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10 Reasons to Hire Overqualified Candidates It's counterintuitive, but sometimes bringing on board a job seeker with more skills than required results in a win-win.

By Heather R. Huhman

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


When a candidate with a flawless track record applies for a job he or she is clearly overqualified for, employers become nervous.

Many employers avoid hiring overqualified candidates because they fear these individuals will become bored in their positions or leave as soon as they find a better opportunity. Employers also fear these job seekers might expect a higher salary or lack genuine interest in the company.

Instead of ignoring overqualified candidates, employers should view these people as valuable investments for their company. Here are 10 qualities that might be found in these exceptional job candidates:

Related: Why Being 50 (or Older) Is Just Right for Entrepreneurship

1. Being easy to train.

Overqualified candidates are often ready to hit the ground running once hired. It's very likely that they already have the basic skills needed to succeed in the position, so training the candidates will be a breeze.

2. Bringing energy to the workplace.

Don't pass up the opportunity to hire enthusiastic and passionate candidates. When job applicants show a strong interest in a position, this is a sign they'll be a great hire for the company.

3. Being a cinch to manage.

Candidates with a great amount of experience and strong skills may be more confident in the workplace. As employees, they may be self-sufficient, ask the right questions and hold themselves accountable for results. Managers won't have to worry about holding their hand through every project, which means more will get accomplished.

4. Offering new expertise.

An overqualified candidate can bring new skills and experience to the workplace not previously represented. If a candidate displays experience in a new area, give him or her the opportunity to grow within the position. Provide projects that will allow the new hire to put extra expertise to work.

5. Possessing leadership potential.

Although not every employee is a born leader, overqualified candidates who are highly skilled might have the experience to be able to lead in the workplace.

Employers will create a talent pipeline by hiring exceptional candidates. Especially if there's a lot of room for growth within an organization, overqualified candidates might be able to move up quickly. This makes it easier for employers to promote within the organization when the timing is right.

Related: How Early-Stage Startups Can Attract Seasoned Executives

6. Adding value, even with a near-term exit.

Regardless of how long an overqualified candidate stays at the company, he or she will probably add value there. It can't hurt to hire an amazing performer, even if he or she stays only six months.

7. Offering more talent at a lower price.

When candidates apply for a job, knowing they're overqualified for the role, most likely they are not pursuing an amazing paycheck. Instead, these candidates apply for jobs because they're trying to leave a position they disliked or are looking for a change in their career.

While a company can greatly benefit from hiring talent at a lost cost, don't take excessive advantage of a person's skills and experience. If the candidate deserves more compensation, pay the person accordingly.

8. Accomplishing goals faster.

For employers in pursuit of results, hiring an overqualified candidate can be a great solution. Overqualified candidates may be go-getters and have the work ethic needed to accomplish the company's goals.

9. Spotting new opportunities for business.

Overqualified candidates have wisdom to bring to a company. Since they've already worked for a variety of employers, they may have some tricks up their sleeves to bring value to the business.

10. Not fearing challenges.

Overqualified candidates are often ready to take on new problems to solve. If people with more experience are hired, employers can assign them challenging projects and new tasks.

Have you hired an overqualified candidate? How did your company benefit?

Related: Coke Is Luring Experienced Entrepreneurs to Create New Startups

Heather R. Huhman

Career and Workplace Expert; Founder and President, Come Recommended

Waldorf, Md.-based Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager and president of Come Recommended, the PR solution for job search and HR tech companies. She writes about issues impacting the modern workplace.

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