departments smarter and more efficient, she's loves to work and has a passion for wherever she is. If she's willing to take less than her experience dictates she should, why wouldn't a company want to take advantage of that?
Some companies are afriad that if you hire someone overqualified, they'll just move on first chance they get. First off, let me say that's a risk you take with any position these days. The average stay at one company is getting shorter and shorter every year. Secondly, so what? If you get great value for a year or two and then need to find someone new, aren't you better off for those two years of extreme competence?
We brought this woman in for a six week temporary position, just to get us through a transition period. It was for a position she was way overqualified for. But in just six weeks, she cleaned up our systems, trained some of our employees on better ways to do things and put in place better processes. We're better off for just six weeks of an overqualified employee. So, I'm not buying you wouldn't be better off, even if the person you hire leave earlier than you'd like.
I know a lot of companies don't agree with this philosophy, but I just think it makes sense to always hire the overqualified if you have a chance. What do you really have to lose? Do you agree or do you think it's not worth the risks? I'd love to hear what your take on this.