Connecting with the ‘Overqualified’ Job Candidate: Why the Highly Skilled Candidate May Be the Best One for the Job (and Five Ways to Connect With Her)

These days, any position that becomes available generates a deluge of résumés. If your policy is to automatically discard those belonging to candidates you deem as ‘overqualified,’ it’s time to rethink your strategy. Here’s why.

When a job opens up in today’s economy, it receives a lot of attention. And no wonder: Over 15 million Americans need work. And if you’re a hiring manager, you may have found that the best way to shrink that pile of résumés on your desk is to weed out the seemingly ‘overqualified’ workers first. After all, you reason, those candidates will want too much money and will jump ship the minute they find a better offer. Right?

Not necessarily. In fact, a recent Harvard Business Review article suggests that when you ignore these candidates you’re missing out on the opportunity to add highly qualified talent to your organization.

The article points out that ‘overqualified’ candidates tend to show a better work ethic, stay, on average, longer than less qualified candidates, and as long as they are empowered are actually happy workers.

To back up these assertions, the HBR article cites studies from folks at the University of Connecticut, the University of South Carolina, St. Ambrose University, and Portland State University, respectively, which show that overqualified workers are high performers, less likely to quit, and value autonomy.


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About the Author

Maribeth Kuzmeski, MBA, is the author of five books, including …And the Clients Went Wild!: How Savvy Professionals Win All the Business They Want (Wiley, 2010) and The Connectors: How the World’s Most Successful Businesspeople Build Relationships and Win Clients for Life (Wiley, 2009). She is the founder of Red Zone Marketing, LLC, which consults with businesses from entrepreneurial firms to Fortune 500 corporations on strategic marketing planning and business growth. Maribeth has personally consulted with some of the world’s most successful CEOs, entrepreneurs, and professionals. An internationally recognized speaker, she shares the tactics that businesspeople use today to create more sustainable business relationships, sales, and marketing successes.

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